When you’re told often enough that you look great, you may start to believe it. When you compare your body-image in the mirror to that in social media, you may begin to question what actually exists. Is there such a thing as a perfect weight? Is there a healthy weight range that suits everyone? Can you really lose weight while gaining muscle?
These questions have plagued people for years. With the ever-changing social media landscape, people can be encouraged to compare their appearances in various photos and videos to that of “perfect” humans. To combat this, we need to understand what is motivating people to lose weight and how can we help them stay healthy.
Why Do People Lose Weight?
When you’re overweight, it’s easy to point to something you lack and say, “I’ll fix you. I’ll give you what you want.” However, although many people want to lose weight for these and other reasons, there is no single answer. People eat differently and vary in their genetics and environment. Some people are just predisposed to be big, while others are naturally small. In order to understand why people lose weight, we need to look at how they feel.
How Do You Feel?
It’s important to remember that your body-image is subjective and that you hold a certain amount of power over it. When comparing your own insecurities to someone else’s highlight reel, it’s easy to feel inadequate. Even if you don’t fit the societal definition of “overweight” or “obese”, there are still things you can do to boost your self-esteem and change the way you feel.
There are many psychological and physical benefits to being overweight. One study showed that participants who were randomly assigned to a 400-calorie diet for 12 weeks experienced an average weight loss of 7.5 pounds without experiencing any negative side effects. After the 12-week program, the group still experienced weight loss benefits and also noted a decrease in their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels. This type of diet may help with depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. In addition to weight loss, many people experience an improvement in their quality of life when they’re able to reduce their body-image insecurities. After all, who wants to live in a constant state of anxiety? Better to be overweight and feel good than skinny and feel bad, right?
On the flip side, there are also disadvantages to being overweight. These include low self-esteem, depression, and an overall sense of dissatisfaction with your body. In one study, 66% of obese participants reported suicidal ideation. This compared to 11% of those who were of a normal weight. Those who were suicidal reported higher levels of anxiety, lower levels of self-esteem, and more depressive symptoms. In another study, researchers noted that people who were obese had a harder time dealing with negative emotions like anger and fear. While these studies highlight only two possible sides to being overweight, it’s still important to consider that everyone is different and that there are many ways to be motivated to lose weight for the benefits it provides.
Can People Lose Weight While Gaining Muscle?
When people talk about dieting and losing weight, they usually think about the number on the scale. This is especially true when speaking with or about people who are trying to shed those extra 10 or 20 pounds. While it’s important to focus on the physical changes that are made when losing weight (think healthier, glowing skin and a tighter, athletic frame), it’s also important to remember that not all weight loss is created equal. Just because you lose weight doesn’t mean that you fulfill whatever criteria someone else sets for “perfect” weight. This is especially important when someone who is overweight finds themselves in a position of power or authority over you, the person who is trying to lose weight.
In one study, participants who were randomly assigned to a 12-week weight loss program lost an average of 6.9 pounds. However, that was only part of the story. The participants who had the greatest weight loss also gained the most muscle. The study’s lead author, Dr. Jennifer Kuzma, says it best: “Many people think that as they lose weight, they’ll also improve their overall fitness and muscle tone. However, this is not always the case. We actually found that as individuals lost weight, their fitness and muscle tone declined.”
Some people argue that as humans have evolved and adapted to using food as a source of energy, our bodies have become less efficient at storing it. Because of this, they say that people no longer need to bother with diets or trying to lose weight. Instead, they should focus on eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep. While there is some truth to this argument (you don’t want to eat too much or sleep too little, either of which will make you gain weight), it ignores the fact that not everyone who struggles with their weight is simply “overweight”. Some people are born with a genetic condition called Bardet-Neuhausen. This condition causes them to store fat in their liver and raises their blood cholesterol levels. As a result, they are unable to process fat from food properly. This leads to weight gain and health problems. In addition to the genetic issue, people with Bardet-Neuhausen also face an environmental issue. Since their bodies are unable to process fat, they need to limit the amount of fat they consume. This means they must learn to like different types of food and be adventurous when it comes to trying new things.
While there is no single answer as to why people lose weight, there are certainly things you can do to help them succeed. The first is to believe in yourself and your goals. If you’re having doubts about whether or not you’ll be able to lose weight, it’s time to put them aside and focus on what you can do. Whether you’ve been told you look great or know it to be true, it’s time to focus on what is motivating you to lose weight and how you’re going to do it.
If you’re interested in trying a new approach to dieting and would like some guidance, check out The Lean Method, an effective and completely new way to diet. The program is based on the 3R’s of healthy living – routine, recipes, and rewards. By following the plan, you may be able to shed those extra pounds and feel fantastic!