A common frustration I see from patients who take on the weight loss journey is when they hit a wall and lose the ability to lose significant weight after a certain point. This is common among many and is in fact not in one’s head but rather a real phenomenon. When our body loses fat there are a set of compensatory mechanisms which act to stop any further weight loss and in some cases will lead to regaining weight as an attempt to attain a set point of weight our body is accustomed to.
The Body’s Natural Thermostat
- With significant weight loss our body reduces spontaneous physical activity i.e involuntary movements such as fidgeting and movements in sleep. The reduction in spontaneous activities leads to less calories being burned and thus maintenance of weight and in some cases weight gain.
- Many people believe that people who are overweight have low metabolic rates when in actuality and contrary to popular belief: the more you weigh, the higher your metabolic rate. Which means when you lose weight the resting metabolic rate of our body is actually reduced not increased, thus decreasing the amount of energy and food the body needs. So you may be eating less but your body adapts to require even less food to maintain its essential functions, which makes losing more weight tougher.
- As you lose weight your fat cells become more efficient at utilizing energy from the food you eat which can lead to gaining weight as fat stores, even though your energy intake may remain the same.
- As you lose weight your muscles also become more efficient at utilizing the energy from food intake, thus again favoring weight gain and return to “set point” weight.
Strategies that you can use to combat weight gain after weight loss
- Using a step-wise approach to weight loss gives your body a chance to adapt and thus avoids the yo-yo effect. Extremely restrictive diets which are not maintainable lead to fast initial weight loss, then patients often regain much of the weight as the body returns to its set point weight.
- Other data shows that patients who are more likely to become obese are those that have low levels of non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). NEAT is the time you spend doing physical activity not directly related to exercise i.e daily tasks, shopping, cooking and posture fidgeting. So if you change small things such as being more active, walking more, sitting at your desk less, and walking instead of driving when possible, this will help in minimizing weight gain and help maintain weight loss.
Weight loss is an extremely complex topic, with the proper lifestyle modification as well as the help of new technologies available at Sculpt MD, we can help you on your weight loss journey, and help you attain your weight loss goals.