Weight loss is a big industry. As interest in better health and lower health care costs grow, so does the weight loss industry. It’s an easy way for the unscrupulous to make a lot of money off the overweight (currently estimated to be more than one third of the U.S. population.)
Technology changes what we know, or thought we knew, about the human body. The more we learn, we realize how much more we need to know. Meanwhile, there are people eager to take parts of what we know, twist it perhaps, or may manipulate a bit, to turn it into perfectly reasonable, dependable scientific information. Then they publish “the breakthrough scientific research” in a book, promote it on TV and the Internet, and make a lot of money assuring those who want to lose weight that, “this book holds the key!”
1) Weight loss is possible for you.
You can lose weight even if you claim to “have no metabolism.” If you are alive, you have a metabolism. It’s also possible to increase the calories your body burns at rest by engaging in muscle building exercise. Depending on how much weight you need to lose and extenuating factors, you may need the assistance of a bariatric physician. Weight loss surgery is neither cheating nor the easy way out, and for some, it may be the only way out.
Just because you can lose weight doesn’t make it a good idea. Some people think they need to lose weight because they are too critical, too unrealistic, or too caught up by media images of “perfection.”
2) There is no such thing as starvation mode.
There is no science to support the belief that eating too few calories will cause weight gain and much to prove it’s a false notion. Research suggests that a calorie deficit that’s too great may create a slower rate of weight loss, but you simply cannot gain weight by not eating enough. Not everybody will experience a slower rate of loss on a very low calorie diet, but all will shortchange themselves on good nutrition and health.
3) You cannot spot reduce.
Don’t believe the ads and posts suggested for you in your Facebook feed. Your belly fat will not go away because you stopped eating bananas or wheat! There are no special diets, or foods, or exercises that can create a weight loss in one, specific, targeted area. When you lose weight, your genes determine where the body fat will be reduced. Your trouble spot will probably become smaller, but expect inches coming off in other areas too.
Exercising can tone and firm and enhance your health and appearance, but short of surgery your body decides where it’s going to store its fat.
4) Your rate of weight loss may be faster or slower than others.
There are lots of things that affect your rate of weight loss. Comparing your progress to others is self-defeating. How fast you lose weight is less important than how sustainable your weight loss will be. In fact, faster weight loss progress seems to lower the odds of maintaining your goal.
Search to find the weight loss behaviors that are a good fit with your life. It may mean you’ll lose more slowly. That shouldn’t be a concern if your goal is to stay at goal. Integrating weight loss actions with your daily routine after reaching goal helps ensure they become permanent behaviors. That’s how to avoid regaining lost weight.
5) Maintaining weight loss is no easier or harder than losing weight.
It takes the same effort and attention. You don’t just “get to goal and go back to doing things the way you used to do them” if you want weight loss to last. Weight maintenance takes effort. Recognizing that fat will never “go into remission” helps you to accept that you can’t expect maintenance to happen on its own, but you can continue to do what’s needed to make it happen.