Saturday, April 10, 2010
On weight gain, weight loss and diet
Why is it for those who are overweight, losing weight seems to be the hardest thing? Why is it for those who are underweight, gaining weight seems to be as hard? Why is it, after successfully losing or gaining a few kg of weight, after a few weeks, we’re back at our previous weight?
There are many factors for these, including genetics and environment. However, the strongest tendency factor lies in your childhood. Most people knows that excess energy are stored in our body as fat, but many are also are mislead by believing that fats are just stored under the skin, the more fat it is, the more it is distributed under the skin. This is not so, if so, we would not have our body shape, and most of us would look stupendously dull, if you know what I mean. However, most important of this fact is that it holds the answer to the questions above:
Why is it for those who are overweight, losing weight seems to be the hardest thing?
Why is it for those who are underweight, gaining weight seems to be as hard?
Fats are not merely deposited under the skin surface. Fats are stored inside containers we call ‘adipocytes cell’, which are distributed throughout our body in different density. It means that there are more adipocyte cells in your hips than your arms. These fat containers, once we grow up as adults, are almost never added, except in extreme, and I mean extreme weight gains. So, the more fat there is to be stored, the more these containers expand themselves. In our childhood, however, the case is different. When we were a child, when our mama feed us with all of those delicious foods, extra energy are still stored as fat in these containers. However, different than in adults, once these containers are full, they will divide into two, doubling the number of container. This occurs throughout childhood that when it comes to early adolescent, the number or fat containers determine how much fat can be stored in the body for life!
Hence, for those ‘generating’ many fat containers during childhood (children who are overweight) have the tendency to continue becoming obese in their adult life because there are many fat containers to store fat compared to those children who are not overweight. For children who are underweight, however, will have a hard time gaining weight because there’s not much of these fat containers when they reach adolescence. Hence, the only way to gain weight is to fill in these containers, and expand them, which is, logically, harder compared when you already have many fat containers and all you have to do is fill them in.
So, there it is, try to recall, what shape were you in when you were a child? It may be too late for us to change the number of fat containers in our body, but now that you know this, stop your uncles, aunties or anyone you know from overfeeding their child. Tell them it will affect them throughout their life. Get rid of the myth that 'a fat child is a healthy child'. Well, maybe for the time being, but what about when he or she grows up?
Now there arise another question on why is it, after successfully losing or gaining a few kg of weight, after a few weeks, we’re back at our previous weight? Here I’m going to introduce you to a messenger released from fat stored in the containers called ‘leptin hormone’. These messengers are continuously released from the fat containers and enter our blood, eventually arriving at the brain. Here, this messenger leptin will tell the brain to “eat less, eat less!”
Now what happens when we successfully lose a few kg? The less fat there are in the containers, the less leptin are produced, and hence there are fewer messengers to tell the brain to “eat less!” The brain, now that no one tells him to eat less, will, of course, eat more! We may not be conscious of this, because our brain works in mysterious, unconscious way. It may manifests as the snacks we unconsciously nibble while watching TV (we call this mindless eating), or the ‘little bit’ more portion of rice we scoop into our plates, thinking “Owh, I’ve lost a few weight, a little more rice now wouldn’t hurt”. This happens until we reach our previous weight, which is our ‘set point’. This set point is the weight that our body thinks is the ‘normal weight’ although it doesn't seem normal to you. It is set ever since we became adults. Haven’t you realize that your weight stays the same most of the time ever since you reach adulthood? (But mind you, you will, however slowly gain weight once you start aging. It’s because your metabolism decreases, but that’s another story)
The same goes for hard-gainers. Once they have successfully gain weight, the more fat there will be in the fat containers, and the more messenger leptin will be produced. Hence, telling the brain to “eat less!”, and the brain follow orders, and you, although unconsciously, obey to the leptin’s orders too.
Here I will come to a conclusion. You might be disappointed upon reading this post, hoping that I would provide ‘miracle’ scientific knowledge on how to lose or gain weight. I’m sorry to tell you that there is none. Naturally, at least. There are many drugs and procedures that can make you lose weight, but I am not going to recommend you any. There are far too much risk in those. So to get your perfect weight, you need to work for it! You need to consciously go against the unconscious orders to eat more. We can control our unconscious by constantly being aware of our actions. After successfully losing a few weight, there’s no ‘bonus’ that you’re allowed to eat more. Beware of those latent snacks by the TV. Most importantly, go exercise! Everyone understands that the formula for weight loss is ‘energy used is more than energy consumed’, but very few put that in practice. So, go jogging, cycling, swimming, play soccer, anything that uses much energy. It doesn’t has to be boring. Do what you like. If you like basketball, then, play basketball! ‘Nuff said.
For hard gainers, instead of depending on the fat to grow more, you can resort to grow muscles. Muscles are 2 times heavier than fat. Get the myth out of your head that ‘to grow muscles, you need to grow fat first. Because fat is the one that will transformed into muscles’. That’s completely misleading! Fat and muscles are completely different type of cells, and you don’t need one to grow another. ‘Nuff said. All you need is enough protein, which can be gained by our daily intake of meat, chicken or fish. So go ahead, try weight lifting. Some women out there might be thinking “No way I’m gonna lift weights and have to bulky bodies which looks like men”. They are mislead by the myth that if women lift weight, their body will become bulky like men. The fact is, no, women won’t be bulky like men unless you go for extreme weight lifting, like the ones they used in Olympics. In women, the amount of ‘testosterone hormone’, or the hormone that grows muscle, is much much less. Plus, the shape of a male and female’s muscle are slightly different, so you won’t end up like shaping like men (unless, as I said before, you go for the ‘ala Olympics weight lifting). However, don’t forget to put in other exercise such as jogging or cycling in your routine. It helps the heart to function better. Weight lifting does not help much for the heart.
So, there it is, weight loss, weight gain, and the science behind it. For all those struggling to achieve the perfect weight, keep up the good work and never give up! Hope that helps!
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