Weight loss is one of my clients’ most common fitness goals. Unfortunately, not everyone who strives to lose weight ends up reaching their goal. Why? It could be a combination of not having the right mindset, coupled with misinformation about what’s really effective for losing fat and building muscle, versus what number shows up on the scale.
Results Take Time, and That’s Exactly How it Should Be
Although you probably rationally know that it takes time to see the benefits of training and healthy eating – really accepting this fact is another thing entirely. Many people start a workout program only to quit when they don’t see dramatic results in a few weeks. Unfortunately, the weight you want to lose took quite a while to get there – and so it’s not going to simply drop off in a few weeks either.
Then there’s the body’s metabolic reaction to dieting and rapid weight loss. The faster you lose weight, the more likely it is to come right back (plus some) when you stop drastically cutting calories. A dramatic caloric deficit puts your body’s metabolism into “starvation mode”, slowing everything down so the body burns fewer calories in an attempt to protect its survival. You may even decrease your metabolism so much that even a ‘normal’ diet will make you gain weight rapidly when you stop cutting calories. This is why a slow and steady approach is most effective for permanent weight loss – meaning 1 to 2 pounds per week maximum.
What Worked For Someone Else Might Not Work For You
It’s so easy to get caught up in the latest workouts and diet trends, promising quick and easy results. If a friend is on a keto diet, and it’s working for them, that’s great – but it doesn’t mean it will be guaranteed to work for you too. Instead, focus on the healthy eating and workout habits you may already have. Weight loss and nutrition are extremely individual – so build a healthy and consistent program that works for you and that you can realistically stick with.
Resistance Training Will Make The Biggest Difference
As I’ve discussed in previous articles (including this one), exercising with frequent, high intensity cardio workouts combined with a super low-calorie or restrictive diet is a prescription for failure when it comes to weight loss. Instead, focusing on resistance/strength training and good nutrition will permanently increase your body’s metabolism, meaning you’ll be burning calories all throughout the day. This in turn makes it easier to both lose weight and maintain that weight loss. However, cardiovascular exercise still deserves a place in everyone’s routine to ensure a healthy heart, increased energy and lower blood lipids.
What’s Your “Why” ?
Renowned author Simon Sinek’s bestseller “Start With Why” describes how it’s the “why” behind what we do that inspires us to achieve our goals. This applies to just about anything in life, including weight loss. Ask yourself what is the real underlying reason why you want to lose weight. Is it doctor-ordered for your health? If so, why follow those orders? Perhaps it’s to live longer to see your children or grandchildren grow up. Other “why’s” might be to be able to play with your children without pain, or to have more energy to do the fun things you want to do, or to be seen in a swimsuit without feeling embarrassed. Whatever your “why” – it’s likely not just a number on the scale. This “why” is what will keep you going when you want to quit.
Don’t Have Weight Loss Be Your Primary Goal
The number on the scale is just a number. What really matters to you? How your clothes fit? How much energy you have during your day, or how much less pain do you experience? This all goes back to the “why”. So rather than striving to hit a magic number (which can fluctuate as much as 5 pounds throughout any given day), instead work toward process goals like completing a race, increasing the maximum weight you can lift from one week to the next, or tracking your food intake for 30 days straight. The weight loss will follow.
Laurie Kelly, CPT, CES, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist accredited by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She works with clients one-on-one at their location to help them live healthy and active lives, and achieve their unique fitness goals. Contact her here or follow her blog at www.dragonfly-fitness.com.