have to admit what we are doing is not working.” That comment comes from Emmett
Bishop, MD, a specialist who has been treating and working in the eating
disorder field for over 25 years (Bishop, 2012).
He speaks truth as the statistics
regarding eating disorders and obesity have not changed and in most areas have
increased since mid-1970’s.
Ten million Americans, men and women, struggle
with eating disorders and millions more struggle with binge eating and other
unspecified eating disorders (Eating Recovery Center, 2016). Of those, 5-25
percent with Anorexia Nervosa will die as a direct result of their struggle. Near 20 percent of college-aged women are
bulimic and 35 percent of the US population is obese.
Other disturbing statistics indicate a
severe and growing problem among the youth and men in America (Eating Recovery
- 90 percent of young
women who develop an eating disorder do so between the ages of 12 and 25
- Approximately 9
percent of anorexia nervosa sufferers are boys and men
- Bulimia nervosa
affects 1-2 percent of adolescent and young adult women
- One out of five men
would trade three to five years of their lives to achieve their weight goals
- 40 percent of those
struggling with binge eating are male
According to the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention, not one state in
the U.S. has a prevalence of obesity less than 20 percent (Center for
Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Nineteen of these
states have a prevalence of 30 percent or more, seven more states than reported
just three years ago in 2011. And, for the first time, three states now report
having an obesity prevalence of 35 percent or more (Arkansas, Mississippi, and
Perhaps just as alarming are the
statistics on what Americas spend every year on the ‘diet’ industry (Averkamp, 2015).
- $21.15 billion on
diet soft drinks
- $19.5 billion on
health clubs, gym memberships, equipment
- $5.77 billion on
- $8.25 billion on
weight loss medical plans, diet drugs, hospital and physical plans
- $3.29 billion on
commercial weight loss centers
- $2.69 billion on meal
replacement and diet pills
- $2.52 billion on
- $2.32 billion on low
- $1.21 billion on diet
books, exercise videos
What Will It Take to End This Trend?
All the money spent ‘dieting’ and on
diet products, gym memberships, equipment and programs has not reversed the
trend of America being over-fat and obese. In fact, if this nation continues this
trajectory, then everyone will be overweight or obese in a few generations.
And if the trend holds true, most
people who set New Year’s Resolutions and goals to lose weight will never
achieve their desired outcome. In fact,
90-95 percent of the roughly 50 percent of Americans who do choose to diet gain
their weight back within one to five years (Eating Recovery Center, 2016).
Brendon Burchard, a leading high
performance life-coach, believes the number one reason people do not achieve
their desired goals is because people are not willing to struggle (Burchard, 2016). He suggests people
do not recognize the psychological challenge involved in accomplishing and
maintaining weight loss. “Those that have a high willingness to struggle have a
greater likelihood to achieve. When they bemoan the process of change, they put
out a feeling and conditioning self to not do what is necessary,” says
Suffering and Weight Loss Success
As a society, the paradigm shift towards
instant gratification, making things easier and more convenient perhaps
corresponds with this obesity epidemic. The way we do things in the United
States has conditioned the American mind and body away from hard work, pain,
and difficulty and towards popping pills to create happiness and the work of
fat loss. Burchard contends a reconditioning needs to take place to view pain
as worth it and cultivate happiness through choices in how you view a struggle.
A similar view is held by leading brain
health expert and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen. After three decades of research
and treatment on tens of thousands of people, Amen says the most common reason
why people commit and then fail to achieve their goals corresponds to their
‘why’ not being strong enough to propel them through the hard work required.
‘We’d like you to tweak the resolution from, “lose ten pounds” to “be a WARRIOR
for my brain and body so I can ROCK my mission in life!!”’, writes Amen in a
recent blog post on his website. (Amen, 2016).
The term ‘WARRIOR’ certainly compels a
different connotation. It suggests a fight and battle for victory. To condition
the mind for such a battle includes suffering, struggle, and perhaps
disappointments and letdowns before ultimate triumph!
Formula for Achievement
The bottom line when it comes to losing
weight and keeping it off or recovering from disordered eating choices is no
secret. It involves three components: fitness, a clean eating lifestyle, and
psychological tools to do it.
Hard work, self-discipline, planning,
pushing beyond a comfort zone, and being willing to fail are all a part of the
struggle. Maintaining consistency in the small things daily over a period of
time yields results. And, upholding steadfastness no matter what the date is on
the calendar also leads to achieving goals. In other words, it’s no excuse to
overindulge just because a birthday, a vacation, or a holiday is coming up. The
first time you suffer and go without makes it easier the next time.
Amen, D. M. (2016, January). It's time for your
New Year's Resolution to get health again! Retrieved from Amen Lifestyle:
Averkamp, S. (2015, January 7). Diet and weight
loss statistics. Retrieved from Fitness for Weight Loss:
Bishop, E. M. (2012). Elisa Project Annual Eating
Disorders Conference & Symposium . Dallas.
Burchard, B. (2016, January 1). Goal Setting. High
Performance Academy. Santa Clara.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Obesity
Prevalence Maps. Retrieved from cdc.gov:
Eating Recovery Center. (2016, January 7). Media
Resources. Retrieved from Eating Recovery Center: