Why is weight loss so hard? Talk about a million dollar question, am I right? This question comes up in my practice almost every day. It comes up in casual conversation with friends and family almost as frequently. And it’s a fair question which I hope to shed light on in this post. But what I really hope is the answer may free you from wasting so much energy on this issue and allow you to use it for something more rewarding and beneficial, like feeling better and getting healthier. So, why is weight loss so hard?
The short answer is because our expectations are unreasonable. And the reason our expectations are unreasonable is that we’ve been lied to. Multiple lies, actually. The three biggest lies are
- Skinny equals more worthy
- If you’re overweight, this always means you’re unhealthy
- If you burn more calories then you eat, you will lose weight.
These three little lies have caused people to spend countless hours of frustration and feeling like a failure. We start by believing numbers 1 and 2.
Number 1 is a cultural problem and it’s simply not true. We all know it’s not true in our minds, yet we all struggle daily to believe it in our hearts. And the only way to fight this like is to not perpetuate it. We need to find our own value and worth in something besides our appearance, and teach our kids, especially our daughters, to do the same.
“We need to find our own value and worth in something besides our appearance”
Number 2 can be controversial. Yes, being obese is linked to many chronic health problems, but the direct link is not weight itself, but rather behaviors. About 20% of overweight/obese people are perfectly healthy because they, for the most part, make healthy choices when it comes to diet and exercise. They are genetically predisposed to carrying a lot of subcutaneous fat (the kind that doesn’t cause a lot of health problems). Likewise, as much as 40% of normal-weight individuals are not healthy, because of poor health behaviors. They may look “normal” size but poor health choices cause a lot of metabolic health issues. It’s BEHAVIORS that lead to better health and wellness.
So we believe lies 1 and 2. Then we fall for lie number 3 to solve our problem. I also have an entire post on why weight loss is not a simple calorie calculation. Anyone who still says it ignores all current research and experts on this topic. We use lie number 3 and fail because it doesn’t work. Then we give up. And lie number 2 becomes an overwhelming voice in our head, which makes us feel terrible.
People spend years of their lives running this hamster wheel, getting nowhere. Don’t hear me wrong, I am not opposed to weight loss. I do think it’s possible. It’s just more complicated than we’ve been told. It requires realistic expectations, respecting your body’s adapting changes, and equal amounts of patience and perseverance. I’ll focus on this in a future post, but my point today is before any permanent changes are made the cycle needs to be broken.
“Weight loss is more complicated than we’ve been told. It requires realistic expectations, respecting your body’s adapting changes, and equal amounts of patience and perseverance”
Stop believing the lies. Start making healthy choices when it comes to eating and exercising, and focus on benefits that have nothing to do with weight. Start focusing on how your mood has improved. Or how you’re not tired all the time. Maybe your cholesterol, blood pressure, or blood sugar have improved. Think about how you just feel better! Because you will- I’ve never met anyone who started eating better and exercising and didn’t feel better. Not one. And when you feel better, you’re motivated to keep doing it. And, if your body needs to lose weight, slowly but surely it will if you continue these habits.
Life’s too short to believe these false lies and perpetuate the vicious cycle. Make the change today to start living your healthiest life.