It’s Chemistry, Not Character!

Posted: Mar 09 in Weight loss, Weight Loss Medication by

Evidence-based weight loss tools

Clinical Nutrition Center has been helping people in Denver, Colorado with weight loss programs and long-term weight management support for decades. We offer the best evidence-based tools to lose weight and keep it off including office visits, weight loss medications and meal replacements (like Optifast). Every year, countless people come see us to “Jump Start” their weight loss. We are so proud of the many, many people who lose weight using these best scientific evidence-based tools instead of fad diets and other ineffective weight loss diets and methods.

Why do people regain lost weight?

However, many people who achieve their weight loss goals stop the treatments that were used to lose the weight in the first place. They stop the office visits, stop the meal replacements and stop the weight loss medication. They hope that the weight will stay off through “Willpower.” All too often these individuals regain the weight. Why? Because the body is very protective of itself. It alters hunger hormone levels and resting metabolism as a response to weight loss and drives the weight back to the starting point. Do the people that regain the weight think it’s because of their body chemistry? No – they always blame their character. “I know what to do, but I’m not doing it.”

Well, believe it or not, current scientific theory supports that weight regain is due to chemistry, not character.

Let me give you an example. We all have enough willpower to hold our breath – maybe for 10 or 20 seconds. Then the lower brain centers kick in forcing us to breath. Breathing is a very basic instinct and necessary for survival. We can’t override for more than a brief interval with our willpower centers.

Another example – if your doctor prescribes cholesterol medication for 5 years and then we stop it, does the body establish a new, lower cholesterol set-point for cholesterol? No – it goes right back up to where it was, and often goes even higher because cholesterol levels can increase as the 5 years went by. Is this increase in cholesterol a personality flaw, or is it body chemistry?

Weight regulation is similar.  Feeding the body adequate nutrients is ALSO a very basic instinct and is necessary for survival. We can override it briefly, but the body responds with changes in hormones and metabolism to defend itself from weight loss.

So, what can we do? Instead of focusing only on immediate weight loss, think about the evidence for tools that can help with chronic weight management. The best tools include:

  • Office Visits
  • Meal Replacements
  • Weight Loss Medications prescribed by a qualified obesity medicine doctor
  • Daily Physical Activity (60 minutes or more)
  • Improved Sleep
  • Reduced Stress

So, when you’ve lost your weight, the journey has just begun. Commitment to a long-term maintenance plan, continuing your office visits with your registered dietitian and weight loss doctor, continuing any weight loss medications that were prescribed by your doctor help get the weight off, continuing a partial meal replacement strategy, and finding daily time for physical activity, stress reduction and sleep will improve your odds at long-term weight loss.

And remember, it’s chemistry, not character!

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