Every time you go to check out at the grocery store there they are- magazines telling you some way to lose weight, or about a movie star who lost a ton of weight. Sure, you can lose weight, but the important thing is: can you keep it off? The Diet Industry conveniently leaves the facts that only 5% of dieters are able to maintain any weight loss! Diet/Exercise Gurus and their industry make over sixty billion dollars a year on weight loss related services. What other industry could sell a product that fails 95% of the time, and still make yearly profits? None that I know of!
I am so tired of reading these articles directed at vulnerable people who have desperately tried to lose weight before, and have gained it back each time. These unsuccessful “losers” are still trying to find the magic method to lose weight, placing the blame on themselves for eating the wrong foods, for not exercising enough or for some other reason, instead of blaming the real culprit: Dieting!
And to make it even worse, 95% of dieters not only regain the weight they struggled to lose, but then pack on additional insurance pounds that bring them above the weight they started at! However, this is not because people “cheated”, stopped exercising or did anything wrong. It is simply the body’s natural biological response to being “starved” by slowing down your metabolism to keep you alive; making you hungrier and sleepier, and doing every trick in the book to bring you back to a set, “safe” weight determined by your body! Every time you go on a diet, you increase that “set point” which will make you gain even more weight if you go on another diet.
This is the same thing that happens each time, no matter what kind of diet, eating plan, lifestyle change or any other reduced caloric and increased exercise program there is! It also happens when you change the type of food you eat (Paleo, Vegetarian, Atkins, low fat, gluten-free). Only 5% of dieters maintain their weight loss.
This is because we are focusing on the wrong approach to weight loss. Think about what happened right before you started gaining weight. Most people can remember a stressful event that was going on in their lives. That stress changed their metabolisms from the increased amount of cortisol that is released as a reaction to stress. Combine that with the use of “comfort” food as self-medication for stress, and you have the perfect combination for weight gain.
Why hasn’t the diet industry focused on the actual cause of weight gain by addressing how to manage stress?! Their approach is like telling you to take an aspirin for the pain caused by a pebble in your shoe instead of removing the pebble!
All evidence points to STRESS as the major cause of weight gain. And the stressor doesn’t even have to start immediately before weight gain. It can the result of humiliation, abuse or neglect suffered when you were younger than 6 years old (ACE long term study ). Overweight can come from the level of your mother’s stress when she was pregnant. And weight gain can be from your own stress levels: losing a job, getting divorced, getting sick, being poor and any other stressor that affects your mood and life.
And most common of all for young girls and women is the effect of the media and fashion trends which makes them the brunt of teasing or scorn if she’s not excessively thin. With each diet a woman goes on, she increases her weight and her life is now about yo-yoing between thin and heavy.
Before you fall for the biased reporting in those weight loss articles, remember that you only have a 5% chance of maintaining any weight loss, and a 95% chance of actually gaining weight after you finish your diet. And instead begin something really good for yourself. Start a stress relief program. That will ultimately affect your cortisol levels that can repair your metabolism.
There are no intentional weight loss diets that haven been proven to work long term! But you can prevent yourself from gaining weight by having a daily practice of stress relief, nurturing yourself by eating enough food slowly and mindfully, having enough rest and finding joy in your life. Then, you may drop weight unintentionally, and find yourself in the lucky 5% group of people who successfully maintain weight loss. But no guarantees… no sugar coating here… just the facts.