It’s no wonder two-thirds of us struggle with our weight as we navigate these ten common weight loss obstacles. Even more problematic, is that they rarely occur as an isolated road block, but are often compounded by an infinite number of little hurdles that are equally challenging. Collectively they can make it so much easier to gain, rather than to lose weight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 42% of people have tried to lose weight during the previous year. As with any New Year, many of you may now be reembarking with renewed effort. A helpful place to start is to identify the obstacles that may have blocked or derailed previous attempts, rather than focusing on the end game or scale goal. Throughout my career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I’ve been able to attribute weight gain or cycling to these ten triggers or obstacles.
- College. I spent a lot of time sitting around studying. The dorm food had gotten pretty good these days, at least it seemed so initially. I didn’t always chose the healthiest options when I was stressed and I’m sure the liquid calories on the weekend didn’t help any.
- Marriage. We celebrated a lot in the early years before kids. We were always on the go, trying new restaurants, hosting dinner parties, going to movies and staying up late. We were happy…eaters.
- Children. I never fully lost the baby weight and the little time I had to exercise and prepare a healthy family meal before, became non-existent. Then I got pregnant again and I just haven’t had time to spend on me.
- Stopped Smoking. I’m know I’m the classic example. My hands and mouth stayed busy, exchanging one habit for another. I’m definitely healthier and it’s the hardest thing I’ve done, but I want to have it all.
- Holiday Celebrations. It seems each holiday I gained 1-2 more pounds, nothing major so I didn’t really notice. Over the years, they have just added up to a bigger problem.
- Injury or Medication. I was really making progress on my weight until I got injured. Now I can’t seem to lose the weight and I can’t exercise like I should either because of my injury. Ever since the doctor put me on this medication, I’ve put on weight. It’s not like I can chose not to take the pill, but if I lose weight my blood sugar (cholesterol, depression, arthritis) will might improve. I might even be able to stop relying on a pill.
- New Job. The night shift is a killer on my weight. I have a new job that I love, but the commute is longer and its robbing me of my exercise and meal prep time.
- Access. I live or work in a food desert. The only close place to buy food is a gas station, drive through window or dollar store. They’re pushing cheese puffs, fries and 32 oz sodas, not apples and bananas. Don’t even talk to me about exercise because there aren’t any sidewalks, there’s too much traffic and it’s just not safe.
- Menopause. The extra middle layer you didn’t expect just got bigger ladies. Prepare to move a little more, not less as you hit 50.
- Covid-19. I have spent the last year nursing my confinement and boredom with food. I’ll work on weight loss when the vaccines are available.
Step 1: Identify your obstacle. You can’t navigate the road block if you haven’t identified as such. Perhaps you can relate to the college scenario but have yet to begin your career let alone have children. Maybe you are struggling with a new killer job, while juggling daycare and homework.
Step 2: Take an action step. Rather than making your goal about a number on the scale, commit to a healthy habit that will get you there. Instead of defaulting to the drive through or vending, start packing your meals and snacks. Instead of stressing, download and practice a yoga app. Ask you doctor for a referral to a Registered Dietitian, the qualified nutrition expert who can help you identify strategies to overcome obstacles and hurdles.
Step 3: Give yourself grace. It’s easy to go overboard and at times and it may seem overwhelming at times, so go easy on yourself. A hundred small steps in the right direction moves you forward just as much as an untrained sprint that sets you back due to injury. The goal with each step is to have “aha” moments that build upon each other and are so rewarding you stick with them, permanently.
Categories: Nutrition & Wellness