Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Some must-know findings on weight loss

I long complained that research into weight loss was the junkiest of junk science. Unfortunately, I’ve had to take a crash course in the topic recently, as I’ve worked to recover from extended illness. Fortunately, there are now some straightforward and credible findings. Unfortunately, again, it turns out that a truism is truer than I suspected: It’s much harder to take weight off than to put it on.

When you lose weight, that reduces the level of an appetite-suppressing hormone produced by fat cells. Your body responds by increasing the level of a hunger-stimulating hormone, and by reducing its metabolic rate. So you are hungrier than, but can’t eat as much as, someone who has long been at your weight. If you want to keep the pounds off, you really have no choice but to burn a lot of calories with exercise.

I ignore claims that eating certain foods will eliminate excessive appetite or increase metabolic rate. The only way I know to increase your metabolic rate substantially is to exchange fat for muscle through weightlifting. Three 30-minute sessions per week will produce remarkable results in a couple months for most people, including elders, who have gone flabby. Muscle is denser than fat, so be sure to measure inches, and not just pounds. It’s also a good idea to take full-length photos of yourself.

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