An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year and on average $33 billion each year is spent on weight loss products. And yet, most Americans are overweight and obese. It’s clear, despite the body positivity campaigns, Americans want to be curvy, they don’t want to be fat. In fact, most are obsessed with looks, and getting that Instagram body. Many fall for the lose weight quick fads: the workout plans, the workout apps, the juice diets, the diet pills, you name it and I’m sure someone you know has tried it. That said, I’m sure if you haven’t tried it, you’ve thought about it because you’re only happy when the scale is moving in the right direction, right? I would even go as far as to say your whole day revolves around exercise and food prep. That’s why you’re here, looking for that secret; the one thing that’s going to change your life.
Here’s the thing, I completely understand why one would obsess over losing weight. I mean, we’re all terrified of being overweight, are we not? Yes—we are terrified because we all know how those who are different are treated in this society and when one is obese their life is affected in more ways than one:
Facts, a fact. Being overweight contributes to:
There’s no questioning that when people attain a healthy size, many of the health problems that plagued them when they were obese disappeared; they slept better, certainly could move around more easily, and perhaps felt les pain from joint problems brought about by excess weight.
The social stigma of being overweight can be as emotionally damaging as the physical diseases and conditions. It can affect the way you hold yourself when you enter a room, having to brace yourself for the whispered comments about your size, or the remarks about what you’re eating. Plus, with extra weight it proves difficult to find clothes in your size, and land interviews and jobs because of unspoken, but very real, size discrimination.
It’s sad, but true. Body shaming and discrimination occurs every day—people just aren’t willing to admit it. In the UK, the percentage of obese adults increased from 15% in 1993 to 27% in 2015, by which time 58% women and 68% of men were designated overweight. Essentially, all over the world, countless studies reveal that overweight employees face widespread prejudice. After vast studies, researchers concluded that stereotypes of obese people being “less physically capable and slothful” were likely to have played a role in this outcome. Now, I’m not saying they’re correct—believe me, I don’t think it’s fair or right either, but as I mentioned before facts, a fact. Due to our society, and how we’ve been conditioned, someone who’s overweight, isn’t going to see the same life benefits as someone in peak physical shape.
This lack of personal attractiveness can affect sex drive. If you don’t feel sexy, then you may not allude sexiness and your partner may lose their attraction to you. Now, I’m not saying one needs to lose the pounds to be attractive to their spouse or themselves, there are gorgeously curvy people out there who are killing it, but it’s fair to say that if you married someone skinny you expect them to keep up their health, and if you marry someone on the heavier side you can’t really be mad if they keep the pounds. That said, there’s nothing wrong with wanting your partner to look good to you, and while they don’t have to look like a million bucks every day, basic weight and appearance maintenance is not an unreasonable desire.
One moment we’re told not to judge a book by its cover, but then the next, we’re being told how important first impressions are. Whether we like it or not, weight affects the way people view one another. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.
It’s historically been proven that obese people are less likely to be hired than thin people with equivalent qualifications. Adding to that, obese people are less likely to be promoted, and more likely to have lower wages. Plus, it’s been proven that when you’re overweight you appear invisible. In fact, many people who were once obese and lost weight said they suddenly became popular. Basically, when people reach what society deems a “socially acceptable weight”, their company becomes desired.
Overall, people who are overweight are stereotyped as ‘lazy, unmotivated, unintelligent, sloppy, and lacking willpower.’ These stereotypes aren’t just hurtful, but they can have a direct impact on someone’s perception of themselves.
So, yes, I do completely understand why people are spending the money on weight loss hacks. Everyone’s motivation for losing weight is different. Sometimes it’s healthy motivation and sometimes it isn’t, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, the point is, people are trying and failing. So, here’s the secret:
It’s not about how much you eat, or how much you move, it’s how much you sleep.
Sleep better, feel better. It’s as simple as that.
It’s true: being short on sleep can really affect your weight. Research has shown that women who are sleep-deprived are a third more likely to gain 33 pounds over the next 16 years than those who receive just seven hours of sleep per night. Plus, one can’t deny all the connection to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, and cognitive failure. The need to sleep goes far beyond just looking better and seeing results from your diet and exercise efforts.
I’m not saying you have to lose weight. We have a long way to go before our society is more accepting of a lot things: a person’s weight being one of them. That said, if you made it this far it must mean you’ve been looking for a solution, some help to your weight loss journey.
I encourage you to continue to do what you’re doing, and if you haven’t prioritized sleep, start now.