If there was a pill that one could take to lose weight, (almost) the entire world would be skinny. In reality, the pursuit of weight loss doesn't have a one-step solution. There are multiple factors to consider including genetics and the environment one is born, in as well. This is possibly why many individuals encounter formidable challenges that hinder their success in losing weight. These obstacles can vary significantly from person to person, making it crucial to understand and address them effectively. Here's a round up of the key factors that make weight loss such a challenging journey. Being aware of them is to know how you can shed the kilos intelligently.
Dietary choices and mindful eating
One of the most common hurdles in weight loss is poor nutrition knowledge and mindless eating. As per National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, nearly 42% of individuals struggle with nutrition-related challenges during their weight loss journey. This highlights the significance of education and awareness in making informed dietary choices. A well-balanced diet customised to an individual's specific body type, is vital for sustainable weight loss. Mindful eating and portion control are necessary for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
Skipping meals and binge eating
Nowadays, a popular fad among most corporate or office-going people is to skip breakfast. This reversal of the popular saying, "Have breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper", is a major concern that mustn't be ignored as it disrupts the body's calorie balance.
Focusing on metabolism is essential in weight loss journeys, and boosting it requires conscious measures. Eating less or fasting for long hours can actually slow down the metabolism. Each individual has a different adaptive system and needs different techniques to boost their metabolism. Understanding one's unique metabolic rate and customising strategies is vital for effective weight loss.
The overconsumption of alcohol poses another obstacle to weight loss. Alcohol can stimulate cravings for high-calorie, salty, and fatty foods, further hindering weight loss efforts. If you are on a weight-loss programme, you need to pay attention to the calorie density of alcohol and its impact on fat burning.
Insufficient water intake can lead to unnecessary calorie consumption. Studies have shown that there's a correlation between higher water intake and increased fat-burning capacity in the body. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that individuals who consumed more water had a higher metabolic rate and increased fat oxidation. Adequate water intake not only supports weight loss but also plays a vital role in boosting the immune system and eliminating toxins from the body.
Weight loss plateau
Almost every individual attempting weight loss encounters a plateau, where progress stalls despite continued efforts. This occurs when calorie intake matches calorie burn. To overcome a plateau, increase your physical activity levels or reduce calorie intake to create a calorie deficit. The International Journal of Obesity states that 78% of individuals experience a weight loss plateau at some point during their journey. This emphasises the importance of adapting strategies to break through this barrier.
Importance of sleep
The modern lifestyle's influence on sleep patterns can disrupt weight loss efforts. The significance of adequate sleep is paramount, as it promotes hormonal balance and supports muscle and tissue recovery. Inadequate sleep can lead to disruptions in hormone regulation, increased hunger hormones, and decreased feelings of fullness, making weight loss more challenging. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism highlighted the impact of sleep deprivation on appetite-regulating hormones and increased hunger levels.
The prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle, characterised by excessive sitting and limited physical activity, poses a significant obstacle to weight loss. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine is essential for successful weight loss. Find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your daily life. High-intensity workouts also help in improving metabolism.
The same diet plan doesn't work for all
It is time to accept the fact that the same diet plan doesn't work for everyone. Each individual has different dietary requirements, preferences and metabolic responses. Personalising the diet plan to suit individual needs is essential to achieve sustainable weight loss.
Various diet plans such as the Atkins, GM, Keto diet and intermittent fasting have gained popularity in the realm of weight loss. These approaches offer different strategies for calorie restriction, nutrient intake and meal timing. However, it is important to approach these plans with caution. Make it a point to consult with your healthcare professional to ensure they align with your individual goals and health conditions.
For effective weight loss, the need to combine proper nutrition, regular physical activity, psychological support and medical guidance with individualised approaches tailored to each person's unique circumstances is crucial. By addressing dietary choices, genetic factors, lifestyle behaviours, underlying health conditions and emotional well-being, individuals can overcome these challenges and achieve sustainable weight management, ultimately leading to enhanced overall health and well-being.
Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a General, Laser, Bariatric, and Minimal Access Surgeon. He is also co-founder and medical director of HexaHealth.