Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Why Most Dieters Gain All The Weight Back

By Jamie Koonce @charcuterielove

Why Most Dieters Gain All The Weight Back (Or Struggle to Keep Their Weight Down)…Most people who have ever tried losing weight tend to experience ravenous hunger and lack of energy when they lose down to their “goal weight.”  When they eat enough food to satisfy their hunger and provide them with enough energy to get through their day, they end up gaining back all the weight.  Why does this happen?  Is it because overweight people have a lack of willpower?  Or because in order to stay lean, one must count calories, exercise compulsively, and not eat enough food to satisfy their hunger.  Most yo-yo dieters would probably guess the latter is true — those who are lean just exercise all the time and starve themselves.

I tell you that neither of the statements above explain why overweight people tend to gain all the weight back after dieting, or why lean people stay lean without having to constantly track calories in vs. calories out.  The reason why we all tend to maintain a consistent weight over time is because the body has a “body-fat setpoint” that it tries to defend.  If you eat more calories than you expend, your appetite should decrease and your energy expenditure should increase.  Translation: If you eat a big buffet meal at lunch, you should feel less hungry for dinner.  Plus your basal body temperature and respiratory rate will slightly increase, making you burn more calories than if you had skipped lunch.  If you eat fewer calories in an effort to lose weight, your hunger will increase and you will have less energy for exercise because your body is trying to defend its setpoint.

This leads us to the question of why one’s body-fat setpoint would be set at higher than it needs to be.  Why would your body be trying to defend a weight that is not your ideal weight?  This has largely been a mystery among weight loss researchers, but now we are starting to reach a few conclusions.  Food additives, including everything from artificial and “natural” flavorings, MSG, wheat, and preservatives, to high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and vegetable seed oils like cottonseed and canola, can actually increase your body-fat “setpoint” to a higher number.  This means that if your ideal weight is 110 pounds, but you’ve been eating fat-free cookies made from refined wheat flour and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, and drinking diet soda, the intense and unnatural flavorings and ingredients will actually cause your body to increase its setpoint to a higher weight, such as 160 pounds.  You will therefore develop a condition known as hyperphagia, a condition in which your appetite causes you to consume more calories than you expend, until you reach the new body-fat setpoint of 160 pounds.  Your body will then be resistant to going back to its ideal weight by causing you to feel excessively hungry and tired when you drop below 160.

Modern foods essentially break the “thermostat” that keeps you at your ideal weight.  There are a variety of methods to bring your setpoint back down to where it should be so that you can lose the weight and actually not feel hungry or lacking in energy.  In the future, I will write in more detail these simple methods you can use to reach your ideal weight and then maintain it without having to count calories, spend hours in the gym burning calories off, feel hungry/deprived, or having to use your willpower to avoid your favorite foods.  Obviously the first thing you can do to lower your bodyfat setpoint is to eat only real foods — no boxed or canned items containing added flavorings and non-food ingredients.  You will also need to avoid *wheat, because the modern variety of wheat is actually a man-made food that is entirely different from “wild” wheat.

For treatment of hyperphagia, you will benefit from taking natural plant compounds that send signals to your hypothalamus that you’ve already eaten to satiety.

Chemical appetite suppressants may do more harm than good, but natural foods-based supplements such as Leantain can help repair your metabolism and treat the condition of hyperphagia.  The active appetite-suppressing ingredient in Leantain is a succulent plant that is commonly eaten for food by hunter-gatherers on long hunting trips.  This succulent plant helps suppress their hunger and keep their energy levels high while they are seeking food.

*If you’re skeptical about my advice to avoid wheat, please read the book Wheat Belly, and I guarantee you’ll never want to go near the stuff again.  Not only does wheat pike your blood sugar higher than drinking a can of Coke does, it is responsible for triggering a variety of health conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease, Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia, depression, and dermatitis.  One man on the waiting list for a heart transplant actually recovered without the need for a transplant when he stopped eating wheat.

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