Weight loss physiology

Energy balance

The most common mistake - to consider the formula of energy balance in the body as a static "eat less - you will lose weight". Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight, faced with the fact that from a certain point it ceases to decrease, and additional cuts in calories do not lead to the desired result. One of the possible reasons is overestimated expectations, when a person tends to unreal for his body weight.

Our weight, like other vital functions, is controlled by the brain, which receives signals from the outside and from the inside (from the intestine, liver, fat tissues and muscles). Thus, it regulates the expenditure of calories, launching various processes to optimize the functions of the body. That is why the formula of energy balance is very dynamic, and the reduction of the diet does not lead directly to weight loss.

The less a person eats, the more the body tries to optimize processes and use energy more efficiently.

As a result of the artificially created shortage of energy, many physiological mechanisms are activated, the purpose of which is to optimize the functions of the organism in new conditions for it. Because of this, the metabolic rate decreases and the body composition changes (the percentage of fatty tissue is relatively protein).

The human body easily adapts to a set or weight loss in accordance with external factors and the needs of the body.
Why does weight loss occur?

In fact, the process of losing weight begins with a negative energy balance. This means that in this period the amount of calories consumed is less than what is needed for the everyday functions of the body.

This organism perceives this balance as a signal that "hard times" have come, and it starts the mode of optimization of energy consumption.

When a person limits the amount of incoming energy in the hope of losing weight, the body does not know that around, in fact, incredible abundance and this limited access to food is created artificially - it is programmed to survive.

Our body can efficiently distribute the available resources to save energy, and with their abundance - to postpone reserves for a "rainy day."

Weight loss phases

Weight loss involves loss of fat and lean mass, which is the sum of proteins (muscle tissue), glycogen, water, minerals and electrolytes.

Usually the first phase of losing weight is characterized by relatively high protein losses. First of all, the body consumes proteins contained in the gastrointestinal tract and liver, then in skeletal muscles and, to a lesser extent, in internal organs.

Initially, a thin person, losing 10 kg of fat, risks losing about 15 kg of muscle tissue. With significant obesity, the amount of lost muscle mass is reduced. It is important to understand that intensive losses of fat-free mass occur only in the first 4 weeks, that is, in the first phase of weight loss. Once the body reduces the basal metabolic rate to a minimum and goes to the second phase of weight loss, the main source of energy is fat.

Basically, the composition of the lost body weight is determined by two factors - the initial constitution of a person and the severity of the diet.

The most frequent goal when working on the body is the desire to reduce the percentage of fat and maintain or increase muscle mass. For this, it is necessary to understand which parameters will help achieve the desired result.

With weight loss and negative energy balance, the rate of fat reduction will depend on the balance of diet and exercise.

An excessively low-calorie diet suppresses the level of metabolism and promotes more decay of protein tissue than a balanced diet and a gradual weight loss.
Composition of diet and weight loss.

An important role in the process of losing weight is played by the composition of the diet. In addition to the total amount of energy consumed, the physiology of weight loss is influenced by macronutrients, various minerals, and electrolytes.

For example, weight loss on a protein diet can be much greater than with a low-calorie, but nutritionally balanced diet. However, this difference will be due primarily to differences in water balance, and the loss of fat and protein will be approximately equal.

Scientists found that there is a lower calorie limit of the diet - 1200 kcal / day. If caloric content falls below this level, then the body can activate physiological protection against weight loss.

In addition, fasting as a technique for weight loss leads to an extremely disproportionate loss of protein. The rate of weight loss with a low-calorie diet and with fasting is almost identical, but the intensity of loss of muscle mass during a low-calorie diet is significantly lower than when fasting.

The rate of fat burning with a balanced diet, aimed at losing weight, is much greater than when fasting or an extremely low-calorie diet.
With a low-calorie diet quickly adapts metabolism - it slows down, which makes such diets not only dangerous, but also ineffective for losing weight. At some point, weight loss is reduced, and the body is made to compensate for the lack of energy in other ways.

Weight Loss and Sports

Physical exercises are the most studied means to prevent the slowing of metabolism and loss of muscle mass.

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Sports activities increase energy intake during and after exercise and provoke fat burning instead of carbohydrates. In addition, physical activity prevents the loss of muscle mass and stimulates its recruitment. The growth of muscle tissue requires more energy, thereby preventing a decrease in metabolic rate.

Important findings

A balanced diet, aimed at losing weight, is much more effective than low-calorie or unbalanced diets. These methods of weight loss can adversely affect the work of the body; They do not contribute to the preservation of the result and lead, in the long run, to the reverse set of weight.

Physical stress can partially prevent the adaptation of metabolism and maintain muscle mass, supporting a favorable energy-saving energy balance.


Do we disperse metabolism when we eat often and in small portions?

When we often eat, we do not disperse metabolism. The scientific literature on this subject indicates that if one person eats X calories at one meal, and another as much for 3 or even 6 times a day, there is no difference in weight loss. From this it follows that more frequent meals do not contribute to more effective weight loss.

Studies say that fractional food itself does not lead to weight loss, but still the blood counts (insulin level, triglycerides) and pressure are much better for people who eat often small portions.

There is often a need not to disperse metabolism, but to prevent feelings of hunger.
Studies show that a person who eats his daily calorie rate at a time will later be prone to overeat, since it is difficult to observe moderation if you have not eaten all day.

Strong hunger pushes to overeating.
People who miss meals, give the body a signal about limited resources, activating all the ancient mechanisms of survival. The body will require food, and when it receives it, it will store it for future use, because it does not represent when the next meal will be.

Eating often and in small portions, you give your body to know that eating will be enough ALWAYS!
If you give the body a signal that there is regular and constant access to food, then it will function in the most relaxed mode, due solely to your weight and lifestyle.

One recent study of athlete nutrition showed that if they eat little and often, the percentage of fat relative to muscle mass is lower compared to athletes who eat once or twice a day, but in huge portions.

Researchers concluded that this is due to how many hours a day a person is in a negative energy balance. Having eaten once, the body goes into a huge plus, but then most of the day is in the energy minus, recovering only by the evening with the last big meal.

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