Understanding How Weight Loss Works on the Body

Learn how your body responds to weight-loss efforts and how you can set realistic expectations on your journey with this comprehensive guide.

Understanding How Weight Loss Works on the Body

The body is capable of converting fat into usable energy for muscles and other tissues through a series of complex metabolic processes. This causes fat cells to be reduced, and also generates heat to help maintain body temperature and waste products. When you diet, you consume fewer calories than your body needs, so your body turns to fat reserves for energy. Excess energy consumed, usually from fats or carbohydrates, is stored in fat cells in the form of triglycerides.

This is how the body preserves energy for future needs. Over time, this excess energy produces excess fat that can affect the shape and health of your body. Fat cells are mainly used as energy to work muscles and move the body. In addition, energy stored in the form of fat also helps to isolate the body and protect its vital organs.

A daily deficit of 500 calories is a good place to start seeing noticeable fat loss. However, more recently, treatments have been used in combination with low-calorie diets, medical nutrition therapy, nutrition education, exercise programs, monitoring, pharmacological agents and social support to promote weight loss, and as a component of maintenance programs. Sustainable weight management is possible and understanding how your body responds to weight-loss efforts can help you set realistic expectations on your journey. L-Carnitine is a catalyst synthesized from amino acids and necessary for the transport of fatty acids from the bloodstream to the mitochondria during the breakdown of fats to generate metabolic energy to maintain a healthy body weight. For example, Sheppard and colleagues (199) reported that after 1 year, obese women who reduced their fat intake from approximately 39 percent to 22 percent of total caloric intake lost 3.1 kg of body weight, while women who reduced their fat intake from 38 percent to 36 percent of total caloric intake lost 3.1 kg of body weight.

The recognition that weight-related diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, occur in people with BMI levels below 25, and that weight loss improves these conditions in these people, suggests that indications for weight-loss drugs should be individualized for the specific patient. Almost any type of assistance provided to participants in a weight management program can be characterized as support services. Evidence that obesity, unlike overweight, is a pathophysiological process of multiple etiologies and not simply a problem of self-discipline is gradually being recognized. Obesity is similar to other chronic diseases associated with alterations in the biochemistry of the body. Other factors affect weight loss such as gender, age, degree of calorie deficit and quality of sleep.

However, overweight and obesity are clearly the result of a complex set of interactions between genetic, behavioral and environmental factors. Like weight control in general, addressing the genetic predisposition to obesity is much easier from a preventive point of view than from a reactionary point of view. The primary role of the health care provider is to motivate people to learn the skills needed to control their weight.