YHATC002 – Why You Still Haven’t Reached Your Ideal Weight (Part 2)

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Last show, we introduced the topic “why you still haven’t reached your ideal weight”.  A lot of folks spend so much time and mental energy trying to lose weight, it might as well be a second career.  So what we did last show is start to explore some of the reasons why we fail for so long to get the weight thing right, so that we can move on to more important, more fulfilling things in life.

The reasons we discussed last show were as follows:

Possible Reason #1 – Your focus is on losing weight rather than on losing fat

Possible Reason #2 – Your focus is on the external (your looks) rather than the internal (the real reasons you’re struggling with weight gain)

Possible Reason #3 – You’re looking for the “right” diet

We’re going to continue on this topic today, and I’m going to introduce four additional reasons that you may be struggling to get back to the right weight.  Ready?  Ok.

Possible Reason #4 – You’re not going hard enough.  How hard have you tried to lose weight?  Like, really?  How much effort have you really put into it?  I’m not trying to insult you, I promise, but I want you to think about what you’re doing.

When you become overweight due to an accumulation of excess fat, you don’t accumulate that fat overnight.  It takes a long time.  It’s usually after weeks of excess calories that you first begin to notice the pounds piling on, and sometimes you may not even notice it then if you’re really busy in your life.  Sometimes you look in the mirror one day and say, “aw man,” when it was years ago that you actually started gaining.

Anyway, excess fat takes a long time to build up.  And because it takes a while for it to build up, it’s going to take some effort to take it back off.  Fat is literally the storage mechanism for extra energy that your body uses, so to get it off, you’re going to need to expend a significant amount of energy.  And get this…the amount of energy you expend has to be enough for your body to go beyond its normal energy usage and into its fat stores.

If you’ve been doing some exercise and your fat loss is stalled out, you might not be exercising enough.  What you’re doing may have worked a little bit before, but because your body is used to it now, you need to do more.  God made our bodies such that they are superb at adapting to the environment, and that’s why it’s good to periodically evaluate what you’re doing exercise-wise to make sure you’re actually doing enough.

General guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services suggest that, if you desire to maintain your current size and fitness level, you should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, which amounts to 30 minutes five days per week.  However, if you want to lose, you should be doing at least 250 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, or 50 minutes five days per week.  If you start from the couch or close to it, 150 minutes per week will actually help you lose weight for a bit, but after that, you need to be trying to get right at an hour on most days.

Sounds like a lot, but consider again how steadily weight gain occurs over years.  Your body is going to need a lot of reason to get rid of all of the extra energy, so if it’s not coming off, consider that you may not be active enough.

Possible Reason #5 – You haven’t dealt with your sweet tooth.  Guys, these are hands down the main culprits when it comes to having too much fat.  Sugary foods and sugary drinks are really addictive, high energy foods that most of us tend to have problems laying down.  You don’t even necessarily have to eat a lot of them; they have so much concentrated energy, and combining that with a sedentary lifestyle is the perfect recipe for being overweight.

If you really want to lose the fat, you have to learn to change your tastes.  Specifically, you have to learn to eat sweet foods less.  If you want to do it right and in a way that lasts, that is.  Let me tell you the not so good way to approach it.

The world convinces us that to deprive ourselves of what we want sometimes is pious, ridiculous and unnecessary.  The world tells us that there are ways to satisfy our desires constantly and not suffer consequences for doing so.  The way this works with diet is, we’re told that we can still consume as many sweets as we want and not gain extra fat, which is the usual consequence for doing so.  We can drink zero calorie drinks that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners that were made in a laboratory somewhere, and we can perhaps even lose weight while doing so.

But think about it.  Usually, when we indulge in the things we desire on a constant basis, there are consequences.  Aren’t there?  It’s kinda how things work in this world.  In your spare time, I challenge you to meditate on the concept.  It reminds me of years ago when my twin brother and I were about 5 and we thought it was a good idea to pour a whole lot of food flakes in the aquarium we had.  The poor fish ate themselves to death.  With all that food, they for some reason didn’t know better and they overdid it.

I think about how, when we eat too much, we get stomachaches.  Or when we constantly skimp on sleep to watch favorite shows and what not, it might manifest physically in us in the form of headaches or more frequent illnesses.  When a child is accustomed to having what he wants all of the time, when he gets older, he might be terrible with his money because he’s always buying what he wants, or he might lack friends because he always puts himself before his friends.  Consequences always come with unregulated access to the things we desire, and the way to usually avoid such consequences is not to find a way to still be able to indulge, but by being disciplined in how we deal with our desires.

Going back to the sugar stuff, we choose artificially sweetened beverages and diet plans that say that we can eat whatever we want and still lose weight.  I’m skeptical, you know?  The way I see it, there has to be a catch.  The joke has to be on us, because you usually can’t constantly indulge without having issues.

And the joke is indeed on us.  Several artificial sweeteners have been shown to have possible links to cancers and nervous system disorders.  Also, there are studies that show that several artificial sweeteners actually affect your body’s insulin response in a way similar to how sugar does, which primes your body to store fat.  The very thing that diet soda drinkers are trying to avoid.

The only real way around this is to be disciplined…to not need sweets so much.  The true solution is to train yourself to be strong in the midst of so, so many sugary temptations in the forms of sodas, juices, tea, candy, cakes, pies, and so on.  This isn’t the answer that we want to hear, and it’s totally against the INDULGE-INDULGE-INDULGE message of the world, but it is truly the best solution to getting over a sweet tooth.

In the beginning, it is really hard to overcome a sweet tooth.  It might even feel impossible.  But no matter who you are, like I said before, God made your body to adapt.  You can get used to it, even if your mind tells you that you can’t.  If you listen to your mind, you’ll believe that you can’t do it, but when you realize that you can tell your mind what to do, you’ll soon realize that it really is possible to overcome your desire for sweets…to the point that you don’t even miss them when you’ve succeeded.

This is the road less traveled.  This is the most rewarding path.

Possible Reason #6 – You don’t REALLY think you can do it.  You might have held extra weight for so long that you feel deep on the inside that this is just how you are now.  The funny thing is, you can believe this even as you try to lose the extra fat – as you spend the money, as you eat the salads, and as you go to the gym.

Proverbs 23:7 says that the way a man thinks in his heart is how he really is.  How you think can matter more than what you do, just because how you think ultimately shapes what you do.  That’s why you can go through the motions without actually losing fat because your mind really isn’t in it.

So how do we get to where we are trying to lose weight while not really believing that we’ll be able to?  It’s a process, man.  Weight gain has a way of sneaking up on you, but once it’s there, it is often established by the series of unhealthy habits that brought it there in the first place.  Think of the food cravings that have developed with the extra poundage over the years.  Combine that with a self-image that has been altered by repeatedly seeing yourself in the mirror as a heavier version of yourself, and by putting on larger clothes for a long period of time, and it’s easy to see how one can become settled with being overweight when they really don’t want to be.

So what’s the solution for this?  Well, it’s simple, conceptually.  You have to start believing that you can do it.  You have to convince yourself that not only is it possible that you can lose the fat, but that you’re definitely going to accomplish it.  No questions.

Believing in this way is easier said than done, of course, when you’ve spent weeks, months, years or decades developing bad habits and getting used to your heavier self.  But just because it’s hard to change your thoughts doesn’t mean it’s impossible.  It’s totally possible.

It reminds me of how Romans 12:2 tells us to not be conformed to the way this world is, but rather, to be transformed by the renewing – the repair, the regeneration, the “bettering” – of our minds.  This is the case here.  If you want to get to a healthy weight, you can’t think about it the way the circumstances lead you to think about it (“I’ll never lose this weight”).  You have to allow your body to be transformed by putting the thoughts in your mind that you will successfully lose all the fat you need to lose.

You may not believe right now that you can really get to an ideal weight, so examine yourself.  If that’s you, then you can believe.  Matter of fact, you can believe right now.  Pray for the strength to believe beyond what you see and feel.  Then, actually tell yourself mentally and verbally, “I am going to lose all of this weight.”  “I will be XXX pounds.”  “I eat in ways that help me lose weight.”  “I exercise regularly and the fat comes off because of it.”  Our unprecedented ability to choose our thoughts gives us an entry point to being able to conquer the things that hold us down.  Use that ability.  Use that power.  Believe!

Possible Reason #7 – You know too much about how to lose fat (Information Overload).  There surely is no lack of information on how to lose fat.  Websites and blogs, books, DVDs and so on, give us all the information that we could possibly need to lose fat.  So, a shortage of information on how to lose fat is most likely not a big reason for the obesity epidemic in our society.

But perhaps the abundance of information on how to lose fat is.  Sometimes you can know too much about how to do something.  I know that I personally have a tendency, in this information age, to read up on stuff as much as I possibly can, but when it comes to actually doing what I’ve read about, I’m kinda confused.  For example, I recently was reading articles and watching videos on how to deal with a leak in the garbage disposal under my sink.  It had been replaced no more than a few weeks before I started seeing new leaks.  I was like, “what do I do?”  “Surely I don’t need to get somebody to replace it again.”  “Is it leaking from the top or the bottom like they say it is?”  “How do I know this source is right about the problem?”

So reading up on all kinds of stuff didn’t really solve the problem for me.  You know what I did?  I confused myself from all of my reading and studying and procrastinated, man.  For MONTHS.  I stuck a bucket under the disposal and just resolved myself to letting it leak, all because I read too much and assumed that the issue was going to be hard to fix.

But guess what happened when I actually looked at the problem myself?  I went under the sink with my flashlight and looked around, and I noticed that the disposal wasn’t screwed on tight.  That’s all the problem was.  I made a molehill into a mountain.  My disposal collected a lot a rust because I overanalyzed and over-studied.  It was so, so simple of a fix.  Embarrassing, man.

Could that be your issue?  Have you read so much on how to lose fat that you’ve confused yourself?  Starting stuff and stopping it because you think you’re doing the wrong thing?  Being paralyzed because it seems too hard?  If that is you, what you need to do right now is stop reading up on how to do it, and just start somewhere.  You probably read something that told you to cut the carbs, for example.  Just start there.  If you actually give yourself a chance to start, and you’re committed to doing it the right way, you’ll learn what to do.  You’ll see what works for you and what doesn’t.  You’ll actually be on your way.

And I am suspecting that you will realize that you made the issue much bigger and more complicated than it actually was.  Don’t over-study.  Don’t overanalyze.  Put down the phone, put down the books and just get started!


Have a question you want answered on the Your Health At The Crossroads show?  Tweet your question to @ShawnB2BFitness, put it on the YHATC Facebook page, or call (478)216-8536 and leave a voicemail.  You can also send your question via e-mail  to shawn@yourhealthatthecrossroads.com.

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