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Why is it so hard to lose weight and keep it off?


There are several theories as to why our bodies fight weight loss and why weight loss is more difficult for some people, more than others. When you integrate all theories discussed below and integrate them into your weight loss efforts you will maximize your weight loss and improve your chances of keeping it off.

  1. Set Point Theory

This complex theory has been widely studied and was recently published in Obesity magazine, April 2021. The set point theory states that many persons with obesity can lose weight but have difficulty maintaining this body weight over time. This theory states that there are many contributing factors to the inability to keep this weight off. Some of these factors are; inherited traits, the environment, hormones, psychological, and genetic elements. The set point theory relies on the concept of a genetic preset weight range that’s controlled by biological signals, triggered by factors stated previously. This theory also states that our metabolism adjust to signals in the brain which control hunger, and insulin to maintain a predetermined weight. This is survival mechanism can make our body's work against us when trying to lose weight by increasing our insulin levels and hunger hormones. Because of this survival mechanism, after a time, your body will fight reduced calorie intake by sending signals (hunger pangs) and slowing down your metabolism to attempt to bring you back to your normal set point. This can result in a plateau or weight maintenance of even a regain of the weight lost. Due to this desire to maintain weight and regain weight to a more comfortable set point; it’s more helpful to implement smaller adjustments to weight rather than strict calorie restrictions with large energy burns from exercise. We encourage a slow weight loss process to help ensure your body is able to adjust to each stage of weight loss. Because of this theory we also discourage a super low calorie diet! Fight the urge to drastically cut calories to lose weight. Over time this will only hurt your body's ability to adjust to your new weight, increase your cravings, create an environment of malnutrition and cause sleep disturbances. Our calorie per day recommendations for most of our patients are to go no lower than your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Review previous blog regarding BMR.

2. Gut Microbiome

In a study performed at Washington University School of Medicine, there was an identifiable difference in the gut microbiome of over 300 bacterial genes between obese and thin study participants. Understanding the complex environment in the gut microbiome can be the missing link to weight loss and keeping the weight off. Many of these gut bacterial genes are imperative for lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. When these bacterial genes are imbalances the gut can create an environment of insulin resistance of fat deposition despite dietary and lifestyle adjustments. There are many factors that can affect the gut microbiome. These factors include; age, lifestyle, circadian rhythm, drugs, diet and genetics.

Ways to reset your gut microbiome

a. take pre- and probiotics (medical grade preferred)

b. get adequate sleep (7-8 hours/night)

c. avoid excessive sugar and artificial sweeteners

d. avoid unnecessary antibiotics (can take the gut 1 year to recovery from 1 round of antibiotics)

e. use "clean" cleaning products

f. limit alcohol consumption

g. exercise daily

We offer GI map testing if you want more detailed information regarding your gut microbiome. Some commercial payers cover the cost of this test. Check with your insurance provider to see if this study is covered under your plan.

3. NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis)

Non- exercise activity thermogenesis is energy used for everything that does not involve eating, sleeping or exercise. Your Basal Metabolic Rate is the largest contributor to energy expenditure. Keeping a healthy BMR is imperative to your weight loss journey. Do you feel like you are too busy to work out everyday? Does your budget limit you from having a gym membership? Would you be surprised if we told you that you don't have to exercise in a gym for 2 hours per day to lose weight. You can lose weight by just increasing how much you move your body during the day.

Ways to increase NEAT:

  • Stand more. Read your email standing, stand to answer the phone, stand for 5-10 minutes once per hour

  • Wash your car or dishes by hand.

  • Use a walking, instead of riding lawnmower

  • Pace the sidelines at your kids' athletic games.

  • Carry your groceries instead of pushing a cart.

  • Walk briskly through the mall or grocery store.

  • Take the long way to the water cooler or bathroom at the office.

  • Walk to a co-worker's desk instead of emailing or calling them.

  • Pace while talking on the phone.

Image courtesy of Reeves Performance and Nutrition

At Revive RX, we incorporate all the above theories into our treatment plans. We also use prescription medications, peptide therapies, and medical-grade supplements to aid in resetting and restoring the body's mechanism responsible for weight loss ad weight maintenance.

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