Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight?

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Article about the reasons weight loss is difficult, featured in the Conversation, 1/12/15

Subject

To understand our physiology, we must understand homeostasis whereby biological systems are regulated mostly via negative feedback systems. Changes to a monitored condition (such as body fat) produce responses that oppose the change until the monitored condition returns to a “set point”. This seems to be the case for weight loss. A reduction of fat tissue results in changes in levels of hormones that typically lead to a return to the original level of fat.

Crucially however, this does not seem to be the case when dealing with weight gain. Our biological systems seem insufficiently powerful to return us to our set-point. Perhaps the environment is too overwhelmingly obesogenic? Or perhaps our physiology has always relied on an external event, such as famine or high levels of physical activity, to regulate body weight?

As long as the environment remains obesogenic, the problem of obesity will remain. We can no longer rely on our instinct to regulate body fat – we must now rely on our intellect.

Period1 Dec 2015

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