“Eat less, move more” may be the most used, and most maligned, weight loss advice out there. It makes sense on the simplest of levels – weight loss is inevitably about the balance of calories consumed and calories used. And for some, “eat less, move more” works. Many people who tune in their diet, start exercising more, and cut booze lose weight.
But like most things in life, you usually can’t boil weight management down to the simplest of levels. What “eat less, move more” ignores is everything else that is going on physiologically, psychologically in the body, socially, and environmentally. Consider this graphic, courtesy of ShiftN, outlining all of the converging factors that could influence weight loss in someone with obesity. (And many of these factors are at play in people without obesity, too).
Many of these issues, fortunately, can be addressed with the right kind of help. Things like using food as a coping mechanism or drastic yo-yo dieting can be addressed by a psychologist. Guidance in finding the right macronutrient and energy balance to see results can be found with a dietitian. Hormone levels can be addressed by a physician. Bariatric (weight loss) surgery like gastric bypass has been shown to affect physiological changes that prompt long term weight loss and lower risk of diabetes. Help navigating all the options to find an exercise regimen that works for you – and your lifestyle – can be found in a number of fitness professionals (such as your trainer or coach). Even better if these professionals can work together.
The point is, weight loss isn’t always simple. Godspeed to those for whom it is, simply a matter of cutting out soda and going for walks. But for anyone else out there struggling, know there may be more at play than eating too much and hitting the gym too little. If you’re frustrated and struggling, seek help. Seek it from your doctor, a registered dietitian, a trainer, or another health or fitness professional you trust. Long term, sustained weight loss is complex and challenging. But while it can be an uphill journey – literally and figuratively – it isn’t impossible.