Why is it so hard to lose weight?

Losing weight is incredibly easy. Eat fewer calories than you burn. How much simpler could it be?

But if losing weight is so easy, why are so many people still left struggling?

Food is Addictive

When a loved one is suffering from a drug addiction, what’s the best thing to do?

  1. Offer them support to help end their addiction; or,
  2. Ridicule their life decisions while offering no support.

When you come across someone overweight, what do you do?

  1. Offer them support to help; or,
  2. Fat shame.

It’s obvious that we live in a fat shaming society.

Fat shaming imprisons one in their own misery. An overweight individual has to live with their own shame, guilt, and feelings of being a failure.

It’s not helpful. It only worsens the problem.

Ignoring problems doesn't mean they don't exist

Ignoring the problem doesn’t make the problem go away. We can’t just hide our heads in the sand and hope everything will be okay.

Because things won’t be okay.

If you turn away from a loved one with a serious drug problem, the problem won’t disappear. The problem will only get worse. Imagine your own guilt when they end up in a hospital ward.

People Don’t Love Themselves

We aren’t loving ourselves.

If we truly loved ourselves, we’d take care of our health.

Fuel your car with petrol for optimal performance

When you fuel up your car, do you grab water, juice or any other liquid just to fill up the tank? Of course you don’t. Your car would become ruined. So instead you opt for petroleum. Because that’s what your car needs. Some people even opt for premium brands, because they know it results in better performance.

Now, what does your body need?

It appears we care more about our cars than our own bodies. We tend to stuff ourselves with whatever food is available. We do this just so that we’re not hungry. We eat for the sake of eating. We don’t eat what’s best for our-welling.

Instead of eating to live, many of us live to eat. We love the enjoyment and pleasure we get from food. And we pay the cost of low performance.

Some People Just Don’t Care

It’s true that some people are content with their body size. But for most, it’s rationalization.

We like to tell ourselves that we’re happy even when we’re not. Because admitting that we’re unhappy, well, doesn’t exactly make us less unhappy.

You may tell yourself that you don’t care about the fact that you’re overweight. You may even believe it. In which case, great!

Maybe you don’t care about health. Maybe you don’t care about being at increased risk for chronic illnesses. Maybe you don’t care about having a shorter lifespan. Maybe you prefer having low energy. Maybe you’ve just accepted low mood levels as the norm.

But I’m betting you do care. I definitely care.

There’s No Magic Pill

Magic weight loss pill

One day, scientists will probably invent a miraculous pill that’ll allow you to eat whatever you want and yet not be overweight.

Wouldn’t that be great?

Unfortunately, this pill doesn’t exist today. Even worse, if we don’t clean up our acts, there won’t be a tomorrow.

This is the harsh reality. Being overweight decreases your lifespan. It’s sad. It might make you angry. It certainly won’t make you feel good. But it’s true.

So in a few decades, maybe your children can pop some magic pills and maintain a slim figure without any effort. Let’s just hope we live long enough to see our kids grow up. Because the statistics aren’t looking good.

Today, we have options available. They’re good options. Really good. They’re just unpopular.

The culture whose foundation was built upon hard work has now become the culture of quick fixes.

Everyone wants a quick fix. But there is no quick fix for weight loss. By opting for the quick fix, you’ve opted to do nothing. By opting to do nothing, you’ve only quickened your burial into the grave.

Weight Isn’t Everything

BMI is a reliable indicator of heart health

Excess body weight is a reliable indicator of poor health status. So reliable, in fact, that’s it’s relied upon as the predominant measure for health.

But weight doesn’t tell the whole picture. It’s also important where that weight is being stored.

The biggest problem: people who’re overweight aren’t eating healthfully. Because, well, healthy people have healthy weights.

The Food Conspiracy

Society is manipulated into eating all sorts of junk. We’re told that it’s our fault that we’re fat. “You’re just not exercising enough,” they all say.

And yet, gym memberships are soaring. Kids are exercising more than ever.

Strangely though, the wallets of food company executives are getting fatter.

We are more sedentary than we should be. I know I should exercise more. You know you should too. But the bigger problem is that we’re eating three times as much food as we used to.

If we’re eating three times as much food as we used to, then we’d also have to exercise three times as much. That’s just to maintain the same weight that we used to be.

Obviously, that’s just not practical. You don’t have time for that much exercise. How would anybody have that much time for exercise?

Corn is grown in excess

There’s a bigger underlying problem than lack of exercise.

Corn is grown in excess. Then refined into flours, starches and sugars. These products are then found in just about every food product on supermarket shelves.

Seriously. Take a look at ingredient lists at some of the foods we’re eating. Here are some of the names corn by-products goes by:

  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Cellulose
  • Citrate
  • Citric Acid
  • Corn Meal
  • Dextrose
  • Ferrous Gluconate
  • HFCS
  • HVP
  • Malic Acid
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sorbitol
  • Starch

To name a few.

Some of us may even be convinced that we’re eating healthy. Yet our bodies are becoming wider.

We see “natural” labels on more and more food products. These products are being sold in more and more quantities.

Carob Cherub’s Rapadura — it’s the best sugar, sugar

Trouble is, junk food comes in many packages. There’s virtually no regulation over healthfulness of food. I could package up sugar, add in some colorings, slap on some labels like “organic,” “natural,” “fresh,” “low fat” and probably a dozen more. You’d probably even be convinced that the junk food I’m offering is healthy.

Because this happens every single day.

Unfortunately, you’re then left wondering why you’re not losing weight.

Don’t Blame The Corn

Popular diets (read: atkins and paleo) seem to be blaming all our ills on carbohydrates like corn, wheat and rice.

Yet these staple foods have been powering lean societies for thousands of years.

I eat lots of corn, and I’m not overweight. I eat a lot of wheat too, see:

Rob with a big bag of flour

Don’t Blame Genetics

Genes are an easy scapegoat. “I’m fat because it’s in my genes.”

The gene blame is common. And it’s complete nonsense.

Your genes may dictate what color your hair is. Or what color your eyes are. Genes dictate what you’re born with. But nobody is born 100lbs overweight.

It’s simply not plausible for genes to be the culprit. Developed societies are rapidly becoming obese. Evolution is a slow process, not a rapid beast.

Coincidentally, there’s a high correlation between GDP and BMI:

Correlation between GDP and BMI

With a few exceptions, rich countries are fat, and poor countries are skinny.

What’s changing rapidly are our agricultural habits. And our buying habits.

Our eating habits are completely different to what they were a few decades ago. The chips, soda and poptarts we eat today have only recently been fabricated into existence.

You may be obese. Your parents may be obese. Your grandparents may even be obese. But you great grandparents? Probably not.

Sexual reproduction affords us diversity. What tends to stay in families is culture.

And culture is making us fat.

My mother is obese. My grandmother is obese. Most of my family is obese. Yet I’m healthy. What gives?

My wife used to be obese. Her mother is obese. Her sisters are on the path to obesity. Yet my wife is healthy. What gives?

Sara Binde used to be obese

The Outliers

So you may be scorning at this privileged skinny white guy writing this article. And you’re justified.

Because I’m not overweight.

You could rationalize that I’m just lucky. You could rationalize that I’m just an exception. Yet if you looked really closely, you’d see what’s really exceptional. (Hint: it’s not my genes.)

Here’s the harsh reality again: if you eat junk, you’ll feel like junk and look like junk as well.

What’s my secret? I don’t eat junk.

It’s not because I’m superhuman. It’s not because I have extreme willpower. It’s because I set myself up for success.

I don’t allow myself to fail.

If I ate like everybody else, I’d be like everybody else. I’d end up on the surgery table just like my friends and family have.

I don’t want my friends and family to have to go through that. And I certainly don’t want to go through it.

It’s truly horrible.

What’s The Secret To Weight Management?

The secret is: there is no secret

The secret is: there is no secret.

It’s really, really simple.

Just eat healthy food.

My weight management strategy is to stuff myself full with healthy food so that I’m not tempted by unhealthy food. I’m never unsatisfied enough to give into unhealthy temptations. I don’t let food control me, I control the food.

I’m not on a diet. I don’t have “cheat days” where I eat junk. I just eat sensibly.

To stay lean: fill yourself up with healthy food so you’re not tempted by fat-promoting foods.

Losing Weight Is Hard Because Society Makes It Hard

Losing weight is hard because society makes it hard

Everyday we encounter advertisements to eat more food. Whether it be KFC, McDonald’s or Subway. Sometimes it’s junk food being marketed as health food. Most of the time it’s junk food being marketed as irresistible.

On top of that, we’re also faced with countless advertisements to lose weight. Each product promising to have the secret that no one else has discovered.

We have businesses fighting to make us fat, and businesses fighting to make us skinny. In between we’re left with a messed up overweight society.

Restaurants know how to utilize super stimulants to make us keep coming back. We overwork ourselves to death in an effort to afford all the products we’re tricked into buying. This leaves us no time to cook our own food. We grab for little conveniences because we’re in short supply of time.

Food is addicting. Especially unhealthy food. We can only fix the problem when we wake up and realize there’s a problem.

No matter how hard they try, nobody can help you unless you want to be helped.

There is a a solution

It’s hard at first. It’s terribly confusing. But once you figure it out, it’s simple. Just eat healthfully.

The solution starts on your plate.

Want to know what to eat to stay healthy? I’ve put together this free Rainbow Plate to guide you in the right direction.

Still lacking willpower to make a change? Read how to stay motivated to lose weight.

Want a step-by-step guide to conquer food addictions and transition to a healthy diet in just 12 weeks? Then check out our Beauty Body Plan.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our free weight loss tips.

Why is it so hard to lose weight? Discover the secret to being healthy and thin. You never have to diet again. Weight loss isn't hard.
  • Updated 3 years ago
Robert Roose

Robert is a nutrition advocate focused on optimal health and longevity.