Almost anyone who has ever lost weight can attest that it is harder to sustain weight loss than to lose weight. Maintenance of a 10% or greater reduced body weight is accompanied by decreases in energy expenditure to levels significantly below what is predicted solely on the basis of weight and body composition changes. This disproportionate decline in energy expenditure would not be sufficient to account for the over 80% recidivism rate to pre-weight loss levels of body fatness after otherwise successful weight reduction if there were a corresponding reduction in energy intake. In fact, reduced body weight maintenance is accompanied by increased energy intake above that required to maintain reduced weight. The failure to reduce energy intake in response to decreased energy output reflects decreased satiation and perception of how much food is eaten and multiple changes in neuronal signaling in response to food which conspire with the decline in energy output to keep body energy stores (fat) above a CNS-defined minimum (threshold). Much of this biological opposition to sustained weight loss is mediated by the adipocyte-derived hormone "leptin."
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