Q: What makes losing weight so hard?
Q: What makes weight loss impossible to achieve?
How can it be that the two mainstays of every weight loss program under the sun, diet and exercise, are the cause of weight loss being such a futile endeavor?
The weight loss research shows that on any given day approximately 45% of women in the U.S. are trying to lose weight. Along with this impressive number of women who are aspiring to shed their unwanted pounds, 80% of people who do lose weight don’t keep their lost weight off. In fact, many who lose weight regain the weight they lost and then some.
The primary methods of weight loss subscribed to in this dismal weight loss climate are diet or exercise or both. Weight loss diets by themselves don’t work so say the experts because to lose weight you have to exercise as well. The exercise research on the other hand shows that exercise by itself is no match for the food intake side of things. The average 300-calorie doughnut, for instance, would take exercising for at least an hour or more (at the average energy expenditure of 200 to 300 calories per hour) to neutralize the calories-in.
Where are we? Diet by itself makes weight loss harder. Exercise by itself makes weight loss impossible. But what about the combined effect of exercise and diet; does this work? Dieting and exercise has been the usual prescription. If you want to lose weight, you have to diet and exercise. Well you usual prescribers, what do we do about the 60% of women from age 20 to 74 who are overweight or obese, many of whom are either on diets, have gone on diets, or exercised right along with their diet?
As every woman who has ever dieted, exercised, or done both can tell you, it ain’t easy. “Getting yourself to do it” no matter how fancy or fitting the food plan takes something that isn’t in the food plan (read: diet). Exercising is no different. “Getting yourself to do it” requires more than just the exercise regimen or a personal trainer. Many a piece of exercise equipment has ended up on the expendable list, easily set aside gathering dust or else used as a clothes rack.
There must be something missing from that elegant equation, diet + exercise = weight loss. The factor that is missing is ‘you’. You are, and you know it, the power behind losing your own unwanted weight. It’s you after all who is the only one who can to do the single most important thing to lose unwanted weight, which is adhere. Adhere to a diet. Adhere to an exercise routine. Adhere to both diet and exercise regimens until you achieve your goal.
The weight loss research clearly shows that adherence is the sine qua non of weight loss. It’s not the particular diet or a combination of diet and exercise that makes for successful weight loss. It is your adherence to the diet first and foremost that makes weight loss possible and permanent weight loss an aspiration that can be realized.
Now the only problem left to solve is getting yourself to do it—adhere, that is. How are you going to get yourself to stick to it for as intensely and enduringly as you need to? Here is where you will have to turn away from: thinking about food, calories, carbs, low fat, aerobics, steppers, and free weights. Focus your mind instead in the direction of what it will take to develop your adherence skills.
In this regard, ask yourself what personal resources can you bring to the weight loss table? Can you “do without,” for instance? “Doing without” may not sound like a skill, but in connection with adhering to a weight loss routine it certainly is an important skill. Take a hard look to see if there is anything that will prevent you from “doing without?” If there is, you’d better do something about it. Eating less, not snacking on fattening food, going without “rewards” and “treats,” these are examples of “doing without.”
Can you think of some other personal resources that would promote adherence? How about things like turning the weight loss process into a more interesting endeavor or having better emotional and motivational balance?
Do you get the idea now? In order to lose weight and successfully keep the weight off, there’s the all-important ‘you’ factor, which, if you concentrate your efforts on it, will enable you to adhere. You will at the same time be saving diet and exercise from the bad reputations they’ve acquired. After all, diet and exercise were never meant to do it by themselves—without ‘you’.
Symmetry Press, the publisher of Maria’s Last Diet Blog, is giving away a copy of 99 Essential Weight Loss Blogposts before it’s released.
To enter: Like Symmetry Press' Facebook page and then tell your biggest struggle while dieting. After you've commented, share this post to your own wall.
A random winner will be chosen on June 1st. Must be 18 years or older and living in the continental U.S. to win.
The link to the giveaway is: https://www.facebook.com/SymmetryPress