Here's how your body makes your weight loss transformation impossible
Achieving a weight loss transformation is truly one of the toughest things to achieve in this life. Clinching an Oscar? Easy peasy compared to the stresses of dieting. Winning Tour de France? I'll go get my bike. Trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro? Hand me a hiking pole, point me in the right direction and I'll see you all in nine days.
The thing that makes it so difficult, of course, is food. Approximately 17 minutes into our incredibly strict no carb diet, we eye up that plate of pasta, tell ourselves that this is no way to live our lives and proceed to stuff our faces until we feel sick. Hey, if God gave us mac and cheese, who are we to reject his supreme ruling?
However, it turns out that our inability to control our appetites can be put down to something more than just the burger menu at Wendy's. In fact, a new study by experts puts it down to our body and brain functions, citing a certain hormone as the main culprit. According to John Gunstad, a professor with the Department of Psychological Sciences at Kent State University, losing weight affects our hormone balance in ways that have a detrimental effect on our diet.
Although it might not feel like it at the time, according to Professor Gunstad's studies, weight loss is much more painless in the early stages and you may find it easy (or easier, at least) in the very first week after you begin your health kick. Yes, switching to healthier food may seem like the worst thing that could have ever happened, but due to the hormones in your body, it's about to get a whole lot worse.
As your metabolism adjusts to your new menu, you soon won't be able to burn as many calories as you used to, making your efforts feel fruitless as you won't see as positive results as you did in the beginning. To make matters worse, as the fat is slowly melting away, you'll start to experience an increase in appetite due to lack of a hormone called leptin.
Normally, leptin, “the hormone of energy expenditure”, is released into your bloodstream and acts to signal to your brain that you're full and should stop eating straight away (even though many of us are guilty of ignoring it and continuing to shovel more fatty food into our bodies). However, people who lose weight show considerable dips in leptin meaning that they kept on eating; for example, when obese patients who had lost 10% of their body weight had their brains scanned, the results revealed that less leptin leads to increased activity in regions of the brain that control the desire to eat.
Unfortunately for those struggling already to avoid the fast food joints that we all know and love, the lack of leptin not only increases your appetite, but it gives us an even more powerful urge to consume high-calorie foods. The uncontrollable urges to chow down on that two for one Ben & Jerrys deal isn't just you, it's your brain desperately attempting to restore the body's leptin levels to normal.
In spite of the painful struggle, you'll be happy to hear that fighting those second-week impulses to gorge on all of the best foods is worth it at the end of the day. When people who had gone through a weight loss transformation and managed to keep it off successfully for a total of nine months had their brains scanned, scientists found that the brain had been altered in the best way possible.
Amazingly, the results showed that the brain regions that processed reward, motivation, and taste didn’t react as strongly as they would have done previously, whereas the areas that promote overall self-control had a boost in activity. Ultimately, this proves that weight loss becomes easier over time and, as depressing as it is to hear, there is no magical solution - the only way to do it is to power on through.
But although it won't come without a hefty dose of hard work and determination, undergoing a weight loss transformation comes does come with a bevvy of other benefits that you may well know about, but to fill you with inspiration, we will refresh your memory.
As well as fitting into that little black dress you've had on the backburner for years, when you've successfully peeled the pounds, you will have a massively decreased risk of heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. In addition, putting the work in and shedding a few stone reduces strain on the blood vessels, increases blood flow to the brain, and boosts overall brain function. Not to mention the fact that scientists have discovered that losing just one pound of body weight reduces four pounds of pressure on knee joints. Sound like something you'd be up for?
At the end of the day, we all know that losing motivation is a million times easier than losing that all-important weight. But next time you feel yourself reaching over for the cookie jar, remember that the more weight you shed, the simpler it becomes - so even if you're not quite there yet, you're one step closer with each passing day.