your avatar   Andrea, 32-year-old woman

I am overweight. I have never in my life been overweight until the past 5 years. I am happy in my life, my marriage, my family and my work. I do not understand why my body stores fat. I have tried everything. I am desperately trying to lose 30 lbs. Please help me.


    Michelle Barone,

Dear Andrea,

If you haven't seen your doctor, your first step is to get a complete physical. Some medical conditions will make you gain weight or make it difficult to lose. You do mention family, but not clearly if you have children. If you have been pregnant and nursing your body goes through many changes and some women find it much harder to lose weight after a pregnancy and breastfeeding.

As we get older, our metabolism changes and if you were a dancer when you were younger and haven't been physically active, the way your body uses food changes. If you didn't adjust your eating then weight gain will happen. You say that you have been gaining for the last 5 years. If you have tried any quick fix type diets and lost some you will gain in back and then some. It is important to change the way you eat and at the same time begin to understand if you eat to take care of your feelings. Everywhere you turn there will be diets that claim easy weight loss. Bottom line, it isn't easy and there are no quick fixes that last long term. Your best approach is to see your doctor, and then commit to changing how you eat. I would recommend Weight Watchers as a well-rounded program to weight management. There is no deprivation, the program addresses the emotional and social aspects, and the tools can be used for the rest of your life. Remember it took 5 years to gain 30 lbs.it won't take a month to lose it. You need a total program, with good solid nutritional advice, exercise and emotional support. Weight Watchers offers all of that.

I would also recommend, that you take some time to look at how you life might of changed in the last five years. Do you work at an office job where you sit a lot and there is a lot of high calorie food around. If you have young children, do you finish all the little bites off their plates? Do you eat late at night and high fat foods? How much do you eat out? It is important to really look at your lifestyle. All these little bits of food add up to a lot of food by the end of the day and extra calories and fat that you don't need. Just by becoming more aware of when you are eating extra can make a big difference. Portions are often oversized especially when eating out so cutting down on your servings can make a big difference. Eating out of boredom is another issue you will have to watch. Begin to change your habits and you will begin to see changes.

From your message, it seems that you are ready to make the commitment to lose the weight that is always the first step. The next step is action. If you use the suggestions made, in a few months you will feel GREAT! Good luck,

Michelle Barone

This question was answered by Michelle Barone MA MFT. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She holds three California Teaching Credentials and is a Parent Educator. She has been working with families for 15 years in the areas of relationships, pregnancy, pre and post natal loss, parenting and alternative education, specifically home schooling. She practices in So. California and is also available for phone or email consultations.

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