Why do some people gain weight?
I frequently hear from my patients: “I am eating just as much as my family members and my friends and I tend to gain weight and they don’t”.
Obesity and weight gain in general are very elusive medical conditions. On one hand, there is perception that weight loss is easy, because “you just have to put your mind to it”. Mark Twain once said: “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing to do, I have done it a thousand times!”. Obesity and dieting are no different.
Many patients try numerous diets and eventually give up when they see no result. So is there anything special about obesity and why it is so difficult to lose weight?
Consider these important points. We all tend to eat more calories than we really need. The issue is that the food is readily available, enjoyable and digests well. Over the past thousands of years humanity perfected culinary arts. We don’t just eat to sustain ourselves, we place food in our life high along with other enjoyments. Second issue is that our levels of activity have dramatically changed. We tend to underutilize our bodies. We are made to move and move a lot! Nowadays, if we make a couple thousand steps per day, that is a lot! Most of the jobs are sedentary and there is not enough time in our day to commit to a serious prolonged exercise.
But the most important factor in weight gain is a level of metabolism which is predisposed genetically. Some people have a very fast metabolism which can burn up all the extra calories they consume and some people inherited a painfully slow one. So the extra calories do not get burned up and are stored as fat.
One of the reasons why it is so difficult to diet is that our bodies will try to maintain a steady state at all cost in term of their weight. Any abrupt reduction in caloric intake will trigger a drastic slow down of metabolism and conservation of energy. That is why “crash” diets never work long term. Your body will release hunger hormones which will make you seek and desire food even more.
So what is the solution? Unfortunately, there is no “breakthrough” method among diet and medications that will work consistently and long term. Careful and gradual lifestyle changes as well as gradual reduction of caloric intake overtime may be a solution.
In addition to lifestyle changes and reduction of calories, there are many other methods of weight loss, including various weight loss procedures that may provide lasting solution to this frustrating problem of obesity.