Weight Loss Road Block – Metabolic Overcompensation


In the latest issue of Strong, Fit, & Healthy, I shared with Naked Nutrition Insiders some really interesting research surrounding the decrease in your metabolic rate that occurs with weight loss and how they can minimize it. Today I wanted to pull some more from the Women’s Health article that I mentioned in my last blog about the differences in neurological activity between normal weight and overweight people.

Even on a sensible diet, your body sheds pounds reluctantly. “One reason it’s difficult to keep weight off is because there is a metabolic overcompensation for weight loss,” says Gary Foster, Ph.D., director of the Center of Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia. “If you decrease your body mass by 10 percent, you would expect your metabolic rate to decrease by 10 percent, but it actually slows down more than that, by about 11 to 15 percent.”

What Dr. Foster calls metabolic overcompensation is similar to (some make say the same as) adaptive thermogenesis or the age old problem of a slowing of your metabolic rate while dieting. Dr. Foster is also saying that the slowing of your metabolic rate is even worse than you would expect. BUT I suspect that this is really only going happen if you are ONLY dieting. The main problem, as you know if you are a regular reader of my blog, with only dieting is losing lean body mass (for the most part decrease in thyroid hormone output is response to dieting seems to be blown out of proportion). Dr. Ayoob corroborates this point.

“If you go on a very strict diet and gain the weight back quickly, you might lose a lot of muscle and regain a lot of fat,” says Keith Ayoob, M.D., R.D., an associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Then your metabolism operates on a slower idle, which means it’s going to be harder to lose weight as time goes on.”

I’ve seen research from the University of Connecticut which shows that both low carb and low fat diets lead to losses of lean body mass if resistance training is not included. That’s right, even the coveted higher protein low carb diets can’t totally prevent muscle loss.

Your solution is simple. A solid fat loss training program with some metabolic acceleration training and you can move that 11-15% decrease in metabolic rate as close to zero as possible. One of the biggest paradigm shifts I have ever had in regards to fat loss came from a conversation with Alwyn Cosgrove when he told me that his focus is not on burning fat but increasing metabolism. This approach works so well as when you increase metabolism you burn more calories and when you burn more calories you burn more fat.

Excerpt from: When you lose weight — and gain it all back [Women’s Health via MSN Health]

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