The Laws of Weight Loss
There are certain truths to weight loss. Call them the Laws of Weight Loss if you will:
Everyone who attempts to lose weight, will face obstacles.
Everyone who loses weight, will eventually gain some or all of that weight back.
Everyone will gain and lose weight at a different rate.
Our bodies were not designed to lose weight. It is a survival mechanism that makes our bodies fight us when we attempt to do so because losing weight is an abnormal function for our bodies.
Because of these inevitable consequences of weight control, we often find ourselves feeling defeated, weak, or not up to par. This could not be more false.
If you have lived long enough, you have attempted to lose some pounds. Maybe it was to fit into a dress for a friend's wedding, shed your Freshman fifteen, lose pregnancy weight after your child is born, drop some weight for a big vacation or event, or for health reasons.
When we are young, it is easy. Lose 5 lbs just by cutting back a little over a week or 10 days. Then, we get older and life starts stacking obstacles in our way.
Obstacles come in many shapes and sizes. Some are actual obstacles while others are more of the abstract variety. The obstacle could be a busy schedule, increased stress level, major life events, added responsibilities, depression, health problems, a sedentary job, or simply age.
Multiple factors control weight gain, weight loss, and weight control. Most, are out of our control.
You live long enough, you hurdle, dodge, or slammed into these obstacles often. Sometimes we overcome them, sometimes we do not.
But, losing the weight is not the end of the struggle...
Whatever the reason, whatever the approach, statistically, 95% of all people who lose weight gain at least 50% back.
Let me repeat that so it really sinks in:
Nearly EVERYONE who loses weight will gain half back.
Take those odds and apply them to anything else in life. The stock market, a horse race, the chance you will die in an airplane crash...
I think we can all agree, those are not good odds!
So, now that I have sufficiently depressed you and given you no hope for losing weight, let me explain a little more about these inevitable truths and how we can influence them to our success.
What you can do to improve your chances of weight loss success:
First, identify your obstacles. We cannot tackle a problem unless we know what is causing it. And, I promise you, there will be various obstacles. It may be a bad habit you have developed but it is most likely coupled with a genetic predisposition for weight gain, some other health problems, and few other things as well.
This is a good time to visit your PCP and go over any medications, health conditions known or unknown that may be contributing to your weight gain or preventing weight loss.
Keep a food journal for at least 30 days to identify what food choices you might change to help in reducing your calorie intake. A food journal can also help identify behaviors and patterns in our eating.
Change what you can control. We cannot control everything that is contributing to our weight. The genes we inherited are ours to keep. Some health conditions can be managed but we live with them for the rest of our lives.
However, we can assess our stress level and choose to eliminate things that are making us stressed. We can make better food choices or drink more water. We can start going to bed earlier to ensure a good eight hours of sleep.
We can change behaviors that are contributing to our weight gain. The key is in consistency. Everyone "falls off the wagon". Those who are successful, just get back on faster.
Make it a lifestyle approach incorporating small changes over time.
And, do not be afraid to ask for help.
Because we are now approaching matters of weight as a chronic condition, we are developing better treatment plans. What are those treatment plans?
For all, it must include a change in diet and lifestyle. Exercise is always a good addition. The type of exercise should be determine by your activity level, your age, your physical limitations, health status, and enjoyment.
And, for most, adding a medication. The newest weight loss medications are designed to help you lose the weight and also maintain it. A medication can fill the willpower gap, correct the metabolic conditions contributing to your weight gain, reverse chronic health problems leading to weight gain, and prevent future problems.
Ask your PCP about medication options or, seek out a certified Weight Management Professional.
Lastly, we are conditioned by a culture that tells us how we should look which leaves most feeling inadequate. I've said it before, but it bears repeating, you cannot compare your journey to someone else's. Likewise, you cannot compare your weight goals to another.
All bodies are good. All bodies are beautiful. All bodies are unique. Loving the body you have is the first step to finding a weight goal that provides confidence, health, and adds quality and years to our lives.
I work with each patient to develop an individualized, customized, and comprehensive approach to a lifestyle change that will ensure each patient achieves their weight goals and has the tools to maintain that weight.
If you are in the NE Arkansas area, you can find me at NEA Baptist Clinic: 870-936-8000
Dr. Angela Jones DNP, FNP, CHC
Certified Advanced Obesity Education