So you are trying to lose some weight and be fit. Everything seems to be going well until you reach a point where it appears you can’t shed any more pounds regardless of what you do. You are not alone.
Many people find the last few pounds the hardest to lose. Some people call them the “last five pounds.” What’s responsible for this difficulty? Find out the reasons in this article to know what you can do better.
People often talk about calories when it comes to weight loss. In nutrition, the calorie is commonly used to describe a unit of energy.
When people are trying to lose weight, they normally have an interest in knowing how many calories they’d be able to cut using different strategies. Food calories, also known as large calories, in this sense are more formally called kilocalories, or kcal. One kcal is equivalent to 1,000 calories.
Persons looking to shed pounds commonly reduce their daily calorie intake to a certain level to achieve specific weight reduction.
Why Last Five Pounds Hardest to Lose
In a piece originally published on the website The Conversation, Peter Rogers of the University of Bristol gives two key reasons people typically hit a plateau when trying to shed pounds. The professor of biological psychology identifies these as reduced calorie or energy expenditure and increased appetite.
The amount of energy your body uses reduces with weight loss. A lighter body needs fewer calories to function efficiently.
Rogers uses a 45-year-old man weighing 90 kg and consuming 3,200 kcal to illustrate this. This man would need about 2,780 kcal to maintain his body after achieving a weight of 75 kg.
However, lower energy expenditure results in the phenomenon of slow metabolism. This can reduce the rate at which you shed pounds.
Changes in appetite are the other major reason the last few pounds can be so difficult to lose. You may feel a greater urge to eat as you lose weight. This is a result of the reduction in stored body fat.
As you lose your fat store, leptin reduces, causing your appetite to grow. The level of the hormone typically rises when body fat increases from eating to reduce appetite.
Lower energy expenditure and reduced appetite remain helpful to the body in the long run. Their effects might only seem to have faded in the short term, but they are still present.
Regulating Weight Loss
Normally, a person feels the urge to eat when the stomach signals the brain that it is empty. This might not be a complete reflection of true “emptiness.” Your stomach can take more food than you really need at a time.
Rogers cites a study in which subjects consumed 1,580 kcal when instructed to eat until they’re “comfortably full.” The participants ate double that amount when given the freedom to eat as much as they could handle.
Being full is a factor of different things. Partly, it depends on the content (nutrients) and the bulk of a meal. This explains why it is hard to consume too much fiber-rich foods, including fruits and vegetables.
Fruits have lower energy density (calorie concentration), compared to foods that cause weight gain. Lower energy foods make you feel full faster.
According to Rogers, for instance, pizza contains more than five times the calories in apples – 280 kcal vs. 50 kcal per 100 grams. This means you need to consume over 500 grams of the former to feel as full as when you eat apples of 100 grams.
Based on the foregoing, it can be misleading to judge what you eat by just the size. It is the calorie content that should matter more when seeking to shed pounds.
In addition to being less filling, high-calorie foods may seem more appetizing and more enjoyable. This is what can make you consume too much of them.
Researchers have found, however, that foods high in calories are not a lot tastier, but only a little so. This means that you won’t be sacrificing a lot in terms of enjoyment when you choose to do without them.
Low-Calorie the Way to Go
You could adapt your taste to low-calorie foods if you keep at them. This will help a lot more than simply trying to eat less.
It is a fact that many people fail in their attempt to cut fat by eating less. If what you are eating is high-calorie, your resolve to eat less will, more likely than not, collapse.
The truth is that it can be quite difficult to eat less in the long term. You are more likely not going to be able to overcome the urge to consume more tasty, high-calorie foods. Relapse might also not be helpful to your motivation to stay active. This clearly shows why many people who simply eat less of high-calorie foods reach a plateau at some point.
By their virtue of being more filling, fiber-rich foods can help to dampen the urge to eat frequently. You may find them more helpful when trying to curb your eating to preserve weight while shedding more pounds.
Rogers pointed out that your diet, eating restraint, and activity level ultimately determine what your final weight would be. Physical activity helps to use up energy from your foods. It gets better when you don’t get too many calories from your diet to start with.
Weight Loss: Why Those Last Few Pounds Are The Hardest to Lose, According to Science (https://theconversation.com/weight-loss-heres-why-those-last-few-pounds-can-be-hardest-to-lose-according-to-science-140150)