Reasons that make weight loss difficult
Weight loss is a problem for many people: despite the effort, many are unable to overcome and reach their goal. Dr. Luciano Giacaglia , endocrinologist at Hospital Alemão Oswaldo Cruz, explains the determining problems that can hinder this process.
Why, even with a regulated diet and exercise, some people are unable to lose weight?
Weight control is governed by several hormones, whose levels are often under the control of our genetics. They regulate appetite, satiety, caloric expenditure, localized fat deposits, muscle capacity and are controlled by genes. Thus, two individuals doing the same exercise can determine a caloric expenditure quite different from each other. The same with regard to diet, which can have a very different impact among people.
What are the main factors that interfere with weight loss?
Anxiety can determine weight gain for two basic reasons: increased cravings for pleasurable foods, which raise dopamine levels, and for sugars, which raise serotonin levels. Both hormones determine pleasure and calm the person, compensating for anxiety. In addition, some people produce, under chronic stress, high levels of cortisol, a hormone that determines fat accumulation (mainly abdominal) and fluid accumulation.
Lack of sleep also causes several changes: reduced levels of growth hormone, promoting loss of muscle mass and increased abdominal fat; increased ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite; reduction of leptin, a hormone that prevents the accumulation of fat. If sleep apnea is associated, there will be a reduction in metabolism by reducing the supply of oxygen to cells.
Considering the genetic factor, are children who are born underweight more likely to become overweight in the future? And will children who are overweight in childhood necessarily continue that way into adulthood?
The first case is that of children called “low birth weight”, especially when the mother suffered some degree of malnutrition, did some fad diet or use of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes during pregnancy, for example. The intrauterine environment is a signal for the fetus to program itself to face the environment it will experience in the postnatal period. That is, the expression of the fetus’ genes can be modified, programming the baby to increase the expression of “fattening” genes and suppress “slimming” genes, according to the information it receives while in the maternal womb.
Weight gain promotes the proliferation of fat cells (which store fat) and which are not easily eliminated. In addition, our main eating and physical activity habits are shaped during childhood. Inappropriate habits are difficult to correct the older the person is.
Is it true that sunbathing can help with weight loss?
Sunbathing stimulates the production of vitamin D. The lack of this vitamin in the body can make weight loss difficult and seems to determine more difficulty in metabolizing fat and it is known that it has satiety-inducing brain actions. However, this does not mean that taking excessive amounts of vitamin D or taking too much sun makes us lose weight, in addition to the risk of vitamin D poisoning and skin cancer.