Q and A

Want to keep the weight off?


Why is it that so many people lose weight only to "find it" all again and then some??

The most obvious answer- they gave up on their plan. While this may be the case for some, it is NOT the case for all. In fact, more often than not folks who set out to lose weight end up gaining it back, despite their best efforts to maintain their new physique.

Why is that?

As we discussed in Happy New Year, Please Pass On The Diet the body’s response to weight loss, especially via caloric restriction, is a cascade of events aimed at regaining weight and reestablishing homeostasis. Not exactly what we are looking for.

Knowing that the deck is stacked against us, should we even try?

Kind of a silly question when you think about it like this—we all know we are going to die, but we go on living anyway, right? Not trying to be morbid, just brutally honest. So no - we won’t just give up on the weight loss plan. We just need to know how to avoid the backlash.

What is the key?

Exercise - is at least one of them.

Latest research shows, not only does exercise add to the caloric expenditure of the day, it also helps to short circuit the body’s path of rebuilding fat stores. Pretty cool.

In response to weight loss there are a host of changes that occur in the neuroendocrine and metabolic systems that are involved in energy homeostasis. The long and short of it is this- the body sends signals that it is nutrient deficient and that more food needs to be consumed.

This coupled with the hormonal changes favoring efficient storage of excess energy in adipose tissue, decreased fat oxidation and increased shuttling of fat toward adipose tissue and you have a recipe for major weight gain.

And you’re saying that exercise will change all of this? Yep. In fact researchers found that when they took a group of rats who underwent weight loss as a result of caloric restriction, divided them into two groups, one of which exercised and one which did not, those that exercised showed a greater tendency to transport dietary fat toward oxidation and away from storage in adipose tissue.

So instead of increased tendency to store fat, they had an increased tendency to utilize fat as fuel. Yeah yeah rats, I know, but they follow the study protocol much better than humans ;)

As you already know exercise also facilitates changes in tissues, especially skeletal muscle, that help to increase the oxidation of fat and storage of glycogen. Hello to the refueling of the muscles, and good-bye to fat storage!

While we have looked also at the fact that fat oxidation does not necessarily translate to fat loss, these changes seen in the skeletal muscle help to decrease the propensity for fat storage thus impacting the ‘fat balance’ equation.

For hundreds of great science-based workouts that keep the fat off, type "workout of the week" into the search engine, (top, right hand corner) mp-body.com

Reference: Steig A. Jackman M. Giles E. Higgins J. Johnson G. Exercise reduces appetite and traffics excess nutrients away from energetically efficient pathways of lipid deposition during the early stages of weight regain. Am J Physio Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Sept; 301 (3): R656-667.

Resistance exercise for weight loss
Does metabolism stay elevated after weight training?
Post workout nutrition boosts fat loss