Certain Hormones May Contribute To Weight Regain
Can't seem to keep those pounds off, despite your most valiant efforts? Your hormones may be to blame, suggests a new study published Thursday. Australian researchers put 50 overweight and obese patients on a low-calorie diet for 10 weeks and measured levels of nine hormones when the study started, when it ended, and again a year later. While some went up and some down, the changes always gave weight regain a leg up, according to HealthDay. Levels of ghrelin, a known appetite stimulator, increased as participants slimmed down, while leptin, an appetite suppressor, decreased. Drawing firm conclusions from the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is difficult—it was small and didn't use a control group. And dieters shouldn't conclude from the research that they're destined to stay heavy. "The power is in your hands to get to a healthy body weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising and receiving proper medical supervision. We have lots of evidence showing people have lost weight this way," David Heber, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles told HealthDay.
Weight-Control Tricks—How to Stop 'Yo-Yo Dieting' for Good
Up. Down. Repeat. Watching the numbers on the scale fluctuate can make your head spin. Yo-yo dieting is a vicious cycle that doesn't just jeopardize appearance—it can take a toll on your wellbeing, too.
Yo-yo dieters often feel helpless, stressed, and frustrated. "It's a lot of mental anguish. And it sets people up for failure," says Madelyn Fernstrom, founding director of the UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center and author of The Real You Diet. Researchers aren't sure whether yo-yo dieting damages the body in addition to exacting an emotional toll. Does yo-yoing harm your heart by raising blood pressure and triglycerides, as some studies have hinted? Can it make subsequent weight-loss efforts more difficult or even futile? Could it hasten death? Maybe, maybe not. "It's a mixed bag right now," says Kelly Brownell, who studies yo-yo dieting and heads up Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. [Read more: Weight-Control Tricks—How to Stop 'Yo-Yo Dieting' for Good.]
10 Things That Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss
So you've got your plot to drop the extra pounds. It certainly seems sensible: You're going to eat right, eat less, and exercise. After weeks of declining dessert and diligently hitting the treadmill, you step on the scale and...only 2 pounds gone? You conclude that something or someone must be sabotaging you.
You might be right. While experts say weight loss can always be reduced to the simple "calories in, calories out" mantra—meaning if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you'll lose weight—a host of oft-hidden saboteurs may be meddling with the balance. Here's a smattering of them:
1. Treating healthy foods as low-calorie foods. "A lot of times they're not consistent," says Scott Kahan, codirector of the George Washington University Weight Management Program in Washington, D.C. So while whole grains, avocados, and nuts might be kind to your heart or cholesterol levels, dieters who binge on such foods can, before they know it, add hundreds of calories to the day's total. Enjoy calorie-rich healthy foods, dietitians urge, but ration them out: a quarter of an avocado on a salad or a small handful of almonds for a snack.
2. Shunning shuteye. Some research has linked shorter sleep duration to a higher body mass index (a measure of body fat) and increased hunger and appetite. Additionally, if you're tired, you might be prone to grab a sugar-laden treat for a midday boost, skip the gym, and have takeout for dinner to avoid cooking. It's a vicious cycle. Aim for seven or eight hours a night. [Read more: 10 Things That Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss.]