Why People Self-Sabotage in Weight Loss Efforts

Top reasons why people have a hard time losing weight and how to break the cycle

Have you ever tried to go on a new diet or lose a few pounds? Of course you have, who hasn’t?  So you know who your worst enemy is: yourself. The road to that ideal weight is there in front of us, but sometimes we make the journey a more difficult task than it has to be.

When a diet or weight plan is not supplying the results we desire, it is easy to throw in the towel. Certain strategies and tactics may be the problem. Let’s take a look at reasons why weight loss efforts are self-sabotaged, and how to steer clear of that with your next weight loss goal.

Unrealistic Goals

One of the main reasons people have a hard time sticking with their weight loss goals is because they set unrealistic goals. Remember that losing weight takes time and perseverance. Having a clear vision of the process and setting realistic, short-term goals will help you. Here’s the catch, however: sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s realistic without the help of a physician trained in weight loss medicine. A clear understanding of your metabolism and any health conditions has to come first for goals to be realistic. Examples of weight-affecting conditions that many aren’t aware of include: adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunctions, and gut conditions.


Some people simply make poor dieting and lifestyle choices because they don’t know any better. In all fairness, the ocean of weight loss articles and videos out there doesn’t really help. Fad diets and contradicting advice lead to a ton of diet sabotage.

Eating Emotionally

In many cases, people’s eating habits decay over the years, until every meal becomes a rush or a thoughtless task.  Mindful and in tune eating is important when it comes to losing weight and staying healthy. If emotions rule your eating decisions, get the help you need to cope with and control these impulses. That means you need to reign in stress and anxiety.

Two related reasons that go hand in hand are hating yourself and failing to nourish your body. In order to lose weight and heal, you first have to love who you are. Feed your mind with positivity and get rid of the assumptions that you are not good enough or capable of your goals. Starvation and fad diets are also not the way to go. Shift your perspective of food and look at ways food can nourish and strengthen your body.

Misplaced Ultimate Goals

Your ultimate goal is to be healthy. Some get so blinded in the effort to lose pounds that they forget why they are losing pounds: to feel better. Sometimes losing weight isn’t equivalent to being healthy. Obesity is a disease and needs to be treated as such. A lifestyle change must occur, not just a change on the scale.


Men have it easier to lose but they pay a higher price in failing the Weight Loss Battle?

There are many of injustices in life, one of which has to do with weight. In many respects, men have the upper hand when it comes to losing weight and keeping weight off. But they pay a higher price for failure.

In reality, all bodies are built differently, which is why every individual weight loss journey is going to be different. But yes, there are a few reasons why men, in general, will lose weight easier.

Why men have it easier

1. Calories burned

The first advantage men have in the weight loss battle is muscle. In general, men have more muscle mass than women.

This is an advantage when it comes to burning calories. At rest, more muscle means more calories burned. Therefore, a man doing nothing will actually burn more calories than a women doing nothing; up to 20 percent more. If the man is taller (which is usually the case), he will burn even more calories, because there is more muscle mass.

The second advantage isn’t necessarily an advantage in all cases. It has to do with overall weight. If a person weighs more, than that means more calories are burned in movement and normal functioning. It makes sense; a semi truck takes more power to move than a compact car.

2. Diet

Because men are bigger, they will need more calories. Some may see this as a further injustice, that men can eat more than women. But really it’s just simple physics: women have less mass to move around, therefore they need less food.

Research suggests that men may be able to suppress food cravings more easily than women. One study from the Brookhaven National Laboratory had men and women fast, and then participants were shown their favorite food, which couldn’t be eaten. The study found that men could better ignore the hunger, and that women’s brains showed a greater response to their favorite food, compared to men’s brains.

Why men pay a higher price

When men gain weight, they gain in the abdomen. That is the unhealthy fat. When women gain often the gain can be “pear shaped” and that fat is not as unhealthy. But when women do start to gain central fat the health effects are like they are for men.

It’s important to realize that dieting and weight loss are different for each gender. Spouses or couples that attempt the same weight loss strategies may fail, because really weight loss needs to be tailored to each gender.


We Are Much More Than Just Weight Loss

This is Dr Rader. I am doing research for an upcoming presentation I plan to make at the fall Obesity Medicine Association conference. This post is scientific but I want to share it anyway.

Specifically, I am researching new data and papers on the Triglyceride to HDL ratio (TGY/HDL). HDL is high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol). The medical doctors at IWL – myself, Dr Freshwater, Dr Hafer, Dr Gilman and PA-c Deb Mabbutt have been using the Triglyceride to HDL ratio for over 15 years when initial studies began to show the correlation between this number and metabolic syndrome. Our research and experience shows this to be a valuable tool as a marker for medical therapy and directing the type of nutritional advice needed for each patient. In other words this number could tell us which medicines would be best for a person and did that person need a controlled calorie, controlled fat diet or do they need a controlled calorie, controlled carbohydrate diet.

Recent papers strongly validate the importance of this TGY/HDL ratio including not just directing dietary intervention, but studies now show it as an index of heart disease mortality (1)(2). In the second article the conclusion was Insulin resistance (which Idaho Weight Loss began treating as a distinct and separate disease in 2002) as manifested by a high TGY/HDL ratio was associated with cardiovascular outcomes more than other lipid metrics, including the LDL-C, which had little concordance. Physicians and patients should not overlook the TGY/HDL ratio.

To everyone who has read this far, THIS IS THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION I WAS OFTEN ASKED DURING MY 14 YEARS AS AN Emergency Room DOCTOR. “My loved one had a normal cholesterol level, how could they have a heart attack or stroke in their age 40’s or 50’s?” This is why I left emergency medicine and went into Obesity medicine. This is why I believe I am practicing the best medicine of my 30 plus year career as a medical doctor. I know my associates feel the same.

We are much more than just weight loss, and at a price you can afford.

1 J Investig Med 2014 Feb;62(2):345-9 TGY/HDL ratio is an index of heart disease mortality and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in men

2 Perm J. 2015 Kall;19(4):4-10. Study of use of Lipid panels as a marker of insulin resistance to determine cardiovascular risk.

Other articles on TGY/HDL and waist circumference as measures of health risk:

Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2016 Mar 28 Magri CJ et. al, Prediction of insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes using routinely available clinical parameters

Endocrinol Nutr. 2016 May 25 Masson W Association between TGY/HDL ratio and carotid atherosclerosis in postmenopausal middle-aged women.

Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2014 Oct;106(1): 136-44 The TGY/HDL ratio and cardiovascular disease risk in obese patients with type 2 DM: an observational study from the Swedish National Diabetes Register