Having Trouble Losing Weight?: Readjust Your Weight Set Point

July 29, 2013–In The News–WNYC

Have you noticed that after initiating that weight loss program that included riding 30 miles a day, and reducing your fat intake, you still can’t take off that last 5 pounds?

If you are wondering why, it’s because your body adjusts to the new lower intake and greater degree of exercise, by becoming more efficient. Most of us know this, if not through experience, then through reading.

But how to eject those last five pounds?

A new study conducted at the Pennington center by obesity researcher Eric Ravussin, tells you how in this story on WNYC today.

“A weight loss of 10 pounds will set the body up to fight back,” Ravussin says. “Any significant weight loss means the body is smaller and needs less fuel to walk, go up stairs, jog or get out of a chair.” The story continues:

And less fuel burned means fewer calories needed. So if you’ve been on a diet of 1,500 calorie a day, perhaps your slimmer body now needs 300 calories less per day. That means you have to decrease your daily caloric intake — perhaps by as much as 300 calories, down to 1,200 calories a day — if you want to continue losing weight.

On top of that, metabolism slows as the body begins to combat what it interprets as potential starvation. So it begins to burn the calories it’s getting more slowly. In Ravussin’s research, he has found that metabolism slows even if dieters have maintained muscle mass. That’s because the body is now using calories more efficiently. “It’s like going from an old Ford to a Prius with a more efficient engine,” he says.

And a more efficient engine isn’t a bad thing. It means the body has adjusted to its new lower weight. “The diet

Summer is a great time to increase your vegetable and fruit intake–by buying from your local farmer’s market.

plateau is the new set point,” says Dr. Lee Kaplan, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center in Boston. “So when you go to a healthier diet your body says ‘Oh, this is good. Let’s live at a lower body fat, and let’s live at a lower set point.'”

To read the rest of the article, please go to WNYC.


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