Why Nutrition is Crucial for Weight Loss
Are you a fan of TV’s “The Biggest Loser”? Whether or not you are trying to lose weight, it’s difficult not to be enthralled by the effort, trials and tribulations of the show’s contestants. If you are losing weight, The Biggest Loser offers up clear proof that, yes, you can shed the pounds.
If indeed you do follow the show, you may also have noticed a slew of recent articles and reports in the news about a follow-up weight-loss study on The Biggest Loser contestants who battled it out in season 8.
The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health in the U.S., studied the show’s 16 contestants for six years after that season’s winner, Danny Cahill, lost 239 pounds, then a record for Biggest Loser.
Lost Weight Regained
The researchers found the results of the study remarkable, but the contestants found them disappointing. Most of them have regained much or all of the weight they lost. Some carry more weight now than ever. Winner Danny Cahill, who managed to drop below 200 pounds, is now once again approaching 300 pounds, almost halfway back to his original weight.
Remarkably, the study is one of the first to observe what happens over time to people who lose massive amounts of weight in a relatively short time through diet and exercise.
Why The Biggest Loser Contestants Struggle to Keep it Off
According to the researchers, the results show just how hard the body can fight against weight loss.
We’ve written a number of times here on the Herbal One blog about the dangers of losing too much weight too soon, and how it affects your metabolism.
In a nutshell, when you reduce your calorie intake through your diet, and increase your calorie burn through exercise, which are precisely the weight loss tactics used on The Biggest Loser’s contestants, it can trigger your body’s internal defense mechanisms.
Your body has a powerful natural instinct for survival. It very quickly kicks into self-preservation mode when it perceives threats to its existence. It doesn’t know that you need to fit into certain outfit before your birthday and sees your dieting efforts to do so as a sign of potential danger.
When the number of calories your body gets each day falls below a certain minimum, your brain tells your metabolism to slow down. That way, it conserves the energy you have until your energy intake returns to “normal”.
But the reduction in the rate at which your body burns calories can mean that, even as you eat a calorie-reduced diet, you could still be eating more than you burn and actually be putting on weight when you expect to be losing it.
The Study’s Stunning Results
What The Biggest Loser researchers found out reveals why so many people have a difficult time losing weight and keeping that weight off for any length of time.
After the show, the researchers noted an expected drop in the contestants’ metabolism, resulting from the calorie reduction and burn they were subjected to in competition.
But it’s what happened in the years after that shocked the researchers, and has serious implications for anyone who tries to lose weight.
As researchers tracked the weight gain in contestants after the show, they did not see a similar increase in metabolism. Indeed, the metabolic rates became even slower as more weight was regained. It was as if their bodies wanted to speed up the return to their original weight.
Danny Cahill, who lost the most weight, also has one of the slower metabolisms. He now must eat 800 calories per day less than an average man of his size if he wants to maintain his body weight at its current 295 pounds.
The findings underline why it has been so difficult for governments and healthcare facilities to combat obesity.
How Nutrition Helps You Healthily Lose Weight
If your body fights to keep everything as it is when it perceives a threat to your energy and nutrition intake, then you need to rethink the traditional “cut-calories-at-all-costs” approaches to weight loss. They don’t work.
By eating a balanced diet and giving your body the nutrition it needs to function normally, you increase your chances of losing weight at a rate that doesn’t affect your metabolism. And that also makes it easier to keep the weight off.
Want to learn more about how you can use nutrition and a balanced diet to lose weight healthily? Talk to the nutritional consultants at your nearest Herbal One Centres.