Since we are a nation obsessed by weight loss, it is so important to realize that chronic dieting itself can make some people overweight or obese as a result. There are many reasons why our bodies resist weight loss and more than likely it is due to a fear of starvation. This involves the neuro-endocrine system and we have many mechanisms to prevent this threat to our existence.
This is more than likely involving our set -points defined as “a level at which body fat or body weight seems to resist change despite changes in energy intake or output.” The set point for each of us is largely determined by genes. Signals related to food intake affect hunger and satiety (feeling of fullness) over short time periods while signals from the adipose tissue trigger the brain to adjust to both food intake and energy expenditure for long-term regulation. The two primary hormones involved are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a peptide hormone produced by the stomach that stimulates food intake and leptin is a peptide hormone produced by fat cells that signals information about the amount of body fat. The interactions are complex and better left to more academic discussions than in this blog post.
If you diet frequently, you should understand some of the implications of these interactions. The following article is a long read but it is important to know the facts – the best action is to prevent weight gain if possible so that we do not have to deal with its effects later on.
Weight management is possible by putting into practice the following simple suggestions.
Balance your intake and output, for example, weight yourself once a week; if the number goes up, cut down your calories.
Cut down on calories, e.g. bring your own lunch rather than eating out.
Don’t get too hungry – fill up on high fiber foods.
Increase activity – Take a walk during lunch break or after dinner.
Avoid fad diets – they only lead to the problem.