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Why Short Term Weight Gain Can Be Easier to Lose Than Long Term Weight

>> Monday, March 12, 2018





No weight gained is easy to lose, but - have you ever wonder how Hollywood's actors can gain weight for a movie role, and the next thing you know, they are back at their usual weight for their next photo shoot?  While one may think that it’s simply the superstar access to personal chefs and trainers that gets actors back in shape, there is actually a physiologic basis that can make it less difficult to shed a quick/temporary/intentional weight gain than excess weight that has been present for the long term.

As discussed in a recent Scientific Statement on Obesity Pathogenesis by the Endocrine Society, obesity is associated with inflammation in various tissues, including muscle, fat tissue, vascular system, and liver, and this inflammation appears to be a consequence of chronic obesity.    There is also inflammation in the hunger/fullness centre of the brain, called the hypothalamus.

For a person who has been struggling with weight long term,  inflammation in these tissues causes maladaptive changes in those tissues that make them more resistant to weight loss.    It takes time for this inflammation to develop, so for a person who has had a fairly acute weight gain, it may be easier to drop pounds because they don't have this inflammation working against them.

So then you may wonder - why do some people seem to lose quickly gained weight more easily than others? (e.g. after pregnancy)?

Well, the story of the hunger/fullness centre in the brain is a little more complex.  It turns out that this inflammation may not only be a consequence of long term obesity, but may actually be present in some people before obesity develops.   Some animal studies suggest that eating a high fat diet triggers these inflammatory changes, damaging the neurons in the hypothalamus, which may then result in a disruption of sensations of hunger/fullness, lead to weight gain, plus make it harder to lose it again.

In other words, people who struggle to lose weight after a fairly quick/new weight gain may have inflammation in their hunger/fullness centre that was there before the weight gain, thus making them not only more prone to weight gain, but also making it harder to lose weight than the person without the inflammation. 


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