Why Is It So Hard To Lose Weight?

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Eat less and exercise more. It makes weight loss seem so simple and straightforward.

However, losing weight is difficult, and it isn't because you or anyone else is lazy or isn't working hard enough. Because everything from our biology to our surrounds to our emotions makes weight loss an uphill battle against both nature and nurture for many of us.

Why Is It So Hard To Lose Weight?


Are we doomed by our genes?

Most of us are aware that our genes are visible in our jeans in some form. According to Spencer Nadolsky, a board-certified family and bariatric physician, diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, and author of "The Fat Loss Prescription," the genes our parents and grandparents pass down to us can determine our body composition to some extent, just as they can determine our eye and hair color.

While some people are born with a genetic propensity to being overweight or obese, others are born with the "thin gene." In 2007, for example, scientists discovered a common obesity-related gene variation that increases the risk of obesity by 20 to 30%.

Furthermore, epigenetics is a new discipline of genetics that explores how and what variables influence gene expression and the ability of genes (including obesity-related genes) to play out.

According to Krista Rompolski, assistant clinical professor of health sciences at Drexel University and a research team member for the Girls Gone Strong online fitness community, epigenetic factors include the foods our mothers ate while pregnant, whether we were born via C-section, and whether we were breast-fed as infants. According to study published in the journal Pediatrics, our mothers' body composition at the time they were pregnant with us is also a significant epigenetic determinant.


Your Body Isn't Interested in Losing Weight

When you strive to lose weight, your body naturally works against you, regardless of your genes or circumstances.

According to Nadolsky, your body's weight loss-stalling attempts involve substantial changes in hormone levels such as leptin, ghrelin, GLP-1, and peptide YY. Hunger levels rise, and maintaining the required calorie deficit becomes a battle between you and your biology.

Weight reduction is associated with a decrease in basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories burned simply by existing. Because of this decline, maintaining weight loss — and continuing to lose weight – is difficult. While any loss in body mass should theoretically result in a reduced metabolic rate (it takes less fuel to run your body the less mass it has), Lofton adds that in actuality, the drop is significantly more than theory would have predicted.

It's not that our bodies don't want us to be healthy. “Our bodies do not wish for us to go hungry. These biolog "It's not that our bodies don't want us to be healthy"We don't want to go hungry, and neither do our bodies. These biological systems were created to keep us alive and well, but they aren't assisting us in our current situation."

ical systems were designed to preserve us from deteriorating, but they aren't helping us in our current situation."

When two people of the same sex and age with similar body weights and compositions are compared, this metabolic adaptation can be seen. Consider the case of two 200-pound males. If one of them has been about 200 pounds his entire adult life and the other used to be 300 pounds, all other factors being equal, the man who lost weight to get to 200 pounds will have a lower metabolic rate, according to Nadolsky.

He also points out that as people lose weight, they participate in less non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, such as fidgeting, walking, and generally moving than they used to, lowering daily caloric expenditure and the ability to maintain weight reduction.

Meanwhile, obesity can lead to long-term malfunction in the brain's appetite and reward systems, as well as insulin and leptin resistance, which can exacerbate weight-loss issues by boosting fat storage and increased hunger, according to him. And as you become older, your metabolic rate naturally slows down.


The Psychology of Losing Weight

While binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States, affecting about 2 million people on a clinical level, the National Eating Disorders Association estimates that far more people struggle with subclinical disordered eating habits like emotional eating, overeating, and skipping meals.

According to Nazario, a subtle combination of memories, emotions, childhood coping skills, and reward pathways across the brain affects how virtually everyone views food. Humans eat for a variety of reasons other than hunger, and sustained weight loss by good diet and exercise is impossible without addressing the psychological issues that contribute to weight gain.


So, how can you make weight loss more manageable?

It's difficult to lose weight. Understanding that fact – as well as all of the biological, environmental, and psychological elements that contribute to weight development and loss – might help alleviate some of the uncertainty and frustration that people often feel while trying to lose weight.

Furthermore, none of these stumbling blocks are insurmountable. While your genes may predispose you to a given body weight, your lifestyle practices all influence whether and how those genes are expressed, according to twin research.

For example, researchers at the University of Washington discovered that siblings who obtained the required amount of sleep (seven to nine hours) had much lower BMIs (weight-to-height ratios) than those who slept less. Meanwhile, even if you can't change your city or neighborhood, you do have complete control over your most essential environment: your home. You may also choose how much time you spend strength training, which helps you build lean muscle and raise your metabolic rate. In addition, experienced psychologists and counselors can assist you in overcoming mental obstacles.

Reaching out to professionals, whether they're a registered dietitian, personal trainer, certified strength and conditioning specialists, psychologist, or obesity medicine specialist – or all of the above – isn't a show of weakness or shame, according to Nadolsky. It's an indication that you recognize that dealing with all of these issues necessitates a multidisciplinary, personal, and professional approach. It's an indication that you recognize the value of your health and pleasure.

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