f we look at the relationship between losing weight and maintaining that weight loss, it doesn’t inspire much hope for long-term success. Fortunately however, understanding why that is, is in fact the key to unlocking long-term, sustainable weight loss results.
You’re NOT overweight because you ate that pizza on Saturday night. It’s NOT because you chose to have a latte with sugar this morning instead of a long black. You’re overweight because these actions (amongst many others) have become habitual.
These habits didn’t pop up out of nowhere – by definition, “a habit is an acquired behavioural pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary”. This is in fact your first clue to understanding why your previous weight loss efforts have lasted as long as that pizza.
Simply looking at the pizza as the problem is merely addressing the symptoms of the issue at hand, rather than focusing on the root cause – your habitual inclination to opt for pizza as a wise food choice and being blissfully unaware as to how self-sabotaging some of your actions truly are.
Now, I’m not here to bash pizza, I love pizza. BUT I also understand how calorie dense it can be - and if your goal is to lose weight, opting for such a calorie dense/nutrient deficient (typically) food choice is not a good move.
Knowledge is power - and in order to become equipped with the power to make appropriate changes to the habits that have been sabotaging your progress for good health long term, you need to up skill your knowledge base of what you choose to eat and drink.
Chances are, your current diet isn’t completely devoid of quality elements and can be greatly improved with small (yet impactful) changes. In order to make the changes necessary to achieve your goals, you first need to take an honest look at what your current nutritional situation looks like – you don’t need to “go on a new diet”, work on the one you’ve already got.
Compiling a food diary of around 4-7 typical days will provide a host of critical information, which will act as the foundation for any and all appropriate dietary changes. Whether it’s the specific food choices that need addressing or implementing more structure into your daily eating routine, firstly knowing what you’re already doing day-to-day is key. Honesty at this point is absolutely crucial!
Now this isn’t a shameless plug for my business, at this point in time I’m only working face-to-face with clients and haven’t set up an online training/consultancy structure – just yet!
Regardless of how a diet is constructed, the only way to lose weight is through a calorie deficit – consuming less energy (measured in calories) than you expend. Keto, vegan, paleo etc. are all diets that restrict/demonise certain foods and in doing so may create a calorie deficit and weight loss.
It’s important to understand that it’s the calorie deficit that’s eliciting the weight loss, NOT the magical powers of any particular diet.
There are a lot of free systems online that can help with determining (roughly) how much energy you expend each day and from that a daily caloric target can be set with an appropriate deficit. Navigating the world of nutrition is hard and with far too much variability between the different people that may read this, I’m not going to provide general recommendations when it’s individually prescribed changes that are necessary to really help you with your personal nutritional habits.
Also read: WTF are macros?
Before handing over any money to someone to help with your nutritional needs, ensure you do your homework on their success with previous clients and be weary of anyone that demonises any particular foods – these people aren’t going to serve you best and will be detrimental to your long-term progress. It's likely you'll just replace current bad habits with others (disguised as short-term positive changes).
Why introduce a food diary before seeking help? Because I feel it’s important to have a better understanding of what you’re doing (by yourself) before handing over the reigns to someone else. Having a basic understanding of the holes in your nutritional game, prior to working with a professional, will go a long way to help you tease out the quality evidence-based practitioners to those with an agenda and ideological emphasis.
Whilst in a calorie deficit, your training focus MUST be on resistance training.
Why? Because lifting weights to (or near) muscular failure will help blunt muscle atrophy (breakdown) for up to 3 days post-workout and ensure that the weight lost from the applied calorie deficit comes specifically from fat loss and not a combination of fat AND muscle mass.
I’m not talking about HIIT or Body Pump classes with itty-bitty weights. You need to be spending time on the weights floor, applying yourself to the best of your ability. This too is where professional help can really be a great idea. It doesn’t have to be for a long time but investing in a quality trainer can go a long way to ensure you’re covering all bases and not wasting your time in the gym.
A quality trainer will teach you not just what exercises are best suited to you and your goals but how to properly apply appropriate intensity to those exercises in order to elicit the most efficient results.
Also read: 4 steps to guarantee you success in the gym
Anything worthwhile takes time and patience is the missing ingredient in so many failed endeavours.
The weight you’ve gained that you’ve tried so hard to lose did not appear within the last 2 weeks, it developed bit by bit over a long period of time – and if the underpinning habits that created the weight gain aren’t addressed then you can’t expect sustainable long-term weight loss to be achieved. A “quick fix” doesn’t actually fix anything.
The focus of this blog is to shed some light on the reasons holding you back from achieving long-term sustainable weight loss – the habits that promoted the weight gain in the first place and the necessary steps to take to assist you in the future. Hopefully after reading this you now have a better understanding as to why your previous weight loss efforts have fallen short, what you need to focus on to ensure that doesn’t continue to happen and who to turn to for help.
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