Just Why Is Losing Weight So Hard?

We all know that maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to good overall health. Why, then, is it so hard to lose the extra pounds we pack on? (After all, gaining them is easy enough!)


Personal responsibility plays a part, but you might be surprised by some of the everyday factors that can sabotage your weight loss efforts.

Reason 1: Finding the right diet can be tricky.

While the American Heart Association recommends a diet low in fat, many dieters find themselves missing the natural satiety that fats bring. Carbohydrates are another controversial issue.

Some dieters find that consuming a high amount of carbohydrates only makes them crave more. On the other hand, low-carb diets can leave some people feeling lethargic and even depressed.

Dr. Frank Sacks and associates from the Harvard School of Public Health recently concluded a study that compared four types of diets: high carb, high fat, high protein, and low fat. Their finding? According to Sacks, “No one of those diets are necessarily better than any other diet.”

The bottom line is this: Expending more calories than you consume will result in weight loss, regardless of which food groups you take those calories from. However, for optimal health, you should choose a balanced diet that you can comfortably live with for the rest of your life.

Reason 2: The media sends mixed messages about diet and health.

Women magazines are notorious for running stories about the latest trend in quick weight loss, just opposite a mouth-watering photo of a decadent triple-fudge cake. What message are they trying to send?

That’s not the only way the media sends mixed signals about our health. Have you ever been confused by the sheer number of weight loss studies in the news, many of which seem to come to contradictory conclusions?

If so, you’re not alone. With so much information, it’s nearly impossible to know which advice to follow. The problem with a lot of the studies you read about is that they are sensationalized by the media.

For example, a recent study suggested that some women over 50 might need to exercise more than 30 minutes a day in order to counteract their naturally slowing metabolisms. The headline for this study screamed, “Women Must Exercise One Hour a Day to Avoid Gaining Weight!” Not only was this headline demoralizing, it was inaccurate.

The best policy is to turn a deaf ear to the fads and sensationalism, and trust the advice you receive from your doctor and other trusted experts.

Reason 3: The food industry sets you up to fail.


With so many of us leading busy lifestyles, it’s no wonder we sometimes dine out for convenience. However, fast food chains and restaurants are dangerous territory for dieters.

Most fast food is high in fat and sodium while being relatively devoid of real nutrients. This results in lots of empty calories that leave our bodies malnourished even as our weight and blood pressure rise.

The unfortunate truth is that fats and sugars have a real impact on the chemistry of the human brain. These “comfort foods” can quickly become addictive.

Add flavor-enhancers like MSG to the mix, along with the largest portion sizes in human history, and you have a recipe for dietary disaster.

The obvious solution is to cook your own meals from whole foods, consuming as little processed food as possible. If you must eat out, choose smaller portion sizes. Some diners have half of their entrees boxed up before they even begin to eat.

Others order kids’ meals instead of the unhealthy adult portions offered by fast food chains. As an added benefit, kids’ meals often come with healthier side options like fresh fruit instead of french fries.

Reason 4: Well-meaning family and friends can do more harm than good.

Our loved ones mean well, but they do us no favors when they insist we have “just one more bite”. They hate to see us feeling deprived, so they enable us when we have the urge to eat unhealthy foods. Or they help us rationalize our poor choices by pointing out that we “deserve” a little treat; that “just this once won’t hurt”.

It’s hard to maintain your steadfastness in the face of such temptation. The best approach is to have an earnest talk with your loved ones. Let them know that you appreciate their concern, but that you need their support far more than you need a second helping of pie.

Schedule occasional “cheat days”, such as special occasions like birthdays, when you will permit yourself a little indulgence. That way, your family and friends will know when to offer you treats, and when to keep silent.

Reason 5: Making and breaking habits is hard work.

Finally, it takes time and effort to get into healthier habits. When you first start your weight loss journey, it might feel like an uphill battle as you contend with years of unhealthy behavior.

Start by making small changes. Instead of watching TV after dinner, record your favorite shows and go for a walk. Replace some high-fat foods with their lower-fat equivalents. Over time, you will get used to these changes and be able to make more without jeopardizing your weight loss effort.

Many diets fail because dieters make too many drastic changes too quickly, then decide they can’t live with the new program. Remember, these are sustained changes, not quick fixes. Feel free to ease into a healthier lifestyle so that it will last a lifetime.



How to Reduce Double Chin Fat

Double chins are a sad fact of life for many of us. If you have a naturally round face, you might be especially prone to storing extra fat beneath your chin. While there are no instant cures, you can reduce double chin fat the same way you reduce fat everywhere else: By exercising more and eating less.


But fat loss doesn’t need to be torturous. Here are some ways you can reduce double chin fat without working yourself to death or saying goodbye to your favorite foods.

Foods that Reduce Fat

Some foods make you gain weight, and others promote fat loss. Carbs can lead to weight gain if you eat the wrong kinds. Bad carbs are typically defined as any food that gets most of its calories from refined sugar or refined white flour.

Low-fat dairy products are excellent fat fighters. Studies have shown that people who consumed 3 servings of dairy each day lost more weight than those who didn’t consume dairy products.

Unsaturated fats, like those found in nuts, olives, olive oil, and salmon, are also good for speeding up your metabolism. They also make you feel full for longer periods of time, which keeps you from overeating due to hunger.

Carbohydrates are important for keeping your energy up and helping you keep a positive outlook. Low-carb diets have been shown to cause depression in some people. Instead of cutting carbs completely, switch to the healthier kind found in whole fruits, vegetables, and products made from whole grain.

Finally, sip green tea in the morning instead of coffee. Green tea revs up the metabolism, making your body get rid of its fat stores faster!

Exercises that Reduce Fat

Cardio exercise will also help you burn fat faster, which will help you reduce double chin fat – and every other kind. Five hours of cardio exercise each week will promote weight loss and keep you feeling great. Note that it doesn’t matter which cardio activity you choose. Persistence is key, so choose a few activities you enjoy, and cycle through them each week.

Strength training is also important for building muscle and speeding up the metabolism. Build more muscle and burn more fat by pumping iron three to five times a week. If weight-lifting doesn’t appeal to you, try yoga or isometrics.

Facial Toning Exercises

Some people believe you can reduce double chin size by toning the facial muscles. While this hasn’t been backed up by science, many folks swear by facial toning exercises.

To target a double chin, stick out your lower lip as far as you can. Then scoop it up and over your top lip. Hold for 10 seconds, and release. Do 30 to 40 of these each day. (The process looks rather amusing, so you might want to do it when nobody is watching!)

Hydrating to Reduce Double Chin Size

If you’re bloated, your face is one of the first places to show it. Sodium and sugary carbs are two of the biggest bloat-producers, so cutting down on them can reduce the appearance of a double chin.

Carbs cause bloating by attracting water, which makes muscles and fat deposits swell in size. Sodium causes inflammation in the body, causing it to retain fluid in an effort to dilute the sodium. This leads to bloating, and bloating leads to a larger double chin.

Beat bloating and reduce double chin size by drinking lots of water. Drink at least 8 glasses a day. If your face and hands are still puffy, drink 2 or 3 more glasses. Avoid sodium, sweets, and white flour products until your bloating is under control.