Weight loss is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions for people in the US who are looking to lose some excess weight. It’s been proven that 97% of diets ultimately fail, so weight loss isn’t as easy as just improving your diet and adding some exercise into your routine. This means there is a need for a new and improved solution to weight loss that is safe, clinically proven, and effective for the long term. In finding this new solution, we need to first understand why people gain weight and why current methods of weight management don’t always work.
Some of the most common reasons that people gain weight are related to mental health problems. 80% of people with serious mental health illnesses are overweight or obese due to increased cortisol levels that impact the brain’s ability to function. Loss of sociability, increased anxiety and impulsivity, and impaired memory all contribute to some of the behaviors that can cause weight gain in people. Medications that are used to treat mental illnesses can also lead to weight gain in patients.
What Makes People Gain Weight
Some people gain weight due to food addiction. Eating can soothe anxiety, fear, anger, or depression in people–much like alcohol or other substances. People who suffer from food addiction display similar behaviors and physical patterns as people who suffer from substance abuse, but there is less understanding of food addiction so it is not widely treated.
When people find that they are gaining weight and struggling to lose it on their own they often turn to doctors for help. The problem with this though, is that only about 56% of physicians feel as though they are qualified to treat obesity. Out of that already small number, only about 46% feel that they are successful in their treatments. Many patients don’t even turn to their doctors out of fear that they will be judged or shamed. Johns Hopkins ran a study that found that 21% of overweight patients felt judged by their primary care doctor and were less likely to trust their advice.
Why is Losing Weight so Difficult?
With doctors treating overweight patients, only a small percentage choose to prescribe medications. Less than 3% of eligible patients are prescribed weight-loss medications even though there are many FDA regulated medications that have been proven to help people lose weight. Utilizing weight loss medications can help patients lose nearly 15% of their body weight after 68 weeks compared to only losing about 3% with diet and exercise alone.
Even when people are able to change their lifestyle habits and lose the weight they desire, there is then the added problem of keeping that weight off. 97% of dieters regain everything they lost within three years. Many people often make the mistake of thinking that once they lose the weight they want, they will be happier. Oftentimes what happens is that people are happy when they lose the weight, but then spiral when the weight begins adding up again and people who lose significant weight actually have a greater risk for depression.
So now we know what makes people gain weight and why diet and exercise doesn’t always work, so how can we fix it? New holistic approaches to weight loss provide a fresh new solution for people who are looking to lose weight.
A Holistic Approach to Weight Loss
Holistic approaches for losing weight combine medical interventions, therapeutic tactics, and lifestyle coaching that all help people learn to manage their weight while addressing the problems that cause weight gain in the first place. Health coaching is vital for teaching patients the best strategies for maintaining their health and building healthy habits they can adopt in their everyday lives. Therapy can include hypnotherapy, group therapy with addictions counselors, and meditation that can help patients learn coping skills and get to the root of why they struggle with their weight and eating habits. Medical interventions include telehealth visits and prescribing weight loss medications when it is needed.
It is important to understand that fainting a few pounds is not a bad thing inherently. That being said, if weight is being gained at a rate that feels out of control or damaging, it is important to reach out and get help in maintaining your mental health while also getting your weight back in control. The new holistic method of approaching weight loss provides this control in a judgment-free setting making it accessible for all.