courtesy of Spence’s Pharmacy

The new year is upon us and many of us ask the ubiquitous question, “Why can’t I lose weight?” Effective weight loss means dealing with several variables:

Poor diet: Most of us eat habitually or based on family and cultural traditions, or follow the recommendations of the processed food and fast food industries which encourage us to eat much more than we need and more poorly than we should. This also extends to the oversized food portions being served in many restaurants.

Lack of exercise: The purpose of food is to provide the energy required for activity. If we consume more calories per day than what we expend in activity, we store the excess calories as fat. As we increase exercise, we decrease fat.

Lack of accountability: Successful weight loss is best accomplished by being accountable to someone else. Have someone help you on your way, or better yet, start with a friend or family member.

Failure to commit: Successful, healthy weight loss can require a commitment of six months-to-two years, with a LIFETIME commitment to a new healthy lifestyle to keep it off. Twenty-one days is typically considered how long it takes for a new regimen to become a habit, however, in the past decade it has been found that it takes an average of 66 days. Make it a goal to commit to a healthy lifestyle, and keep to those changes for more than two months.

Physchological make-up: Food as a reward mechanism is common in American culture. We love our sweets and fried food. For some, it offers a sense of happiness, though it is short term with long-term consequences.

Genetic make-up: Research has found that some individuals possess a genetic profile that makes it difficult to lose weight. However, genes only indicate predisposition; they do not mandate outcome.

Hormones: There are a number of hormones that can come into play in weight loss, including thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones, and dopamine. Hormones can impact metabolic rate, weight gain, and food cravings.

If weight loss is a desired goal, you must consider the variables above. First, start with a diet plan that suites your lifestyle and includes more protein and fruits and vegetables. Also, call your local health store or pharmacy and ask what kind of supplements can help you achieve your goals. Finally, add a workout routine to your plan to help tighten and tone your body. Working out is a good way to burn excess calories, and as long as you commit to your new-found goal, it will become a regular part of your life, staving off many health issues that plague our society.