Every single day we are inundated with weight loss information. Drink this tea to get skinny! Do this diet! Just eat potato and nothing else and you’ll lose weight! Take this pill – you’ll lose weight instantly! Why do we believe this? It’s because they satisfy our “instant gratification” need. As a society we want something and we want it now. So naturally there is a million and one businesses ready to capitalize on that fact. So, what is the truth? What is weight loss really like?
I have personally been through a 20kg weight loss journey, have kept it off and am now doing a 16 week challenge to drop my body fat percentage even more. I’m also a qualified personal trainer. So with this in mind, I think I’m more than qualified to tell you what it is really like. Beware – this may not be what you want to hear!
Weight Loss is SIMPLE!
Yep, it’s not actually that complicated. Many companies like to make it seem as complicated as possible so that you use their service/product continuously but really it’s quite simple. Body fat loss happens when you burn more calories than you put into your body. This is referred to as energy balance. See below a helpful chart for how energy balance works… This is the core of weight loss!
Energy Output > Energy Input = Weight Loss
Energy Output < Energy Input = Weight Gain
Energy Output = Energy Input = Weight Maintenance
You can try as many different diets as you like but if you aren’t in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you eat) then you won’t lose weight consistently. You may have a quick drop if you radically change your eating habits but then steadily climb back to where you were if you’re not in a deficit. That being said, try different diets, find what you like – if you’re in a deficit they’ll all work! Calorie Deficit = Weight Loss. Simples! Easiest way to do this… download My Fitness Pal and track your calories - ACCURATELY.
Also, you are not entitled to eat a certain amount of calories! Some people can eat more, some can eat less. Everyone’s bodies are different and require different calorie amounts so just because Jo from your yoga class can eat 1800 calories in maintenance doesn’t mean you can.
Quick Fixes DON’T WORK!
As much as we’d all like to take a pill and have all our body fat melt away, it just doesn’t happen! Even the prescribed medications you need to work alongside with. Get your mind off of them and really think about it when you see all the different diets/fads. Does this fit into the core of weight loss that you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight?
Weight Loss is HARD!
Yes, weight loss is SIMPLE but it is hard! You have to make sacrifices – you can no longer eat whatever you want. You have to consider what you are eating before you eat it. It’s mentally a challenge to show self-control over a very long period of time. Trust me, it’s difficult especially to begin with. As you start to see results though, it is easier to say no to that piece of cake or extra glass of wine. You just have to push through!
You WILL “fail” MANY times!
There will be many times you will have perceived “failures” in that you will eat something that isn’t in line with your goals or you won’t workout etc... The KEY thing here is that you need to accept that they’ll happen, and when they happen move on and get straight back on track! I don’t know of ANYONE who hasn’t “failed” multiple times!
One blow out day isn’t going to reverse all your progress just like one good day of eating isn’t going to magically make you lose 50kg. Accept it, get back on track! It happens to us all! Consistently trying your best is better than being 100% perfect 1 day a fortnight!
Weight Loss takes TIME!
Everyone wants to lose 10kg in a month. Unless you have a large amount to lose (I’m talking 70+kg) you’re probably not going to lose weight anywhere near that fast. To be honest, for the first month or two you may not lose any at all! Think about how long it took you to gain the weight you want to lose. More than likely it took years to put on, so it’s going to take a significant amount of time to come off too.
When I first started to lose weight and I was gradually reducing my calories I didn’t lose weight for the first 6 weeks. Then my body kicked into action, found the right deficit and started dropping the weight. This was sustainable for me. If I’d dropped to my deficit straight away I probably would have been STARVING and given up. So make sure you put yourself in a sustainable deficit so you can maintain that weight loss at the end – steady progress is good!
Weight Loss is INCONSISTENT!
Even when you’re in a deficit you still may not lose weight every week. Some weeks you may stay the same, some you might gain, some you might lose varying amounts. This is normal and this is how it goes. A healthy and sustainable weight loss amount for "most" people is around 500g a week. Wouldn’t it be great if it just dropped off that consistently… but it doesn’t. So when you jump on the scales and you’ve only dropped 100g, stayed the same or gained 300g – remember, it’s not consistent and that’s 100% common with 99.9999% of people! You just need to keep trying your very best!
You need to be COMMITTED 100%
To lose weight you need to be 100% ready. You need to have had your moment when you say enough is enough! Weight loss is really hard, requires a lot of work and if you’re not ready to put in that work then you won’t get the results you want. YOU CHOOSE your results. That’s what I like to tell my clients – it’s up to you if you achieve your goals or not! If you’re half-hearted about it, you’re going to get half hearted (or no!) results!
You CAN Lose weight without Exercise
What you eat matters the most when it comes to weight loss. If you find your calorie deficit, with diet alone you will lose weight without having to exercise (there is A LOT of benefits to exercising as well – it’s best to do both together). So eating in a deficit and not exercising will result in weight loss BUT if you work out like crazy and eat way too much, it won’t work (at least not long term). Your body may react but if you continue to eat in a calorie surplus when you have body fat to lose, you will continue to gain that fat.
You CAN still have treats!
With all of the above considered, you can still have treats. In fact, I deem them as fairly important. It is unrealistic to expect an imperfect human being to be perfect with their diet 100% of the time. So I believe every now and then you should allow yourself to have something you really love and try to fit it into your calories as best as possible. You don’t want to deprive yourself so completely that you end up binge eating all of your favourite foods that aren’t in line with your goals, resulting in a perceived failure which could result in you not moving on and getting back on track. Treat yourself every now and then and try to keep balanced.
Everyone is DIFFERENT
Your results, how quickly you lose weight, how easy/hard you find it will differ from everyone else’s journey so don’t compare yourself to others. Let them live their journey and live yours! Focus on building habits that work for you that you can MAINTAIN indefinitely. This will ensure you can maintain the weight loss when you’ve got there.
PROGRESS is Measured Different Ways
What is on the scale is not the only thing that matters. How you’re feeling, how your clothes fit, how your workouts are going, what your measurements say, how your body looks, not giving up no matter what the scales say – it all contributes to your progress! See the bigger picture.
You may need HELP!
Some people need an extra push to help them reach their goals. Someone monitoring their food, their exercise, helping to keep them on track. If you’re feeling like you can’t do it alone get some help! It isn’t failing by asking for help. Remember, everyone is different and has different needs so do what’s right for you, not Sally down the street!
There are so many more I could add and I might do a part two in the future if people find this helpful. You might be reading all of this going I just can’t do this… it’s too hard. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s SO WORTH IT! You are going to feel more confident, happier, you’ll have more energy, you’ll be healthier, and there are so many other great benefits! Your goal (whatever that may be!!!) is worth reaching!
You deserve to be happy, healthy and confident!!!!
If you would like some information on how I can help you reach your health and fitness goals head on over to the contact page! I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have (no strings attached!) as well as helping you if you need it!
Please Note – this blog is referring to people with no diagnosed medical conditions that affect weight loss.
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