Or, What No One Is Telling You About Weight Loss
It's really, really hard to lose weight, and it's even harder to keep it off.
Yes, there are people out there who hit the KFC drive through and order two Diet Cokes so it appears as though they are ordering for two people even though they fully plan on devouring all the food themselves, and there are people who think that it's their right as Americans to be as fat as they want and the "liberal media" and "socialist government" have no right to take that away from them.
But there are also a LOT of overweight and obese people who genuinely want to lose weight and get healthy, and they give it the ol' college try every day of their lives. They count calories. They sign up for expensive fitness classes that make all sorts of promises. They power walk with their friends. They take healthy cooking classes. They stop getting popcorn at the movies. And it's frustrating to them when they just can't seem to lose weight. Or, they do lose weight and within a year they are back where they started.
Well, here's why you can't lose weight: YOUR BODY WANTS TO BE FAT.
You see, the human body loves being fat. It just LOVES it. Just like you get used to eating ice cream every night after dinner because it's comforting, your body gets comfortable with being fat and it will do everything in its power to keep it that way.
When you start trying to lose weight, your body will try every trick in the book on you and will undermine you at every turn. First, your backstabbing metabolism will actually lower itself so you burn fewer calories. Then, the hormones that suppress appetite and increase hunger get all wacky - some go up and some go down. Your body thinks it's starving and spurs you to eat more.
But ok, fine. Let's say you get past the American Gladiator-style obstacle course going on in your body and you do manage to drop some poundage. Now the real fun begins. Now the psychological warfare starts.
Your mind, that sly little devil, will start to poison your daily habits. You've lost weight, which is great, and you're happy about it. But...next time the cupcakes come around at the office, where last month you would have passed one up because you were trying to lose weight, today you think, what harm could one cupcake do? It's a small little decision that goes unnoticed. But it's a slippery slope and before you know it, the pounds creep back on and you're back to where you started without even realizing it happened.
There is a lot of interesting research going on right now to figure all of this out. This article in the New York Times spells it out really well. At YouBeauty we've done several articles on the various pitfalls that occur when you're trying to lose weight. Two good ones get into why "everything in moderation" is a myth and why weight-loss plateaus might be mental issues.
All of this might sound discouraging and you might think, why even try if I'm going to fail? Well, you should try because maintaining a healthy weight decreases your risk for about a million diseases and adds years to your life. And you're not destined to fail. You just have to be realistic about weight loss, and realize that nothing is easy or simple and there aren't any miracles out there. You can lose weight, but you have to be willing to go into battle and fight for it. You have to be willing to fight because you want to live a long life, and be there for your kids and grandkids, and you don't want to be drowning in medical bills that you can't afford to pay.
When you know what you're up against, you'll be better prepared to face the challenges head on - even if your worst enemy is yourself.