Why Shedding Pounds Is Tough for Some Women
You’ve been dieting diligently to try to lose some weight but the scale won’t budge. It may not be that you aren’t working hard enough; your body’s ability to regulate itself may be sabotaging your efforts, says psychologist Margo Maine, PhD, FAED, CEDS and author of The Body Myth. Produced by fat cells, leptin communicates to your brain that the body is hungry. Low levels of leptin and hunger pangs seem to go hand in hand.
The Set Point Theory Explained
Maine says that according to a concept called the “set point theory,” each person has a specific weight range where her body is genetically programmed to stay. This means that if you increase or decrease your food intake, your metabolism will adjust to keep you steady, since this is where your body is happiest. As a result, on the weeks when you overeat, your body compensates by burning more calories so you don’t go above your comfort zone, while during those times when you carefully watch what you eat, your metabolism adapts by slowing down to conserve calories thus preventing it from dipping below that set point threshold.
You May Be the Victim of Too Much Dieting
All of this is especially frustrating for women attempting to lose weight but finding that in spite of their best effort, they can’t get move below their “normal” range. Further complicating the situation is a problem that develops as a result of too much dieting over the years. A Diet Trap occurs when you have unintentionally confused your body’s set point because of earlier habits. If you’ve been a yo-yo dieter?withholding food for periods to get desired results but not being able to permanently keep off the weight?it may be that you’ve trigger your metabolism to stubbornly cling to every calorie because it’s fearful of going into starvation mode.
“For this reason, I tell high school and college age students that the easiest way to develop a weight problem forever is to diet as a teenager,” Maine says. A Lifetime of Weight Loss Frustration Once the set point is adjusted, it may never go back to the way it was.