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Why Is It So Much Easier to Gain Weight Than It Is To Lose?

Fitday Editor

Wouldn't it be great if, after weeks of scouring all-you-can-eat buffets, gorging on fast food value meals, deep dish pizza, biscuits and gravy, chips, cupcakes and donuts, you could easily get rid of the acquired calories and bulge just as enjoyably and quickly? Even those who eat more sensibly have this same problem, so what is the answer?

Unless you have a condition that causes you to rapidly consume calories, you probably have wished for this many times. While in today's toxic food environment (food located almost everywhere) and lack of exercise, frankly, it's going to be hard to lose the weight as fast as you gained it.

But it's not impossible.

With the right knowledge of nutrition and physiology, you can keep the scales more balanced in your favor by keeping in mind these important tips:

Three thousand five hundred calories (3,500) equals one pound of fat. Every time you eat 3,500 more calories than your body needs to carry on its basic functions (and it adds up fast), those excess calories turn into - yes, you guessed it - larger pant and dress sizes. Excess fat, carbohydrates, even protein and alcohol, are converted to fat storage.

Once fat cells are made, they're not going anywhere. Think of a skinny teen who starts to overeat in her late 20's and gains weight. When fat cells are created, they acquire veins and all the infrastructure body tissues need. When this lady finally goes on a diet and loses weight, the fat cells shrink - but do not disappear. They are there ready and waiting to be "filled" for the next time she overeats. That's one reason that fat seems so easy to regain again. The "balloons" of fat are so easy to fill up the next time around.

The idea is to burn more calories than you consume. If you stay active and watch what you eat, this is not that hard.

Keep this in mind: Burning calories takes place in every action we do - from just basic bodily functions that occur when you're asleep, to standing, sitting up, walking and all other forms of activity. One problem I see people having is when they are trying to lose weight, they think "oh, I'll just burn calories when I go on a walk or to the gym today" and they don't pursue more activity throughout the day. They erroneously feel that the lighter activities won't do any good, won't burn calories. This is not the case. All activity of any kind burns calories! Check out this nifty calories burned calculator:

Our bodies are pretty much at our mercy as to how we treat them and put into them. Your body has to be in balance hormonally and physiologically, and some may even speculate spiritually, to burn calories healthfully and efficiently. Sleep affects hormones that control appetite and satiety (feeling full). Stress affects how much we want to eat. So living in a balanced, peaceful state in which you keep your health and mental state in check at all times, as much as possible, will help you lose weight more efficiently.

We've heard it a million times so there's no need to delve deeply into this one: Eat more vegetables and fruit and lean protein and less sugary, fatty junk food.

If these tips still do not help you lose weight almost as easily as you gained it, contact a Registered Dietitian in your area who specializes in weight loss and let them know of your goals and desires. These R.D.'s can help you customize a plan just for you.

Catherine S. Hains, MS RD has been interested in health and nutrition since she was a young child. Growing up in Fort Worth, TX, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Texas Christian University and wrote for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for 12 years. Her life-long interest in nutrition and disease prevention never waned, and she went on to earn her Master's Degree in Nutrition from Eastern Michigan University. Cathy, now a Registered Dietitian, owns Lighthouse Nutrition and Wellness in Gig Harbor, WA where she enjoys inspiring people of all ages to make losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle easy, fun and permanent. She enjoys good food, cooking and food preparation, and showing others how healthy this can be. Her other pastimes include traveling, art, music and family life. She also likes staying fit with tennis, bicycling walking and jogging, researching nutrition and helping clients be at their best. For more information on Cathy, visit or write to Catherine at

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