Stop Dieting and Learn How to Maintain Weight

If you've ever experienced a perpetual cycle of constant weight gain and loss, you may have wondered why you struggle to keep the weight off while your friends seem to maintain their weight with greater ease.

A number of causes play into this phenomenon, but new research from the University Hospital Complex of Santiago points to a potential hormone-related cause.

The Research and Results

Researchers followed a group of 104 individuals who had just completed a low-calorie diet with weight loss results. For eight weeks following the diet, researchers tested insulin levels as well as

levels of the appetite-related hormones leptin and ghrelin. After the eight week period, researchers weighed participants and compared their weight gain to their hormone levels.

Typically, ghrelin levels are higher prior to a meal, signifying hunger, then they decrease after consuming food. Leptin works exactly opposite to ghrelin by inhibiting appetite, and its presence is generally low prior to a meal and increases after eating.

The participants who regained more than 10 percent of their weight over the course of the eight-week study were found to have higher levels of leptin and lower levels of ghrelin than those individuals who did not experience similar weight gain.

The Takeaway

More research is needed, but the hormone-related differences between the participants gives researchers and scientists a new way to look at weight-loss programs. If scientists can identify individuals who may struggle to maintain weight loss after a diet program due to their hormone balance, they may be able to offer specialized programs to counteract potential weight gain.

On an entirely different note, the real reminder is that if you're pursuing weight loss with diet alone, you're more likely to open yourself up to regaining the weight. Multiple studies have shown that individuals who combine exercise and diet are more likely to maintain their weight than those who make changes to diet alone.

Exercise helps rev up your metabolism; blasting calories during and following your exercise session. If you've gained and lost, and gained and lost the weight time after time, make sure you're sticking to an exercise plan that you know you can maintain long-term.

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Laura Williams writes about exercise and fitness for through her regular column "Exercise Science". She is currently completing her master's in Exercise Science.


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