Weight loss is such a simple process that it would seem many more people would be successful at it.
Genetics, training, and supplementation determine muscular potential, but when it comes to losing fat, diet is everything.
The physiology of weight loss is simple: expend more calories than you absorb and over time the body will draw down on its reserves (i.e. you lose weight). That’s it. No matter what program you follow, how motivated you are, or how you were raised as a child, if these requirements are met you will lose weight. It’s not a theory; it’s a law of physics.
However, while the process is simple, it’s not easy. There are three primary reasons why I believe many who attempt to lose weight and keep it off fail: physical, emotional, and social. I will discuss these briefly.
Physical: fitness enthusiasts love to work out because it’s fun, but diet is another animal entirely. At the very least, your body wants to eat as many calories as it expends no matter how many fat reserves you have on hand. Therefore, when you deliberately try to lose weight, you will feel hungry. In fact, if your goal is to be lean, hunger will be your close friend 24/7. You’ll feel it when you workout, when you go to work, while you sleep. But the average person cannot even stand a moment of hunger (more specifically, cravings). Their first reaction is to grab what’s available or what’s on their minds. And usually it’s far from optimally nutritious choices. There’s no other way of saying it–to lose weight, you need to stop being a wimp and face up to hunger. Just remember every hour that passes by moves you closer to your goal.
Emotional: for many people (myself included), emotional attachments to food sabotage progress. We eat because we’re bored, lonely, sad, depressed, happy, stimulated, angry, fearful, or even frustrated because we’re not losing weight as fast as we’d like. Such attempts to “stuff down” our emotions so that we don’t feel them have nothing to do with physiological needs of the body. Then when we have weight issues, we feel even more depressed on a deeper level if we’re not comfortable in our own skin. Food is not the answer.
Social: this is a big one and the reason I believe many people gain and lose the same 10 pounds over and over again and always make the same New Year’s goals. In short, we are social creatures, and unless you live like a hermit, you need to be aware that many social occasions revolve around overeating. In fact, I would say pretty much all of them do. Think of all the special occasions throughout the year and small gatherings that revolve around food, rather than just company. These can be major roadblocks to your success, especially if your decision-making is influenced by comments such as, “You’re so thin, you don’t need to lose weight” or “You have to cheat sometimes” (yeah, how many “sometimes” are there?). You need to be strong and decide ahead of time where you will draw the line.
To sum up, major lifestyle influences can get in the way of your weight loss potential. You need to determine what these are and find a solution so that they don’t get in the way of your progress.