7 Reasons People Fail At Weight Loss
Weight loss resistance is one of the most common health complaints I see. The inability to exercise or diet your weight away is horribly discouraging, and it breaks my heart to see people suffocated with weight loss advice without finding answers for themselves.
This article is meant to be a starting point, not a manual. By looking at the top seven reasons why I see people fail at losing weight, maybe you'll see yourself, which can help you break the endless cycle of weight loss resistance:
1. Setting unrealistic goals
Having a clear vision of what your weight loss goals are is critical to your success, but many people give up on their weight loss goals because they expect results that take time and perseverance. If this was the case for you in the past, it can leave you feeling too overwhelmed to do anything at all. You can overcome this paralysis by analysis by setting realistic, short-term goals that still push your comfort zones.
2. Eating emotionally
Eating should be enjoyable, but when the love of food is used as a coping mechanism during times of stress or sadness, it can turn unhealthy. If you're an emotional eater, dealing with the underlying emotions that fuel compulsive eating is essential. Mindfulness meditation can help you become aware of the body's true needs. Observing your thoughts and emotions, instead of mistaking yourself for them, allows you to break the habitual cycle of emotional eating and make rational choices.
3. Hating your body
You can't heal a body you hate. I often see patients who aren't able to get healthy and lose weight because of years of self-loathing. Unconscious assumptions about yourself, that you are not worthy of love or good things, is a lie. When these false beliefs go unaddressed, even if you had the body you always wanted, it would never be enough.
4. Failing to nourish your body
This goes hand in hand with self-loathing. Do your body a favor and end starvation diets and fad diets. Your body's weight is a result of myriad different physiological factors that need to be nourished with good, healthy food. Your body needs those nutrients to function the way it was intended to.
Shift your perspective on food. Instead of looking at how you can withhold your body from food as punishment for weight gain, start to ask yourself how you can heal your body with delicious, nourishing food as medicine. By chronically restricting food, you tell your body that it's in starvation survival mode. Quit making your body so great at storing fat!
5. Searching endlessly for quick fixes
I see many people with piles of exercise DVDs, weight loss products and fad diet books that promise "4 minute abs" or "1 pill a day to melt the fat away." The washboard abs and sculpted muscles on the covers feed the desperation to be fit. The minute you stop these unsustainable programs you gain all your weight back and then some. There are no quick fixes or magic pills to buy online. There is no replacement to finding out what works for you and sticking with it.
6. Making weight loss the ultimate goal
Losing weight is not equivalent with getting healthy. Illness may make you lose weight, but you obviously won't be healthier. I consult many skinny people with high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
You have to stop seeing weight gain as a cause and start seeing it as a symptom of something else going on in the body and the mind. You have to get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy. Sustainable weight loss will be a natural byproduct of regaining health. If you get healthy, you will look great on accident.
7. Underlying physiological issues
Many times people have done everything right and still can't lose weight. That's where functional medicine steps in. Underlying hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, gut conditions, thyroid dysfunctions or toxicity issues can prevent the most dedicated person from ever losing weight.
When you are struggling with these issues you could look at food and gain weight. This is not your fault. Clinically investigating these underlying causes of stubborn weight loss resistance gives people answers to their years of struggle. When you finally find out these root issues they can then be addressed.
Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, D.C., is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian,The Inflammation Spectrum, and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.