“ Your waistline is important to your health with the fat around your waist being metabolically active ,” said Holly S. Andersen, M.D., Attending Cardiologist, Director of Education and Outreach at the Perelman Heart Institute, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) Joan and Sanford I. Weill Cornell Department of Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital. “This type of fat (visceral fat) makes your blood pressure and lipid (cholesterol) levels less favorable, makes you more prone to insulin resistance and diabetes, and is ‘pro-inflammatory’ with inflammation being the gateway to disease: brain disease, heart disease and cancer.”
Unfortunately, metabolic compensation isn’t your body’s only strategy to prevent weight loss or encourage weight gain. Hunger hormones – leptin and ghrelin – are also at play. Fat cells produce leptin, which tells your brain when you’re full. Fat cells also shrink when you lose weight, producing less leptin and meaning you don’t feel as full. Strike one. Ghrelin, produced by the stomach, tells the brain it’s time to refuel. When you lose weight, ghrelin levels rise, prompting you to want to eat more frequently. Strike two. Research suggests that neither leptin levels nor ghrelin levels return to a normal baseline for at least a year.