The Top Two Reasons For Weight Loss Failure Weight Loss Failure

Anecdotal evidence suggests that 95% or more of all weight loss efforts fail. If you are reading this article, you have likely found this to be the case for you as well.

Worse yet, when we ask our patients to describe their successful weight loss efforts, most people are quick to tell us how 10 - 20 or even 30 or more pounds came off. But when we ask how long it stayed off, maybe 95% tell us that all of the weight came back on within 6 months.

For us - and for you - weight loss success should be about losing 10 - 20 or even 30 pounds of more - WITHOUT gaining any of them back.

That's real weight loss.

To achieve that kind of success, we need to understand why the failure rates of all weight loss efforts are so high. What we have found is surprising.

It's not lack of exercise or wrong choice of diet that brings about the weight loss failure. Neither is it for lack of trying or lack of time.

The top 2 reasons why people fail to succeed at weight loss - (remember, this means losing the weight and keeping it off) - are:

    1) Failure to make changes to existing habits and behaviors

    2) Too much stress for too long

You might think that these two items are too simple to be the conclusion, that it must be something more scientific - but it's not.

The #2 Killer of all Weight Loss Efforts

The #2 killer of all weight loss success is simply this - too much stress for too long.

Stress triggers an emotional response, and leaves us feeling upset or even angry. We often say that the situation "makes our blood boil", elevating our blood pressure and leaving us feeling tense and irritated.

When our bodies are stressed - when we feel tense and upset - there are tremendous changes going on inside. Specifically, our bodies produce extra quantities of certain hormones to get us ready for "fight or flight" - the body's natural response to stressful situations.

During stressful situations, our bodies produce increased levels of Adrenaline and Cortisol - as part of our body's natural defense system for stressful situations. Unless we get enough rest and relaxation between periods of stress, the levels of these two chemicals build up in our bodies over time making successful weight loss particularly difficult.

First, excess Adrenaline over prolonged period does three things to our bodies, which all work against our weight loss.

    i) It reduces the activity of enzymes controlling the release of fat.

    ii) It can cause the body to retain fluid, increasing body weight.

    iii) It stimulates our appetite, so we typically end up feeling hungrier and eating more.

How do you know if excess Adrenaline is in the way of your successful weight loss? If you have one or more of the following symptoms, this may indicate excess Adrenaline:

    - Inability for much exercise

    - Feeling worse after exercising

    - Water retention

    - Need for caffeine

    - Sweet and salt cravings

    - Eating to relieve depression

The other bad actor, Cortisol, further worsens the situation. Elevated levels of Cortisol for prolonged periods has the effect of

    i) raising our blood sugars, which

    ii) raises insulin levels, which

    iii) gives rise to increased cravings and a stronger appetite.

On top of all that, increased Cortisol increases the tendency for our body to burn protein for energy instead of fat. The net result is that we end up storing more fat and gaining weight.

How do you know if excess Cortisol is in the way of your successful weight loss? Check the following symptoms:

    - Increased resistance to Insulin

    - Increased blood pressure

    - Weakening immune system

    - Muscle wasting

    - Decreased bone density

    - Increased body fat

    - Anxiety, especially in the AM

No matter how hard we try to just "work through it", stress sets off a chain of chemical imbalances and reactions in our bodies. This adds to the already tough mental and emotional challenges of losing weight, thereby making weight loss extremely difficult during extended periods of stress.

For most of us, stress is a fact of modern life. So how can we be more successful at weight loss, even with the stress?

Changes in your lifestyle, habits or work situation can help - but so can a structured stress relief effort that is coordinated with your weight loss program.

The WeightWorks program includes specially-designed relaxation therapy to help. In just 20 minutes per day, most people can make significant strides against stress and overcome the negative effect it has on weight loss.

OK - so we can solve the stress problem!

The #1 Reason for Failure

The #1 reason for failure of all weight loss programs is us - our own bad habits and destructive behaviors.

Let's start by looking at the key to success in any weight loss program - whether you pay thousands of dollars for a packaged solution or just do it yourself? Weight loss success with pretty much any diet, program or effort requires just one thing: that you follow the instructions and stick with the program.

This may sound too simple and even a bit of a cop-out for a doctor to be telling you this, but it's true. The inability to follow a program is the #1 reason for weight loss failure.

So let's go "behind the scenes" to understand this in more detail, because if we can understand it, then we can work to overcome it.

Back in the days before you carried any excess weight, things were different. Our metabolism, eating habits and exercise patterns were all in balance. We were naturally thin, the way we were meant to be.

Over time, however, we developed habits and behaviors that no longer matched up our metabolism, eating habits and exercise patterns. The weight came on, maybe slowly or almost imperceptibly at first, but over time there was no denying it - we were overweight!

Although the science of weight loss says that all we need to do is eat less or exercise more, it's not quite that simple.

First, change is hard. Especially when it means not doing something we enjoy (like eating certain foods), or doing something we may not enjoy (like exercise).

Even so, most of us know that we need to lose the excess weight in order to improve our quality (or length!) of life. So we muster up a tremendous amount of willpower and get started. So far, so good.

But more difficult than getting started on a weight loss program, is sticking with it. Statistics show that 98% of all diets end within 72 hours - likely from Monday morning until sometime on Wednesday or maybe Thursday.

There's a reason why it's so hard to stick with it - our old habits and learned behaviors aren't so easily overcome. You may have heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit - but we're telling you that un-learning an old habit or changing an established behavior is even harder.

Failure to make changes to existing habits and behaviors is the #1 reason for weight loss failure. Adding new habits and behaviors is somewhat easier and can be helpful for weight loss, but that is not enough.

No wonder that the most highly-touted and thoroughly-researched weight loss programs fail. Unless that program can help you change a lifetime of bad habits and unhealthy behaviors, getting back to your naturally-thin self - and staying there - is nothing more than a marketing promise.

So what to do, and what's our recommendation?

Don't start any weight loss effort or program without also tackling the "how-to" of changing old habits and behaviors. Most programs won't even talk about this, because it's just easier to focus on losing the weight and worry about keeping it off later.

At WeightWorks, however, we measure success only by keeping it off, not just by how much you've lost. So right at the center of our program is an entire library of success therapies to help you re-train your mind and trade in those bad habits and destructive behaviors for lasting success.

Your naturally-thin self is still there, but it's just waiting for you to change.

If you want to learn more about how we can help, schedule an appointment with one of our counselors by clicking here.

It's the best first step you'll ever take.

   - - Yours in health,   The Doctors of WeightWorks

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