Weight loss: why dieting doesn’t work

Do you want a quick fix for weight loss or something with lasting results?

Do you ‘just’ want to lose weight or do you want to be healthier overall?

If you want to achieve better overall health, with lasting weight loss results – you are on the right website.

When you mention the word weight loss everyone thinks of  ‘dieting’ – it is the commonest way people try to lose weight and yet studies have shown that dieting rarely works long term. 95% of the people using a ‘diet’ will temporarily lose weight and then gain it all back again months down the line. When that happens, they are made to feel guilty because they fell off the wagon and started slacking…but,

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Weight regulation is such a complex area, so I will try and simplify it for you here. Think of your weight as being set by a thermostat in the brain – think of it as the body weight set point. This is like the thermostat in your house. Just like how the thermostat switches the heat on when the temperature drops, so the body weight set point will increase appetite and REDUCE your metabolic rate if you started to lose weight.

So, stubborn weight is not merely a lack of will power. It is instead due to a hi-jacked body weight set point that has been pushed up by various factors e.g. your genes, medication. Here are commonest factors: (this list is not exclusive)

  • Hormonal disturbanceInsulin resistance is such a common problem now – 2/3 of Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Insulin resistance is a condition where your body’s tissue stops responding to the hormone insulin. In order to get the same effect and maintain a stable blood sugar, the body has to secrete more insulin. A high circulating insulin level will push up your body weight set point. Other hormonal factors may be at play too e.g. estrogen (think about BPA and many endocrine disruptors like pthalates that interlace beauty and body care products, cleaning products. Let’s not forget about the biggest hormone disruptor in our modern, fast paced lives – STRESS! Stress increases cortisol (a hormone) which then raises the body weight set point (think about the drug cortisone, the commonest side effect of taking cortisone is weight gain)

  • Inflammation – This is a huge topic and one which I can write a whole book on. However, to make it simple, inflammation produces chemicals in our body which can affect how well the hormones and nerves work, and therefore have an effect on our weight. Inflammation is can be caused by our food and our environment. Sugar, trans-fats, too much omega 6, processed foods, environmental toxins, plus… STRESS – all lead to inflammation in the body which then leads to insulin resistance (and the metabolic syndrome).

  • Gut health and our microbiome – have you heard of fecal transplant? The friendly bacteria in our gut can affect the way our bodies digest food, handle calories, absorb nutrients and therefore our weight. Studies have shown that when fecal matter from an overweight human (the overweight discordant twin) is transported into a mouse genetically programmed to have no friendly bacteria, that mouse became fat. Conversely, when they transfer the fecal matter from the thin twin to a mouse with no friendly gut bacteria, that mouse becomes thin. In addition, when they then transferred the fecal matter from the thin mouse to the obese mouse, it stopped the progression of obesity features.

Each of the three factors above also interact with each other e.g. an unhealthy gut microbiome can lead to increased inflammation, and inflammation can lead to insulin resistance.

So dieting with calorie restriction is really an uphill struggle, fighting with the body’s innate body weight set point that is most likely going to fail. The body will simply make you more hungry, or reduce your metabolic rate to compensate for reduced caloric intake.

Therefore, in order to lose weight – and maintain this over the long term, you need to reset your body weight thermostat.


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