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Losing Weight: Waging a war against your body

weight regain lost weight effect
weight recidivism

When you try to reduce your weight, you are like being in a war with your body. When the weight regulatory centre sensed a reduction in body weight compared to the usual setpoint, your body will weaponise hunger, craving and resort to have lower total energy expenditure, all in the effort to bring back the original weight. These are the complex, scientifically documented biological changes that happen to your body when you try to lose weight.

The more weight that you lost, or need to lose, the tougher and more sophisticated will the war be. A person that lost 20kg will experience a greater pushback and blowback from the body compared to a person that lost 2kg, in terms of degree of hunger, craving and reduced energy expenditure.

Similar to conventional war, in order to win you need to be well equipped with the proper arsenal and weaponry. If your war is massive (e.g. 120kg man) and your only weapon to fight back is only determination and willpower, it's like fighting a modern warfare with bow and arrow. Most often than not, you will lose.

Hence the importance of the public and healthcare professionals to recognise individual patient's needs and limitations. Blanket approach of management with just self monitored dieting and exercise may not do it for everyone. Obesity IS a disease, and should be treated as such. Individualised approach is needed which may include structured lifestyle program, medications or bariatric surgery based on their initial weight, goal and health status.

Let's win this war against obesity and give everyone a fair fighting chance in the battle.

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