Americans are literally obese, with over two-thirds of the U.S. population (more than 128 million people) that are, to varying degrees, overweight. Sixty million of those people are classified as obese, and ten million are severely obese. Obesity is a very serious condition that can lead to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and a host of other physical conditions that can lead to premature death. This article, explores the complexities of this issue and why it is so hard for some people to lose and maintain a healthy weight.

This may be hard to believe, but it is as difficult to help an obese patient as it is a cancer patient. Even with all the popular diets and weight-loss books and aids on the market, none have been able to show a definitive way to lose weight. Hi-tech scans, MRIs, genetic testing, and comprehensive blood tests allow doctors and researchers to see inside a person's body, but they still don’t have the answer to weight loss. That’s because, contrary to popular belief, overweight is often not a simple issue of “laziness” or a lack of control. It is actually a complex medical condition that includes social, cultural, metabolic, behavioral, psychological, and emotional components, as well as individual genetic predispositions. What’s more, overweight people also face the social stigma and mental trauma associated with this condition. This makes even it harder to combat. Below are some of the reasons it may be so hard for you to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Whether we realize it or not, eating is a social event. Long gone are the days when we eat to live; now, more often than not, we live to eat. For many people, eating habits are determined by the dynamic they share with family and friends. If this dynamic revolves around unhealthy foods and/or attitudes about food, it can be exceedingly difficult to make the necessary nutritional changes. For example, you may be uncomfortable eating different foods than the family unit; you may also receive a less than supportive response from them. One of the worst things you can do is tell your friends and loved ones that you are going on a diet. Have you ever announced to your coworkers that you’ve decided to lose weight, only to have one of them show up with donuts the next day? Weight loss takes a lot of energy and commitment, that’s why it’s very important to have group support to accomplish those goals. Make yourself priority!  

Are you ready to be thin? You may be thinking, “What kind of question is that? Of course I’m ready to be thin –why else would I torture myself with all these diets?!” But the answer is much more complex than that, and it may even go all the way back to your childhood. When a person was abused as a child, it is not unusual for him/her to find or create abusive relationships as an adult. Individuals are often their own worst enemy and may unintentionally harm themselves due to subconscious conditioning and self-sabotage. Because parental conflict, relationship disharmony, self-image, self-confidence and self-esteem issues may contribute to weight gain, releasing painful memories is important. This is especially true to victims of sexual abuse, who often use their weight as a barrier to protect themselves from physical and emotional threats. It has been my experience that counseling may take many years to resolve childhood conflicts; however, new developments in the field of holistic healing can resolve painful conditioning rather quickly. One such approach is Neuro Emotional Technique (N.E.T.), which can produce amazing results in a relatively short amount of time. I can even eliminate self-sabotage. Another popular self help approach is Emotional Freedom Technique (E.F.T.) which is available online.

Weight loss is not just a physical thing; in fact, there is a powerful emotional component that may have caused your weight gain and/or is preventing you from losing those extra pounds. I routinely do emotional adjustments that help people fast-forward weight loss.

Many individuals internalize or swallow their feelings rather than expressing them. Internalizing frustration, resentment, grief, or anger can contribute to weight gain. The "jerks" of the world never blame themselves, nor do they worry about how their behavior affects others. I'm not suggesting that you become a jerk, only that you find a healthy outlet for expressing your feelings. And if you find yourself thinking about the past often, you need an emotional adjustment. The missing link in medicine today are the emotional components.

Life stress is an ongoing issue and something we all deal with from time to time. Whether the stress is negative or positive, it may contribute to the body holding on to weight. For example, buying a home and having children are both wonderful events, but the stress involved can add pounds. The answer to weight loss may be a simple lifestyle change rather than diet. Including natural healthcare like acupuncture or chiropractic is an excellent way to alleviate stress. Continuous stress or anxiety is a factor in many other illnesses as well, like heart disease.

Not happy, but not clinically depressed
While many clinically depressed people lose weight and become thinner, most people who are unhappy or unfulfilled with their lives tend to gain weight. Unlike clinical depression, this unhappiness may be situational, such financial stress due to the loss of a job or the larger economic uncertainty. These folks often reach for food to help relieve their stress. It’s important to remember that life is continuously presenting challenges, so we must learn to find healthy ways to manage our stress, rather than using bad habits as a crutch. The underlying stressor will pass, but we will be left dealing with our secondary health problems due to poor eating and exercise habits!

Even if you feel ready to be the thin, the question remains, are you ready to do the work to make it happen? Losing weight takes commitment and perseverance; it has to be a priority. For example, lots of people wish to be slim and toned, but are unwilling to exercise. They believe they are too busy or too tired to work it into their schedule. You can tell them that they will actually feel better and have more energy with regular exercise, but as the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” Each person has to make the decision for themselves. In some cases, it really isn’t the right time. A woman who just gave birth, for example, may have to wait a few months until she can freely focus on losing weight.

There is no substitute for 40 minutes of nonstop walking. Some folks will need to exercise longer to obtain weight loss benefits. If you can’t seem to get motivated, perhaps you just haven’t found the right exercise for your personality and psyche. Some people need to engage a physical trainer to make exercise work. Through trial and error, and some patience, you can find an exercise routine that is right for you. I suggest something fun that includes camaraderie and socialization, such as an exercise class or a running group. You can search for exercise groups in your area. It’s also a great way to meet those likeminded people who will support your weight loss and fitness goals.

Medical Disorders
Medical conditions such as hypothalamus, hypothyroid or adrenal fatigue may slow down the body's metabolism. A person may eat little and still gain weight. Headaches, fatigue, and an intolerance to cold are often signs that there is an underlying medical condition. It would be beneficial to have kinesiology testing or a blood test know that your glandular system is functioning properly.

Is your weight problem all in your head? The current research suggests that it may be. Recent studies on weight loss focus on brain hormones called neurotransmitters. There are neurotransmitters between each of the ten billion neurons (brain cells) in your brain. These chemical messengers allow brain cells to communicate with each other. How you experience emotion and how you feel and think is dictated by certain neurotransmitters. For example, acetycholine and dopamine are related to appetite control. Serotonin diminishes cravings, while GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) helps with anti-stress, anti-anxiety, anti-panic, and relaxation. Blood tests are available to accurately assess your neurotransmitters.

Candida and other infections
Yeast infections are the most common problem women face. Approximately 50 million women have a yeast infection each year. Yeast infections can be alleviated in a short period of time, but intestinal yeast infections tend to linger and cause many symptoms, like bloating, gas, and weight gain. It is a common problem that is often overlooked.

Other viral or bacterial intestinal infections may also be the culprit. They don’t always have symptoms, but these sneaky, subclinical infections may cause weight gain. It is also important to rule out a parasite. Most of the time, laboratory blood testing can expose a subclinical infection. However; however, a stool sample may miss a parasitic infection, so I recommend holistic computer body testing or energetic muscle testing to confirm or rule it out.

Notwithstanding these other factors, diet clearly remains one of the biggest hindrances to losing weight. Not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and not drinking enough water may contribute to an acidic body. An acidic body causes inflammation, which is the first step in the disease process. It also initiates slow weight gain. It’s important to be aware of your caloric intake, as it is impossible to lose weight if you consume more than you are metabolizing. However, it’s not just about the quantity, but also the quality of food we put into our bodies. Current research shows that naringenin, the active ingredient in bioflavonoids, alters the way the liver metabolizes fat. Even with a high fat diet, naringenin burns excess fat, rather than storing it, thereby preventing weight gain. Many diet gurus have praised the French for their portion control, but it’s important to note that they also include fresh berries and bioflavonoids as a daily staple in their diet. It is important to have an individualized diet plan, not a book plan.

Birth control pills, anti-anxiety medication, and anti-depressants may contribute to weight gain. Some medications cause gradual increase of weight yearly, while others may pack on five or six pounds a month. Read the literature that accompanies your medication or ask your doctor about the side effects you might expect. Know that every single medication has side effects!

Food Sensitivity
There are millions of obese people who never overeat, yet still can weight. This could be an indication of a food allergy. Many food sensitivities do not have symptoms until 12 to 24 hours after consumption. It's just not a matter of avoiding sugary sweets, fast foods, and sodas. Even healthy foods may contribute to weight increase if you are allergic to them. The Alcat blood test can determine if you are suffering from delayed-onset food sensitivities. I have seen patients lose lots of weight once they become aware of what foods their body is reacting to. For example, going without grains. People sometimes lose up to 25 pounds in less than one year.

Some people find it difficult to lose weight even while using every possible strategy. This is because they are genetically predisposed to weight gain. In very difficult cases, a partial gastric-bypass operation may be a realistic solution. The surgical procedure is reversible should any complication arise. Good news is - It is also possible to “bypass” genetic influence with specific nutritional recommendations.  

Hormonal Imbalance
Stress, midlife, menopause, heavy metals, toxins, herbicides, pesticides, plastics, chemicals in our food, water, and air, and many other poisons can mimic estrogen once they enter our bodies. This may affect the endocrine system and disrupt hormonal balance. Any interference—including anxiety--with cortisol, insulin, or thyroid hormones will also initiate weight gain.

After age 40, our normal metabolism naturally begins to slow down. Hot flashes and decreased energy is not the problem, but less hormonal output is; therefore, it’s important to check if your sex hormones are deficient. These days you don’t even have to go to a medical doctor to get a blood test. With a quick online search, you can find a blood lab right in your neighborhood. They will test your hormones and send the results directly to you via email.

Kinesiology (muscle testing) can also be used to verify hormonal imbalance. Hormonal balance can be achieved with safe, natural holistic techniques. 

Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation adversely affects two hormones, ghrelin and leptin, which results in increased hunger and appetite. While it is true that everyone has different sleep cycles, it is generally accepted that seven to eight hours of sleep is required for good body function.

As you can see, there is much more to weight loss than dieting and exercise. People rarely stick to diets, as dieting makes them feel deprived. Exercise is important, yet some people can work out until the cows come home and not get the results they desire. The world is toxic and we often overlook the significance how toxins subtly and over time adversely affect the body. Sometimes, people are stuck in a "no-win" situation, which triggers negative thoughts. Negative situations are a part of life; however, persistent negative thinking, such as worry and fear, can contribute to weight gain. This is not mere speculation; in my practice I have treated people whose fear is the main reason they cannot lose weight. Given all of the above hindrances to losing weight, I use a holistic approach to identify your specific issues and then release them. As stated earlier, being overweight is a complex problem and it will most likely take time for complete resolution. For success, all causes and triggers need to be evaluated to be eliminated.

Focusing on being healthy is much better than thinking about what you have to give up in order to lose weight. Ask yourself, do I one hundred percent choose to be healthy? If you want to be healthy in body, mind, and spirit, you may benefit from a holistic healthcare practitioner who clears past cellular history and mindset regarding your health, and help you overcome underlying emotional components that are stressing you and causing weight gain.

Author's Bio: 

For 20 years, Dr. Mike treated well-known entertainers, top CEO's and world-class athletes in Los Angeles. Dr. Mike and his family moved to Atlanta where he joined forces with a group of dedicated doctors at Millennium Healthcare. He is concerned first and foremost for the well-being and swift recovery of his patients.