America is packing on the pounds — and we’re OK with that. A study published last month indicates that while most of us have a few extra pounds (about 70 percent of the population is overweight, according to the CDC), few of us are trying to lose weight. Researchers believe the desire to be thin is decreasing as more people find overweight bodies acceptable, according to the paper, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
CNN looked into this trend and spoke to the lead author of the paper, Dr. Jian Zhang, an associate professor at Georgia Southern University. Zhang told the outlet that there is a new normal for body weight which makes being overweight average. Previously in another study, Zhang discovered that many teens believed their weight was fine even if they were deemed overweight.
"We are stuck in a vicious cycle. More people are getting obese; more are fine with their weight; when they are looking around, they find more persons with even larger bodies, and more are getting less motivated to lose weight, and in turn, we are getting even heavier," he says to CNN .
The publication also spoke to pediatrician Dr. Randy Rockney, who works at a children’s hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Rockney agrees with Zhang’s findings, telling CNN, "Looking at society in general, overweight and obese people are less likely to perceive themselves as aberrant," he explains. "It's really hard to lose weight, but it's not impossible, and I think there are a lot of people who have given up."
The doctor himself struggles with weight issues and has managed to lose 15 pounds but is still classified as overweight.
There is no denying that dropping weight is a very real challenge. As U.S. News and World Report explains, your body actually attempts to stop your weight loss efforts by changing the leptin, ghrelin, GLP-1 and peptide YY hormones in your body.
"It's not that our bodies don't want us to be healthy," Spencer Nadolsky, a board-certified family and bariatric physician, says in the article. "Our bodies don't want us to starve. These biological mechanisms were meant to keep us from whittling away, but they aren't doing us any service in our current environment."
According to U.S. News, getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night and strength training could make losing weight easier, along with seeking the help of a doctor, dietitian or personal trainer.