Heads up: weight talk.

[edit: LaChategris already posted about this but I am self absorbed and didn’t pay attention, haha]

The New York Times published an article about a study on The Biggest Loser contestants. Unsurprisingly, it found that they typically gained back a lot of their weight. This is sad and disappointing for them, of course, but it showed what a lot of us already know: losing weight and keeping weight off is a bigger burden than acting the same as others who are the same weight but not “former fatties.”

I only heard about it on NPR and haven’t read the Times piece, so I’m just going on what I heard on the radio. I linked to the Times piece because it is what provoked the NPR story. From NPR’s story:

We know that reduction in metabolic rate is a normal biologic response to weight loss. This is a disproportionate reduction of metabolic rate, and in a way it’s a metabolic handicap. So that after weight loss, two people who weigh exactly the same — the one who is reduced will require less calories, less energy, to sustain that weight than a person who has never been reduced. So those Biggest Loser participants who were reduced, actually, to sustain their weight, had to eat 500 fewer calories a day than individuals of the very same weight who were never reduced.

Huh, so you’re saying it takes more willpower to keep weight off when you start higher. You don’t say! It’s almost like tons of people who’ve been struggling to lose weight for ages have noticed this. [emphasis is on Audie Cornish’s question]:

But you’ll be hungrier, right? Because the research is also talking about another way your body fights against it.

Absolutely. All of the hormones that your body produces that regulate appetite are also altered disproportionately. So you’re hungrier than that person. You’re more susceptible to highly rewarding foods, to snacking.

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So, wait, us fatties are not only physically eating less in order to stay the same weight, but we also have more serious cravings and more hunger? Great.

The good news is that even small amounts of weight lost can have very dramatic health benefits. So, it was really nice to hear the interviewee give a little bit on body positivity and divorcing what our weight is, and what we look like, from actual health:

I think as a society we need to be more accepting of variations in body size and less accepting about the health consequences of body weight. 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 – 5 to 10 percent – can really produce dramatic improvements in body health.

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This should come as no surprise, but I will not be tolerating any unproductive or shaming comments toward anyone.