By now you're aware of the so-called "Biggest Loser" study that was published in Obesity. The study's findings: After following the show's contestants from season 8 for six years, researchers discovered that most had gained back much of the weight they lost. The reason: Your body works against you.
When you lose a lot of weight too quickly, your body compensates by slowing your metabolism so you need to eat fewer calories (up to 500 fewer calories) than before just to maintain your weight loss. At the same time, your body gets flooded with hunger hormones so you're constantly craving (fatty) foods.
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But that doesn't mean you should give up on weight loss. Shedding a few pounds guarantees you reap all the health benefits: a healthier heart, a lowered risk of developing diabetes, high-blood pressure, and even cancer. Doctors say you should aim to lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight if you're overweight or obese, but any amount is better than none.
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As Dr. Donna Ryan, an obesity researcher, told NPR.org, we need to change our thinking: "If we can get improvements in health, that's really what weight loss is all about. I think we need to shift our focus away from how we look and our body size to how a little bit of weight loss can really produce dramatic improvements in body health."
So talk to your doctor about how many pounds you need to lose--and the best way to get to your healthiest weight.
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