If your resolution for 2012 is to lose weight, your success depends on more than just your will power.
In an eye-opening story in the New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope, one learns that permanents weight loss largely depends on how long you have been carrying around that extra weight.
The longer you have had it, the more your body will try to defeat your attempts to lose it.
“Anyone who has ever dieted knows that lost pounds often return, and most of us assume the reason is a lack of discipline or a failure of willpower. But Joseph Proietto,” physician at the University of Melbourne who specializes in helping people lose weight, “suspected that there was more to it, and he decided to take a closer look at the biological state of the body after weight loss.”
A small scale study he and his team set up showed that even under strict controls, regular exercise, patients in the study slowly began to put in weight after the 10 week diet, where the average person lost 30 pounds.
“While researchers have known for decades that the body undergoes various metabolic and hormonal changes while it’s losing weight, the Australian team detected something new. A full year after significant weight loss, these men and women remained in what could be described as a biologically altered state. Their still-plump bodies were acting as if they were starving and were working overtime to regain the pounds they lost. For instance, a gastric hormone called ghrelin, often dubbed the “hunger hormone,” was about 20 percent higher than at the start of the study. Another hormone associated with suppressing hunger, peptide YY, was also abnormally low. Levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses hunger and increases metabolism, also remained lower than expected. A cocktail of other hormones associated with hunger and metabolism all remained significantly changed compared to pre-dieting levels. It was almost as if weight loss had put their bodies into a unique metabolic state, a sort of post-dieting syndrome that set them apart from people who hadn’t tried to lose weight in the first place.
“What we see here is a coordinated defense mechanism with multiple components all directed toward making us put on weight,” Proietto says. “This, I think, explains the high failure rate in obesity treatment.”
I encourage everyone to read the full article.
A couple of take aways for me:
Don’t assume that everyone who is obese simply lacks will power.
Make sure your children eat properly so they don’t grow up overweight.
If you start putting on weight, that is the time to bump up for exercise level.
PLEASE LET US KNOW ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE. Leave a comment.