Losing weight is not always that simple.

Weight Loss is not THAT Simple

The other day I heard someone I greatly respect say, “Losing weight is the simplest thing in the world. We just need to eat less and move more.” I’m SO tired of hearing this I could scream. Could eating less lead to weight loss? Yes. Could moving more lead to weight loss? Yes. Both of these things certainly can be true and can lead to weight loss. But let me stand up for all of the women who’ve done both of these (and done them well) and have not lost weight. This model of weight loss is outdated and can even be harmful. Calories are not the only things that impact our weight!

First, have you ever noticed that your body often tends to lose weight faster in the beginning and slower over time? Your actual metabolism shifts. For that matter, if you restrict your diet too much, your body actually thinks it may starve and will intentionally hold ON to extra fat to help ensure that doesn’t happen.

Second, many dieters try to cut out high-calorie and/or high-fat foods not realizing that these foods can actually lead to weight loss. There is a reason the Keto Diet is so popular right now – people are losing weight on it. Another dietary method, the Mediterranean Diet, can be heavy on nuts and olive oil which can be healthy options that also lead to greater satiety (feeling full) and less likelihood of binging from hunger.

Another thing that happens on low-fat diets is people miss the flavor of their foods. So they begin replacing those items with a smorgasbord of low-fat options which tend to be high in processed sugar (hello! – there’s one of the real problems) and other lab-created flavor enhancers.

Third, we are oversimplifying a potentially complicated problem. Ask anyone who has struggled with hypothyroidism how hard it is to keep weight off. Or maybe the woman who has had to have a hysterectomy for any reason. Our hormones are complicated creatures and they can have a direct impact on our waistline. All of the diets in the world may not lead to weight loss if the root cause of an underlying hormone imbalance is at play.

Fourth, you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. Many women reward themselves for their hard work with food. McDonald’s or even Starbucks after my spin workout? I earned it. It. does. not. work. We also have a tendency of overestimating how many calories we’re burning or how hard we’re exercising and underestimating how much crap we eat. Just saying.

Lastly, when I say that this information can be harmful, I mean that a few different ways. Have you ever been one of those women exercising until you’re exhausted and restricting your diet to the point you feel hungry non-stop? When you start an exercise regimen, your calorie needs increase from the get-go. Is it wise to eat less in your particular situation? Possibly. But remember that we are all unique individuals with unique needs. Did you know women have a higher need for carbohydrates for healthy hormones? Yep. Did you know that the quality and quantity of your sleep directly impact your weight loss ability? Yes again. Did you know that your stress levels and your gut bacteria impact your current weight? Uh-huh. Did you know that you tend to “be like” the 5 people you spend the most time with? What do they eat and drink? How do they exercise? How do they encourage and speak to you? Are they supporters or downers? Did you know that your mindset (such as thinking “I always fail at my diet and exercise changes”) will cause you to be more likely to fail and feel guilt and shame that leads to more overeating?

Ladies! There is NOT a silver bullet to weight loss. I know we all want one. Heck. Who doesn’t want change and want it now? No hands raised? I didn’t think so. Change is possible but change takes time and it takes a careful analysis of the entire picture, not one or two things. Did you know those who lose weight and actually keep it off generally don’t lose weight fast? Slower weight loss has shown itself to be more sustainable in the long run. And isn’t that what we’re looking for?

One final comment before I wrap this up. I’m not here telling anyone they need to lose weight. I’m not a body-shamer and I’m accepting of all shapes and sizes. I do, however, find it very important to live the healthiest we can in the bodies we’ve been blessed with. Many times, when we’re able to focus on healthy living and feeling good physically, the weight loss comes as an added bonus.

How about you? Is this an area of struggle for you? How do you feel about the comment, “Weight loss is simple.” And to give the lady who made the statement some credit, she clarified it was “simple, not easy.” She’s in the business of motivating women and I love that about her. I simply wanted to clarify that it’s not always simple.

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Off my soapbox and until next time…

Love to you ladies…

Take care,

Terra