Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Why We Put on Weight & How Managing Hunger is the Key


The most common cause for obesity is eating too much and not exercising enough.

Over the years the energy density of foods has increased markedly. Take a look at the journey of the humble corn cob.

Stage 1: Cob of Corn (146gms), 155kcals, 3.4gm fat, 32gm carbohydrate

Stage 2: Corn Tortilla (42gm), 100kcals, 1gm fat, 18gm carbohydrate

Stage 3: Change the consistency of the tortilla, deep fry it and load it up with everything from refried beans, to cheese, guacamole and cream. The calories/kilojoules explode. And, this is what fast food “joints” are giving us. They are part of our obesogenic landscape.

The kilojoules or kilocalories per gram has increased at least 5-fold!

What research has shown us is that regularly consuming high energy dense foods can lead to a vicious cycle.

This vicious cycle shows how other systems get triggered by weight gain such that the more weight you gain– the hungrier you get and the more you eat. This is a type of feed forward mechanism that drives your weight up. People who are gaining weight appear to get hungrier! The process is complex and not fully understood but appears to be related to a hormone called leptin.

If you can get off the weight gain cycle and get onto one of weight loss then the benefit appears to be that many hormones (such as leptin) are reduced 40-50% when people lose 10% body weight. This weight loss leads to a reduction in the inflammation that causes other risk factors and a reduction in leptin.

Leptin is the hormone in charge of fat storage and appetite. The problem with obese people is they have an overproduction of leptin but the leptin is in their blood and doesn’t get through to the brain to tell it to regulate appetite. Subsequently, the brain assumes you are hungry because it can’t gauge the level of leptin, and you eat more. This is called leptin resistance. What this means is that if you are obese, you are going to have to go through a withdrawal period of perceived hunger until you lose enough weight for your leptin levels to reduce and begin working in the way that more accurately regulates your appetite.

This is an important message so I will say it again. If you are obese, your brain will send strong hunger messages when you decrease your food intake. Just like the withdrawal symptoms one experiences when giving up smoking, you will have to maintain the self-discipline to work your way through the hunger and psychological withdrawal. All the pain will be worth the gain. Keep telling yourself, “What do I want? Trim body or a fat body?” We all know the answer.

To achieve your weight loss dreams, make lower energy food choices and put up with hunger symptoms during the early weight loss stages. The hunger is your hormones. None of us are starving to death to in this supermarket, fast food society!

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