"By some estimates, 80% of people who successfully lose at least 10% of their body weight, will gradually regain it, to end up as large or even larger than they were before they went on a diet.” Web MD 2016.
WE HAVE BEEN sold a myth that weight gain is simply a negative consequence of overeating and under-exercising. This we have labelled, “An unhealthy lifestyle”.
We have therefore simply attempted to reverse engineer this proces by “eating less and doing more”. The initial results are often so promising, that it is virtually impossible to convince people that this is not the case. The consequences of continuing with this very precarious belief are obvious and often catastrophic – not only do most regain the weight, but they unwittingly also increase the level of difficulty of re-achieving this result, even when they go on a more “strict” protocol where they eventually get over the initial despondency of this (often repeated), cycle of failure and, (don’t you know it)… TRY AGAIN??
Why do so many people regain the weight they have worked so hard to lose?
The reasons for weight gain are extremely complex.
Off the top of my head, I could cite reasons as far flung as genetic disorders; inflammation in the body; toxic exposure to man-made chemicals; overuse of plastics and other substances that expose us to chemicals that increase oestrogen effects in our bodies; changes in the quality of food; changes in the quality of food our “food” eats; poor nutrition advice given since the 1950’s; sedentary lifestyles; poor social connectedness; increasing levels of sleeplessness; depression and anxiety; disruption of the circadian rhythm; disruption of the woman’s 28 day cycle for the sake of sterility (and very often purely convenience and better skin); increased rates of divorce and the breakdown of the family structure and even the decreasing numbers of people attending religious group meetings (seriously, there was a scientific article that promoted this).
More???.... Change in the gut microbiome; overuse of antibiotics, antacids and anti-inflammatories; the rise of the auto-immune pandemic as well as lifestyle diseases (metabolic diseases) like hypertension, diabetes and lipid imbalances (not necessarily high cholesterol). Random treatments dished out in absolute fear of the penalties of leaving these untreated, without ever understanding why they changed in the first place!
Is weight gain an inevitable part of dieting – the dreaded yo-yo diet?
As if the above reasons for weight gain didn’t seem to be enough (and I'm sure there are many missing off my list), it seems that the body is able to mobilise protein and genetic pathways which remain dormant until we start to starve the body. It is also known that there is a part of our brain that can decide if it wants us to be thin or fat.
On a metabolic level, it seems our bodies act more like the elastic on a catapult than we would prefer. So the harder you try, the more you change, the hungrier you get – the closer you come to that pivotal point at which no more strain can be taken and EVERY cell in your body acts in a way not disimilar from the panic one would encounter in the last few minutes before you drown or suffocate. The loosening of the catapult (or sling) has been known to kill giants!
Physiologically, it seems your metabolism is duty bound to return you to the point where your highly intelligent body can maintain itself and the many interactions that happen within it, to its most balanced point. The value of this “point of balance” (also referred to as a set-point) is underestimated and treated as a negative – BUT the truth is, that if your body was not able to become fat, then the alternative would probably be DEATH. It is the very ability of the body to pack on cellulite and adipose that keeps us alive, as the body weaves its way through the chemical gauntlet we have made it run!
So, I will end with this…
FAT isn’t bad – IT’S GOOD!
Eventually, our fat causes many problems, but to be more accurate, our many problems cause us to be fat in the first place!
Perhaps if we spent more time eradicating the true error or dysfunction, we would have more success losing the fat.
In other words, fat loss would be a consequence of health and restoration.
Not the monstrous curse that we make it out to be.
Simple advice to recognise underlying problems would be to pay attention to the small clues found in our DAILY behaviour.
Look for addictions, obsessions, compulsions and repetitive patterns and activities that don’t promote health.
Sleep and rest (2 different things), move and meditate.
Eat food that gives life, rather than sustains appetites or suppresses hunger.
Laugh. Love. Connect. Give.
Live like you mean it!
Dr Grant Fourie | MBChB | CDE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Grant Fourie is a qualified General Practitioner (MBChB Pretoria), certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and certified Diabetes Educator. He’s successfully completed a course in Clinical Nutrition and is currently studying for his Master’s Degree in Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine through the George Washington University. His years of expertise has afforded him the privilege of standing on the Advisory Board for DNAnalysis Biotechnology, an innovative genetic testing laboratory in South Africa. He also has strong links with The Compounding Pharmacy of South Africa and Fagron Compounding Services, who both provide high quality, customised products to meet the growing worldwide need for tailor-made medication.
He became a functional medical practitioner because he felt it was a better, more logical way to practice medicine that, “just made sense.”
He proudly runs his own practice, Oakmed Medical Centre in Cape Town, South Africa and his extensive knowledge and research of complementary and alternative medicine is core to his success as an alternative and holistic functional medicine practitioner.