How to win your weight loss battle.
For many years, we’ve been told that calories matter!
If your health goal is WEIGHT LOSS, you probably eat less and move more to lose weight. If you have been on a diet cycle (yo-yo cycle) many times, you would agree that it works in the beginning but eventually you stop losing weight. What is the next step when your weight scale doesn’t move? You will cut calories even further and increase exercise. Right?
If calorie counting is the right way to approach weight loss then you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Before you jump into another fad diet, you need to understand why you can’t keep your weight off.
Why can’t you keep your weight off?
In biology, the body has a weight setpoint.
A setpoint is an ideal body weight (healthy weight) that your body aims for. It’s similar to your body temperature. We have an ideal body temperature. It’s about 37°C where we are comfortable and we feel good. Our bodies are designed to maintain the ideal body temperature. For instance, in warm temperature, you will start sweating to cool down, in cold temperature you will begin shivering to increase your temperature in order to maintain the ideal body temperature at 37°C. This is called HOMEOSTASIS which is a maintenance of a constant internal environment. The nervous system and hormones are responsible for this.
You now know your body has an ideal body weight setpoint. Then you would ask me, “ I am not comfortable with my body weight and I don’t feel well because I am overweight. How is my weight an ideal body weight?”
Of course you don’t feel good to carry extra weight for 24/7. Let me ask you how long have you carried the extra weight? How many times did you repeat diet cycles to lose weight and gain it all back, maybe plus interest (extra few pounds)?
Here is a good example of repeating the yo-yo cycle that can’t keep your weight off.
Lisa was happy with her body weight 15 years ago before she had two kids. She gained about 50 pounds during her pregnancy. After the first baby was born, she restricted calorie and increased exercise to lose weight. She was able to lose nearly 50 pounds that she put on during pregnancy then she had another baby. She gained weight but she knew she could lose it all by doing the same diet and exercise. She managed to lose about 30 pounds then she reached her weight plateau so she cut calories even further. She felt deprived and exhausted plus, she had all kinds of food cravings and mood swings. She gave her cravings from time to time and her weight crimped up weekly. When she came to see me, she already regained 30 pounds plus extra 10 pounds.
Did you know that the more you repeat a diet cycle, you will increase your body weight setpoint ( figure 1)? Lisa is a good example of repeating the yo yo diet cycle to increase her body weight setpoint. By eating less, your body gets into a famine stage. Your body will do anything to survive. It will decrease metabolism to preserve food (energy = fat) and stimulate appetite (craving) to indulge in food (energy = fat) intake in order to survive . In other words, the more you cut calories, your body will fight back to keep your weight by decreasing your metabolism and increasing cravings, so you will end up increasing your body weight. But here is good news! You can reset your body setpoint by restoring your hormones in balance with the right foods, exercise, improving sleep quality, managing your stress, and removing toxins naturally. This is the right step to create good health and maintain healthy body weight for good.