So you’re on a diet, and your resistance to temptation is firing on all thrusters. You’re out for a jog every day, doing weights every second day. You have 30kg to lose, but when you go to weigh in you find that, despite the fact that you burned 800 calories every day in sweat-filled exercise, and not swallowed a mouthful above your stated 1200 calories per day – you’ve lost almost nothing.
This is the point at which even grown, butch manly-men will cry. What did you do wrong? Why isn’t it working? Why does it work for other people but not you?
Turns out there could be a very good reason it’s not working for you – and it’s not your fault. There’s been some very interesting research done recently about how our bodies can not only be slow to lose weight, but actively prevent it. Under such circumstances, even the strictest diet would only result in minimal weight loss.
The University of Sydney is deep in studies about our eating habits and obesity, and it turns out that one of the assumptions we make about modern causes of obesity – our sedentary lifestyles – may not be founded in fact. By comparing calorie expenditure for ordinary modern lifestyles with the Hadza tribe in northern Tanzania, who hunt and gather on foot without the use of modern tools such as guns, and divide duties by sex, with women foraging in groups and men hunting game and gathering honey, we find that daily energy expenditure is much the same as it is for us modern types who commute to work and sit behind a desk all day.
Which leaves researchers looking deeper and harder at what might be largely invisible. Some answers are coming from the gut, and persistent “opportunistic” bugs that dwell there.
Studies have found that obese people have microbes that cause them to absorb kilojoules and store them as fat much more efficiently than someone who is slim, which means they absorb and use the calories from a piece of chocolate much differently to people of a healthy weight.
These differences lead to insulin intolerance, fat storage and obesity. While there is still a great deal more work to be done in this area, this research shines some light on why it is some people lose weight more easily and quickly than others. Hopefully, new treatments can be developed to tackle the problem and allow people who are trying to lose weight to actually lose some.
Have you found it hard to lose weight, even though you’re doing all the right things?