Everyone, at one time or another, began a weight loss plan. Sticking to it and succeeding is another story altogether. But all agree that in these times, it’s getting harder to lose weight than ever before. There have been studies that show why, given the same diets and physical activities, it’s still harder to shed off the pounds today than it was a generation or two ago. This change has been attributed to pollution, additives in food, our shifting times for meals, technology and a number of other reasons.
We should stop blaming the exhaust from cars for our slower metabolism, our work shifts for eating dinner at 2 AM and Seamless for making it easy for us to order in. While these may be contributing factors, here are five simple reasons why we don’t lose as much weight as we want to.
We still eat the foods we were brought up on.
If you grew up on southern foods, you’ll know that the oh so yummy but the fat- and calorie-laden barbeques, southern fried chicken with gravy, biscuits and grits, made with meat drippings, and the pies and cakes are not easy to let go of. If you were born into an Italian family, you’re accustomed to large family gatherings with cheese-rich pizzas and pasta. Or maybe you just had a mom or dad who loved cooking.
We can always switch to being vegans but it takes a lot of determination and willpower. Why else do vegans make up only 7% of the US adult population? Less difficult to do is to eat less of the foods that are rich in fats and sugar. So do away with red meat, cakes and pastries, and sodas and eat more of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and nuts.
We turn to our comfort foods when we are sad or stressed.
Psychologists may view comfort food in a good way. It alleviates stress and makes people feel good, at least temporarily. Nutrition-wise though, the chocolates and ice cream sundaes (or steaks and casseroles for the men) that we reach for when we have problems with our relationships or get a dressing down from our boss are not good for our weight loss goal.
Comfort food used to be chicken soup but nowadays it is food that is usually rich in fats or sugar and high in calories. Condition yourself to replace stress-relieving comfort food with physical activities. It works just as well and you burn calories.
Unhealthy food is a vicious cycle.
Eating sugary foods gives us a high. That is why we crave for them when we are under stress. The problem is, when the sugar rush is gone, we will need another one and eat another slice of cake. And so the cycle continues.
Hormones make women crave for sweet and salty foods.
Pregnancy, menstruation and menopause wreak havoc on women’s hormones. Pregnant women have a rise in their estrogen, progesterone and HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormones. Menstruation causes the stress hormone cortisol to increase and the happy hormone serotonin to go down. Menopausal women slowly stop estrogen production. All these hormonal changes signal the brain to crave for chocolates, ice cream and sodium-rich chips. If women give in to these cravings all the time, it’s not surprising why they don’t lose weight in spite of eating less during meals.
We have easier access to high-calorie foods.
Fast food chains are our quick and easy options to having to prepare meal at home. And they’re super easy to have, too. A drive-thru or delivery takes care of a cheap and filling fast food meal. But the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says these types of food are high in fats, salt, sugar and calories. A regular diet of fast foods leads to obesity and a host of lifestyle diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Have healthy snacks on hand like fruits and nuts to stave off hunger and that craving for a hamburger. Prepare meals and stock them in your refrigerator for reheating when you get home. Discipline yourself to stay away from fast food if you’re serious about losing weight.