Lasting Weight Loss: How to lose weight and not find it again
The expression ‘lose weight’ needs to wiped from the English language. What happens when you lose something? You want to find it!
I’m yet to have a client walk into the gym and say ‘my goal is to lose 10kg’s, then 3 months later gain it all back. Let’s do it Dave!’.
We want to get rid of it for good, and the approach to achieve that vs gaining it back is starkly different.
There are a million and one ways to lose it. Any diet that makes you drastically lower your calorie (read: food) intake will get the scales dropping, but few give you the foundation to maintain it.
Let’s breakdown the 3 key principles for long-term weight loss.
1. Start with the Right Mindset
Making lifestyle changes is hard. Nutrition, exercise and sleep habits are stubborn. You will not do it with any success unless you prepare your mind for it.
Be prepared it’s going to be difficult. Be prepared it’s going to take a lot of conscious effort at first. Auto-pilot mode has got you to where you are right now, it won’t be the thing to take you further.
Most importantly, adopt this mindset: I’m going to do it 100% and do it for good.
There is a disastrous trend, especially with women, to be on a never-ending diet. Or just to feel like they should be on a never-ending diet.
The ironic thing is most people in this mindset are not even getting the weight off! They are perpetually dieting, but for what? To drop 1-2kg’s here and there only to rebound back.
Please take this to heart: if you are constantly dieting and NOT seeing results, you MUST change your approach and attitude.
Dropping weight should be a temporary goal.
It is something you tackle head-on, kick out of the park, then consciously switch to maintenance mode.
I know, that sounds like a dream when in the past you’ve seen slow or no results, but it is the only way.
The alternative is a life of frustration with your body, and the science behind it isn’t promising.
Research tells us those who diet the most in their life will gain the most weight long-term.
The reason is your metabolism adapts to your food intake. When you are constantly trying to drop your calorie intake your metabolism slows down to match this.
The result is you keep eating less and less but your weight won’t budge. Then the second you look at a pizza a kilo seems to come back on.
Therefore the key to long-term results is to proactively go into periods of lowered calorie intake to drop the weight, then switch to maintenance.
Some people only have to do this once, others have to go through that cycle a few times to reach their goals.
Take this to heart from someone who personally destroyed his metabolism and dropped his food intake so low he had to go on testosterone-replacement therapy at 18 years old, you DON’T want to be forever dieting.
Do it properly from the start. No dipping your toe in; cannon-ball in or stay out of the pool.
2. A Sensible and Sustainable Approach
The common conclusion from the first key is to then assume that means go as aggressive as possible with your approach.
You eat as little calories as possible, workout 2x a day, expect results by this time tomorrow.
No, the takeaway from the first key is to focus on sticking to your approach 100%. Not good for 4 days, bad for 3, repeat.
Your approach doesn’t need to be incredibly strict. It needs to be sensible, but effective.
Putting that into something useable that means lowering your calorie intake (creating a calorie deficit) just below what you normally burn each day.
It’s beyond the scope of this to discuss the exact amount of the calorie deficit, how to figure that out etc, as we do that individually with each client we coach.
Just understand this principle for now; a moderate reduction in your food sets you up for sustainability.
Skipping breakfast, chicken and salad for lunch, fish and veggies for dinner sets you up for a Friday night binge of pizza and wine.
As well as that your food choices and meal timing should be sustainable.
Research has shown us that meal timing and specific food choices don’t play a significant role in results for dropping weight (sorry intermittent fasting gurus) but what does matter is these elements are set up to suit your lifestyle.
If skipping breakfast is more practical to you, then skip breakfast. You won’t slow your metabolism (as the breakfast fan club will tell you) but you won’t achieve some magical fat loss (like the fasting group claims).
You’ll just have less stress in the morning and not spend your calories too early. Simples.
Same concept with food choices, don’t get caught up in optimal, just what you can maintain. Yes, you probably are going to have to eat more whole foods, fruit, veggies, lean meats and less processed, nutrient-void stuff, but that doesn’t mean every bite should make you cringe.
If you hate tuna with a passion, don’t eat it. If you love fish and hate red-meat then have more of the former and less of the latter. Again, outside the scope of this is discussing getting the appropriate vitamins and minerals in your diet, but if you’re eating somewhat balanced and varied meals most people are fine.
Takeaway: Be smart, sensible, and sustainable from the start. As they say, keep it simple, stupid.
3. Track Your Progress
You can’t manage what you don’t measure; the final key to keeping your results is tracking.
There is a movement of sorts in the fitness world where people propose you throw out the scales, stop caring about any numbers, and just focus on feeling good.
I can see where they are coming from, but my experience says you’re making life and your motivation much harder for yourself.
One of the most motivating tools you have is seeing your seemingly insignificant progress add up and reaching small goals. If your goal is to just feel good, well then go do one workout, let the endorphin rush kick-in and voila! Goal achieved. You can grab that muffin now.
The key here is to set goals, not expectations. Goals keep us motivated while providing direction, expectation sets us up for disappointment.
As well as that, set both outcome goals and behaviour goals.
Outcome goals are what most people set. ‘Drop 10kg’s’ ‘Run a 5km’ ‘Bang with the lights on again’ (couldn’t resist)
The problem with only outcome goals is we aren’t in total control of them. We hope through our actions we reach them, but sometimes things just don’t pan out.
The way to balance that is with behaviour goals. Behaviour goals are 100% controllable, which makes them a powerful weapon in your own self-confidence and belief.
Behaviour goals could be ‘exercise 15 mins daily’ ‘walk 10,000 steps’ ‘record my food’ ‘in bed by 10pm’
Create your own little tracker of these goals. Each day you complete one of them, you tick off that day. These little wins add up physically and mentally for you. They show you that you keep your promises to yourself.
Track the outcome goals too: weighing in, for example, is still a great method of seeing results. Again, I understand the anti-scale people, but your weight coming down is still one of the simplest indicators of early progress.
‘But it doesn’t tell you if its muscle or fat?’ Unless you find the courage to inject yourself with some testosterone needles you aren’t gaining enough muscle in the first 1-2 months of training to offset the scales.
The important thing with weigh-ins is to do them 3-7 times a week, then take the average of those results. Your weight does fluctuate with water retention, diet, time of the month for ladies, so weighing in a few times then taking the average balances out the fluctuations.
Photos are the final way I recommend everyone tracks progress. The first photo is often a startling jolt of motivation, and the comparison of before to after is extremely rewarding.
Here’s myself with our wall of transformation photos we do with our clients then send to them to reflect on their progress
Apply those principles above and you’ll be well ahead of the game of getting lasting results.
If all that sounds good, but you find it hard to self-motivate, myself and my team at The Body Shapers would be happy to guide you every step of the way.
Our flagship program is our 6-week transformation challenge and has 100’s of incredible results already.
If you’d like to learn more about it have a look here —> 6-WEEK TRANSFORMATION
Good luck and get after it.