Is it psychological, biological or emotional? Why is it so hard to shed that extra weight? People have been asking that question forever it seems. Let’s admit it — even though you want to be healthier, you don’t like how your body looks either.
Can medical research help us? Did you know that exercise might not be as important as you thought? Plus, new evidence suggests that the benefit of weight loss surgery might be obtained by not having surgery at all. Let’s find out why weight loss is so difficult and how to get over the obstacles.
Many People Affected
In the 1960s, about 10 percent of United States adults between age 20 and 74 were considered obese. Now, that number is approaching 40 percent. What caused this explosion? One thing for certain is that we simply eat more. For example, in 1970 the average person consumed 389 grams of carbohydrates per day. In 2000, that rose to 490 grams. During the same period, the amount of food consumed outside the home has almost doubled.
Let’s take that data and draw a simple conclusion. We eat more. We do less activity. Think about it. If you go out to eat, you don’t have to shop, cook or wash the dishes. That alone explains the problem in a nutshell. Life has become so convenient that we don’t have to move much. Plus, the content of food has deteriorated in time — becoming high calorie and low nutrition.
You know all this already, right? So, why is it so hard to lose weight?
Too Much Emphasis on Exercise?
The weight loss industry means well, but the data is what counts. More and more, it’s showing up that exercise is a secondary factor in weight loss. Why is this? No matter how much you work out, most of your time is not spent in the gym. Now, for a world-class athlete, this might be different, but for the rest of us, most of your calories are burned at rest.
In fact, 30 percent of calories are burned during physical activity while the other 70 percent get burned from your basal metabolic rate. So, yes, if you have a fast metabolism, you tend to be thinner. That’s why you see kids who play all kinds of sports but are still overweight. It’s due to their food choices and metabolic rate.
Another reason we have trouble with weight is that we bite off more than we can chew (pun intended). That is, you try to do it all at once — exercise and diet. Then, after a few weeks, you end up exhausted and fall back into old habits and cravings. In most cases, it gets even worse than before. What if you focused on just one thing instead? Here’s a bombshell — don’t even think about exercising at first. Here’s why.
Remember the 30 percent/70 percent calorie burning distribution? Well, consider this. To lose half a pound a week, you have cut out about 250 calories per day from your diet. That’s one fewer McDonald’s hamburger per day. To get the same effect exercising you’d have to run 2.5 miles per day. Which one seems harder to do?
Exercise Makes You Hungry
The other problem is that working out makes you hungry, so you might end up eating more. You might even feel you deserve it. So, for now, the best strategy might be to do just one thing at a time, that is, change your food intake habits.
It Might Be the Diet’s Fault
The other problem with weight loss is that we think one-size-fits-all. Just eat less fat, they say. However, biological research shows it’s not that simple. For example, “diet” foods are often low in nutrition. If you rely on these, you starve yourself of important nutrients. The result may trigger an even stronger hunger reflex. Anything in a package is suspicious. If you eat more fresh food the nutritional value skyrockets, and your body processes it more effectively.
Even more revealing is that two people might react to certain foods in an opposite way. One study looked at a variety of biomarkers in 800 people between the ages of 18 and 70. In some people, certain foods made their blood sugar go up and, in others, the same food made blood sugar fall. This means there has to be more to it than just eat less fat.
The results of this exciting research reveal something that might make weight loss surgery obsolete.
Under the Knife
More people are turning to surgical procedures to achieve weight loss. Now, while this has proven to be effective for some, the reasons might not be so clear. Yes, a smaller stomach gets full faster, but something else is clearly going on. Remember how some foods cause different blood sugar reactions in different people? It turns out the microbiome may be the reason.
The millions upon millions of bacteria that live in your intestines help determine how you process food. If they do this efficiently and effectively, you should be healthier. Gut surgery changes the microbiome, and amazingly this alone may be a big reason why surgery works.
If gut flora promotes weight loss, could there be a way to change yours? After people undergo surgery, their gut chemistry changes dramatically. For instance, Lactobacillus is usually not found in the gut until after surgery. Part of this might be due to a drop in intestinal acidity. So, maybe the answer rests in dropping the pH of your stomach to promote Lactobacillus colonization.
Why does this bug help? It stimulates the production of natural appetite-suppressing hormones, so you want to eat less. For now, things are still in the research phase. Still, many are already taking Lactobacillus-containing probiotics hoping it will take the edge off their hunger.
Did Stress Change the Microbiome?
The cause of gut bacteria change is hard to pin down. Some scientists are wondering how much this has to do with the global obesity epidemic. Could stress be part of it? We live in a world where there’s a lot of chronic stress. This leads to sustained levels of stress hormones like cortisol rushing through our bloodstreams. This hormone increases your appetite and causes a craving for carbohydrates.
Could cortisol also adversely affect the microbiome making it a double whammy against weight control? Currently, all of this is speculation, but there’s no doubt that stress can be a factor in causing obesity. Anything that helps with stress reduction, such as better sleep, should help with weight loss.
One simple way to get better rest is to turn off your cellphone 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. The light emitted from the screen stimulates your brain and disrupts sleep patterns. Could the rise of handheld tech also be making it harder to lose weight? It wouldn’t be surprising.
Did you think that a weight loss article would not recommend exercise? Think again. However, how you exercise makes all the difference. If we return to the basal metabolic rate concept, we can see how smarter exercise makes a difference.
Sustained exercise, such as walking or jogging is certainly good for you, but it doesn’t fire you up. That is, it doesn’t stimulate your metabolism like high-intensity interval exercise. The key is to have an all-out effort with a short rest interval. Before your body completely recovers though, you’re back at the exercise. This creates an oxygen deficit, which means your body craves oxygen and your muscles burn. The result is a greater calorie consumption during your workout. Plus, during recovery, your body’s metabolism is ramped up so that you burn more calories at rest.
Exercise apps like the 7-minute workout, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and CrossFit are all based on this theory. If you can’t join a gym, download a 7-minute workout app, which is very effective.
If you’ve reached the end of this article, you have something special going for you — perseverance. Despite all the research and technology, there is no magic bullet. Sure, you could have surgery, but it’s not the easiest road to take. In any case, your mental toughness will make a difference. Pick one change, just one to start with. Take your time, make it a life habit and then add another. Don’t think of it as trying to lose weight. Think of it as transforming your life for the better.
If you are looking for the easiest, most gentle way to unlock a slimmer, sexier you, then check out the Low-Impact High-Result @ Home Workout program.
Exercise to Lose Weight? (2017, June 13). Retrieved from https://draxe.com/mythbusters-exercise-for-weight-loss/
Overweight & Obesity | CDC. (2017, November 29). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html
Staff, W. (2017, May 26). Obesity Surgery May Work by Remaking Your Gut Microbiome. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2017/05/obesity-surgery-may-work-remaking-gut-microbiome/
Why Losing Weight Is So Hard for Some People. (2015, November 24). Retrieved from http://time.com/4125083/why-losing-weight-is-hard/