The psychology behind weight loss

There are a lot of reasons why people gain weight and find that weight hard to lose.

Some reasons include lifestyle, time, money, location, resources, diet, health issues and the list goes on. While it’s easy to dismiss those factors as excuses, I’m always looking to delve into the reasons why people are struggling with their health.

So when I saw this great blog post on getting rid of your love handles on our fitness expert Dave Smith’s site, I had to share the TedTalk video he posted.

weight loss

It examines this very common sentiment about weight loss: “Losing weight is easy; you just need to eat less and exercise more.” 

Heard this one before? Who hasn’t. But there are some inherent flaws with it. Turns out, there are a lot of factors besides eating less and exercising more. Watch this to learn what they are.

Basically, there are no quick fixes and no simple solutions. It’s also counterproductive and might even lead to more weight gain if you think that weight loss is or should be easy.

Here are five important lessons I learned from this video:

1. Don’t deprive yourself. Eat healthy foods that you actually enjoy. If you don’t love salads, find something that you do like (that’s good for you!) and eat that instead. People who cut out entire food groups are bound to fail because it’s not sustainable.

2. It’s not all about willpower. If you find something you enjoy doing, this habit will encourage you to be healthier for the sake of it, rather than for weight loss. If you hate running, try walking. If you don’t like going outside in the cold, try hot yoga.

3. Don’t suppress your desires. If you can’t stop thinking about something (for example, pizza) don’t force it out of your mind. Compromise and find a healthy way to indulge (for example, home-made healthy pizza with loads of veggies). It’s all about mindfulness.

4. Treat your body well and do things you enjoy. You’ll improve your life and weight loss will be the by-product.

5. Get the right support. Go and see a dietitian or a weight loss professional to get a tailored plan. So many people tell me they are using shake diets or weight loss apps and I think it’s awesome that they are taking some steps towards getting healthy but I sometimes worry they may be setting themselves up for failure. Oftentimes such a haphazard approach to losing weight doesn’t factor in all of the things that will enable long-term weight loss. Crash diets and calorie counting don’t work because you can’t sustain that for the rest of your life. It’s exhausting and hard on your body. You need a long-term plan that involves changing your entire lifestyle.

What’s your weight loss strategy?