Are you struggling with your weight?
If you’re like a lot of people nowadays, you can lose weight for a while but then it gradually creeps back on and you have no idea why. Or maybe you’re like the people who can’t seem to lose a pound no matter how hard they try.
It’s not your fault!
We – anyone who is alive on earth right now – have been genetically selected over the past hundreds of thousands of years to survive the famine times by eating and gaining weight during the feast times.
Our ancestors who didn’t gain weight during the feast times had nothing to carry them through the next famine, and unfortunately they didn’t make it. Gradually the non-weight gainers disappeared from the population. And the folks like us, who gain weight, were the ones who survived.
But now we live in a time where famines are rare. If anything, we have too much food available to us all the time.
Our old patterns of living off the land, eating at communal mealtimes, sharing our food, and so on, have pretty much gone by the wayside.
And just to make things worse, our food industry is focused on making our snacks irresistible. They study everything about our psychology and what satisfies our senses in order to be certain that we won’t just eat a regular small portion. They make food that has different textures like crunchy and creamy because psychology shows that we prefer contrasting textures. And they use a mixture of flavours like sweet and salty or sweet and sour because psychology shows that we prefer contrasting flavours.
We are being manipulated every day to choose foods on the basis of how well they turn on our senses, and to overeat because of large portions and irresistibility.
How do our biological forces make us gain weight?
Our body has all kinds of checks and balances to keep us gaining weight.
For instance, there is an area of the brain called the hypothalamus that plays a big role in whether we feel hungry or satiated. The hypothalamus has a setpoint for weight. When we lose a lot of weight, the hypothalamus starts sending out signals to make us gain weight.
After weight loss, our digestive system sends out signals that we’re still hungry and need to eat more. Our metabolism slows down so the number of calories needed per day decreases. If you’re getting the internal message to eat more when your body actually needs fewer calories, what’s going to happen? Yep, you’ll gain weight.
Okay. Our biology wants us to gain weight and our environment pretty much guarantees that we’ll eat too much so what hope is there to lose weight and keep it off?
Research shows that we can learn to change our behaviour. With the right motivations and tools, we can choose restraint instead of listening to all the hormones and brain signals that tell us to eat more.
The systems that have been most successful at helping people lose weight and keep it off involve comprehensive evidence-based ongoing support and treatment. We now have medications that can effectively decrease our desire to eat with minimal side effects. And bariatric surgery to decrease the amount we can eat and absorb is helpful for some people.
Studies show that these systems result in people keeping weight off for years, and other health improvements such as lower rates of diabetes, kidney disease, eye disease, depression, enhanced mobility, fewer hospitalizations and reduced medication use.
Please forget about the fad diets and punishing workouts as a way to pummel your body into losing weight. They don’t work.
If you would like to enroll in a weight management program that uses evidence-based approaches to help you change your behaviour, educates you about what is going on with your body at different stages of weight loss and weight gain, prescribes medications when needed, and provides course correction when needed, call us today at 905-340-0401 to get started.