Updated: Mar 24, 2022
Losing weight is not overly difficult. Losing weight in a healthy and nutritionally sound way is more difficult. Keeping weight off once it's been lost is the hardest of all.
Popular myths and beliefs overwhelm genuine research and evidence. With so much conflicting information, it's almost impossible to know what's right. Learning how to lose weight means, first of all, unlearning how to lose weight.
Biology is not destiny. We are dealt with genetic cards at birth, but outcomes are based more on how cards are played than on how they are dealt with.
Diet and exercise must be pleasurable, or you will drop them.
As Oscar Wilde said, "I can resist anything except temptation." If you feel deprived or depressed by what you're eating or not eating, you're doomed. If you hate how you're #exercising, you're toast. If you don't learn how to avoid crave triggers, you're lost.
Motivations and triggers are not uniform. You're confronting an obstacle course of triggers, motivations, and guilty pleasures. Your job is to devise a way to steer right past them, instead of thinking you can overpower them with the will. In the long run, you can't.
Diet loses weight. #Exercise keeps it off. Most short-term weight loss occurs from changes in eating. Most long-term success depends on making enjoyable exercise something you get to do, not something you have to do.
Socializing your exercise is a force multiplier. Write down your exercise and eating details every day and you're twice as likely to succeed. Include others in the accountability (informally, in a group class, or formally, with a coach) makes success three times as likely. Working out with others is your secret weapon.
Forget high technology. The secret to the future lies in the past. Current #obesity epidemics are due to Stone Age biology confronting 21st Century culture. We were customized by evolution to fit a pre-historic world dominated by the uncertain food supply, vigorous lifestyle, general lack of calorie-dense foods, and absence of concentrated sources of simple #carbohydrates (flour, sugar, starches, etc.). These days, our bodies are perpetually preparing for a famine that never comes, while longing to run in a hunt that never happens. The simple, reliable way to lose weight, keep it off, and increase overall happiness is to re-tool eating and exercising so they more nearly resemble the way humans lived for more than 99 percent of our history on earth.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Hoover is a science writer whose films are have been shown on NOVA, Discovery Networks, and Animal Planet. He is a certified personal trainer with Court One Athletic Clubs. He can be reached at 517.372.9531