Losing weight is a challenge many American struggle with. Keeping weight off after losing large amounts is an even more difficult challenge. Our bodies are fighting against maintaining weight loss, it turns out, according to a new study written about recently in the New York Times.
Someone decided to look at Biggest Loser Contestants after they left the show. I used to love that show, but year after year of reading how contestants regained their weight, and more sometimes, finally caused me to stop watching it.
This study says they really couldn’t help themselves, their bodies were literally starving to get back to a former weight. It seems as contestants from Season 8, which the study followed, saw their metabolisms slow as they lost weight. That meant that the more they lost, the less they needed to eat to maintain their new weight. They basically had to eat less than other people the same weight to keep from regaining pounds.
Hormones also were at play, creating cravings and constant hunger pangs. “Slower metabolisms were not the only reason the contestants regained weight, though. They constantly battled hunger, cravings and binges. The investigators found at least one reason: plummeting levels of leptin,” the story reports.
“The contestants started out with normal levels of leptin. By the season’s finale, they had almost no leptin at all, which would have made them ravenous all the time. As their weight returned, their leptin levels drifted up again, but only to about half of what they had been when the season began, the researchers found, thus helping to explain their urges to eat,” it explains.
The result was always being hungry, something I deal with all the time myself. Leptin supplements exist, but taking them seems to have little impact, according to WebMD. So don;t waste your money thinking taking them will finally help you not feel hungry.
What it all means is that if you drop a large amount of weight, you have to eat less to maintain that lower weight and get accustomed to be hungry all the time. I managed to handle that for two years after my 2012 heart surgery, but gave in to the hunger last year with the result that I regained much of the weight I lost.
So this year, it’s back to living with hunger.