Why is it so hard to lose weight?


Low calorie diets will not let the dieter achieve sustained weight loss.  For the past two years, I’ve eaten about 3,000 to 4,500 calories a day, with most of the calories coming from high fat sources.  According to traditional weight loss models, I should have put the 100lbs, that took me more than a decade to lose right back on, but I didn’t.  I am not an exercise junkie either.  I only workout 1 to 3 times a week.  I wasn’t born with a speedy metabolism. I changed the way my body works so I have one.

If you are overweight, there is a good chance you are communicating to the ancient part of your body that there is a famine happening around you.  By “a good chance” I mean that you are unless you have a medical condition you are sending this message to the really, really old caveman survival instinct control center.  The part of your body that got us, as species, through the Ice age.  Your body responds by slowing down your metabolism making you gain weight and lowering energy levels.  If this continues on long enough, you may feel depressed or even have thoughts of suicide.

This is natures way of telling you there isn’t enough food for the species to survive and you need to get out of the way.  This way, your children have a chance at survival.  A good example is: we have to hunt deer in the northeast because we killed all their natural predators.  If we do not hunt them, their numbers will be to great and they will exhaust their food sources before the winter is up.  Unlike deer, humans have been an apex predator for a long time.  This means that we have systems encoded into our DNA that manage things like overpopulation.  When these responses are triggered, we begin a shut down process that will eventually lead us into an early grave.  Examples of stress on the body that mimic famine conditions are:

  • Eating carbs at every meal: Yep, it’s actually stressful for your body to get your blood glucose back to normal.  This is because if your blood is to thick (from the glucose) its hard for your body to transport nutrients around and toxins away.
  • Eating foods with toxins on a consistent basis activates your immune system which causes a stress response.
  • Not eating enough makes your body think there is a famine.
  • Abusive relationships: A significant other, Family, Friends or boss.
  • Environmental toxins like chlorine in water and heavy metals in fish
  • Negative self talk
  • Going to bed feeling like you have things left to do
  • Video Games
  • Drugs including alcohol
  • Eating food that causes inflammation such as gluten and dairy proteins (For some people this is worse than others it is very personalized.  I cannot consume either, but I know people who can without an incredible amount of inflammation)

Ways to help get rid of these stressors:

  • Eat lots of healthy fats:  Grass fed butter or Ghee, coconut oil and Red meat are the basics. Egg Yolks and Olive oil are good options as well.  This makes your body think it is in the land of plenty and its time to enjoy life.  Also, cholesterol which is only available in animal products is needed to make many of the fat burning hormones.
  • Get rid of toxic people.
  • Surround yourself with positive people moving forward in life.  There really is not neutral in life!
  • When in doubt eat more fat.
  • Workout to enjoy moving your body not to burn calories.
  • Get enough sleep and put yourself in a positive mindset before you do.
  • Drugs, Alcohol and Video games = Weight gain
  • Love yourself unconditionally
  • Eat less carbs and eat them less frequently.  Women do need more carbs than men do.  Try a goal of eating carbs just once a day and see how you feel.  Remember, this is something that may take you 6 months to work up to.  This will train your body to use your fat stores as fuel.
  • Make weight loss fun!  If you want to eat a 1/2 gallon of ice cream do it until your tummy hurts just laugh while you do it.  The self hatred while you eat the ice cream is far worse than the ice cream itself.  Your body is pretty good at getting toxins out.  Any inflammation and water weight gained will be gone in 2-5 days (notice how I said water weight).  The stress of feeling like your doing something bad and the negative self talk can make you gain 5lbs even if you were eating a salad.
  • Eat lots of veggies so your body gets the nutrients its craving.  Load them up with butter or ghee to make them taste amazing.

23 responses to “Why is it so hard to lose weight?

  1. Thank you for sharing. I agree with all of your blog.

    I agree, that one the weight is gone, I have to keep at exercising, eating right, and only one big meal a day. I stop eating before 6pm so my metabolism rest until 10am the next morning.

    For breakfast I do raw juices : green and my detoxer beetroot carrot apple. I also do a smoothie.

    My bodies metabolism rest for a while.
    Ayurvedically, one’s tummy should be 2/3 full and 1/3 empty so the calories are burnt up.

    Moving all the time keeps your body working, this is my aim.

    Lotsa love
    South africa

  2. Sound advice. I’ve found that it’s the gentle lifestyle changes that result in incremental and sustainable positive changes. Moderation is key. I can’t imagine a totally carb-free existence because I’m not sure life is worth living without a flaky croissant or crusty baguette every now and again. But not every day. And that’s the difference between misery and deprivation and moderation and happiness.

    Regards from London,

    • Thanks! I know women need more carbs than men. I don’t really feel like I want to eat carbs at all tho. I’ll have some chocolate every once and a while or some sweet potatoes, but that’s just how my body runs.

  3. Great advice, I think it is so important to not just think about the calories but also all the stressors that you mentioned. I think too many people focus on just the food and don’t realize what a big impact the other factors in their lives have on their weight goals! Lifestyle plays such a huge role and I don’t think we put enough emphasis on that aspect. Great read! 🙂

    • I really think that the true cause of weight gain is stress. You can only handle so much stress in a given day, before your body stops making hormones correctly. Then, a cascade effect starts and it doesn’t matter how you eat or exercise, you will be fighting a losing battle.

  4. Great stuff, Steve. I’ve been saying this for years and sometimes need to be reminded to take my own advice. Thanks for the reminder. I am coaching my sister and gave her most of this advice last week but until I sent her a copy of this blog, I don’t think she heard me. Must be a sister thing. She says this is the advice her husbands cardiologist gave him. Thanks so much for the kick in the butt I needed!

  5. great article, i agree with all your points…i have to lose weight to keep up with my cycling racing snakes and i have adopted this diet as a way of life as well..

  6. I love this, it’s a side of weight loss that I had never even considered before. I am going to print it off and read it more thoroughly! Thanks for visiting my blog today 🙂

  7. Pingback: What to Eat and When: The Biggest Loser Challenge – Week 2 | A Map of California·

  8. you are right…eating too little doesn’t work. I was eating 1200 calories a day and had trouble sleeping because I was litterally starving. I added 400 calories to my diet and…wait for it…pounds came falling off! Eat more to lose weight? What? Sometimes it works.

  9. Pingback: Why is it so Hard to Lose Weight? | Losses Are Good!·

  10. The minute the stress levels rise, the water weight packs on. Like this last week alone, I moved, lost my job, plus a whole lot of other stuff included in your list of WHAT creates the space of ‘mental/body famine’ – weaning the baby, not sleeping enough, oversitting from looking for work online, feeling uncomfortable in a new space, too many changes in 2 weeks and feeeeeeling it.. oops… there go 13 lbs of water weight (diet has not shifted) in one week. Freaked me out a bit this morning..

    Gotta get back having a relaxed state of mind and laugh a bit more. The lbs matter less when they matter less… thanks for the post, needed that.

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