There's new evidence that the longer you're obese, the less likely it is you'll ever lose that weight.
Got your attention, didn't it?
A new animal study that appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that the longer mice remained overweight, the more "irreversible" that condition became.
Think of this way: The body knows at which point its weight is "normal" and healthy. We'll call that the body's "baseline weight point." For example, for a man who's 5-foot-7, that baseline weight point would be about 150 pounds.
Once people go beyond that point – once they start putting on the pounds and getting overweight – there's apparently a period of time during which the body continues to maintain its original baseline weight point. That is, if the man who's supposed to weigh 150 pounds has grown to 180 pounds, his body will still operate as if it's normal weight is 150 pounds.
But eventually, something snaps – researchers referred to it as a flipping of the genetic switch. If a person is obese for too long, the body's baseline weight point will eventually change and become permanently elevated. So the person who's 30 pounds overweight may see their baseline weight point eventually increase by 30 pounds.
Once that happens, it's extremely difficult to lose weight. And here's the kicker: Even if you do, researchers say the "regaining of weight seems almost unavoidable."
So, to make an understatement, timing in weight loss is key.
Additionally, just because your body's baseline weight point goes up doesn't mean it can operate in a healthy way at that weight. Obese is obese – and researchers say this new study just proves that it's "in part a self-perpetuating disorder," the results of which emphasize the importance of nipping obesity – in children, especially – in the bud.
On top of it all, the study's authors don't know why this happens and say figuring that out will "require much further study."
About 33 percent of South L.A. adults are obese, according to the latest county statistics.
Photo by Jek Bacarisas via Flickr Creative Commons.