5 Ways Your Body is Fighting Weight Loss and How to Stop It

Losing weight is one of the most common goals in the country with roughly 50% of Americans trying to live healthier at any given time. Unfortunately, for many of us, it’s also one of the most frustrating. Between yo-yo dieting and workouts that feel like a chore, losing weight might sometimes feel unattainable.

Luckily, not only is lasting weight loss achievable, the inability to shed pounds through willpower isn’t your fault. Today we’re going to show you the truth behind diets and reveal 5 ways your body is fighting weight loss.

1. More weight makes it difficult to exercise

Despite what many people would like to believe, science tells us that it’s almost impossible to lose weight with exercise alone. On average, a regular workout only helps us burn 5-15% of our daily caloric intake.

That being said, staying active is critical for achieving lasting weight loss – and excess weight can impede that practice.

Obesity is closely connected to numerous negative health conditions that can impede a healthy lifestyle. COPD can make it difficult to breathe when performing more strenuous, active movements, while more pressure on our joints can limit mobility, cause pain, and even lead to serious damage. Weight-related conditions can even affect our routines before we even hit the gym. Sleep apnea prevents people from sound, restful sleep, leading to feelings of exhaustion and skipped workouts. This means, we are limited to low-impact exercises before we can work up to a more strenuous workout, lessening the overall efficacy of our routines.

2. After weight loss, your body enters starvation mode

Losing weight isn’t impossible by any stretch of the imagination. Keeping it off, however, proves to be a more demanding process. Take the contestants on The Biggest Loser as an example – while they were able to shed their unwanted pounds, they weren’t able to maintain their new weight once the cameras stopped rolling.

So why did most contestants regain 50 to 100 pounds, even after all of their hard work? Because their bodies entered starvation mode. Think about how we evolved. In the early days of human existence, fatty, filling foods were scarce, as was access to food in general. A dramatic drop in weight was a sign that something was wrong, so our bodies automatically began storing extra fat to protect us. This ensured we had enough energy to keep us alive and active until we came across food again.

Although times have changed, starvation mode has not! Food is generally plentiful, so when we drop excess weight we aren’t actually starving, but our bodies cannot recognize that. When we return to eating normally after a “successful diet,” our bodies are still programmed to hold on to everything we eat.

3. Your body wants to regain weight…and then some

Starvation mode is the body’s survival response to regain weight, but when does this return to balance (normally)? Whether we’re in starvation mode or not, the human body works to maintain a certain set point that varies from person to person. Even when not dieting, our bodies gain and lose weight, fluctuating around our individual set point. However, if you lose a lot of weight and your body enters starvation mode, it begins to work in overtime.

Even if our minds want to see lower numbers on the scale, our bodies don’t. Shedding pounds doesn’t reset the set point, so the body will continue to work to get back to its starting weight. We’ve also evolved to avoid multiple episodes of starvation. Our bodies work to gain back more than we lost, raise our set point to hang on to more fat, and make it harder for us to lose weight going forward.


4. Obesity reduces the ability to burn calories efficiently even after weight loss

The study that followed the Biggest Loser contestants found that people suffering from obesity burn calories less efficiently as people of an average weight. In fact, the formerly obese contestants burned 500 fewer calories than they were expected to at their new weights. For people that have never suffered from overweight and obesity, burning calories (both in a resting state and through exercise) is more efficient and effective. So what does this mean? Even after working hard to lose a lot of weight, obesity sufferers have to eat even less and exercise even more to maintain their weight, let alone lose more.

5. You produce more hunger hormones

As we gain more weight, it becomes difficult for us to get rid of it, both physically and mentally. When it comes to knowing when to eat and when to stop, our bodies rely on two different hormones. When we’ve had enough to eat, the body produces leptin, otherwise known as the “satiety hormone.” It alerts our brains that we’ve received the nutrients we need and can stop eating. On the other hand, ghrelin – the “hunger hormone” – lets us know when we need food.

Obesity and significant weight loss affect the production levels of these hormones. Our bodies want to avoid starvation at all costs, so ghrelin production increases to the point of confusion – we can no longer tell when we are actually hungry. We are just told to continue taking in nutrients until we gain more and more weight. Even if we try to eat less, exercise more, and stay aware of our body’s natural responses, we still feel hunger pangs and are tempted to eat more.

So now what? Bariatric surgery negates these problems.

The human body may strive to hang on to every pound we gain as an evolutionary survival method, but bariatric surgery works with the body to counter these responses for long-term, successful weight loss. Procedures, like the gastric sleeve, shrink the stomach to help people feel full while eating less, reducing the amount of food the stomach can hold.

Additionally, there are chemical and metabolic benefits to weight-loss surgery that diet and exercise cannot replicate. Bariatric procedures reset the metabolism, allowing the body to burn calories more efficiently and get the most out of diets and workouts. They also reduce the body’s set point to a much lower, healthier weight, helping patients maintain their new weights. Lastly, surgical procedures remove the portion of the stomach that produces ghrelin. Not only does this stop us from feeling hunger as acutely, it actually promotes leptin production!

Your body may be fighting your weight-loss efforts, but NYBG offers procedures to help you come out on top.


When it’s time to start a successful weight-loss journey, it’s time to call NYBG! We’re the best practice around and our numbers prove it:

  • 13 skilled surgeons leading the field of bariatrics
  • 15,000 successful procedures performed, with more occurring each day
  • The #1 gastric balloon practice in the country by volume – most balloons placed in the United States
  • 24/7 access to online seminars
  • 100s of videos for patients and their support network explaining procedures, answering common questions, and showcasing previous patients’ successes
  • Multiple offices located in three states; NY, NJ, CT
  • Since 2000, we boast 18 years of success!

Our commitment to patient success and excellence has earned us accreditation from the Metabolic Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). This prestigious achievement recognizes only the top bariatric practices. Stop waiting; start achieving better health today.

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5 Ways Your Body is Fighting Weight Loss and How to Stop It