34 people whittled down from 50 were followed over 16 months after a 10 week crash diet and lots of counseling: they lost 29# on average, and gained back 12#. Their hormones (leptin, peptide YY, cholecystokinin, insulin, ghrelin and gastric inhibitory polypeptide) continued to scream…eat!
And they were hungry, thought about food, and wanted to eat way more than when they started.
This is a very small study with no control group: it’s not the last word, except that maintaining is harder than losing.
But it’s getting lots of attention, because it proves something every dieter hopes: it’s not my fault. And that’s right: keeping weight off is not about willpower: it’s about planning.
It’s not my fault that I started eating tortilla chips, fudge ripple and layer cake. It’s not my fault that I feel like eating and I’m hungry all the time.
My take: Yes, your hormones are screaming. And yes, you can plan for it. Thousands already have, and won.
Over 5500 people nationally have shown that you can lose 66 pounds on average, and keep it off for an average of 5.5 years.
I’m proud that some of my patients are in that group. And you can be too–it takes being accountable, and taking a first step.
Two quick reality checks: first, the researchers didn’t measure estrogen and testosterone: I think these hormones, especially for men, figure in to weight loss and maintenance.
And second, your hormones are not destiny. You are not your pancreas, or adrenal or thyroid, or inner GI track: after 50, your health is mostly your choices, not your genes.