Weight loss is often at the forefront of many people's minds at the beginning of the year. But if weight loss is your goal for 2019, you have already experienced some difficulties.
This is because it is not easy to adhere to a strict calorie-control diet in a modern environment. Delicious, high-energy foods are attractive and easily available.
Diets have also become particularly difficult against the lack of response to overeating due to our body's rapid response to reduced food intake.
The almost immediate increase in hunger in dieting will be a familiar experience for many people.
Most people will experience how easy it is to overeat during vacation or other occasions.
For example, a main course meal in a full-service restaurant in the UK would account for more than half of the calories you need all day.
Do not overeat
Our recent research shows that increasing daily intake to more than 1,000 calories does not detect overeating in people, even as energy intake increases.
In this study, if you overeat with 150% of the daily calories you need, your appetite will not change.
We tested this by examining the appetite class and specific hormone levels known to control appetite and identifying the food intake of the participants the next day.
Our findings show how the body has not been adjusted to account for these additional calories.
In an environment where access to food is limited, when an ancestor is able to eat, overeating makes sense from an evolutionary point of view because it can increase the chance of survival by supplying fuel until it can be used again.
This shows that it is important to recognize calorie intake because short-term accidental overeating can be enough to cause weight gain or to prevent weight loss.
In fact, some evidence suggests that weight gain during the festival is maintained for the rest of the year. It is also responsible for the gradual increase in body weight.
Likewise, overeating on weekends can easily cancel strict meals that remain on weekdays.
But understanding how easy it is to overeat does not mean you can not achieve weight loss. In fact, you know that this can help with weight loss – by becoming more aware of dietary choices.
Do not forget exercise.
Despite the bias towards weight gain in our body, accurate diet and lifestyle changes can be produced to maintain weight loss.
Exercise can often be overlooked by people to find the "best diet for weight loss". However, if you want to lose weight, it is important to be actively involved, especially to maintain long-term weight loss.
Exercise can compensate for dietary changes and minimize the increase in hunger caused by dieting.
Despite the energy deficit for weight loss, exercise does not increase starvation to the same extent as diet.
In fact, hunger can be reduced when you exercise hard, helping you overcome hunger and increase your energy deficit.
The importance of exercise to maintain weight loss has been emphasized recently with US TV weight loss competitors, The biggest loser.
Tracking participants for six years after the show showed that those who had lost weight increased their physical activity by 160 percent.
Those who regain lost weight only increased physical activity by 34%.
Regardless of which diet you choose, you will need flexibility. Most diets require some compromise.
For example, for special occasions, you may be invited to a meal in a restaurant or have a celebratory celebration related to additional meals.
Knowing that your body is not responding to increased caloric intake, you can adjust your behavior to avoid or supplement overeating. For example, pay attention to choosing a diet before or after, or your level of exercise will offset the excess.
All of this shows that ultimately we should not rely on the body's feedback signal to detect caloric intake levels. Instead, consciously monitoring dietary and lifestyle habits is sufficient to counteract the natural bias of our bodies to weight gain.
And by recognizing the need for conscious monitoring, it can help you achieve your desired weight loss goals for the next year.
Kevin Deighton, nutrition and metabolism leader at Leeds Beckett University.
This article will be republished at The Conversation, under the Creative Commons license. Read the original article.