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Why do you think people have a hard time losing weight?

Posted Feb 24 2009 9:44pm

Question of the week Last week I went running with a friend, David. During the excruciating 4 miles (his pace is MUCH faster then mine so we met in the middle) he asked me why I thought people had a hard time losing weight.

I paused (mostly because I was so out of breath I couldn’t really speak) and he gave me his opinion.

His response…


Now you may be thinking, here’s a guy who has no idea what he’s talking about. I mean he’s a runner for gosh sake. How dare he trivialize our struggle and basically tell us we have no willpower. He was probably thin his entire life and has no idea how hard it is for some of us to maintain a healthy weight.

Well, you would be wrong. David actually lost 100lbs and has been maintaing the lose for quite awhile. I’m not sure how long he’ll have to let us know but I’ve known him for about 4 years and never saw him "heavy."

I wasn’t surprised by his answer. I know David. He’s a very cut and dry guy who tells it like it is (one of the reason why I like him.) As I pondered his response I couldn’t help but think maybe it is willpower for some. Who am I to argue with him and why he thinks he had a weight problem in the first place.

But for me it was SO much more then willpower. I think I used to think it was, back then, when I would repeatedly fail diet after diet. I just didn’t have the "discipline", the "self-control" the "resolve", to lose weight. Maybe I "didn’t deserve" to be thin because I was "weak."

What a bunch of baloney. (please excuse the cheesy granny saying)

It’s those self-deprecating thoughts that get some of us in trouble. Let me introduce you to what I call the "yo-yo diet cycle of hell"

I feel bad about my body-I eat because I feel bad-I get excited about a new diet that will solve ALL my problems-I fail at said new diet-I must have no willpower, I feel even worse, might as well eat some more

For me and others whose weight problems stemmed from a body image issue. I don’t think willpower is a factor as much as self-acceptance and perfection. One "mess up" would derail my entire weight loss effort and the cycle would start all over again.

So why do I think people have a hard time losing weight?

I think it varies from person to person. I think many of us get into that cycle and don’t know how to get out. I think we think we need to be perfect all the time. I think we let our heads get in the way and respond to emotional issues by turning to food. I think we really think we don’t deserve it.

Why do think people have a hard time losing weight?

Note: This post isn’t about the mechanics of why we can’t lose weight (ie eat less, move more) it’s about the mental aspects. So please do not comment and say people have a hard time losing weight because they eat too much. That’s pretty much a given. We are focusing on why they eat too much and why, when someone wants to learn how to change their habits, they can’t or at least have a hard time doing so.

If you are interested, I collected all my thoughts on how I broke the cycle in a series of posts called 3 Steps to a Healthier YOU!

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