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Lose weight by knowing the scientific reason why those final pounds are hardest to lose

https://www.inverse.com/science/lose-weight-by-knowing-the-scientific-reason-why-those-final-pounds-a-hardest-to-lose

inverse.com

Lose weight by knowing the scientific reason why those final pounds are hardest to lose
Here’s why your progress may have stalled.

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The last five pounds are the hardest

The last five pounds are the hardest

When you are getting close to your weight loss goal, you will often hit a plateau and won't be able to lose the last few pounds.

The reason why this is the case reveals a lot about the dynamic relationship between body weight and appetite.

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When weight loss slows down

When dieting to lose weight, there are two primary reasons why weight loss slows down over time:

  • Calorie expenditure decreases with weight loss because fewer calories are needed to maintain and move a lighter body.
  • Weight loss increases the appetite. The hormone leptin tells our brain how much fat is stored in our body. When we lose body fat, leptin decreases and increases our appetite.

Changes in calorie expenditure and the effect of body fat stores on appetite will stabilize body weight in the long run. However, it is hardly noticeable in the short term.

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Prevent overeating

We get hungry when our stomach tells our brain that it's nearly empty. But signals from our stomach can leave us vulnerable to overeating.

Fullness is determined partly by the fat, carbohydrate, and protein content of the meal, and partly by the overall amount. If a meal contains more fiber, it's more filling. That is why it is hard to overeat on foods such as fruits and vegetables.

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Reducing calorie intake

We can consume more foods with a higher energy density, like pizza, chocolate, and chips, than the same amount of food with a lower energy density, such as apples.

We're prone to overeat high-calorie foods because they're less filling per calorie and more pleasurable to eat. With repetition, you may find yourself choosing the lower calorie option and keeping your weight in check.

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Eating less can be difficult

It is hard to resist our desire to eat higher energy-dense foods, making dieting lapses inevitable. Motivation to maintain the diet may dwindle and can add to the perception that the last five pounds are harder to lose.

Our weight will settle around a point that is a balance between the desire for certain foods, our ability to keep our eating in check, and the energy we expend in physical activity.

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Calories burned every day

The calories we burn every day include not only movement but all the energy needed to run the thousands of functions that keep us alive. 

Exercise and health

Exercise is like a wonder drug for many health outcomes: reducing blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes of heart diseases and slows developing cognitive impairment from Alzheimer's and dementia. 

But as for losing weight, it helps more in weight maintenance than in losing the actual weight.

Human energy balance

Exercise alone has a modest contribution to weight loss. But when you alter one component, cutting the number of calories you eat in a day to lose weight, doing more exercise than usual, this sets off a cascade of changes in the body that affect how many calories you use up and, in turn, your bodyweight.

How much humans can eat

How much humans can eat

One study asked healthy participants to eat pizza until they felt full. Then on a separate day to eat pizza until they couldn't anymore. They ate twice as much as on the first take, suggesting ...

The effect of overeating on the body

  • Studies revealed that in physically active and healthy people, the body is able to control the sugar and fat in the blood after a big meal by working a bit harder than usual to regulate metabolism.
  • Hormones released from the gut and pancreas help the body to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • After participants ate past the point of feeling comfortably full, they had little desire to eat anything even four hours after the meal.
  • The also felt sleepier and less energetic after eating too much.

Long-term overeating

Healthy humans rely on the body's ability to work harder in times of need.

However, when we repeatedly eat too many calories at each meal, metabolic syndrome - a combination of high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity - will result. Over time, the body will become unable to react to these situations.

Metabolism

It refers to the thousands of chemical reactions that turn what we eat and drink into fuel in every cell of the body. These reactions change in response to our environments and behaviors, an...

How The Body Uses Calories

  • Basal metabolism is the energy our body needs to keep our cells working and accounts for 65-80% of most adults' caloric consumption.
  • The thermic effect of food is the energy our body uses to process food and accounts for 10% of most adults' caloric consumption.
  • Physical activity accounts for 10 - 30 % of most people’s caloric consumption .

Controlling Your Own Weight

Not everyone overeats and becomes overweight, and not everyone who becomes overweight or obese develops illnesses like diabetes or heart disease. 

There was never a special diet, exercise regimen, or supplement that worked universally to control weight. Through trial and error, we have to discover habits and routines we can stick with that help us eat less and move more.