The Conventional Wisdom About Weight Loss That Just Doesn't Work

Stressed, tired, and hungry - you feel a tremendous amount of frustration every morning. You wake up two hours earlier each day, put on your running shoes and jog to the gym to burn off some extra calories before work. Exhausted, you desperately try to get through the day, eating less than ever before, heroically turning down every scrumptious dessert day after day, offered by your well-meaning coworker. 
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Your frustration slowly starts to turn into desperation and anger. Each time you step on your scale - there’s that familiar feeling of disappointment: your weight just won’t budge. You enter a senseless cycle of guilt, self-blame, and shame, absolutely lost about what steps to take next. And society is of no help either. Just try to ask advice from your family members or friends to hear the famous words of “you are not trying hard enough” or “you have no willpower” for the millionth time!

Is this story familiar to you? If yes, you will be relieved to hear that you are not the only one who is failing miserably when it comes to weight loss, despite of faithfully following the traditional and prevalent advice about diet and exercise.

Times are now changing. The most recent studies are finally starting to turn the tables, you have programs like Nutrisystem for men making dieting easier, offering the chance to update our old understanding with timely new information about the complex nature of lasting weight loss. One thing is for certain: you, and millions of other overweight and obese individuals around the world, have something in common. No one wants to be affected by weight problems. Most have tried to get rid of their excess pounds, either by following the advice of their medical professionals, or listening to the inner voice, longing to look and feel wonderful once again. Many have succeeded, yet most have not - especially in the long run.

The problem obviously does not have simple and straightforward answers, it cannot be brushed off the table by accusing affected masses of desperate people of not being truthful about the seriousness of the measures they take towards their weight loss goals.

Sure enough, Americans -similar to other rich, western nations- consume a lot more calories than their bodies require, however it often happens unknowingly. Not realizing that a food label may be misleading and a pre-packaged food may contain as much as 125% of the calories it initially claims to, even a consumer that's trying to be a well-informed one, may inadvertently end up eating more than they realize.

It doesn't help that we are now living in a perpetual state of fighting off food-related temptations. Once easily avoidable, comfort foods are now conveniently and inexpensively available around the clock, setting up struggling individuals -including the strongest and most determined ones- for failure.

When we look at the advice about physical exercise, we may once again realize the futility of trying to get rid of excess pounds by doing the recommended amount of daily activities: not only we don't have an accurate understanding of how many calories we've actually managed to burn by vigorous workouts, even the most successful of us can only claim around 25% of their calorie intake being eliminated by exercising. What's even worse: when we exercise, we feel accomplished and we are quick to celebrate our success by allowing ourselves to consume sugary, nutritionally worthless snacks.

A couple of simple, straightforward advices can help to overcome this impasse, and start to move towards the right direction. Write a food diary and make sure that every bite is accounted for. Focus on healthy protein sources at each meal. Learn to cook -and enjoy to prepare- food from scratch again. Sleep more - at least seven hours each night. Find an exercise that you truly love participating in, just for the fun of it, rather than focusing on weight. Your primary goal is health, not a certain amount of pounds.

What's most important: instead of aiming for perfection, focus on any progress being made and realize that weight loss may take quite a bit longer than you'd like. You will fail, inevitably, yet you will rise again. If persistent, however, ultimately you are bound to reach your goals.