Weight loss is an unfair fight. When some people lose pounds with apparent ease, others struggle to move the balance needle. Coach Magazine went to the world’s most advanced obesity research lab to investigate from the front lines of the war on fat.
7 new ways to lose 5kg
Each week for the past few months, a new volunteer has registered with the Metabolic Service of the Biomedical Research Center in Pennington, Louisiana. For 24 hours, he or she ate meticulously weighed meals in order to maintain a calorie consumption lower than his expenses, guaranteeing weight loss.
Once this conditioning has been carried out, the study begins when the participants are locked up for three days in one of the four “metabolic chambers” in the establishment. Dr. Eric Ravussin, the concierge in the white coats of these suites, compares them to “hotel rooms with glass walls and precision sensors”. Here, no privacy, each inspiration, and each exhalation is measured to assess the metabolic rate of the volunteers. The participants then spend seventeen days on the “campus”, during which all their meals and sports training are recorded, before they return to the room for the final evaluation. The goal is not only to record the weight lost by the subjects but to find out precisely how their metabolic rate is affected by the process of reducing calories.
If losing weight is difficult, stabilizing your weight after dieting is even more difficult. Eric Ravussin recently made headlines with a study revealing that extreme diets can cause a significant slowdown in metabolism. In other words, to maintain the same weight, a man who has gone from 110 to 90 kg must eat much less than a man who has always weighed 90kg. “It is as if they were almost condemned to regain their lost pounds,” says Ravussin.
An old Indian parable tells how blind people who try to describe an elephant arrive at different conclusions depending on whether they hold its trunk, its tusk or its tail. Obesity is just as difficult to conceptualize in its entirety. Many factors, however coexisting, are at work: metabolic issues to emotional problems, through the lack of exercise and poor nutrition. Too often, these causes are studied in isolation. Researchers at Pennington are trying to gauge the entire elephant.
In his laboratory of ingestion behavior, weight management, and health promotion, Dr. Corby Martin analyzes research on a diet by studying all the criteria: how the rate at which we eat affects our satiety or the impact group dynamics (the influence of our friends) on our food choices. In another laboratory, Dr. Owen Carmichael uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to better understand food compulsions at a neurological level.
But how does all of this apply to you? Drawing on the collective expertise of Pennington, Coach Magazine has identified seven “types of fat,” seven different ways in which our bodies and brains conspire to gain pounds. You may belong to a predominant type but more likely to be a combination of several types. Even the thinnest men will recognize themselves. Be careful, these are avant-garde theories!
You eat because your body craves it and you have enormous difficulty in resisting sugary, fatty and caloric foods. People who fall into this category, says Owen Carmichael, often say to researchers, “I was driving and when I saw the golden arches, it was as if the rest of the world was disappearing and a ray of light was attracting me to him. Owen Carmichael, engineer, and doctor of robotics leads a team that uses fMRI machines to see which parts of the brain are activated by comfort foods and which react to vegetables. During this time, Martin and his team submit the subjects of cravings to questionnaires and behavioral studies. When these people get the food that they desire, they tend to ignore the hints of satiety sent by their own body when others stop after their first part.
The goal is not to suppress your cravings but to learn to overcome them. If you have a weakness for cakes, you ” will not be able to avoid the pastry department forever” Warns Martin. To learn how to resist food cravings, Martin uses the “exposure with prevention of response” method. For example, he will lead a group of people to the pastry shop in the neighborhood, which they will pass first without stopping. Then, the second time, they will linger in front of the shop. After a while, they will feel comfortable. The techniques he uses include conscious breathing to decrease the body’s emotional reactions and visualize the positive consequences, to feel stronger during your next workout, rather than the negative consequences, such as the feeling of deprivation felt when you do the exercise. dead end on the breadbasket. Martin also advises to ” repeat» Difficult situations: strategize before the Friday drinking party when you are having trouble sticking to your eating plan. Try to set up an alarm as soon as a food compulsion occurs. A study published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience has established that a rigorous break allows escaping from a state of compulsion.
Factors that have little to do with food make you eat. The brake can be released after a bad day at work, an argument with your spouse or a publication on social networks that exasperated you. We start smoking, drinking, eating or a combination of the three. Alcohol reduces our impulse control. Choosing strong alcohol at the end of a hard day can, therefore, have a cumulative effect on your waistline.
“ Know your emotional triggers,” says Tim Church. If it doesn’t seem obvious to you, here’s his advice: “ The next time you get drunk and eat a can of family-size nuggets, sit down and write down what is plaguing you as precisely as possible. Peel the onion. John Oldham, a computer worker from Kansas, lost 105 kg following the program designed by Church. By examining the triggers, he concluded that his difficult relationship with his ex-wife played a big role in his eating compulsions. ” I had to learn not to let her take control anymore. Speech therapies can help you become aware of the root causes and reduce the inevitability of this type of behavior. You can also train by imposing a longer delay between a disturbing event and your reaction to it. ” When you go to the fridge, ask yourself, ‘Can I wait 10 minutes?’ ” Suggests Church. Then find an activity that triggers the same reward mechanisms without involving food. Exercise is an obvious choice, but listening to your favorite album, for example, releases dopamine, the pleasure chemical in the brain.
First, let’s dispel a major misconception. The “sniper” theory, making added sugar the center of everything wrong with our food, is wrong. There is no evidence that added sugar harms our waistline more than other fast carbohydrates, such as white bread. However, if you abuse it daily, it can become a problem. Without added fiber, carbohydrates overwhelm your bloodstream with glucose and your brain with chemical rewards, causing an itch that is hard to soothe. This is a phenomenon that Martin, Carmichael, and others are trying to map in Pennington, providing subjects with sugary drinks or sweets and comparing their explorations of fMRI when they next look at pictures of food.
Reading food labels is only effective when you know what you’re looking for. Generally, everything that ends in “-ose” (glucose, sucrose, maltose) is added sugar and you are likely to find it in pre-seasoned salads and oatmeal breakfasts because it is about ” pleasure “. Also, remember that the ingredients do not exist in isolation. Fibers, proteins, and lipids will slow the release of glucose and absorb the shock that generates other cravings. It will be more beneficial for you to temper this effect by adding healthy fats and proteins to your next pasta dish than to refuse a square of chocolate. Finally, the quality of your sleep can play a role in your desire for treats. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people with 50 to 90 minutes of sleep deficit per night – most of us – consume an additional 12 g of sugar per day on average. Sweet dreams!
For most of the day, food has been missing from your sights: you can skip breakfast and eat a simple sandwich for lunch. But at night, you are fighting back and nothing seems to be able to stop you. No sooner have you emptied the dinner plate than you attack your cupboards, looking for complementary food to satisfy your appetite. And woe to your pantry if, in addition, you suffer from insomnia or spend hours in front of the television. ” It seems that these caloric refills predispose people to overweightSaid Martin. According to Courtney M. Peterson, a researcher at Pennington, it is not all about a difference between contributions and expenses. Eating late at night disrupts insulin sensitivity, increases blood pressure and slows weight loss. “ We think eating late at night propels the body clock in different time zones, sending out contradictory signals. “
Try to establish restricted meal times. A study by Peterson has shown that people who eat all their meals between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. burn more fat and have fewer hunger pangs than when the same amounts are consumed during normal meal times. At first, you will feel like you have a little appetite during the day, but it is worth it to persevere. A former intern feared feeling full after his last meal in the early afternoon. In five weeks, he lost weight, rebalanced his blood sugar and lowered his blood pressure. Changing your sleep patterns can also help. Getting up early to train will stimulate your appetite. And go to bed at 10 p.m. This will decrease the duration of your nighttime cravings by the same amount. If you can’t wake up with an alarm clock, try to sleep with the curtains open. Natural light will reconnect your brain.
At work, you are the “drawer guy with treats”, an endless supply of candy and nuts that you eat throughout the day. In the evening, says Martin, you gobble up a large bag of crisps in front of the TV before the first commercial break. Your behavior is motivated less by hunger than by force of habit.
Be more active, not just through sport. Instead of eating passively, write down everything you eat for a week and then make a meal plan that includes snacks. Avoid anything that has not been divided into portions. If you want some cookies, put two on a plate and leave the package in the cupboard. Bryan McCullough, who lost 41 kg with Church’s program, explains: ” I’m still in for a chocolate cookie but if I plan to eat one after lunch, I can refuse the confections that someone brought in for the morning meeting. Conscious eating begins with an accurate assessment of your hunger. ” Patients tell me that they didn’t realize they were eating without being hungryReveals Church. But if you are hungry, you must eat, otherwise, you risk overcompensating during your next meal.
Even people who scrupulously follow a diet program struggle to maintain their diet weight. Long-term studies show that after six months almost everyone begins to gain weight. A refined body burns fewer calories and, due to lower concentrations of leptin, the hormone of satiety, appetite increases. “It’s like an elastic band brings you back to your original weight,” says Dr. Ravussin.
Physical exercise, even if it generally plays a small role in weight loss, remains a precious ally during stabilization. According to Church and Martin, your body needs physical activity to make sure your appetite matches your energy expenditure. “A caloric excess of 200 kilocalories per day over the needs necessary to stabilize your body weight is enough to cause fat gain,” says Church. You are putting the odds in your favor when you burn these excesses at the gym. Cardio alone is not enough. It is more effective to incorporate strength training. This combination helps remove sugar and fatty acids from your blood. Go for goals regularly, like a half-marathon, for example.
The best is the enemy of good. Church and Martin have published a new study that comes to a surprising conclusion: people who train 30 minutes a day on average on a treadmill lose no more weight than those who spend only 15 minutes on it! The team measured the energy intake and expenditure of the participants in this study and found that even if the most determined runners burned more calories than the others, they ate more to ” reward themselves”Of their efforts, convinced that it was precisely because they had run longer and burned more calories than they could afford to eat more. If your weight decreases little even as you intensify your training, you undoubtedly belong to this category which needs to balance its caloric intakes.
Portable activity tracking devices are a good place to start. Your body burns about 1 kilocalorie per kilogram of body weight per hour at rest, which is roughly equivalent to 2,160 kilocalories per day for a 90 kg man. If you run for half an hour, you can burn an additional 300 kilocalories. A figure which may seem impressive but which corresponds to a simple toast with peanut butter. It is therefore imperative to take your post-workout snack into account throughout your food program. It is not a ” reward“. Church and Martin have noted the recurrence of this behavior in people with high blood sugar and insulin response, as well as a tendency to overeat three times above average after a workout. According to them, the drop in blood sugar following training increases appetite. One solution: be aware of it and simply wait for it to pass. A regular training program improves insulin sensitivity, leading to the conversion of fat into energy. But there may be another culprit: if your workout leaves you exhausted to the point that you can barely move for the next two days, you will be lucky if you manage to balance your calorie intake. Do nothing during the recovery period, which may seem to be the right solution, turns out to be a fundamental mistake. On the contrary, you must develop low-impact activities, such as walking or cycling, during your rest days. Yes, you will sweat a little more, but that could be a game-changer.