"It's hard to stop a train; it's hard to drop pounds and keep it off. We have to tackle overweight and obesity head on. Let's do more to prevent it from happening rather than dropping it off. If fixing a problem is not easy, then we must prevent it from happening, simple as that."
-Dr. Jian Zhang
Exercising on vacation...see all the excitement on my face
A recent study found that more people who are overweight or obese have stopped trying to lose weight. The study surveyed adults and compared results to a study conducted between 1988 and 1994. They found that people now are 17% less likely to have attempted to lose weight in the previous year compared to the previous study. Those who are considered overweight, but not obese are the main people who have not made an attempt to lose weight in the past year. Additionally, Black women are 31% less likely to have attempted weight loss when compared to the old survey results.
Researchers are attributing these findings to several causes:
Overweight and obesity have become more normalized, with over half of the population falling into the category. For those of us who have been overweight/obese we are now more accustomed to seeing others who look like us than ever before.
Overweight and obese people are able to live much healthier lives than they were before. There are many people who are overweight and/or obese who have perfectly good measures of health (blood sugar, blood pressure, etc.). I am one of those people. I remember going in for my annual checkup a couple of years ago and my very healthy, in shape, gyno telling me that he wished his numbers were as good as mine. Knowing that your health is good can take away the incentive to lose weight.
Overweight and obese people are tired of failing at weight loss attempts. As a kid, my mom made me try every diet out there. As an adult, I've tried multiple programs and I've had more personal trainers than I care to admit. And guess what? I have failed at all of them. It's exhausting and mentally trying to keep failing at something that you want to succeed at. Additionally, conflicting reports about the best methods for weight loss can also make it difficult to approach weight loss confidently.
I totally get it. While in Costa Rica, I had a honest conversation with my friend. I was pretty sure that I was just going to give up on losing weight. As Shonda Rhimes put it, I was prepared to "say 'Yes' to being fat". My tent was about 80% up in the "yes to fat" camp and I was happy with that decision. I am tired of failing and I am the happiest I have ever been. Who ever would've thought that I would love myself more now, at my heaviest weight, than I have ever loved myself. It makes acceptance very easy.
Weight loss has consistently been the greatest challenge of my life. It is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge and maybe even more. I remember one time when I was arguing with my trainer (I had walked out during our session; I didn't want to be there) that he said something that hit me hard. He basically said "I know you're not lazy, I know you can make a commitment, you have 2 Master's degrees! So what are you afraid of?" The answer: I DON'T KNOW! Seriously, if someone could figure out the inner workings of my brain, it would make my life so much easier. I think I am as afraid of failing (again) as I am of succeeding, which simultaneously makes no sense and complete sense to me.
I think one thing that people underestimate when it comes to weight loss in overweight and obese people is the mental aspect. Of course for everyone this aspect contributes differently but it is important nonetheless. There's a lot of noise going on in my mind that I'm going to have to get through in order to lose any weight. I don't know if I'm ready to work through all of it yet, but I do know that I have moved out of the "yes to fat" camp. I signed up for a gym membership and I'm going back to my trainer. Because even though I happen to think I look damn good, I really would prefer not to have to buy a new wardrobe because I sized up. You may think that's vain; I think it's economical. You also may think of all of the things that could motivate me to lose weight, that's what I'm picking? And to you reader I say yes and your judgement is not welcome. That's my thing, and I'm holding on to it.
Even if history repeats itself and I fail at this attempt to lose weight, at least I made the effort. I'm not going to go in with an impossible goal. At the end of the day, I will probably always be overweight, I just don't want to be where I am anymore and that's okay.
Have you given up on weight loss goals? Or have you done the opposite and killed your weight loss goals? What was your motivator? What is the biggest challenge you have face in your weight loss efforts? Leave a comment, subscribe and share!
Improving our health literacy so that we all may live healthier, ore abundant lives