The REAL Reason Most People Will Never Lose Weight on Calories IN/Calories OUT alone
“I don’t get it! I put my height and weight into the calculator and it told me I should only be consuming 1200k/cal per/day to lose 1lb week—but it isn’t working!”
“I don’t understand! I already cut my calories so much and didn’t see results so I took another 200calories/day off from what I eat and I still can’t lose weight!”
“I am so ready to give up! I am broken! I did what everyone told me I should do and have been counting calories but the scale still won’t move!”
“I measured every single thing I ate and I still haven’t seen any results! I am a failure. I can’t ever win or do anything right.”
Believe it or not this is a very, very common scenario. If you peruse one of the many weight loss forums online you will see at least one or more frustrated individuals, like these, daily pleading for help.
Even after becoming diet zealots counting every single calorie many, at least at some point in the weight loss process, become weary, worn out and mentally and physically exhausted and overwhelmed. They are stuck! Just counting calories alone isn’t helping them lose weight permanently (and it certainly isn’t helping them feel more confident or better about themselves).
The Diet and Calorie Nazi’s
There are more and more diet Nazis on the internet everyday. They are anxious to point out why you are not losing weight when you come to them for help. I applaud them for their fervor.
Nazi: “You must not have counted your calories correctly!”
You: “No I promise you I did.”
Nazi: “That is impossible. You are eating WAY too much food.”
You: “Really, I can show you my log book.”
Nazi: “Well it is simple math—you only eat this many calories and burn this many calories and your weight has to equal this.”
Sadly, this is the delusion that afflicts the masses of health-conscious folks and even practitioners. While the caloric value of what you consume absolutely plays a role it is only one piece of the puzzle. Weight loss has somehow been reduced to a mathematic equation that is supposed to always work. For everyone. Every time. Calories in needs to be less than calories out.
The Dumbed Down Calories In/Calories Out Approach Isn’t Working
This overly technical mechanistic weight loss approach is symptomatic of the superficial, unconscious overly left-brained people we have become.
Believe it or not we are not static robotic machines that spit out exact, precise results consonant with some numeric calculation.
This is treating weight as an entity in and of itself, independent of the person or individual with unique thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviors who carries the weight.
Can you treat the number on the scale effectively and with long lasting results if it is disowned from the actual person? This superficial, oversimplified and dumbed down approach of calories in/calories out alone, as taught and exemplified by most popular diets, would have worked long ago if it was THE solution, don’t you think?
The REAL Answer is Beyond Just Calories
Could it be that the problem was never the actual quality or quantity of food consumed, nor the frequency and intensity of activity or the lack of it?
Could it be that the problem was always hidden in the person?
There are very few people seeking to lose more than a few pounds of weight who don’t at their core have some deeper emotional, mental and possible psychological dis-ease that is at the very root of their weight struggles. The number on the scale is merely the superficial indication of a deeper non-physical imbalance.
Unfortunately, many in this category may not be ready to admit this or recognize this. Further, it is too taboo to even be acknowledged as a problem by the “experts” and, worse still, it doesn’t sell like quick-fix “magic” pills or teas do.
Thus the dearth of research in this realm. But ask many of these individuals and they will tell you they aren’t a number or a statistic in a study but a real person who wants to be understood, shown compassion, and given real hope beyond just a trite: “Eat less and burn more” response.
The Core Components of Weight Struggles
Human clinical experience demonstrates that the following are core components of weight struggles:
- some secret fear
- sense of lack of love
- emotional unrest
And all of these lead to a real state of psychological and physiological STRESS.
The weight will never come off and permanently stay off, nor will the harmony of mind, body and emotions ever be restored until the Self, independent of the number on the scale, is healed.
And if you can’t be happy with and love yourself who in the world cares about the number on the scale?
How Stressed Are You?
A study by the American Medical Association found that stress is a factor in 75% of all illnesses and diseases that people suffer from today.(1) The association between stress and disease is estimated to be as high as 85% and abnormal eating behavior is often a direct result.
According to the American Institute of health, it has been estimated that 75 – 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems. (2) The startling statistic is that as much as 80% of the population may be experiencing some low-lying levels of stress day in and day out and they don’t even know it!
This is the silent destroyer of any appreciable and permanent body transformation.
Everything from being overworked at your job to friction at home to excessive caffeine consumption to being constantly critical of self to eating fast and feeling guilt or fear about food contribute to stress.
“I can’t eat this or I will get fat.” “Why is life always so hard.” “I am so out of shape and fat.” “I hate my body.” “Why can’t I ever catch a break?” “I want to eat ice cream so bad but I can’t.”
The mere repeating of such thoughts or words causes the hormones of stress to convince the brain and organs of the body they are living in a “state of emergency” all the time.
Most Stress Happens Unconsciously & Sabotages Weight-Loss Plans
More unsettling is how this is happening beneath the surface of conscious thought for so many as a result of social and familial programming, past trauma and sabotaging beliefs.
We experience the emotions of anger, aggression, hatred, fear, prejudice, anxiety, insecurity, hopelessness, resentment, worry, unhappiness and a slew of and other negative states. This continues to feed the energetic chaos that manifests as physical pain and disease of which obesity is only one part.
Higher blood levels of cortisol, corticotropin releasing factor, insulin and others force your body into sympathetic overdrive. You create conditions for appetite de-regulation and digestive upset as well as irritability, metabolic dysfunction and massive fatigue all the time.
Individuals tend to consume much more, sugar and fatty food cravings skyrocket, and the body stays in muscle catabolism and fat storage mode perpetually. Not only does stress make it difficult to impossible to lose weight but there is emerging research to show it may be what is preventing you from keeping the weight off permanently once it is lost.
Can’t Keep the Weight Off?—Is Your Brain Stressed?
There is an advanced pro-inflammatory state in those subjects more prone to regain the diet-induced weight loss. Those in a pro-inflammatory state have dysregulation of circulating hormones from hypothalamus. These hormones are crucial for appetite control and metabolism. There is evidence that this inflammatory state can persist in the brain even after individuals lose weight. (3)
The activation of microglia (a particular type of immune cell) in the hypothalamus in the brain can, on its own, lead to obesity in mice.
Brain inflammation may be a cause, rather than just a consequence, of obesity. This inflammation in the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls appetite and satiety through leptin and grehlin activity) leads to interference in the weight regulation activity of individuals.
If obese people stop overeating, switch to a healthful diet and start exercising, they lose weight. However, they may quickly gain it back again. The reason is not a lack of willpower but injury to brain cells, or neurons, in the hypothalamus (4).
Stop the Insanity
Thus even with strict caloric monitoring, proper macronutrient partitioning and adequate supplemental physical activity many quietly, often unknowingly, remain in this catabolic “just get through the day” survival stress mode.
This wears their body down slowly and makes weight loss and maintenance of weight loss almost impossible.
But yet they are reminded and often scolded by the experts: “You aren’t counting your calories correctly.”
All the while a raging river of deep negative emotion, worthlessness, trauma, destructive belief systems and thought and behavioral patterns as well as a multitude of external environmental factors contributing to stress may lie untouched and often unacknowledged by the so called experts.
Let’s Talk About the Elephant in the Room
We can no longer ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to weight and body image struggles.
The numbers are just too staggering to overlook.
Sure, it may not be considered “cool,” “in vogue,” “sexy” or have some major marketing leverage which is massively profitable by business savy healthpreneurs but is that what really matters?
Could it be that the REAL answer to this massive pandemic has been so simple all along?
We do a major disservice to the industry and, more importantly, to millions who daily struggle to find REAL solutions to their weight and body image challenges when we concoct more of these mechanistic, superficial, temporary calories in/calories out approaches only.
Treating the whole person from the inside out is the ONLY solution.
For more on how to do that, see these articles:
If you want help loving the body and life that you already have, try this:
Let us know in the comments: Are you sick of counting calories and working out only to have no lasting results? What have you tried that works for you?
(1) America’s Leading Adult Health Problem, by Paul J. Rosch, M.D., F.A.C.P., in USA Magazine, May 1991. https://www.stress.org/americas-1-health-problem
(2) Salleh MR. Life event, stress and illness. Malays J Med Sci. 2008;15(4):9-18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/
(3) Miller, Alyson A. Spencer, Sarah J. Obesity and neuroinflammation: A pathway to cognitive impairment. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity Volume 42, November 2014, Pages 10-21 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/
(4) Valdearcos et al. Microglial Inflammatory Signaling Orchestrates the Hypothalamic Immune Response to Dietary Excess and Mediates Obesity Susceptibility. Cell Metabolism. Volume 26, Issue 1, 5 July 2017, Pages 185-197.e3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S155041311730339X