Obesity is one of the main risk factors for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. According to the World Health Organization, in 2016, more than 19 billion adults worldwide were overweight and of these, approximately 650 million were obese. This is, therefore, an issue of major importance and global scope which, as it was mentioned above, poses health risks. In people at high risk, weight loss and especially its maintenance can prevent or even stop the progression of each disease.
Many are those who enter the process of losing weight, manage to lose weight and finally after some time the scales return to their original indications. Indeed, only 20% of people who follow a weight loss program and lose weight successfully manage to maintain the final desired weight in the long run.
Why is this happening;
The reasons why it is not possible to maintain weight loss in this large percentage of people are various:
- Low-calorie diets. These dietary patterns result in a “slow” metabolism and a change in the control system of the hormones that regulate the feeling of hunger, events which contribute to the re-acquisition of weight.
- Wrong way of thinking. When we perceive diet as a means to lose weight fast and not as a set of healthy dietary choices that we should adopt in order to improve our health in the long run, then the chances of giving up the effort and gaining weight again increase.
- Hormonal regulation. The harmonious secretion of hormones is important for the maintenance of a good metabolism.
- Most diets are governed by rules, most notably the prohibition of certain “guilty” foods. This discourages people and ultimately prevents them from maintaining their weight. A proper and effective diet plan should not limit us and make us feel guilty if we deviate from it. Instead, it should teach us what the right food choices are and how they will become part of our daily lives.
- Like many pathological conditions, obesity is a consequence of the deterioration of the body’s biochemical balance and lack of basic macro and micro nutrients of the cell (eg amino acids from proteins, essential fatty acids, glucose, minerals, vitamins, trace elements and antioxidants). The chemicals and nutrients are these which nourish the cell so as to function properly. These deficiencies can lead to weight gain.
Is there finally a magic formula for maintaining weight?
However, there is no magic formula for maintaining our weight, except for some simple habits that we must adopt in our daily lives.
- Physical activity
Physical activity can help you lose calories and activate your metabolism. These two factors contribute to achieving energy balance. Studies have suggested that moderate-intensity physical activity for 30 minutes a day helps maintain a balance between energy intake and consumption.
- Protein consumption
Eating foods rich in this macronutrient helps maintain weight, as it helps reduce appetite and enhances the feeling of satiety. Foods high in protein include meat, dairy, fish and seafood.
- Increased consumption of unprocessed carbohydrates
Eating a lot of processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta and fruit juices can be detrimental to maintaining your weight. From these foods contain minimum amounts of fiber which enhances the feeling of fullness. A low fiber diet has been linked to weight gain and obesity. That’s why we choose unprocessed carbohydrates such as whole grains and oats.
- Adequate hydration
Drinking enough water boosts the feeling of fullness and increases metabolism, factors that help maintain weight
- Regular weight control
In this way we know our progress and thus control our eating behaviors. Furthermore, people who weigh themselves on a regular basis tend to consume fewer calories during the day, which helps maintain weight.
- Sleep and stress avoidance
Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain in adults. In addition, people who do not sleep well feel tired and therefore less motivated to perform physical activity and choose healthy meals. Stress also plays an important role in weight control as it increases the levels of cortisol in the blood, a hormone that has been linked to increased belly fat and increased appetite and food intake.
It is very important to acquire knowledge in order to avoid the wrong paths. A proper approach by specialized health, nutrition and exercise scientists is extremely necessary along properly guide the person to a balanced and healthy weight loss path without affecting his health system.
- World Health Organization. Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic Report of a WHO Consultation Technical Report Series. World Health Organization, Geneva 2000.
- Cefalu WT. Insulin resistance: cellular and clinical concepts. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2001;226:13–26.
- Tomlinson JW, Sinha B, Bujalska I, Hewison M, Stewart PM. Expression of 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 in adipose tissue is not increased in human obesity. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002;87:5630–5.
- McLaughlin T, Abbasi F, Cheal K, Chu J, Lamendola C, Reaven G. Use of metabolic markers to identify overweight individuals who are insulin resistant. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:802–9.
- Mensink, R.P., et al., Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr, 2003. 77(5): p. 1146-55.
- Appel, L.J., et al., Effects of protein, monounsaturated fat, and carbohydrate intake on blood pressure and serum lipids: results of the OmniHeart randomized trial. JAMA, 2005. 294(19): p. 2455-64.
- Zimmermann R, Strauss JG, Haemmerle G, Schoiswohl G, BirnerGruenberger R, Riederer M, Lass A, Neuberger G, Eisenhaber F, Hermetter A, et al.. Fat mobilization in adipose tissue is promoted by adipose triglyceride lipase, Science 2004; 306:1383-6.
- “Macronutrients: the Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat”. McKinley Health Center. University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
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