Whether you’re feeling unhealthy or your doctor tells you that you have to, losing weight is a common “must-do,” particularly for many Americans. The obesity statistics in the US are shocking, with 68% of adults considered to be either overweight or obese. 6.3% of Americans are considered “extremely” obese. With these scary stats in mind, it is vitally important to maintain a healthy body weight.
However, losing weight can be difficult—there’s no way around it. It’s not easy, but it is worth it. Losing weight can feel like trying to re-track a moving train by hand: it’s as though everything is working against you. In this article, we will explain some of the reasons that it is so difficult to lose weight, as well as what you can do to combat these obstacles.
There are psychological reasons that you may be having a difficult time losing weight. Your body is accustomed to excess body fat, and it can be hard to break the mold that allowed you to gain weight in the first place. Also, weight loss is gradual. It can be frustrating to see that it’s not happening fast enough, and that can lead to you feeling like you should give up. Don’t -- getting into that rut can even start to change your hormonal balance, and make it even harder for you to reach your goal. It’s a gradual process, and that can seem too slow, but what is the alternative? Gaining more weight, or staying as you are? That’s not a viable outcome, and the choice is clear: keep at it.
Finding a Workout Schedule that Works
People are busy, whether it is with work or school. While you’re able to lose weight through adjustments to your diet alone, getting a workout schedule going can be difficult. Also, working out and getting your heart rate up, if you’re not used to it, isn’t always easy at first. It can seem unpleasant and exhausting, but the only way to get through it is to go straight through it. Eventually, and this may sound hard to believe, working out will become habitual and easier. In fact, the more used to the activity your body becomes, the more your metabolism and hormone production will start to work for you instead of against you.
Changing Ingrained Eating Habits
People are used to eating what they eat. Sugar is addictive, and sitting down on the couch with a box of Oreos or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is a quick way to fix a sugar craving. And, frankly, cutting out sweets and other junk food from your diet isn’t easy. These foods taste good, and getting rid of them is hard. A potential way to combat this is through portion control. You don’t have to completely eliminate your favorite junk foods from your diet, but you don’t need to continue to eat them in high quantities. Restrict your intake to just a small bite, satisfying the craving without packing on too many calories.
Hormone imbalances, particularly with the thyroid gland, are another reason that losing weight might be difficult for you. Your thyroid gland is connected to your metabolism. Hypothyroidism occurs when you have an underactive thyroid. This can lead to problems stimulating your metabolism, leading to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Hypothyroidism is more common in women, and hormonal fluctuations can affect their weight gain or loss as a result.
Healthy Food is More Expensive than Junk Food
It’s common knowledge that a salad costs more than a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s. This isn’t fair, and it definitely works against people trying to lose weight, particularly low-income people who are unable to go to Whole Foods to spend money on fresh fruits and vegetables. This can be hard to get past, but try to eliminate prepared foods, purchase healthy ingredients in bulk, and prepare meals for yourself ahead of time. Your doctor may also be able to help you understand your dietary needs and suggest healthier alternatives.
Lack of a Support System
If other members of your family or friend group are not supportive, that can lead to problems with losing weight. Whether it’s your family eating unhealthily and expecting you to as well, or a coworker at work who always brings in donuts, temptation is everywhere. To solve this, you should enter into your diet and exercise plan with an accountability partner. You can also get your family involved in your health journey.
Mental Health Problems
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems are nothing to be ashamed of, but be aware that they can cause problems with weight gain. Depression, especially, can lead to lethargy and fatigue, meaning that your will to get up and go is decreased. Anxiety, another example, often causes people to develop coping skills that are unhealthy; i.e. binge eating. These mental health problems can both be caused by and cause imbalances in your hormones -- if you suspect this may be an issue in your quest for a lower weight, talk to your doctor to see how hormone levels and hormone therapy may fit into your health picture.
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