A recent New York Times article titled After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight explained why many struggle to keep off weight lost.1 The article explains that someone who deliberately loses weight will have a slower metabolism once they stop dieting. Therefore, researchers were not surprised to see that contestants from ‘The Biggest Loser’ had slow metabolisms once the show ended and had a difficult time keeping weight off. Weight loss is accompanied by a slowing of one’s resting metabolic rate (RMR). This phenomenon is called ‘metabolic adaptation” or ‘adaptive thermogenesis’ and it acts to counter weight loss and contributes to weight regain.2
Research led by Fothergill et al. followed some of the reality show’s contestants for six years and discovered that, as the years went by and as the numbers on the scale climbed, the contestants’ metabolisms did not recover.2 Rather, their metabolisms became slower and the as the scales grew heavier, as if their bodies were intensifying efforts to return the contestants back to their baseline weight. The research found that greater long-term weight loss resulted in greater ongoing metabolic slowing. They concluded that “long-term weight loss requires a constant vigilant combat against persistent metabolic adaptation that acts to proportionally counter efforts to reduce body weight”.2
The Live Light Live Right (LLLR) program understands the consequences of metabolic adaptation and participants have their metabolic rate measured at each visit. LLLR offers a long-term approach to a healthier life and not just to rapid weight loss. The program recognizes that each person is different and patients have individualized plans aimed at producing the best outcomes.