It’s a Weighty Question

There’s a new addition to our family.  Oh, no, no!  Of course, with all our daughters, it’s natural to think it’s a grand child, but it’s actually a “grand” cat.  Let’s see now, we’re up to two grand dogs and three grand cats, plus our own Bella dog.  Little miss Annabelle is just twelve weeks old and cute as a button.  Thinking about cats led me to wonder if you knew that cats can also have CKD. And if you knew that some of the same treatments are used for feline CKD as for human CKD. That’s why you’ve got to be careful when you do your own research that what you’re reading deals with human, not feline, CKD.    

My daughter, Abby, brought Annabelle to the bar-b-q my fiance – Bear – threw to celebrate my 65th birthday yesterday (The bar-b-q was yesterday; my birthday was February 2 – Ground Hog’s Day – just in case you were wondering.) so everyone could meet the little cutie.

Being human, we overate, which got me to wondering about how hard it’s become for me to lose weight, much less maintain a healthy weight.  I remembered a blog I’d read on NPR way back in November and decided to share it with you.  I can’t be the ONLY one concerned with my weight, can I?

Hormones And Metabolism Conspire Against Dieters

by

There are some fresh insights from Australia that help explain why it’s so difficult for dieters to keep off the weight they lose.

Willpower will only take you so far, in case you haven’t run that experiment yourself. Turns out our bodies have a fuel gauge, not entirely unlike the gas gauge on our cars, that tell us when it’s time to tank up on food.

The gauge relies on hormones that signal to the brain when and how much to eat. But as Dr. Louis Aronne, who directs the comprehensive weight control program at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, explains, the human fuel gauge can sometimes be way off the mark — especially for dieters.

A study just published in the New England Journal of Medicinedocuments a pretty extreme diet regimen that limited 50 overweight and obese Australian volunteers to about 550 calories a day for 10 weeks.

Most of them, though not all, actually stuck with the diet, and, not surprisingly, lost a lot of weight. While dieting they shed an average of nearly 30 pounds, or 14 percent of their body weight. At a year, they’d still kept a lot of the weight off, but, on average, their loss was down to 8 percent 15 months after the start of the study.

What happened to their hormones? The researchers measured a whole bunch of them, including insulin, leptin (an appetite suppressant) and ghrelin (a hunger stimulator) and found that more than year after the weight loss, the hormones were telling the people to keep eating — a lot.

As Aronne puts it, their internal gas gauges went down 65 percent instead of the 10 percent or so that would have been more in line with the weight lost. In essence, “they think they’re going to run out of gas  very, very soon.”

So it’s not just a lack of willpower that’s tripping people up. Their hormones are sending a strong, confounding signal to chow down.

What’s more, the study found that the metabolic  rate of the dieters remained low a year after the low-calorie diet  ended, making it even harder to burn off those calories.

While this might be a plausible explanation, I don’t find it all that comforting.  Yes, I do understand better why I’m having such a hard time with the weight, but I also know this means more exercise to burn off some of those calories my body is holding on to.  Guess I’d better learn to love exercise all over again, only exercise that accommodates arthritis this time.

You can find the blog at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/11/03/141769832/hormones-and-metabolism-conspire-against-dieters?sc=fb&cc=fp

On another note, the lovely Aaron Milton of the FB page P2P for sufferers of any chronic illness posted an “Add to cart” button for the book there.  I’d like to do that to the blog and the book’s FB page, as well as my person website (www.gail-rae.com) but Aaron’s forgotten how he did it.  Anyone know how to do this?

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

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Published in: on February 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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