Nearly all of us have been there – you’ve successfully lost weight only to gain it all back (and then some!) after your diet ends. Of course junk food or a few irresistible desserts might have played a role, but what you probably didn’t know is your biology wanted you to fail.
That’s right – I said biology, or what I like to call Resistant Biology. Did you know some statistics suggest that only 5% of people who go on diets keep the weight off for two or more years? Yikes! Few people know that for every person who gains weight and then loses weight, their body actually resists the urge to stay thin. Your Resistant Biology is always working against you. This infographic (7 Tough Biological Truths That Could Be Hampering Your Efforts To Lose Weight) is a great visual to help you grasp this concept.
So does that mean you’re doomed to remain overweight? Of course not! It just means you have to be aware of the biological challenges you’re facing and work with them to succeed.
Resistant Biology Broken Down
Let’s get technical for a minute so you can understand how and why your body is constantly trying to increase its size. It’s all about those pesky fat cells. We are all born with a certain number of fat cells, but when you gain weight, those cells expand and multiply. And the kicker is – they NEVER go away. Don’t lose hope just yet. While we can’t ever get rid of fat cells, we can shrink them when losing weight.
Fat cells love to “feel full,” so they will store your extra food as fat to fill them up. Science shows that once the body gets used to being overweight, it has a biological drive to return to its highest sustained lifetime body weight. Every time you add more fat cells, it becomes your new normal! This means that people who have been overweight will always have more fat cells than those who have always been a healthy weight.
This explains why it can take you six months to lose 30 pounds but see half of it roll back just a month after returning to your old eating habits. This biological process goes back to the hunter-gatherer days when fat cells were necessary for survival. Our body tries to protect us from starvation, and stored fat cells were what we relied on in our hunter-gatherer days for survival when food was not readily available. This is no longer a threat to many of us today, yet our biology’s have not yet adapted.
In our world today, we are surrounded by food. Drive-thrus, office birthday celebrations, you name it – it’s constantly around us and available in super-sized portions. What’s more, we move less! So with easier access to food, especially unhealthy food, losing weight and keeping it off is a constant battle.
Accepting Your Truth
It’s simply not fair, I know. You have to work harder and smarter than those who have never struggled with their weight. That’s why diets don’t work – they suggest there is a beginning and an end to a changed way of eating. To fight your Resistant Biology, you have to approach it as a new, long-term, healthy way of life.
Always remember that: my Resistant Biology does not take a vacation. I must always strive to make wise food choices.
You need to know the enemy and use it to drive a lifelong behavior change. Just like people with food allergies or chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, your Resistant Biology is always there. Understanding how it works and what you can do to fight it is the first step to change.
You can’t make your Resistant Biology go away, but you can outsmart it by changing your food behavior. As executive director of Wellspring Camps, a weight loss center for teens and young adults, I teach that you must retrain your brain for life-long behavior change. This is why thousands of campers have successfully lost weight and kept it off. It’s also why I wrote the book Brain-Powered Weight Loss and why the Wellspring approach works.
YOU have the ability to change and affect your Resistant Biology. Your choices and behaviors with food and exercise will not only help you conquer weight loss, but they can even affect that difficult biology. The main thing to remember? These choices need to last forever – consistency is key. Learn more about Wellspring’s Summer Weight Loss Program, and read more about making consistently better choices in Brain-Powered Weight Loss. I want to help you succeed!