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Here's Why It's So Hard To Lose Weight

December 07, 2015 2 min read

Human beings are driven to seek food. This drive is essential to our survival. But in today's society, it can work against us. In fact, our bodies actually work to restore fat that has been lost! Recent research has found that after weight loss, the levels of appetite controlling hormones shift to actually promote overeating and weight gain! While you may think of fat as a simple energy store, it is anything but that simple. For answers as to why our bodies defend high fat levels, we must travel back in time and look at our hunter-gatherer ancestors. We evolved from our earliest origins to favour a hunter-gather lifestyle, that is a lifestyle of high levels of physical activity and periods of feast or famine with food consumption. The ones who had a metabolism that favoured storing energy as fat would have been most likely to survive and pass this trait on to future generations. Those fat stores would have allowed survival during periods of famine. Now, our culture is dominated by a sedentary lifestyle and an abundance of readily available food. Because of this, we are seeing unprecedented levels of obesity across the globe. We are designed to store fat and hang on to it once we have it.   To further understand, it is important to look at human physiology and homeostasis. Homeostasis regulates biological systems through negative feedback systems. Changes to a monitored condition like body fat, produce a response that fights the change until it is returned to a "set-point." So, you lose fat, your hormones kick in and combat it until your original fat levels return. [bctt tweet="Here's Why It's So Hard To Lose Weight"] Unfortunately, this does not work in the opposite direction. If you gain weight, our bodies are not able to return us to the set-point in this instance. As for why this is, there is no one answer. Maybe our environment at the moment is just too good at promoting obesity. Maybe our bodies have always relied on external events like famine and high levels of activity to regulate our weight. In this current cultural climate of long hours spent sitting and easy to access high-calorie foods, we cannot rely on our instinct to combat obesity. We must use our brains. Our environment is a trap. We know we are built to move more and consume fewer calories. While the bodily processes may not be that simple, the solution is. What do you think? Can we, as a global society, defeat obesity? Source: IFLScience

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