Losing weight is a frequent topic of conversation for me, as you can well imagine. In my real life, people who know my story invariably fall into one of two camps:
- They want to talk about their weight issues, why they eat more than they mean too, and ask for advice. I give advice (when I know the answer) when I can or just listen if that’s what they want.
- My other friends say nothing about weight — mine or theirs.
When my first category of friends and acquaintances talks about weight loss troubles, there are a lot of common questions:
Some of them are:
- Why does my weight never seem to go down?
- Do I have to exercise?
- How do I handle family that pushes food on me?
- My kids bring junk food home — what do I do?
- How can I get more willpower?
- Why do I quit after a couple of days?
- Is there a spiritual component to weight loss?
But among all the questions, the most common question is this:
Why is losing weight so hard?
Losing weight seems as though it should be easy. I mean really, you eat less, exercise more and BAM! you are losing weight. In theory that’s how it works. But recreating that easy peasy formula in the messiness of real life isn’t always easy.
I struggled with losing weight for 10 years straight.
In fact, when I first started trying to lose weight after I gained about 30 to 35 pounds soon after my marriage. I weighed about 196 or so and looked like this:
I’m 5’10” tall so I can carry weight a little easier than someone who is shorter. I had to buy new size 16 pants and finally joined Weight Watchers.
I didn’t really lose weight. Oh sure, a few pounds came off here and there but not much. And the pounds that came off returned bringing a few of their friends. I gave up for a bit and tried again and again.
Instead of losing weight during those 10 years, I kept adding pound after pound. Plus, I had three children, which was a great blessing, but didn’t do much to help my weight.
The easy peasy weight loss formula didn’t seem to work for me.
Here’s a list of eight reasons I think weight loss is so hard.
– Deprivation Isn’t Popular
I know you can diet without feeling deprived (i.e. eat ice cream every night as long as you don’t eat too much), but with most diets there is some deprivation, or saying “No,” to certain foods. That’s not easy, nor popular. Many people want the easy fix but there really isn’t one.
– Processed Foods Reign Supreme
The abundance of processed foods from grocery store aisles packed with unnecessary processed foods to fast food restaurants on every corner adds difficulty to the weight loss process. For many people, weaning off processed foods takes time, money, and a strong desire to do so. You can lose weight eating a lot of processed foods but I think it makes the weight loss process harder and encourages cheating.
– One Size Doesn’t Fit All
There’s not one sure fire way to lose weight despite what you read on the Internet. For some people, a low carb diet works, for others, gluten free is a requirement, and for other people, they can eat both carbs and gluten and still lose weight. You’ve got to find the balance of nutrients and calories that keeps you healthy and allows you to lose weight and keep it off.
– Snacking Is Expected
Most adults don’t have to have a snack. It’s fine if your snack fits into your weight loss plan but they aren’t necessary. Traditional snack foods (think chips, crackers, etc.) tend to be high in calories and low in nutrition. Think about limiting snacking as a way to control calorie intake.
– Calorie Reporting Among Dieters is Spotty
Research shows that people who struggle with their weight underreport calories consumed and overreport exercise performed. This isn’t a good combination. Accurately knowing how many calories you consume can make a huge difference in your weight loss effort. For example, if you are “sure” you are eating 1,500 calories but you are really eating 2,000 calories, your weight loss will be slow at best.
– Support Is Sometimes Lacking
It’s hard enough to lose weight when your support system is there for you. If you’ve got family and friends who aren’t supportive of your efforts, it is doubly hard.
– Gradual Acceptance of Overweight as the New Norm
The increasing prevalence of overweight and obese individuals in our society makes it harder to lose weight. At least I think it does. If almost everyone around you is overweight, it can be a little harder to get motivated to change. I mean, the motivation is there, but sometimes the incentive is gone.
– Instant Results Don’t Happen
Weight loss takes time, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose like I did. And that adds to the reason it’s hard. I like instant results but weight loss is a process. Try and enjoy, or at least appreciate, the process.
There you have some of my thoughts on why weight loss is hard.
What’s the fix?
- Find a diet that works for you.
- Stick to it and have a way of accurately tracking your progress.
- Don’t be swayed by outside influences or family that pushes you to eat.
- Look at weight loss as a process and and keep your eye toward weight maintenance.
- Enlist support online or in real life.
- Never give up. Don’t accept being overweight or obese if you know in your heart you need to and want to make a change.
What’s the hardest thing about dieting for you? Diane