Stand Up for Weight Loss

If weight gained during the stay-at-home pandemic quarantine is troubling you, you are in good company.  As workers gear up to return to offices, tailors and seamstresses are busy letting out suits and many are wondering how they are going to squeeze back into their pre-COVID wardrobe.  Aside from all the bread baking, stress, and screen time, a new study helps explain why too much time spent off our feet contributes to weight gain.

A recent Swedish study found that by wearing 11kg weighted vests for eight hours each day, overweight adults were able to drop three pounds of fat on average over a three-week period without changing their diet or lifestyle. Study participants who wore lighter vests which added only 1 kg to their body weight saw negligible weight loss.  

Although carrying extra weight throughout the day may burn more calories, researchers believe that the weighted vests also help send a message to the brain that the body’s mass has increased, stimulating weight loss in an attempt to achieve homeostasis.  Homeostasis is the body’s need to keep things as they are but when we take weight off our feet by sitting for long periods of each day, the body may not register how heavy it really is and act accordingly.  A recent New York Times report indicates that when people don’t stand and move enough, cellular sensors in the body are confused into thinking they are lighter than they really are.

For those working from home or generally spending more time sitting in front of a screen learning new technology, video chatting, or navigating unemployment benefits, it’s important to get up and move every half hour for a couple of minutes.  Try taking calls while walking or standing, use a standing desk or countertop for part of your day or do some stretches to ease tension and move muscles.  Take a 10-minute walk as part of your lunch break or stand while doing chores like folding laundry, cooking, or sorting mail. 

Learn more about how the gravitostat; the homeostatic regulation of body fat mass is affected by prolonged sedentary periods by following this link to a recent blog post in Dr. Sharma’s Obesity Notes