Losing weight and keeping it off - what you are up against

This New York Times article, The Fat Trap, explores how people lose weight, but almost without exception, gain it right back.

In one study, 50 obese men and women consumed just 500 to 550 calories a day for eight weeks and lost an average of 30 pounds. A year after the study, subjects had regained an average of 11  pounds and reported feelingfar more hungry and preoccupied with food than before they lost the weight. Yeah, I know the diet was too restrictive, but regardless, it is interesting to note what is going on hormonally. A quote from the article:

“A full year after significant weight loss, these men and women remained in what could be described as a biologically altered state. Their still-plump bodies were acting as if they were starving and were working overtime to regain the pounds they lost. For instance, a gastric hormone called ghrelin, often dubbed the “hunger hormone,” was about 20 percent higher than at the start of the study. Another hormone associated with suppressing hunger, peptide YY, was also abnormally low. Levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses hunger and increases metabolism, also remained lower than expected. A cocktail of other hormones associated with hunger and metabolism all remained significantly changed compared to pre-dieting levels. It was almost as if weight loss had put their bodies into a unique metabolic state, a sort of post-dieting syndrome that set them apart from people who hadn’t tried to lose weight in the first place.”

And this:

“How long this state lasts isn’t known, but preliminary research at Columbia suggests that for as many as six years after weight loss, the body continues to defend the old, higher weight by burning off far fewer calories than would be expected.”

Who wants to lose significant weight only to feel pangs of hunger more often than not and have a lower metabolism? That is kind of bleak, but there is a solution. To offset that undesirable metabolic adaptation begin strength training, preferably high intensity straining training.

High intensity training (HIT) for strength will burn more calories than other forms of strength training.HIT effectively burns calories four ways. HIT produces higher sustained excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) than any other form of exercise. Muscle is metabolically expensive. HIT will make you stronger, and a stronger body will burn more calories even at rest.

At Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness Training we offer high intensity training (HIT)that has been show effective for weight loss. All you have to do is stick with it and make modest changes in eating habits. You will lose fat and more likely keep it off.