Everybody loves a quick result. And the fact is, there are more overweight and obese people in this generation than preceding generations. Everybody also knows that being overweight is not healthy. Combine all these and our fascination with “reality show” and you get yourself “The Biggest looser”. On the surface, its a wonderful show where obese people can loose weight and be healthy simply by working hard and eating right. So what could go wrong?
Most of The Contestant Regained Their Weight Back
Based on recent follow up study done by the National Institute of Health on 14 past Biggest Looser participants, all but one regained most, if not all of their weight. This was covered by the Scientific American, CNN, USA Today, and New York Times. What is most depressing is that not only these contestants regained most of their weight, but their resting metabolic rate (RMR) slowed down to an average of 704 Kcal/day. FYI The average RMR for men in US is 1,662 Kcal/day and for women is 1,493 Kcal/day. I.e, even though these past contestants already ate less than what the average person eats, they still ended up being fatter in the long run.
Does this sound like anybody you know?
Why is this not a surprise
Sadly, this is a well known condition that has been scientifically proven, called neuroendocrineimmune dysfunction or among the bodybuilding circle called metabolic damage. Yes, those meatheads spending most of their time at the gym actually knows a thing or two about science most people don’t. This is basically a dysfunction where your body goes into starvation mode and its part of natural adaptation mechanism where your body does its best to preserve energy (i.e. your body fat) before getting its next meal. And considering how the contestants had to deal with low intensity cardio at long interval and very low calorie consumption over extended period, its no wonder that this occurs.
What should be done
If you know a heavy set person trying to loose weight, and you don’t want that person to have a metabolic damage, then the best way to ensure long lasting weight loss might actually sound counter productive. He or she must not starve to death. Yes, he should eat high quality foods (for example: no refined sugar, no deep fried, no margarine, no alcohol) but at the same time, he should eat when he feels hungry. And instead of doing steady state cardio over extended period, he should be doing weight training instead. After all, weight lifting has been proven to increase his metabolic rate up to 48 hours after he finished his session. Hence its like getting a bigger engine on your car to burn all the fuel in the tank at much faster rate.
Of course, if that person is already having certain level of metabolic damage, then that person would need different training phase on different period for a few cycle. Higher level of damage will need to be combined with supplement and hormone therapy as it would entail disrupted endocrine cycle.
Its not a simple issue of eating less and workout more. Its about eating and training smarter to get the best result