Diet resistance. A modern-day explanation for failed weight loss attempts.


If you post on the internet that overweight people are not to be blamed (or shamed) for their inability to lose weight, 10,000 people will post comments like, “Who shoved those cheeseburgers in their mouths?” and “it is their own fault they are such fat asses,” and so on. It is quite striking.

It does get to the center of the stereotypes that lead to fat shaming, though. The lean population believes to their cores that they are somehow members of a supreme race, and that if they switched places with their 300lb counterparts tomorrow, they would be able to lose the weight.

Here is the truth though. They would not be able to. They would end up frustrated, hopeless, and (maybe) apologetic – begging to be put back in their own bodies. And why? Because the overweight and obese population faces absolutely unique backlash from their bodies when they start to restrict calories and begin new exercise that the lean population does not feel when following the same program.

There are scientific words assigned to this backlash in 2017: adiposapthy, basal metabolism alterations, hunger hormone changes, the gut microbiome, and a few more. The bottom line is, these phenomena combine to make it impossible for overweight or obese folks to sustain calorie restriction, especially when combined with new exercise.

If we take a step back and look at the facts, it is impossible to deny this. For 50 years we have been trying different combinations of calorie restriction and exercise as prescriptions for weight loss in overweight or obese patients. It doesn’t work. Ninety five percent of these folks are back to their starting weight in six months. Ninety. Five. Percent. In what other medical condition would we continue to prescribe the same therapy with a ninety-five percent failure rate?? None.

Time for something new.