The number of overweight and obese Americans has climbed steadily in recent decades, from 53% of adults in 1988 to 65% in 2014. At the same time, fewer overweight Americans are trying to lose weight--just 47%, down from 55% back in 1988.
The authors of the study, which was published in JAMA this month, wondered whether we've simply made our peace with being fat.
"As more people around us are getting heavier, we simply believe we are fine, and no need to do anything with it," lead author Liang Zhang told the AP News Service.
That may be part of it.
But I think another big reason that so many have given up is that they're starting to doubt that permanent weight loss is really possible. And, really, who can blame them?
Who could blame you?
Most people with a substantial amount of weight to lose have tried repeatedly to lose it. Many have succeeded in dropping large amounts of weight only to gain it all back. Multiple times.
Not only is dieting an unpleasant way to spend your life, but research shows that losing weight alters your body chemistry in ways that stack the cards against maintaining a lower weight. Why bother?
Let's try something different
I have been thinking hard about this problem. I think I know what we're doing wrong and how to change the equation. It's not about a special diet or distribution of nutrients or combination of foods, but something else entirely.
A few months ago, my colleague Brock Armstrong and I launched a program designed to help people lose weight in a way that both their bodies and their brains can sustain for life. The results have been life-changing for those in the program. Click here to learn more about the Weighless Program.