Fighting our Bodies. And our Environment.

The lead article in the last week’s (Jan. 1st) New York Times Magazine is an interesting discussion on weight gain and loss written by Tara Parker-Pope.  Ms Parker-Pope shares personal stories of weight loss struggles and illuminates current research on why weight loss is so difficult.

She shares new evidence that asserts once our bodies gain significant weight our hormones adapt to keep up us from losing.  And if we achieve in losing the added pounds, these hormonal changes will persist, compelling us to regain.

In essence, our bodies are against us when it comes to maintaining weight loss.  In this period of New Year’s resolutions, perhaps we should start with “gain no more”.

Dr David Katz has slightly different take.  While he understands “a body that has gained and lost weight requires fewer calories than a body of the same size that hasn’t at one point been heavier” he attributes these problems primarily to the obesogenic environment we’ve created.

And he makes a compelling case.  Matching our bodies’ desire to hold on to weight to the anti-viral response from vaccinations and aptly comparing our current abundant-calorie, sedentary lifestyle to a fish out of water.

As he states, “We seem inclined to plead with our bodies to be on our side, but would be far better served by conspiring to be on their side.”

Dr Katz’s commentary is the best argument I’ve heard for the environment as the primary culprit behind the obesity epidemic.  It is worth the 10 minute read.


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