Posted Monday, January 3, 2005
Nine out of every 10 individuals who lose weight gain it back. Given this fact, it would seem that engaging in a weight loss program is a gamble in which the odds of winning are very slim to none. Before you become frustrated and give up, you should realize that one out of those very ten people did succeed. What that means is that it can be done. The trick is knowing how they did it.
Years ago I embarked on a journey to study how individuals who succeeded in losing weight for the long term did it. I then researched the science behind how the body regulated weight. I came to understand that most weight loss programs fail because the programs are designed to disrupt the body’s natural mechanisms. It is this disruption that creates the battle where the individual eventually gives up.
To lose weight safely and permanently, you have to understand a concept in body functioning called homeostasis. In simple words, homeostasis means balance. The body always tries to maintain a constant environment. Your weight, just like your blood pressure or body temperature, is kept at a constant level. This level is called your set point. If you changed your external environment, your body will adjust to keep the internal environment stable. That is why a person in Alaska in the middle of the winter has the same body temperature as when they go to Arizona in the middle of the summer.
How then can you change your weight? First by understanding that there are certain food elements that your body needs, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins and water. If you deprive your body of any of these, it will start fighting you. Second, that your weight is kept in balance mostly by the effects of two opposing hormones, glucagon, that causes fat breakdown and insulin that causes fat buildup. You lose weight safely and permanently by giving your body all the essential food nutrients (not by dieting) and by shifting the balance in favor of glucagon over insulin. You achieve this by adjusting the foods that affect the production of these hormones. This eliminates cravings and constant hunger.
Also when you decrease the amount of food you eat, as in dieting, your body also decreases the amount of calories it burns to try and maintain the balance. This is why you must increase your activity level to maintain your body’s rate of burning calories.
Most weight loss plans fail because they do not take the powerful effect of homeostasis into account when the program was designed. When you are told, for example to avoid carbohydrates or fats, your body, through homeostasis, will create cravings for those foods and that’s what causes that uneasiness that lead the individual to eventually give up on the program.
The good news, again is that by shifting the balance in a gradual fashion without trying to completely disrupt it, you can obtain safe and permanent weight loss.
About the Author
Dr. David Nganele is a noted medical education expert and his book "The New Set Point" explains why most weight loss plans fail and how you can fix yours. You can learn more from his web site at (http://www.thenewsetpoint.com)