blue plate with weight loss written on it

Weight loss is among the most straightforward things we can do. Start eating less, increase your physical activity, and you will shed kilos.

So why do people struggle to lose weight so much? Why do most people start dieting, make some progress, then give up, and go back to square one?

Maybe there is more to the whole weight loss thing than we imagine?

Let’s see.

What Makes Weight Loss So Difficult?
To understand why weight loss is so complex, we must realize that the body’s primary purpose is to keep us alive. Your body doesn’t care about your aspirations to lose 20 kilograms or rock an impressive six-pack at the beach. It only cares about your well-being, which is why it has mechanisms that protect against dangers, such as starving to death.

From an evolutionary perspective, your body enjoys having more fat because the tissue stores a lot of energy, which the body can use during periods of famine. The body perceives dieting and losing that fat as a danger to our health, so it resists weight loss as much as it can.

One of the primary hormones involved in this protection against weight loss is leptin. The body release leptin from fat cells, and the hormone plays a vital role in regulating our appetite and metabolic rate.

The more fat we have, the more leptin we produce, leading to a higher caloric burn and a suppressed appetite. In contrast, the more fat we lose, the lower our leptin becomes, the more our metabolic rate downregulates, and the hungrier we feel. In other words, leptin is like a thermostat that keeps us within a specific body fat range, guarding against excessive fat gain or loss.

Other Factors That Guard Against Any Form Of Noticeable Weight Loss
Leptin is one key player in weight loss, but there are other roadblocks we need to clear. Another factor that greatly determines weight loss outcomes is mindset.

Many people approach weight loss with a rigid, black or white, good or bad mentality toward food, believing they should eat nothing but clean meals to lose weight. Having a free and more flexible approach to your food selection is much better because it allows you to enjoy some dietary freedom and still reach your goals. Your total calorie intake is what determines weight loss, so restrict yourself (and possibly consider calorie counting) but don’t fall for misguided ideas like:

“This cookie you’re eating will go straight to your hips.”

Habits also play a significant role in weight loss success. The problem is that most people don’t take the time to establish habits that lead to sustained weight loss but instead look for short-term solutions, such as diets.

Developing habits allows you to lose weight more easily and maintain your results after that. Some fantastic habits include:

  • Eating more slowly
  • Drinking some water before and during meals
  • Buying whole foods at the grocery store
  • Cooking more of your meals
  • Learning portion control and eating until you feel physically full
  • Consuming more satiating foods, such as meats and fibrous veggies

Sleeping enough is also important because not getting enough rest can increase cravings, reduce impulse control, and impair your body’s ability to burn fat. Ideally, you should get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

December 31, 2021 — Daniel Felstein

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