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    Why is Losing Weight so Hard?
    brunosbud posted:
    The answer is simple. The problem with obesity is you get fat and enormous.

    Say, I had a disease called "Foo-Foo Syndrome".

    Here are the list of possible symptoms:
    • Elevated Blood Pressure
    • Dysfunctional regulation of blood sugar
    • Stroke
    • Heart Disease
    • Kidney disease
    • Depression
    • Joint pain and stiffness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Patchy, dry or itchy skin
    • Blurred vision
    • Insomnia, restless sleep
    • Sleep Apnea
    • Susceptible to colds and infections
    • Asthma, hayfevers and allergies

    If you suffered any of the following symptoms, some clearly life-threatening, would you try to treat this yourself? Would you loathe or berate yourself for being weak or lacking self discipline if you were diagnosed with "Foo-Foo Syndrome". Would you repeatedly ignore your doctor's instructions, accuse them of being mean and insulting, because they repeat the same recommendations for treatment, over and over?

    My point is this: Obesity is clearly a serious "disease".

    It fits every classical definition of the word. Obesity causes numerous malfunctions of intricately regulated physiological systems such as depression, hypertension, and hyperglycemia. Obese people develop a slew of metabolic, hormonal and cellular disruptions within their body that can manifest a laundry list of seemingly unrelated symptoms.

    If you had "Foo-Foo Syndrome" you wouldn't think twice about seeking immediate medical attention and follow every treatment instruction to the letter...

    Yet, when it comes to "Obesity", everybody becomes a doctor. This is precisely why losing weight is so damn difficult. Obesity is a disease, not a character flaw! It's a major health impairment. True, it's primary cause is unhealthful diet and lack of movement. But, battling this disease is beyond the expertise of most people afflicted because there is so much misinformation disseminated on its proper treatment and maintenance, once, arrested.

    If you make any New Years weight loss resolutions, please, try to make it a simple one:

    "I promise not to play doctor, anymore."
    PetuniaPea responded:
    Also, reading or listening to advice here or anywhere else on the web can be contradictory, which can make losing weight even harder! Some advice says to stay away from rice, stay away from carbs, try juicing, try this supplement, try cutting out this or that from your diet, etc. Others say to eat a high protein diet or a no-fat diet. These various tips can be ineffective and sometimes dangerous.

    So yes, a doctor's advice can straighten all that out. Usually the advice they give is universal: eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and eat less junk food, sugar, and saturated fats. And move more.
    brunosbud responded:
    Here's reason #2 why losing weight is so hard: If we were to rate liver health among all the countries of the world, the US would rate a huge margin.

    If you want to damage a liver, you eat a diet high in white starch, sugar, red meat, saturated fat and low in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. In other words, you eat a lot of "processed" food...If you want to further ravage your liver, you ingest a bunch of drugs...prescription pills, unnecessary vitamins and supplements and, then, throw in some pain killers, nsaids (aspirin, aleve & advil), cold and flu tabs, steroids & antibiotics and some recreational drugs into the mix...Finally, last but not least, if you want to royally torpedo your own boat, you eat junk, drink lots of soda, take drugs at the drop of a hat, then, marinate your liver in alcohol. When the weekends arrive, we Americans are taught at a very early age, it's not just cool but a right of passage to get ripped on booze.

    Although its estimated that as high as 1 in 5 have this condition, if you were to ask 10 overweight people on the street, probably all 10 would not know what "NAFLD" or Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, aka, "Fatty Liver" is. Fatty Liver is now the most common form of liver disease in America. Exploding in incidence, this is a disease rarely observed just 40 years ago.

    Here are some facts you should know about what the liver does and how it relates to weight loss...

    • It's the largest of our internal organs.
    • It breaks down fats and absorbs essential fat soluble vitamins.
    • Its our "waste treatment center"; it filters and removes toxic metabolic wastes, drugs, alcohol and environmental pollutants from the body.
    • It helps to regulate proper digestion of food by secreting bile.
    • It helps to regulate blood cell health and removes dead blood cells and other unhealthful waste products from the blood.

    When you realize how critically important the liver is and how we continuously bombard this organ with bad food, drugs and alcohol, then, you can begin to grasp how serious the obesity problem truly is. The liver is the single organ most responsible for weight control and fat removal but a "Fatty Liver" does the exact opposite...It tells the body to store more fat and, in turn, destroys itself be becoming encased in fat, swelling as much as 50%-100% in size.

    Here's an example of a common theme I see on this board, most every day. Pay particular attention to the underlined part...

    "...I had my check up all my blood work etc...My Vitamin D is way low & I have severe high blood sugar. I take about a dozen vitamins everyday w/out fail. Sometimes I eat things I shouldn't but don't eat more then 1200 calories a day so the weight gain is not justified..."

    How can a anyone, even a doctor, explain to people who simply don't have a clue, refuse to listen and, despite all evidence to the contrary, insist they know what works for their body?

    "...the weight gain is not justified?..."
    ...How in the world would "you" know???
    BigDaddyMatty responded:
    Your comments intrigue me. When I began my journey I looked at it this way:

    What if I went in for a physical and my doctor said "BDM, I hate to tell you this but you have a form of XYZ Cancer. Over the next few years you will begin to suffer from: (insert your list here.) You will likely end-up dying several years prematurely and those last years here on Earth will be filled with pain and misery. I am very sorry."

    I could feel my heart sink as I asked "is there any treatment, doc? Is there anything I can do to cure this XYZ cancer or at least prolong my life by a few years?"

    Imagine the disbelief/relief/motivation one would feel if the doctor then said "BDM, you're going to have to go on a lifelong healthy diet; bring your weight to a healthy level and exercise daily. Do that and you should find complete relief from XYZ cancer."

    Thinking of things in those terms has really lit a fire under my backside!! Remaining motivated has been made all the easier by observing other overweight people who struggle in their day to day lives and realizing that they are headed for a cliff.

    I think professional help can play an important part. Even more important I think it's important for overweight people (and there seem to be an ever growing number of us!) to finally come to the realization that even with professional help and support, eating right and exercising will be a continuous fight that will require daily diligence -- but it IS a fight we can win!
    brunosbud replied to BigDaddyMatty's response:
    Thank you for your comments, BDM, and happy new year!

    Some folks think they have a "weight" problem. Others, Type 2 Diabetes...or, colon cancer...or, high blood pressure...or, lung disease...or, chronic anemia, stroke & heart disease, depression...etc, etc, etc...

    Me, I think there's just one problem, it's, for lack of a better term, "Metabolic Syndrome". If you live in America, everyone walks the Metabolic Syndrome "highway". And, what that implies is, everyone has (to some degree) cancer. Everyone has (to some degree) hypothyroidism. Everyone suffers from clogged arteries. Everyone is methodically destroying their pancreas. Everyone is experiencing varying degrees of liver, lung and kidney failure. And, everyone is depressed, too.


    Someday, there may be a "cure" for obesity. But, all it will do is allow you to lose fat. That's all. It won't remove all the other possible symptoms that may arise from Metabolic Syndrome. And, it certainly won't eliminate the source of your uncontrolled appetite. Thus, you may still lose limbs from uncontrolled blood glucose and you'll still require dialysis for your failing kidneys. But, at least you'll be able to fit in skinny jeans. In other words, it will be "Fool's Gold". All glitter but no substance.

    No one can be truly healthy; we all walk the same freakin "highway". All we can do is be as sensible and diligent in protecting our bodies as we possibly can. To do our best in this most dangerous of landscapes...

    Sound depressing?

    Not at all! I love a good challenge!

    PS: This is why I have difficulty with concepts like "1200 calories" and "eat more protein" and "P90X" and "Vitamin D". These ideas, alone, simply don't give Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes the respect it deserves, imo.
    PetuniaPea replied to brunosbud's response:
    1) Today, most autopsies performed on young adults who die in accidents show the beginning signs of heart disease. Medical examiners say that this is a recent phenomena.

    2) Not only is the liver bombarded with bad food, drugs, and alcohol, but also environmental toxins like air pollution, chemicals in cleaning products and personal care products! It is even more important to lead a healthy lifestyle in today's world!

    3) The government and advertisers make it harder to lose weight! The government subsidizes unhealthy foods! The FDA allows health claims on boxed, processed sugary cereals and other processed foods.

    On a box of Cocoa Puffs, it says, "Whole Grains!" even though there's barely a gram of also states, "A diet rich in whole grains has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease." They are implying that puffed grains that can spike insulin levels, chock full of refined sugar, with a gram of fiber can reduce the risk of heart disease! Not to mention that most people don't stick to the 3/4 cup serving; they instead have 6 servings or so in one sitting! It's healthy, right? People are falling for this advertising tactic.

    4) This very website's calorie calculator for weight loss recommends that ubiquitous 1200 calorie number. When I wanted to get to my goal weight, I punched in my stats and it said 1200. I didn't follow it because I don't like starving, and STILL lost weight on 1500-1600 calories...slowly but surely...and I'm 5'0!

    Even better, if someone is obese, and let's say is 5'9 and wishes to be 140 lbs, they can eat the number of calories required for that weight and height--2,200 calories--and STILL lose weight. The human body WANTS to be at a healthy weight. Granted, it will be slower, and the person must incorporate exercise into their daily life, but most people want a quick fix.

    Most people want to lose weight quickly, hence, the extreme cutting of calories to 1200 or less. If they reduce their calories to 1200 or less--and stick to this for a long time--and eventually stop losing the weight because of the slowed metabolism that comes with starving, then where do they go? Do they cut more calories? Where does it end?!?!

    That's why the sensible thing to do to lose weight is to cut back on 200-300 calories based on their caloric requirements for their weight, not 600-1000, which is what most people are doing! Incorporate exercise, being active overall, and focus MORE on eating WHOLE FOODS.

    5) Back to advertising...Coca Cola just came out with a new campaign to do their part when it comes to the obesity epidemic. They are making smaller sizes and focusing on 0 calorie drinks.

    Sugar is sugar is sugar, no matter how small the packaging!

    And artificial sweetners in 0 calorie sodas have been shown to cause people to overeat salty foods, as well as overeat more food in general, and also make people crave more sweets.

    Again, if people could focus on REAL, whole foods, and reduce sugar intake, a juicy apple tastes amazing! Kale doesn't taste bitter, it tastes so good! A big salad is super delicious! Instead, people are so used to the sweetness from sugar and artificial sweeteners, fruits and veggies taste bad or have no flavor to them.
    brunosbud replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    I agree with much you have to say, PP. Thank you so much.

    Every action begins with a thought. In a culture that values physical appearance, its actually how & what we think that determines what we get, where we go and with whom we spend our lives with. We are both rewarded and imprisoned by what we believe is possible.

    Last year, a 73 year old Japanese woman, Tamae Watanabe, became the oldest woman to climb Mount Everest. Think about that! Aren't you the least bit curious as to how and what she "thinks"? How she came to believe, at her age, it was survivable?

    I am grateful to Ms. Watanabe; she has become an inspiration. What I thought was possible for myself, was, in actuality, holding me back. I needed to aim higher, run further, feel better, and think bigger. The only limits to what we can do are the ones that we place in our heads and, more importantly, what come out of our mouth!

    What I've come to realize is that negativity and defeatism is the most destructive lifestyle habit of them all. Negativity has become rampant in our culture. We are constantly sold on the idea that we can do nothing for ourselves. That what we're doing is wrong and we need to do something, else. We believe that doctors are failing us and its all their fault. We never stop to consider that from negativity breeds insecurity and fear. And, that from these two negative emotions, a host of other problems (mostly health related), soon, take root.

    The reason why weight loss is so hard?

    It's what we are led to believe. We are bombarded by advertisers who remind us of our inadequacies and reinforce our fears. The only difference between people who lose weight, effortlessly, and those that can't?

    All I can say is two words..."Moisturizing Jeans"

    I may not climb Mt. Everest when I'm 73 but I realize, now, whether I do or don't, I have to believe I can.
    PetuniaPea replied to brunosbud's response:
    Ha! I saw GMA talking about those moisturizing jeans last week. Ridiculous.

    People lose more weight when they stop saying "I can't have that" or "I cheated" or "I failed because I couldn't stick to the plan." There's an actual study that showed that (the "I can't have that" part), but you don't need a study to realize that it's true...and obvious!

    Weight loss happens when people have a sense of control, and have a positive outlook. Saying "I can't have this or that" only makes them break down and eat it! So says the study.

    Instead, say, "I don't want that, because it's unhealthy/will make me lethargic/is too high in saturated fat/etc!"

    Instead of saying foods are "cheat foods" or "I'm cheating," say that you indulge occasionally in sweets, and if it becomes a daily habit where you're eating way more sweets than you should, tell yourself that you want to improve your eating habits. See the positivity trend?

    Instead of saying "I failed, oh well, that diet didn't work," re-examine these so-called diets and see if they are too complicated or restrictive. Make the ultimate goal your HEALTH and not weight loss...a side effect of focusing on health is...hmmm, let's see...weight loss!!!

    It all comes down to money $$$. Everyone wants to cash in on weight loss, so they write book after book, sell product after product, saying how easy their program or product is. Then when the person tries it, they lose the weight initially, but end up gaining it back after stopping the "diet" or pill or whatever. Then they try another book or program or pill. Their weight yo-yos, they feel like a failure, and they beat themselves up. This can go on for a person's whole life.

    The simple things AREN'T stressed. You don't need a book, or to sign up for a program, or a bunch of pills. No one can make money off of..."eat less, avoid junk food, avoid processed foods, avoid refined sugar...and eat real, whole foods, increase your fruits and veggies, drink more water, exercise, move as much as you can all day especially if your job includes sitting all day, and reduce your stress.

    Instead, as I saw one "diet" program, it included complicated meal plans, split your meals into 6 or 7 meals, eat only this, avoid these foods in the first week of the plan, eat only these foods for week 3, incorporate these foods in week 6, choose these "healthy" fast food items in week 7, etc, my head was spinning...this is no way to eat, what, do I have to do this forever? Count me out. I'll just eat fruit, veggies, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, thank you very much!
    lindac216 replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    because people can't say no to foods
    Sharon47 responded:
    unfortunately, the most common advice received from my doctors over the years re: being obese..."lose weight". Not particularly helpful advice!
    Yaeltanaka responded:
    I find this discussion fascinating, and would like to respond to the following paragraph:

    "Yet, when it comes to "Obesity", everybody becomes a doctor. This is precisely why losing weight is so damn difficult. Obesity is a disease, not a character flaw! It's a major health impairment. True, it's primary cause is unhealthful diet and lack of movement. But, battling this disease is beyond the expertise of most people afflicted because there is so much misinformation disseminated on its proper treatment and maintenance, once, arrested."

    I would agree wholeheartedly that being self-critical is counter-productive. However, the condition of obesity is a result of a certain lifestyle which has led to the current state of obesity, and it is obesity itself which contributes to, or in fact, causes the symptoms you quote at the beginning of the article. You state that "the primary cause is unhealthful diet and lack of movement," yet you call the result of that lifestyle a disease. In fact, that chosen lifestyle is a personal choice, whether acknowledged or not, and when a doctor or other professional (including books) prescribe a healthy diet and exercise, it is still incumbent upon the obese sufferer to follow through on getting better. If the obese person you describe had "foo-foo syndrome," it would still be his or her willingness to follow the prescribed regimen to get better.

    The problem with obesity is not whether it's a disease; the problem is that the control of the disease is difficult because of the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed, including celebrating with food, a harried lifestyle with easy fast food, enormous portions in restaurants, etc., etc. To simply relegate obesity to disease status does not address the problem, and also does not respond to the question: Why is weight loss so difficult?

    Weight loss is difficult because we love to eat; because food provides the warm fuzzies, the comfort we all desire in our hectic lives, from screaming children to a nasty boss; from a fight with a husband to your parents 50th anniversary. It is incredibly difficult to NOT have a piece of 50th anniversary cake.

    But obesity, itself, is not the disease. The disease is our chosen lifestyle.

    Littlefoot responded:
    If you've never paid attention or chose to learn more about health and wellness, it may not be very obvious how to get healthier, lose weight, relieve symptoms, etc... for someone who reads a lot about health and wellness, they may go crazy trying to digest all the advice out there and end up nowhere in making improvements... I read a lot about health and wellness, I read a lot about food and fitness, I have battled some health issues that needed medical and/or nutritional treatment, and for all the information I've gathered and in all the things I've tried, here's what I can summarize. My brother once put it to me this way, " eat and drink things in their natural state" - so, plain water or water with fresh lemon juice instead of pop, juice, coffee, etc; fresh fruits and veggies instead of cooked, pureed, canned, etc.. Eat and drink things in their "whole" form - real butter in SMALL amounts instead of margarine in larger amounts - meats, nuts, and eggs without putting them in gravies, pies, casseroles, etc. He said, "if you can't pronounce it, don't put it in your body!" He said "if it makes you feel bad, don't do it" - and the opposite, if it does make you feel good, do it! Notwithstanding genetic predisposition, age and environmental factors, doing what we have control over should, in summary, be simple. About his "feel good" advice - it makes so much sense. If I REALLY tune in to what my body has to say, I can formulate a pretty good list of the the things I know do not make me feel good. Ok, so alcohol and cookies may make me feel good WHILE I am drinking or eating them, but we all know what follows. Pigging out at the buffet feels right at the time, but we all know how we feel after that. But more precisely, if I'm paying attention, I can tell you that almonds make my throat itch, chocolate makes my face break out, sugar snap peas make my tongue tingle, pop leaves a nasty coating in my mouth, too much sodium makes my hands and feet swell up, too much cheese constipates me, bananas and pineapple give me canchor sores. And so on. So I avoid them. When I eat breakfast, I have more energy. When I exercise, I have more energy, I think more clearly, I have a better outlook. So I do those things. I eat things in their natural, whole state whenever possible and I just don't get that bloated, tired, feeling compiled by skin irritations. When I don't overeat, I don't have regret. When I eat a little butter vs. double the margarine, I am satisfied and don't feel bad. When I drink a lot of water, my muscles and skin feel better, I clean out my system, I feel hydrated, and I don't have a nasty aftertaste. When I get out of bed when I wake up, eat only when I'm hungry, and take a 20 minute nap when I'm tired, I feel all over good more often. I lost 20 pounds a couple of years ago and I've kept it off, and the best tool in that success was keeping track of EVERYTHING I ate and drank and all my physical activity - you can't fool or lie to yourself, silly. By doing that still today after all this time, I keep myself accountable. Those are the things people can do - things they have control over - simple things. Keep it simple, listen to yourself, be honest with yourself. Stairs, not elevators; 2 oreos, not 12; a handful of baked chips, not a bag full of fully loaded ones. 8 glasses of water, not pop. Chicken, not pork sausage. Blueberries, not blueberry pie. I lost 20 pounds by first eating all the same stuff, just a lot less of it. Then I started exercising. Then I learned to make different choices about food...the KISS philosophy...Keep It Simple Stupid! (Stupid, meaning me I still indulge, I still like cookies and beer, I still need to lost another 10-15 pounds, but I take my time, record everything, allow myself to mess up occasionally, and then get back on track by reminding myself that I only have me to contend with if I lie, cheat or make excuses. Good luck!
    PetuniaPea replied to brunosbud's response:
    Here's something I just watched that talks about negativity and stress when it comes to weight-loss, making weight-loss difficult--a vicious cycle, and how we need to change how we view ourselves, and think in positive terms. I wish everyone could watch this...and stop beating themselves up!
    PetuniaPea replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    Oops, here is the proper link!

    The video is 4 minutes and 40 seconds, but they talk a lot about why people can't lose weight! Stress and the stress hormone cortisol, having a negative perception of themselves, saying I can't have those foods, etc!
    PetuniaPea replied to lindac216's response:
    Yes, because they're addicted. The typical diet of fast-food and sodas and highly sweet or salty processed foods is HIGHLY ADDICTIVE. When people break out of that cycle and change their diet based on improving their health, it's quite liberating!

    When I gave up sugar and all the candy, chocolate, cookies, ice cream and cake, I didn't think, "oh man, I'm missing out, I can't have those things anymore, oh no, waaahhh!" Instead, I FELT LIBERATED. I didn't have to have those things, I didn't need them for a fact, I didn't want them. I didn't crave them. I shifted my way of thinking. Now when I see junk food, I cringe and go yuck! That's unhealthy and will only make me feel lethargic, my face will break out, and I'll weaken my immunity, no thanks!

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