Why can’t I lose weight?

If you’ve been struggling to understand how and why you can’t seem to lose weight, you’re not alone. Obesity has almost tripled since 1975 and these numbers are steadily growing. More than 1/3 of the WORLD’S population is overweight or obese and 340 million CHILDREN are overweight or obese.

But what is the driving force behind this pandemic?

I don’t like to tell; I prefer to teach. So, let us begin.

Total food consumption has increased across the globe. In the United States, average caloric requirements are right around 2,100 kcal/day. However, the average caloric supply nearly doubles this at about 3,800 kcal/day.

This brings us back to the simplistic notion that its all about balancing calories in, to calories out. While this may be a bit naive it truly is a very large piece of the problem. The vast majority of us are eating nearly double the amount of food we need to maintain a healthy weight.

Do we need to exercise more, get 10,000 steps in daily, start a yoga routine, go for long walks on the beach…?
Well, yes. But also, no.

Increasing your physical activity is a necessary step, but you need to find something that works for YOU.
AND there are other, more significant pieces to this problem that still remain.

1. You have to find a way to work physical activity into your daily routine, which may take a little while and

2. I’m guessing you’re not going to jump into a daily routine of 2+ hours of vigorous exercise it would take to balance the excessive caloric intake.

So what then? Where do we go from here?

I recommend three things to start.

1. Begin tracking your calories to see just how many calories you’re consuming a day. I really like My Fitness Pal . It’s free, simple to use, and has an “add recipe” option that allows you to add ingredients and number of servings to your homemade meals. Of course, the key to this application providing accurate information is to be honest and accurate in reporting your food intake. I know it can be a bit of a pain, but it gets easier as you begin adding your typical food items.

2. Determine how many calories YOU need a day. Your basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy you need while resting. Depending on how active you are, you take this number and multiply it by a number between 1.2 and 1.9 (1.2 for the very low physical activity to 1.9+ for a very active individual or athlete). You can use BMR Calculator to quickly get a rough idea of your BMR. Now, keep in mind this is intended to MAINTAIN, if you intend to LOSE you would need to enter your “ideal weight”.

3. Food matters, while this is definitely a topic for another discussion, try to reduce your sugar intake. Using the calorie counter (again I prefer My Fitness Pal ) is a great way to track your sugar intake. Begin to eliminate everything in your diet with added sugar. This includes lots of label reading and may pose a bit of a challenge. You will also very likely go through some mild withdraw symptoms. However, these won’t last more than a week and it will be a very large step toward reclaiming your health.

References

Max Roser and Hannah Ritchie (2017) – “Food per Person”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/food-per-person’ [Online Resource]

Obesity and overweight. (2018, February 16). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight

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