In a single word: No. There isn’t a person on this planet for whom weight loss is impossible. For some, fat loss is particularly tough due to digestive issues, hormonal imbalance, or any number of other factors, but even if you’ve been dealt a shoddy hand, don’t lose hope. You can lose weight.
So what can I do to actually lose weight?
Losing weight for those to whom it doesn’t come naturally is hard. Everybody has struggles, be it losing (or sometimes gaining weight), academic issues, or even financial issues. What comes easily for some, feels unachievable to others, and we can’t condescend to those having a hard time where we don’t.
In this article, we’re going to work our way through every step regarding weight loss: understanding the mechanics at play, what to avoid, where to focus your efforts, and how to both guarantee results and (most importantly) ensure their permanence; what’s the point of digging yourself out of the hole, just to fall right back in?
Accepting Responsibility, and Taking Control
The first thing that you’ll need to do is, as the heading says, accept responsibility, which in turn, gives you control. You can lose weight. Whatever it is that has you convinced otherwise, can and must be dealt with. You won’t make progress until you acknowledge the fact that it’s within your power to do so, which it 100% is.
Why am I so sure of this? Well, we could dive into the physiology of weight loss, but let’s instead go for something even more foundational, something dogmatic; it’s a matter of physics. The first law of thermodynamics tells us that: “Energy can be transformed from one form to another, but can be neither created nor destroyed”.
This means that your body, which requires energy to function, will need to pull said energy from somewhere to keep you alive, to keep you moving. If over the course of a day, you consume 1200kcal, yet burn 1300kcal, then your body needs to find those extra 100kcal elsewhere. In all except medically extraordinary cases, this “somewhere” will be your fat reserves. It’s as simple as that, despite how tired I assume you are of hearing it. If you enter a caloric deficit, which you are entirely capable of doing, you will lose weight. I do understand that it can be infuriating when you’re adamant that you are in fact doing everything correctly, but I assure you, there is a mistake being made, and whatever it is that’s preventing you from losing weight, can be identified and corrected.
Think of it this way, what’s more likely: defying the very laws of physics by creating energy and thus allowing your body to consume more calories than ingested without burning fat/losing weight, or, miscalculating your calorie intake & output and accidentally eating more, or burning less, than you thought you were?
Identifying the Problem Impeding Your Weight Loss
Once you’ve accepted responsibility and assumed control, you can start directing that newfound control towards pinpointing what it is exactly that’s hampering your progress. It could be any number of things, which will mostly fall into one or both of two categories:
Miscalculating your calorie intake:
Are you sure you’re eating as many calories as your diet demands? Between sauces, drinks, cooking oil, etc, it’s insanely easy to overshoot if even the smallest thing gets shrugged off. That extra splash of oil when cooking can mean a 200-400 calorie difference per day depending on the number of meals cooked this way, which is all it takes to completely halt weight loss for many, if not actually bring on weight gain instead.
Insufficient caloric output:
In that same vein, are you burning as many calories as you think you are? I’ve had clients often greatly overestimate their caloric output since they’ll assume that the intensity of the exertion will match the calories burnt in a somewhat intuitive way, which is actually rarely the case. Those extra splashes of oil I just mentioned? They’d take a 135lb person approximately 30 minutes of continuous, moderate-intensity running to burn off. That’s right; what is for some their entire days’ worth of exercise, can be negated with an extra tablespoon or two of oil per meal.
These mistakes can stem from many things, be it a failure to account for variables that are deemed negligible, as many people believe that “it’s just a rounding error”, or “this doesn’t really count” (which it does, because the body doesn’t work that way), as well as frequent misunderstandings regarding the mechanics at play here; for example, a belief that anything “healthy” can be consumed guiltlessly (also entirely untrue: weight loss is about quantity, not quality).
All these things can be prevented by finding a reliable plan to stick to, and accepting that, as it is not one’s field of expertise, it’s not wise to decide what can and can’t be overlooked. Consistency, diligence, and discipline when it comes to these things are what make the difference between spinning your wheels, and a successful transformation.
Formulating an Actual Attack Plan to Tackle the Issue
Now, with those previous steps covered, you are both in control and have a clear target to direct this newfound power towards. It may seem like this step is somewhat trivial, a matter of “just doing it”, but it’s that very lackadaisical approach that leads to this entire problem in the first place. With all that said, let’s dive into an example.
Sticking to the previous one given, say that after analyzing you’re routine you find that you’ve in fact been overshooting the oil used to cook each meal by ~10g (less than a tablespoon). That means 90kcal per meal, 270kcal extra a day, and that’s conservative. You now go from, say, a 200kcal deficit, to a 70kcal surplus, the complete opposite of what we’re aiming for, which can actually add up weight gain-wise quicker than you’d think, as illustrated in this table*:
*Based off the approximate 7000kcal = 2lb weekly ratio
This applies to everything, as simple as it may seem. Using too much sauce? Switch to zero-calorie alternatives, or get rid of them altogether. Not burning as much as you thought? Train for longer, or eat less. LocaSo rather than losing 0.4lbs a week, you’d gain between 0.1 – 0.2. How do we tackle this? More accurate measurements. Use a scale, or a measuring cup, even for the smallest amounts, since the pennies will eventually add up to a pound if left unattended.
te a problem, identify and implement a solution. Again, all seemingly obvious, but it’s far too easy to just write things off when we feel like they’re small enough to be inconsequential; unfortunately though, in this case, we can take no such liberty.
Every little thing matters. One small slip can really be all it takes to deviate from the direction you need to be moving in, and thus you’ll need to be firm and unforgiving in your approach. Once you’ve fallen into this groove, the next step comes into play.
Losing Weight, and Making Sure the Weight Loss Is Sustainable
Congratulations! If the prior steps have been followed to the letter, you will have begun to consistently lose weight. But don’t get comfortable just yet, weight loss is a symptom of an overall lifestyle change and one that will only persist as long as you do. There is no “30-day challenge” or “90-day intensive regime” that’ll provide long-term results, because your body is a real-time reflection of your way of life, and therefore requires maintenance.
Say you aim for a pound a week, and after 12 weeks, 12lbs lost, you feel you can finally relax, ease off the throttle and enjoy all those things you miss so much. Well, without diving into the concept of homeostasis or the many other lesser physiological phenomena at play here, the simple reality that old habits bring back old problems should alone be enough to illustrate why such a relapse isn’t on the table. If you slowly inch back into old ways, the reflection of those habits will come racing back.
For this very reason, the slow and steady approach is what anyone worth their salt would recommend; you’re not focusing on burning the fat, for the same reason you don’t just trim weeds, because they need to be ripped out from the root. Your lifestyle needs to change, and that’s no small feat, which means giving it the respect and time required for such a shift.
Accept what it is that such a goal actually means, and what it’ll take to truly get there, and you’ll see how different things will be, for the better.
Adapting to Scenarios in Which Your Progress Is Threatened
Next comes what I’d say is the most daunting part: in the beginning, whilst one is still finding their footing, weight loss is a fragile thing, as is any major change from one’s previous baseline.
Everybody, including myself and some past clients, has had major trouble avoiding the temptation of going back to certain habits in times of stress and struggle before you’ve been able to fully shake them. These times are the trendsetters, the times that will determine if you’ve what it takes to push through, or if the slightest test will knock you off course.
When these times come, say, a business trip, during which you’ll be away from your kitchen and thus unable to fully control your food, or an injury, completely throwing off your training regime, forcing you into inactivity until you heal, what then? How do you ensure that these don’t spell the end of your progress? Well, I’ve got an answer for that too.
What Can I Do to Make Sure I Keep Moving in the Right Direction?
As that previous section illustrated, there’s a reason so many stumble and fall on their journey towards achieving the body they want for themselves, because, as stated at the very beginning of the article, it’s simply no easy feat. Even amongst those who achieve it, as sobering and bleak as this stat may be, 90% find themselves gaining all the weight back. Why?
Because while everyone has a body, and everyone eats, moves, and aspires for improvement in one way or another, that doesn’t mean that everybody is qualified or equipped to embark on this journey on their own. Most often even, a guiding hand is needed, a hand which will save you both time and perhaps counterintuitively, money, by providing you with decades of expertise with which to traverse this metaphorical path and find your way to where you want and need to be, avoiding every trip and detour, every mistake and mishap that is inevitably made when heading down this road for the first time, and most importantly, help you retain your progress once you get there.
Sign up now and enlist me, Fred Chevry, to help pave said road so that your journey can be that much smoother, and so together we can get you there and beyond in the most efficient way possible.