Strict diets rarely work as your body will resist any dramatic changes to your weight. Too much weight loss can threaten what your body considers to be 'normal'. Even when you are overweight! In addition, skipping meals or cutting calories slows metabolism. When your body feels starved it kicks into famine mode. Your body becomes unsure of when the next meal will be so it becomes super efficient at storing fat.
Your personal weight or 'metabolic setpoint' is individually set and can be hard to shift, your body likes stability. It fights hard to maintain what it has accepted as your normal amount of body fat and lean muscle mass.
Changes to your body shape or quick weight loss can trigger a defensive reaction. For example when you eat less and cut calories on a diet your metabolism will soon slow down to help maintain your normal weight.
The metabolic setpoint is an inbuilt survival mechanism. It ensures there is adequate body fat in the event food becomes scarce. In modern times your body no longer distinguishes between a famine or crash diet.
Your body controls your metabolic setpoint by adjusting your metabolism. Your metabolism refers to the chemical processes that carry on continuously to assist ongoing function of your body. This can include digestion, keeping your heart beating, growing new hair, skin and bone.
All body processes require energy from food. The amount of calories your body burns at any given time is regulated by your metabolism.
When you gain weight, your body responds by increasing metabolism, the way a furnace in your home turns on when the room temperature falls below a set temperature.
Similarly, when your weight drops quickly, your body's calorie burning furnaces slow down to conserve calories. In this way your body works toward maintaining a particular weight 'setpoint'. Your body is trying hard to keep what it considers your normal weight within a narrow margin.
Your metabolism defends your setpoint by slowing down or speeding up when your weight approaches the outer limits of your metabolic setpoint range.
This can be one of the reasons you have hit a plateau before on a strict weight loss diet. When you lose weight too quickly on a fad diet your metabolism slows down.
It is almost impossible to lose weight if you do not take steps to fire up your metabolism. Your metabolism is a powerful factor that controls your ability to lose weight. This is the reason why some individuals apparently eat even more than we do, but they maintain a lower weight, or conversely, the person who swears they do not eat that much, but gains weight or stays overweight.
Slow, steady weight loss helps minimise your body's resistance to adjustments in your metabolic setpoint.
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