Why Losing Weight is so Difficult!
In 1854 Claude Bernard, a French physiologist, first coined the phrase
milieu Inférieur (internal milieu), the internal environment of physiologic mechanisms that allow our bodies to maintain homeostasis, or balance.
For example, out body temperatures average 98.6, whether we’re in the tropics or the Arctic – and you don’t even have to think about it. Similarly, feedback mechanisms take care or your weight as well.
Consider this. Each year we humans consume about a million calories, yet most people maintain the same weight year to year – without thinking about it. For example, if you ate beyond your needs yesterday, would you remember to eat less today? Of course not; you don’t have to. Your body will take care of it – your energy balance is on cruise control.
For each of the multiple variables that keep us in perfect life-preserving balance, there is a “set point”, a level or setting that has been worked out to be best based on the evolution of humans over millions of years. For example, our temperatures will be maintained at 98.6, no matter what. Not that you would want to, but you can’t change it. By the same token, the body doesn’t change it either. Virtually all settings are fixed – except for your weight!
In contrast to other systems, which are fixed at a level or reading best for our longevity, the set point for weight is based on what it has been over a period of time – not on what is should be; certainly not on the ideal weight we would like it to be.
Unfortunately, once you’ve gained weight and maintained it, your weight control center will consider this your “normal”. It will become your new “set point” and any weight loss will be considered a sign of illness. While well-intended, your body will take corrective action. You’ll get hungrier sooner, hold onto your fork or spoon longer than you should, and your metabolism will slow down.
That’s why gaining weight is easy, while losing it is hard.
It’s also one of the reasons why obesity is now considered a disease.