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Old 10-28-2011, 12:06 PM   #1  
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Default New Weight Loss Maintenance Study Findings

3FC won't let me post the link, but if you google 'biological changes thwart weight loss efforts study finds' it should come up on the NY Times. this was JUST published too.

My question to those of you who have been maintaining for more than a year: Do you agree wtih the findings? How is your appetite? Are you always hungry? Do you find that yoru appetite or level of hunger has changed since the weight loss? If so, how?

I have maintained a 30lb weight loss for almost 6 years now and have also been maintaining a 50lb weight loss for almost a year now.

My appetite? I could eat all day long. Heck, I always have something in my mouth!! I can eat until I'm sick and I will want to continue eating. The only way that helps me maintain is to: Keep a detailed tracksheet of my activity, and what I eat every day.

I have been very lucky to be able to eat anywhere from 1,800 to 2,200 cals/day for the last few months without gaining anything (at least not yet), but that is because I train hard. My motto is: if I want I eat I have to move....Right now I'm trying to lean down as I want to race a marathon next summer, so I have about 10lbs I want to lose. I know that by creating 250/300 cal/day defecit, I will reach my goal in late April, but its **** already on 1,700 cals/day nevermind anything lower. My body does like 125lbs though. A week or so before TOM I end up at 130 and then I go right back to 125...but I digress.

I guess, we're like a bunch of recovering addicts. Always having to be on our toes and the likelyhood of us maintaining our losses has everything to do with us not being 'normal' like the rest of 'them'.

Also, for those of you who have made it to the end of my post, another worthwhile blog to check out is "justmaintaining.com" She has some very interesting posts about the whole 'just maintaining' bit and she's a big sicence nerd, which I always like.

good work ladies. keep it up!
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Old 10-28-2011, 02:33 PM   #2  
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IMO, here is the key thing they gloss over (quote from NYTimes):
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The dieters then spent 10 weeks on a very low calorie regimen of 500 to 550 calories a day intended to makes them lose 10 percent of their body weight.
My question would be, okay, so this study has shown that starving people for 10 weeks has a lasting effect on their hormone levels. The question is, do you get the same effect after following a more moderate weight loss diet? We talk a lot on 3FC about how this has to be a lifestyle, not a diet. This study seems to be exploring the effect of going on a crash diet on weight maintenance, rather than the effect of a moderate lifestyle change on weight maintenance.

It's good information to have, but I'm not sure it's really all that valuable or even applicable.

As for me personally, I am coming up on 6 years of maintenance next month. I don't think I'm any hungrier or less hungry now than I was when I was fat. I still struggle with my weight but it is more because I am an emotional eater and I love dessert than because my body is actually hungry.
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:27 PM   #3  
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I believe that once you have been obese and lost weight (I'm not talking about 10 lb, much more significant than that) you will always have to be vigilant about maintaining it. It's not so much about hunger, IMO. Show me the obese person who got that way only eating when she was hungry? I didn't really know what hunger felt like, I ate so much for other reasons myself!
It's about what a fine line it is. You will gain weight overeating just a little teeny bit if you continue to do it over a sustained time. People who keep the weight off are vigilant about it and stay involved in the process. It doesn't keep itself off, that's for sure.
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:58 PM   #4  
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While I think this study is a step in the right direction, I really wish they would look at participants who lost weight over longer periods of times through much smaller calorie deficits and exercise.

My average weight loss has been between 2-4lbs/month and I'm certainly not eating very lower calorie either (I haven't estimated recently but somewhere between 1400-1800 calories/day). I have to say that I feel full and if I don't feel full something's wrong with my diet. If I start feeling hungry all of a sudden I really look at my diet and change something (usually it's because I'm eating too many carbs and forget to combine them with protein or not eating my snacks regularly). I also started seeing a nutritionist and that helped a lot.

Granted, I'm not at maintenance yet but I have been at this well over a year now and hunger just isn't an issue for me at the moment. Also, I've always had it in the back of my head that as long as I reach a healthy BMI I can always stop if I feel that I have to eat too little to maintain my weight. That's the next thing about having a range of weights to think about.

I definitely am interested in the leptin levels research but so far they just aren't doing it on slow losers who are doing lots of physical activity. I've also heard that things like DHA and multivitamins can help with leptin levels but I'm not sure how true that is.

ETA: I would also like to know... how long were these participants overweight? were they exercising at all? what were their ages? how did they gain the weight in the first place? There are just too many variables left...

Last edited by runningfromfat; 10-28-2011 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:47 AM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paperclippy View Post
This study seems to be exploring the effect of going on a crash diet on weight maintenance, rather than the effect of a moderate lifestyle change on weight maintenance.

It's good information to have, but I'm not sure it's really all that valuable or even applicable.
That was my reaction when I read about this study too. It's kind of pointless.

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Originally Posted by nads84 View Post
Also, for those of you who have made it to the end of my post, another worthwhile blog to check out is "justmaintaining.com" She has some very interesting posts about the whole 'just maintaining' bit and she's a big sicence nerd, which I always like.
I recommend this site too. While I disagree with much of Debra's approach, she does explain things very well, particularly the way that being obese has screwed with our metabolisms and hunger levels. She writes about how endocrine triggers "eat impulses" (basically our bodies want us to get back to our former weight).

And yeah, I experience "eat impulses" throughout the day.
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:21 PM   #6  
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This is going to sound harsh and uneducated, but I find all these "studies" as just an excuse for people to throw hands up and say oh it's too hard to maintain, I'll just give up. As a wise maintainer once said, maintenance is hard, being fat is hard, choose your hard.

Am I hungrier? At first yeah, then I went through a stretch when I was significantly less hungry, now I'm hungry again.

IMO, maintenance is work and it can be as hard or as easy as you choose to make it. How you reach that level of acceptance and balance is a personal journey we all have to take to figure out, much like the rock bottom we had to reach to decide to lose weight in the first place.

I guess my point is I just find very little value in these "studies" because they're typically all flawed and really who cares what they found, I'm not going to stop working my a$$ off to maintain my loss because someone says my hormones or biology has changed and it's going to be hard.

Sorry, I'm in a mood today

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Old 10-31-2011, 03:18 AM   #7  
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Originally Posted by ncuneo View Post
I guess my point is I just find very little value in these "studies" because they're typically all flawed and really who cares what they found, I'm not going to stop working my a$$ off to maintain my loss because someone says my hormones or biology has changed and it's going to be hard.


Hope your mood has improved.

Yeah, I take these studies with a shaker of salt. They just make me more proud of what I have achieved - and more determined to prove the naysayers wrong.

ETA: Wow - ncuneo, I just noticed that you started at 268 lbs - way to go!

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Old 10-31-2011, 07:41 AM   #8  
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Originally Posted by ncuneo View Post
This is going to sound harsh and uneducated, but I find all these "studies" as just an excuse for people to throw hands up and say oh it's too hard to maintain, I'll just give up. As a wise maintainer once said, maintenance is hard, being fat is hard, choose your hard.
There really is value in these studies. If they can pinpoint that the leptin levels are indeed the problem and if they find some sort of drug/supplement can help leptin levels return to their original levels then it could possibly make maintenance quite a bit easier.

Certainly, someone could interpret the studies in such a way that maintenance is impossible but that is not the fault of the scientists doing these studies. Just like scientists who show a correlation between BMI (or waist size or waist to hip ratio etc) and health are not to be blamed for others insecurities when they hear that information. Most of it is how the media "sells" the results to the public.

If these things bother you, don't read them. However, there is indeed value in better understanding the human body and how it responds to weight loss. Even if these studies do have quite a few flaws (as I mentioned above), they are a step in the right direction. If we can understand WHY maintenance is so hard we can also try help those who have lost weight keep it off. I agree that just because we know something is hard we shouldn't throw up our hands and give up but,+ on the other hand, it's important to know that it IS hard so that we're aware of what we're getting into. Telling maintainers that they just need to deal with the hard, unfortunately, isn't working otherwise we wouldn't have the poor maintenance statistics.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:43 AM   #9  
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It's a flawed study in that it subjects people to very low calorie levels and then observes that they want to eat more. Oh, really? Did we need a new study to tell us that? Look up the Minnesota starvation experiment--it found out all the same things.

Any time I read that researchers are trying to find "the cause," and that maybe a drug or a supplement might be the answer, I wonder who is funding the study. I suspect a profit motive. "Just take this pill for the rest of your life..." I'm just saying!

There are many many studies out there on leptin, and at least one of them has shown that levels of leptin in the blood aren't any different in obese individuals than in non-obese individuals, which means supplementation isn't the answer.

We all would like that magic pill, but it looks like the basic message is going to be the same for a long time: to lose weight and keep it off, one needs to watch one's food intake in some way.

Jay
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:52 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
I recommend this site too. While I disagree with much of Debra's approach, she does explain things very well, particularly the way that being obese has screwed with our metabolisms and hunger levels. She writes about how endocrine triggers "eat impulses" (basically our bodies want us to get back to our former weight).
How have I lived until now without knowing about this person's blog? I just clicked over to it & an hour passed before I realized I'd been reading continuously. Her experience is true to mine and she is such a fine writer and a thorough thinker. I need to have this blog bookmarked. I need to read this blog daily. Even if it's no longer active.

Thank you nads84 and RedPanda both for pointing me to this.

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Old 10-31-2011, 09:44 AM   #11  
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There are many many studies out there on leptin, and at least one of them has shown that levels of leptin in the blood aren't any different in obese individuals than in non-obese individuals, which means supplementation isn't the answer.
It's not the problem in different levels in the obese vs. non-obese but rather the difference in the obese/non-obese vs. those who have lost weight.* The Leptin levels in the former obese are lower than in someone who was never obese. Also they have found that individuals who were treated with leptin did not have the same problems.

Quote:
A new study, by Michael Rosenbaum and colleagues, at Columbia University Medical Center, New York, has provided new insight into the critical interaction between the hormone leptin and the brain's response to weight loss.

Leptin levels fall as obese individuals lose weight. So, the authors set out to see whether changes in leptin levels altered activity in the regions of the brain known to have a role in regulating food intake.

They observed that activity in these regions of the brain in response to visual food-related cues changed after an obese individual successfully lost weight. However, these changes in brain activity were not observed if the obese individual who had successfully lost weight was treated with leptin. These data are consistent with the idea that the decrease in leptin levels that occurs when an individual loses weight serves to protect the body against the loss of body fat.

Further, both the authors and, in an accompanying commentary, Rexford Ahima, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, suggest that leptin therapy after weight loss might improve weight maintenance by overriding this fat-loss defense.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0620195455.htm

*Although it is true that leptin levels are higher in obese individuals.

Quote:
Leptin, the gene product of the obese gene, may play an important role in regulating body weight by signalling the size of the adipose tissue mass. Plasma leptin was found to be highly correlated with body mass index (BMI) in rodents and in 87 lean and obese humans. In humans, there was variability in plasma leptin at each BMI suggesting that there are differences in its secretion rate from fat. Weight loss due to food restriction was associated with a decrease in plasma leptin in samples from mice and obese humans.
http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/7584...9B6A6588CBB83D


Now, like I said before there are many unanswered questions here:

- what about weight loss through diet AND exercise?
- does time at the highest weight affect leptin levels?
- does speed of weight loss affect leptin levels?
- how much does genetic play a role here (are some people more leptin resistant than others?)

They have found that leptin levels can also be associated to sleep and anxiety/depression so there are other factors involved here too.

But to ignore the results all together? I have to admit I just don't get that at all. We seem to have stumbled onto a link between difficulty maintaining weight loss and leptin resistance, why in the world would you ignore that? Nobody is telling you that you have to take a drug. NOBODY. But if it can help someone who would otherwise be prone to gaining back the weight (come on the statistics are something like 80% of the people regain the weight!) then I'm all for it. We're not talking about a magic pill here. We're talking about people who have already lost weight in a healthy manner and they're still struggling. There's something wrong when the stats are this bad.

Now certainly this isn't going to cure your emotional problems and if that is the reason you gained weight in the first place that is something else. But it is HARD to be hungry all the time. If you could take that part away? Well, I just don't understand why you'd ignore that.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:12 AM   #12  
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I think I'll wait for the 5-year, double-blind study that actually provides something other than hypotheses or guesses. In the meantime, I'll deal with the situation as best I can.

Jay
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:20 AM   #13  
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I think I'll wait for the 5-year, double-blind study that actually provides something other than hypotheses or guesses. In the meantime, I'll deal with the situation as best I can.

Jay
That's fine. I'm certainly not suggesitng you should take some untested medicine. However, I'm just pointing out that there is value in these studies even if it isn't immediate. Personally, I find these studies fascinating even if it's not something that will affect my weight loss journey.

And isn't that what we're all doing? God only knows if this will be figured out in 5 or 50 years. Waiting around for a cure is silly. Instead we deal with what we have for the time being.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:42 PM   #14  
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Re the use of leptin to help weight-reduced individuals to keep the weight off, there's a rather depressing article about it here:

http://www.drsharma.ca/obesitywhy-is...dy-weight.html

The kicker is here:

Quote:
So why is leptin not being sold to maintain weight loss? Because there is currently no regulatory pathway to license drugs that prevent weight regain. Regulators like the FDA and the EMEA simply lack a sound understanding of the complex physiology of weight regulation because after all, in weight management, the problem is never how to lose weight - the problem is always how to keep it off.

Unfortunately, based on the current guidelines for obesity drugs, there is no way for a pharma company to even apply to have a drug licensed that does not help reduce body weight (which leptin does not) but merely helps people keep weight off (which leptin does).
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:43 PM   #15  
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But to ignore the results all together? I have to admit I just don't get that at all. We seem to have stumbled onto a link between difficulty maintaining weight loss and leptin resistance, why in the world would you ignore that? Nobody is telling you that you have to take a drug. NOBODY. But if it can help someone who would otherwise be prone to gaining back the weight (come on the statistics are something like 80% of the people regain the weight!) then I'm all for it. We're not talking about a magic pill here. We're talking about people who have already lost weight in a healthy manner and they're still struggling. There's something wrong when the stats are this bad.
I guess i would rather see them spend the time and engery focusing more on how the hormones we're injecting into our animals and the way we are genetically modifying our crops is affecting our hormone levels, obesity and our ability to maintain.
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