The CDC says that one third of American adults are obese. But you don't need the CDC or any other agency to tell you that a lot of people are fat. You can simply look around you to see that this is true. You may yourself be struggling with weight loss issues.
Why is weight loss so hard?
Weight loss is hard because of biology and genetics. Due to the way humans evolved, we are primed to gain weight during times of plenty in order to survive during times of famine. Our bodies have fat cells that store energy from food eaten in excess of the energy needed by the body. This energy would then get used when we had little or nothing to eat. It is a survival mechanism.
In earlier times, even up to thirty or forty years ago, we were more active than we are today. Over the years, technology has made physical activity less necessary. Think about it: we can use elevators or escalators to ascend to the upper floors of buildings instead of taking the stairs. We use cars to get around instead of walking. Even watching television is an activity that is more sedentary today than it used to be because we now use the remote control to change the channel instead of having to get up to do it!
Ways to lose weight
Weight loss, when it comes right down to it is simply eating less calories than you burn. There are other factors that come into play, but basically, it isn't any more involved than that. Understanding that, you can see that if you want to lose weight you can either eat less, burn more calories than you take in through exercise, or some combination of both.
All diets work for weight loss based on the idea of restricting calories at some level. They may do this in different ways. Some diets do it by only allowing you to eat a very small amount of food per day. Most diets, especially modern diets, do it by eliminating a particular kind of food or food group. The problem with diets is that while they are effective in the short term, they all fail miserably in the long term. The reason that diets fail is because they are too restrictive.
Physical activity of any kind is very important for weight loss and for keeping the weight off. Aerobic exercise is any sort of activity that raises your heart rate. Not only does aerobic exercise burn calories, it also conditions your heart and lungs and has health benefits beyond weight loss. Resistance training is a type of exercise that involves strengthening the lean muscles of your body. Resistance training builds lean muscle mass which in turn raises your metabolic rate and helps you burn more calories. Lifting weights is a form of resistance training but it can be accomplished just as easily with body weight exercises such as pushups and squats. The problem with using exercise alone for weight loss is that it is very hard to burn enough calories to offset the amount of calories eaten just in the course of daily living without some sort of dietary change.
Combination of lifestyle changes and exercise
The best approach for permanent weight loss is to make some simple and realistic lifestyle changes combined with a program of moderate daily exercise. In order to lose weight for good you have to change the way you live your life. Lifestyle change doesn't have to be hard. It isn't necessary that you decide to permanently eliminate ice cream from your diet. It is more like deciding that instead of eating a large bowl of ice cream, you'll opt for a smaller bowl or serve your ice cream in a coffee cup. Lifestyle change described in this way coupled by choosing to exercise three days a week for thirty minutes is all you really need for weight loss that lasts.