Unfortunately this reduces the debate to a very simplistic level. Why? Because we know that hunger, appetite, energy expenditure (i.e., metabolic rate), and even our propensity to be active are highly regulated by an increasing list of hormones and signaling molecules, not to mention our genetic inheritance (Bouchard 1994). Moreover these various factors interact with each other – for example: exercise stimulates hunger, calorie restriction increases hunger and decreases spontaneous activity (Keys 1950), calorie restriction reduces metabolic rate, and exercise plus calorie restriction markedly reduces metabolic rate (Phinney 1988).
Ideally, when you are gaining weight, leptin works to naturally decrease appetite and promote weight loss. However, in some cases of excess weight gain, you can become leptin resistant. In other words, your leptin signals are no longer working properly, and your body may constantly feel hungry. In addition, any weight loss achieved may trigger ghrelin to increase, which can increase your appetite further (103,104).
Your body also has two key hormones it uses to regulate hunger: ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is produced by the stomach, and signals to the brain to increase your appetite when the stomach is empty and energy is needed. Leptin is produced by your fat cells and does the opposite, working to increase metabolism for digestion and signaling to the brain that you are full, and no more food is needed.
Women are also thought to burn fat and store fat more efficiently than men. Translation, women are more efficient at using fat for energy during exercise and all day long, but they tend to store more body fat than men due to the hormone oestrogen (115). In fact, even though women tend to eat less than men, they have on average 6 to 11% more body fat. But this doesn't mean women are more likely to be overweight than men, it just begins to explain why biologically they tend to carry more weight int he form of fat.
Food labels can help you lose weight, if you know how to read them. Everyday Health says it's important to pay attention to serving size, calories (and calories from fat), fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins and minerals. Then, you can make smarter food choices like picking up a water-packed tuna rather than oil-packed, which can cut significant calories.
Hi Rory, as someone has mentioned, you can try healthier substitutions. But there really exist issues such as food addictions, and these may be best addressed with a psychiatrist, therapist or a specially trained nutritionist who can help you work through it. I don’t know your case, but for others, overeating or overeating certain foods is self-medication, as it can trigger similar neurochemical responses to certain drugs.
Listen to your mum - dieting is faddish. Instead, improve the "quite" to "all" healthy and eat only nutritionally balanced, healthy foods. Cut out all sweets and junk foods, apart from an occasional treat, as humans would have always done till recent times. The exercise is important, and include plenty of stealth exercise, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and cycling to the shops instead of driving, etc.
Nice Article. I do however have a couple questions. 1. You say each gram of carbs pulls in 2.7 grams of water, I was always taught that protein takes the most water to digest. 2. Do have the figure for how much water each gram of water ulls into the body or is needed for digestion? 3. And iif you can give those numbers for consumption, it would be great!
Congrats on your transformation! You should feel very proud of yourself to have come so far and to have gotten to the point where you can listen to your stomach. Surprisingly, that simple communication with our body is something that so many of us have trained ourselves to not pay any attention to. After suffering with an eating disorder for about 15 years, I got to the point where I didn’t even know what it felt like to be hungry anymore! I had to really work to “hear” that signal. And you’re right, counting calories can be an obsession that can take over your life and your thoughts, so I think it’s awesome that you have cut back from that and are just listening to your wants and needs and not freaking out over a piece of cake.