Sometimes, there’s a need in life to be comprehensive.
It’s nice to keep it brief, simple, focus on a message, keep the words to a minimum– but sometimes, you need to jump right into a subject to truly understand it. If there is any subject in the world that’s in need of plenty of focus, then it’s weight loss.
Weight loss, for so many of us, is the great white whale. It’s something they want to achieve, but aren’t quite sure of how they’re going to be able to manage it. We’ve all been through phases where we try a new eating plan, stick to it religiously for awhile, then fall off the wagon. Weight loss should be simple, but it’s a goal that has a tendency to remain out of reach for millions of people around the globe.
Have you ever wondered why that is?
Why something so simple — a basic matter of biology — is so problematic to huge numbers of people? If it really were as simple as the old adage of “eat less, move more”, then wouldn’t we all have slim waistlines, wonderful exercise regimes, and perfect willpower to resist sweet treats?
The truth is, weight loss is a deeply complicated subject, because the human body is a deeply complicated organism. If you really want to shed the pounds, then you have to take the entire picture into consideration. You have to know the facts; the myths; the realities; the comprehensive truth about why weight loss can be such a difficult issue. You have to be aware of the changes your body goes through, and know how to spot a scam a mile off.
Weight loss is never simple, but it can be easier, if you keep these essentials in mind…
Fact #1: Your Body Changes Throughout The Month
Have y’all ever wondered why some days you feel like you could eat every morsel in your home, then a few days later you’ve not got much appetite?
Or perhaps you’re familiar with the feeling of eating at a calorie deficit, but for some reason the scale doesn’t seem to be moving?
The above can be caused by a number of factors, but the most likely explanation is good ol’ female hormones. The female body changes throughout the month as part of the menstrual cycle. During the two weeks between ovulation and the start of your period, your body will retain fluid; as a result, even if you’re losing fat, the scale probably won’t budge. Furthermore, you’ll also experience a more robust appetite, leading to a tendency to overeat.
It’s all because our bodies are, at that time, readying themselves for the possibility of falling pregnant. These symptoms will recede when your period begins, giving you a couple of weeks where things are calmer– then, of course, it will start up again for the next month.
What Can You Do About It?
Frankly — and it’s probably not the answer you want to hear — not a lot! The most important change you can make is a mental one. Don’t be disheartened by the scales not moving, and be extra aware of your appetite during this time of your cycle. Wait it out, and you should return to normal, the water weight gone, and the scales finally beginning to move again.
Fact #2: No Workout Regime Works For Everyone
Fitness is a vital part of weight loss. The more calories you burn, the more fat you burn, the more weight you lose– it’s a fairly simple equation. However, exercise can be more than a little… tedious. If you don’t change up your own routine every once in awhile, then you can find yourself dodging the gym not out of laziness, but boredom.
Let’s say that, in search of new ideas, you decide to head to Instagram and read through the information from the fitness gurus on there. You look through Kayla Itsines’ feed; she’s one of the most prominent fitness accounts, so she’s hard to miss, and there’s no denying she looks great. You notice that she details her workout regime, so you decide you’re going to check it out for yourself.
Then you spend a month, two months, going through the routine, until you finally have to conclude… this isn’t working. The same can happen with any popular exercise plan; you try it, and your body just doesn’t seem to get it. Rather than having the bikini body of your dreams, your shape isn’t changing, and you’re out a huge amount of money for the privilege of staying the same.
So what’s going on? These plans tend to be popular with thousands of converts; why isn’t it working for you?
Put simply, it’s because no two people are exactly alike. Our bodies are different; our physical chemistry is different. One person could try a regime and have the perfect figure in virtually no time, while it makes no difference to you.
What Can You Do About It?
Firstly, don’t spend a huge amount of money on exercise equipment or routines until you know they work for you. Opt for plans that have a lower entry threshold, so if it doesn’t work out, you’ve not lost out on too much money.
Secondly, always try and have variance to your workout. There’s no need to stick to one single regime; you can mix and match, see what works for you, and play with routines so you have enough variance to keep you interested. Even if you do find a regime that works for you, there’s nothing wrong with changing it up every once in awhile; you don’t want to become over-adapted and have it no longer be effective.
Fact #3: Your Body Doesn’t Want To Lose Weight
We all know that being overweight is unhealthy and bad for a number of bodily systems. Therefore, it’s easy to conclude that, surely, our bodies will want to lose weight? They want to be healthier, don’t they, so our system will be more than happy to see the excess pounds falling off?
In fact, it’s fair to say that our bodies have a tendency to fight — hard — to hold on to any and all weight they have, even excess weight that is causing health problems. This issue dates from the prehistoric world, where humans were never entirely sure where their next meal was coming from. As a result, our systems are designed to hang on to every bit of fat they possibly can; it’s a protection against starvation, ensuring that our hunter-gatherer ancestors always had enough nourishment.
Of course, this evolutionary hangup isn’t particularly useful in the modern world. Food is now in abundance; we modern humans don’t have to potentially wait days for our next meal, so we can lose weight without any concerns about starvation. Sadly, our bodies have yet to catch up to this fact. So while weight loss might begin well, after a time, our bodies fight back and try to resist fat loss.
This results in weight loss stalls and plateaus, where nothing is changing on the scale, despite the fact you’re still eating below your maintenance calorie requirement. These stalls — provided they are not being caused by your monthly cycle, as described in the first fact — have the potential to go on for weeks on end. This is all because your body is fighting to keep hold of fat. It will eventually go, and you’ll begin to see movement on the scales again, but it’s a tough wait to get to that point.
Even when you have reached your goal weight, it might take an extra six months for your body to finally concede that it’s not going to get those calories back, and your metabolism permanently adjusts.
What Can You Do About It?
Sometimes in life, there aren’t any answers– all you can do is know about the risk of something and try to be mentally ready for it. This is one such time. You can’t rewire the entirety of your DNA; that predilection to hold onto fat wherever possible is always going to be important.
While you can’t change this basic biological fact, you can change how you react when you find your weight loss stalling. You will stall, reach a plateau, and struggle to shift pounds after a certain time– and that’s completely normal. Keeping your head during these stalls is important.
If you decide your eating regime isn’t working and abandon any attempts to stick to it, then you’re just going to make the problem worse. When you hit a stall, remember that — in a strange way — it’s a good sign. You’re losing weight and doing all the right things; all you need to do now is wait for your body to catch up!
Losing weight isn’t simple, especially if you’re female. By arming yourself with these three comprehensive, important principles, you stand the best chance of achieving the weight loss and fitness goals that you are hoping to see. Knowledge is power!