Study: Former Biggest Loser Contestants’ Metabolisms Are Wrecked, Leading to Weight Gain

Contestants lost hundreds of pounds during Season 8, but gained them back. A study of their struggles helps explain why so many people fail to keep off the weight they lose.

Source: After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight

Two individuals, each of the same size/weight, but one who had lost a substantial amount of weight to arrive there, end up with significantly different resting metabolisms, such that it becomes impractical to maintain the weight loss.  The alternative for those people is to devote substantial amounts of time to exercise to maintain caloric burn rates that counter their abnormally low metabolisms.  That’s part of the lifestyle change – crash/fad diets do not work for the long term.

Lower Levels of Fat Hormones May Contribute to Runner’s High

Fat cells secrete the hormone leptin as a means of signaling the brain when we’re full after eating. But new research indicates that leptin may also play a role in motivating us to exercise as well—possibly contributing to the phenomenon of “runner’s high.”

Source: Lower Levels of Fat Hormones May Contribute to Runner’s High

I don’t know about other runners, but I start feeling the effects of a runners high between 15 and 20 minutes of the start of a run and the effects last well through the day. If other folks experience their runners highs around the same point that I do, they can still get three highs a week doing 45 minute jogging sessions.

How Hormones Make You Feel Hungry and Full

The need to find fuel to generate energy is a profound drive within the biology of all living organisms: we all need food to survive. So it’s not surprising that our bodies have such a complex system to control food intake, driven by hormones.

Source: How Hormones Make You Feel Hungry and Full

Interesting to learn that the food cravings after/during weight loss are hormonal.

You Snooze, You Win: How a Lack of Sleep Can Hold Back Your Weight Loss

In grade school, we were told that “You snooze, you lose.” Now as adults, we know sleep is important, but when life gets hectic it’s often the first thing we cut out. That’s truly our loss. In fact, crappy z’s could be a big reason you aren’t losing weight. Here’s why.

Source: You Snooze, You Win: How a Lack of Sleep Can Hold Back Your Weight Loss

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that despite an awful lot of money thrown at this by pharmas (it’s potentially the holy grail of a weight loss pill) while we have some interesting correlates on leptin and ghrelin and sleep and appetite, we haven’t really begun figuring out their mechanisms yet.

In fact, one of the more interesting bits of research that came out after that Chicago study was that that a population with untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has levels of leptin far above what their BMI should indicate, yet they are entirely resistant to its effects on appetite.

It’s also why any study involving leptin or ghrelin should be screening participants for potential sleep disorders, as the latter can wildly skew data. Unfortunately, almost nobody does that.

We Still Don’t Know What Jumpstarts Puberty

Maybe you grew so fast it left stretch marks on your legs. Or your voice started cracking every time you got on the phone. Or you hated needing to wear a bra. Growing up means going through puberty. It’s an integral part of becoming an adult. But we still don’t know how our bodies start the process.

Source: We Still Don’t Know What Jumpstarts Puberty

A lot of people point to hormones in meat, dairy & eggs for precocious puberty – especially in girls – I don’t think that’s been proven at all.  But I have seen studies suggesting that girls without a father/father figure tend to undergo puberty earlier than those who do.

The Benefits of Fiber (And How to Know You’re Getting Enough)

Years ago I remember lamenting (and writing somewhere) that I was fairly sick of reading research papers on how eating more fiber was good for people, how it was time for nutritional science to move into relatively more interesting things than a topic that had literally been beaten to death.

Thankfully, soon thereafter leptin was discovered and nutritional researchers could start looking at things more interesting than why eating high-fiber vegetables were good for you (a nutritional tidbit that I file under the ‘Grandma was right’ category).

Even so, there is still some confusion regarding fiber out in the world of nutrition regarding fiber.  And boring or not, it’s a topic worth clearing up.  So today I want to take a fairly comprehensive look at dietary fiber, what it is, what it does in the body, how it impacts on things like body composition (and health to a lesser degree) and finish by looking at some (admittedly vague recommendations).

Source: Fiber – It’s Natures Broom

Fibre can be your friend if you want to avoid hemorrhoids. Bananas, rice, dried plums (prunes) 4 lyfe!

Too much of a good thing is… not so good. Don’t try increase your fiber intake too fast (too furious?), unless you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the bathroom. You’ve been warned.

You Don’t Need to Spend Hours in the Gym to Lose Weight

When it comes to weight loss, people often think that you need to spend countless hours in the gym, pounding away at the treadmill while you watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother. Not only do you not need much time in the gym, it might be optimal to spend it elsewhere. Here’s why.

Source: You Don’t Need to Spend Hours in the Gym to Lose Weight

But if it makes you happy, you can do it. The only exercise plan that’s right for you is the one you can stick to where you do something.

If you’re struggling with exercise, try to keep that in mind. If you despise your workout, then you need to find something else. Clinical studies aside, anything you’ll actually do consistently is going to be more effective than anything you don’t.

Use a “Reverse Diet” to Raise Your Metabolism After Aggressive Dieting

Starvation mode is a myth. There is no such thing as eating too little to lose weight.

No one has ever needed to eat more calories to lose weight.

Metabolism does decline when a person diets, but you do not go into any such “starvation mode” if you haven’t lost significant amounts of weight.

Source: The Facts on “Starvation Mode” and Reverse Dieting

It’s a rather long and in depth article.  Lots to digest 😉

The Best Ways to Deal With Hunger on a Diet

Because of leptin and ghrelin’s actions, we annoyingly feel more hungry when dieting and less so when gaining mass. The horrible irony of this means we need some ways to control our appetite, so without further ado:

Source: Appetite Experiments – Part Two: 13 ways to Suppress Appetite

Before anything else, make sure you’ve covered the basics:

  1. You should not feel hungry at the very start of a well-designed diet.
  2. It might be a good idea to keep your diet flexible, because rigid dieting may lead to binge eating tendencies. Even if you’ve been doing everything perfectly, fat loss increases hunger for biological reasons.

If you still find yourself straying on your diet, binge eating, or fighting your own willpower to stay on track, relax, practice mindfulness and some self-compassion, and discover the root causes.