Our bodies want to stay the same. You can trick them into losing weight for a short time, but they will make adjustments to help that weight come back on. Oh boy, now that’s motivation to take the diet plunge…!
A May, 2016 New York Times interview with metabolism expert, Dr Kevin Hall from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a division of the NIH, examines the weight regain of the Biggest Losers over a six-year period. Dr Hall has found that with weight loss, not only does resting metabolism decline, but it slows down for years after weight loss making it even more difficult to keep the weight off. After following the contestants all but one regained their lost weight, but what surprised the researchers the most was how much their body’s metabolism had slowed down, even years after they had regained the weight. One contestant in particular, Danny Cahill, had one of the worst declines in metabolism. Just in order to maintain his weight of 295, he had to consume 800 calories fewer than other men of his stature.
Stress And Losing Weight
A NIH review of different obesity models discussed the psycho-biological impact of stress on eating habits in terms of the “wanting” and “liking” versus hunger and fullness. Stated simply, you can like a food but not want to eat it, and you like be full and still want something you like. If we lived 1000 years ago, we would have pretty slim pickings to choose from. But given the wide variety of crunchy, creamy, chocolaty and sweet choices we have today we are constantly negotiating needs and wants, fullness and hunger. Later in the article it discusses the different brain pathways between liking and wanting a food and how they are altered in times of stress. Research indicated: “Post-prandial (after eating) food choice and food intake in the absence of hunger are exaggerated under stress, especially in overweight individuals with visceral adiposity (excess weight around the waist).” In other words, stressed induced post-prandial eating was linked to not only more “wanting”, but to reduced – “liking”. Hence, the after dinner kitchen raid during times of stress. And for those with extra inches around the waist, the message is even louder.
Losing Weight: A Complex Solution
Obesity is clearly not just a matter of eating too much. There are physiological barriers to weight loss: the body’s relentless physiological hold on body weight, perhaps thinking it is preparing for famine. Add stress to the picture and no wonder fruits and vegetables just don’t make the cut. We know through the National Weight Control Registry that people can lose and keep weight it off, but it is clear that to do so, it has to stay front and center of one’s life. It means constant coping with hunger, nutritional vigilance, getting regular exercise and management of stress. Next few blogs will show you how to make it easier.
Barbara writes a biweekly blog to help inform and empower people to live healthy lives. Please “share” her articles and “like” her facebook page to help spread the word