This isn’t meant to be the sum total of reasons why 95% of people can’t sustain significant weight loss, they’re just my personal observances on why it’s so very difficult for me.
1) It often doesn’t feel worth it. To lose weight I have to be hungry a lot, for at least several hours every day, which is emotionally draining (see ego depletion). I also have to consider, weigh, measure, and catalogue everything I eat, which is tedious and (again) emotionally draining. In return, I get to look like a cloth bag stuffed with cotton. Some of the cotton slowly gets removed, but since the exterior bag is exactly the same size as before, it is now wrinkly and saggy and at 40 years of age (it might be slightly better if you are younger) the bag does not seem inclined to shrink at all. So as weight loss continues I can reasonably expect to look more and more like the saggy baggy elephant. With it being as emotionally draining as it is, this end result doesn’t really feel worth the difficulty of losing and then sustaining that loss which will need to continue every day for the rest of my life.
I have also become very physically uneven. I have a stomach that collapsed over itself when I got fat and in case that wasn’t gross enough, the right side hangs lower down than the left. My right thigh is larger than my left thigh (and the fat over my right knee sags down over the knee) and my left calf is larger than my right calf. Since I have never had what society deems to be a “hot body” I admit it’s probably psychologically easier for me not to look good than it would be for somebody who did (or does) look traditionally good. I’m used to not having a good looking body, I’ve never had one so I don’t even know what it’s like to. For this reason I have low expectations where my self-esteem is concerned. But since it’s such a daily struggle to maintain and keep losing weight and I now look in some ways even worse than before – why am I bothering?
2) I’ve explained before how the body doesn’t know the difference between “healthy weight loss” and “starving” because… well… there is none. And when you starve your body it goes into a state of hyper vigilance waiting for an opportunity to not die when the calories it’s been deprived of are re-introduced. What this means is, I’m even more inclined toward weight gain than I was before. So the slightest slip up on my part can translate to putting pounds on at a truly terrifying speed. Also, when you starve your metabolism slows down to (again) try not to die because you are starving. So the more weight I lose, the less calories I need, the more daily hunger I have to endure to continue to lose weight and look even more saggy and droopy.
3) I’m aware of the argument that I’m now “healthier” as a result of weight loss. Except… I wasn’t unhealthy before. Losing 70 lbs. has actually caused my blood pressure to elevate slightly. I guess this is a symptom of stress my body is showing because I’ve been living under starvation conditions for so long, but I can’t confirm that because there’s no doctor anywhere who will admit that “dieting” and “starving to death” are actually the exact same thing. However my joints function better, they will probably last longer, and I briefly experienced an improvement in my asthma symptoms (although they came back late this summer with a vengeance for reasons I can’t explain). I also have way better stamina, which feels good.
4) Self-treating for an eating disorder is difficult and risky. For me, the reason for being overweight is that I suffer from B.E.D. (Binge Eating Disorder). There are effective treatments for this, but they are cost-prohibitively expensive, so I try to teach myself behavior modification techniques on my own using books. Behavior modification has statistically been shown to be the most effective treatment for my type of E.D. but the E.D. is not going away, and treating myself for it has limited effectiveness (some weeks I don’t binge at all, some weeks I binge every day). It just feels like an exhausting and never ending fight right now that I know I don’t have proper help for, and the help I really need I cannot afford.
So I admit, there have been positives. I look better in clothes (and worse out of them). Clothes shopping is easier. I have better stamina and endurance. I sweat less during everyday activities (I no longer sweat while taking a walk unless it’s particularly hot) but I still sweat like crazy and turn red as a beet during high impact workouts. I turn so red that occasionally someone will stop me and ask, “are you okay?” which is embarrassing. I seem to be one of those people that just easily turns red during exertion.
What is my point? I don’t know, I don’t really have one. I’m just venting out how I feel right now and how I feel is negative and tired. I’m sure I’ll feel better about the whole thing tomorrow. I might need to shake up my routine again and try something different.