Roughly 38% of all Americans are currently on a diet. However, the bleak reality is that more than 95 percent of people who lose significant weight on a diet will put the weight back on.

As an Award-Winning Bariatric Medicine Physician who has been on her own weight loss journey, Dr. Jan McBarron explains that if you are frustrated by this cyclical pattern of weight loss, you are not alone. Explaining the challenge of losing weight and why most people regain it, Dr. Jan McBarron is here to inject some optimism and practical tactics into your weight loss journey.  

Losing Weight Requires Mental Strategy

Like most things, losing weight is a mental game as much as it is a physical one. Dr. Jan McBarron explains that your relationship to food and exercise may be a complicated one, and can be tied to societal influence, family habits, coping mechanisms, and a lack of education about nutrition. Your attitude towards diet is usually inherited from your immediate surroundings, your family, and your upbringing. If food was a reward for success and comfort in tough times, you are far more likely to use it in that way. But self-awareness, or to be aware of your feelings, motivations, behaviors, thoughts, and sensations, is the first step in identifying your relationship with food. Do you reach for unhealthy foods when you are feeling stressed? If you do, the first step is recognizing this pattern.

Weight Loss is Not a Quick Fix but Rather a Lifestyle Change 

As Dr. Jan McBarron points out, losing weight is not a ‘quick-fix’, but a lifestyle change, one that requires non-stop, sustained effort to maintain. Fad diets are simply not sustainable for more than a few weeks or months. They are popular because they give quick results but always result in the weight coming back. This means that the weight you lose on this diet will likely return unless you address your habits and relationship to food and exercise. Dr. Jan McBarron believes that in our society, we are accustomed to instantaneous gratification, and have difficulty putting in the sustained work and dedication necessary to see a result. The more realistic the strategies you come up with are, the more likely you will be to lose weight and maintain that loss. 

Educate Yourself 

One solution? Education. Dr. Jan McBarron explains that understanding the benefits of nutrition, exercise, and other methods of weight loss will help you make informed decisions moving forward. Roughly eight in ten consumers say there is a lot of conflicting information about what foods to eat and avoid, which leads people to doubt their food choices. 

Years ago, the food pyramid told consumers that fat made you fat—but we are now learning that not to be true. Balancing complex carbohydrates, protein and good fats is the answer. Dr. Jan McBarron further explains that knowing how certain vitamins and nutrients can benefit weight loss, as well as which foods cause inflammation, is important in making long-term decisions for your health. Ultimately, health is a journey and will take time, dedication and correct information to achieve.

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