Are Body Shape, Weight Pre-Programmed At Birth?

Have you ever made the commitment to lose weight and stick to a strict diet, only to watch helplessly as fat loss grinds to a halt and the pounds drift back on in a matter of weeks? People might try to console you by saying "this must be the weight your body is comfortable at." And, while it might sound like a well-worn excuse, there may be some truth to it.

Everyone has a set point. Just like you have no control over how tall you will be -- or what color your eyes and hair will be -- you also have no control over what your set point will be. Your body is biologically and genetically determined to weigh within a certain range. However, this range is a healthy weight.

Nine out of 10 people that lose weight gain it back. Given this fact, it would seem that engaging in a weight loss program is a gamble, in which the odds of winning are very slim to none.

Before you become frustrated and give up, you should realize that one out of those very 10 people DID succeed. What that means is that it can be done! The trick is knowing how they did it.

Whether or not our weight is fixed by a set point, weight loss experts agree that it can be altered by improving eating and exercise habits. Environment has a huge influence. For instance, Americans are fatter than Europeans -- presumably for cultural reasons: junk food is readily available, exercise loses out to driving, portions are super-sized and food is more processed.

So, what can you do? A LOT!

  1. The first step is to look for a weight, in which risk factors like cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. are diminished. This is not necessarily a weight that is arbitrarily dictated by the societal cosmetic ideal.
  2. Pick a healthy meal plan to follow, like one of the many offered here at eDiets.
  3. Make sure you eat every 3-4 hours. Never go without food for long periods of time -- that could lead to a binge! In fact, this is probably one of the most common ways people lower their metabolism and hamper long-term success. A cycle of famine and bingeing leads to disordered eating and interferes with fat-regulating hormones, which ultimately causes an increase in body fat.
  4. Stay away from overly processed foods, white flour and white rice. Instead, go for the whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  5. Eat healthy fats. Shift away from saturated fat calories to omega-6 and especially omega-3 fats. These healthy fats tend to be burned as heat and aerobic work. They inhibit fat-producing enzymes and boost fat-burning enzymes. That's why you should eat more seafood, flax seeds and walnuts
    Are Body Shape, Weight Pre-Programmed At Birth?
  6. Drink water! Water helps flush out your system and keeps you from drinking empty calories.
  7. Exercise. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn even at rest. Exercise also raises your metabolism for several hours after you've finished. The benefits extend well beyond your workout time. Also, when you decrease the amount of food you eat, as in dieting, your body also decreases the amount of calories it burns to try and maintain the balance. This is why you must increase your activity level to maintain your body's rate of burning calories.
  8. Write it down. The key to successful weight loss is to write down the "what, when, where, how and why" of overeating, so you can help avoid these situations. Keep your trigger foods out of the house. If you know there are times of the day you are vulnerable to cheating, keep healthy alternatives readily available. Keep a healthy snack in your car, so you aren't tempted to visit the drive-thru.

So, forge ahead and be smart and disciplined about your diet and exercise habits, and you too can lose that weight for good.