One reason is that our bodies have a ‘lipostat’ which can work against us when we’re trying to lose fat. Similar to how the thermostat in your home maintains the room temperature within a determined range, your lipostat tries to maintain a level of adiposity (fatness) at a certain level (the ‘set point’). If you lose weight and move away from your set point your body may react by trying to make you put that weight back on by triggering a starvation response which increases your appetite and slows your metabolism, making weight loss harder.
It is a hangover from our hunter-gatherer days when gaining and maintaining body fat was essential for survival during leaner months. There was never the abundance of high value food we have today so an upper limit for the lipostat did not evolve and we are driven to gain weight.
Everyone’s set point is different due to genetics, our eating habits and our level of body fat (one of the reasons why there are people out there who seem to be able to eat whatever they want and not gain weight). Our body’s set point moves, nudging upwards each time we over-indulge and as we gain fat, making that new weight progressively more difficult to shift.
So, the trick is to lose weight but avoid triggering the starvation response, and to lower your lipostat.
This can be done by:
- Eating low carbohydrate and low fat food as your lipostat doesn’t fight weight loss as vigorously with lower reward food
- Exercising helps to lower your lipostat
- Eating high protein food attenuates the starvation response and dampens hunger
- Eating high fibre food increases the feeling of fullness (satiety)
If you would like help to make these changes to your diet or would like to know more, I’d love to hear from you, please contact me.