Fullness Resistance Syndrome
Louis Aronne, MD, founder and director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, agrees. "There is something physical going on in people who regain weight," he says.
"Resistance to these hormones is a risk factor for weight regain," he says. Aronne dubs this condition "fullness resistance" and says that your brain is resistant to signals that come from your stomach and intestines telling you that you are full and to stop eating.
"With leptin resistance, you don’t feel full and the more you eat, the hungrier you may get," he says.
"We need to stop blaming people and start recognizing the physical basis of weight regain and manage it so people do better," he says.
The new research likely applies to significant numbers of people who are finding the battle of the bulge to be an uphill one.
"We are getting down to some of the final choke points of our weight regulating system, and these should apply to large numbers of people," he says.
Drugs aimed at leptin resistance -- and there are some in the pipeline -- may help, he says.
"There's no question that most people who easily gain weight, and/or quickly regain weight after losing it are different from other folks," says Scott Kahan, MD, co-director of the George Washington University Weight Management Program in Washington, D.C., in an email. "The general public tends to think of 'fat' people as lazy and as having no willpower [but] it couldn't be further from the truth."
"Ample evidence, now including this study, suggests that there are physiologic reasons for weight gain, difficulty at losing weight, and rapid weight regain after a diet," he says. "There is no question that certain people are preconditioned to gain weight more easily and more quickly regain weight after dieting, just as some people are predisposed to having their blood pressure spike after eating salt whereas others can eat all the salt they want without having problems with hypertension," Kahan says. "This study is another small step toward ultimately ... [devising] new strategies for weight management and disease prevention that work with our bodies' physiologic makeup, rather than against it."