Losing weight, for many people, can be considered a challenge. For others, weight loss can be swift, drastic and done in what feels like the blink of an eye.With that said, how much of it comes down to diet, metabolism, exercise or lifestyle?
Are some people just ‘lucky’ that they have good genetics? One thing is for certain, making excuses, following typical fat loss myths posted across the internet or giving yourself unrealistic targets won’t help you in your quest to become leaner.
And with over 80% of dieters attempting to lose weight on their own without seeking personal training, it’s important that the information you follow is precise and accurate.
Not getting results you desire usually boils down to a few things.
#1 – Not being consistent
I’m not trying to sound like a ‘know it all’ but being consistent with your diet and exercise plan is the only way you’ll see results.You’re right, everybody knows that. The problem is, not everybody knows what being consistent actually looks like:
Binge eating ‘because it’s Friday’, not tracking your meals throughout Saturday and having a ‘hangover’ cheat on a Sunday is a very common routine for people. Even those who’s diet, training, nutrition is all tracked and pretty much ‘on point’ between Monday and Friday afternoon can often fall into the trap of losing themselves a little over a weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, a balance is key but so is consistency, I can’t stress that enough.
#2 – Trying to do too much
You can spend days researching ‘how do I lose weight’.Often you might hear ‘everything contradicts’ – that’s not strictly true. Often, based on people’s body types, goals, lifestyles and abilities the approach to training and nutrition will change slightly.What you need to make sure you don’t do, is follow every methodical tip out there, such as “don’t eat food past 6.00pm”. OK..So, that 500 calorie sandwich is 500 calories at 5.45pm, but it becomes more calorie dense, more fattening and bad for you once the clock hits 6.01pm?
#3 – Not being patient
I tell you, as the world’s most impatient person, you need to give it time! Everybody knows what progress looks like – most of which is unrealistic. Your target is to lose weight so don’t be annoyed if you ‘only lose a pound’.Similarly, if you wake up after a friends celebratory birthday drink and you’re 6lbs heavier than what you was when you went out, again, don’t be annoyed.
So what do you need to do?
#1 – Take the initiative (or find someone that will)
OK, a calorie is a calorie no matter how it looks and, granted, if you burn off more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. I say that to people until I’m blue in the face but there is more to it than that. For example, 200 calories of fruit and vegetables are much better for you than 0 calories of fizzy drinks
Calories are king but don’t completely starve yourself in an endeavour to lose weight – in the long term, this will cause you more harm than it will good.
#2 – Ask yourself if it’s sustainable
I’d advise trying to lose weight over a 12-16 week period. Now, that’s a long time, especially if you’re setting yourself targets that are so unrealistic, you want to give up after 3 days. We’re in a ‘low carb’ culture, where people suggest the first thing you need to do if you want to lose weights is eat 5g of carbs a day. Firstly, that’s rubbish – carbs are so important to give you energy. Secondly, and more importantly, could you keep it up? Low carbs, low calories? If you’re wanting to give up after a day or two, it’s not going to be sustainable.
#3 – Plan your diet
Again, carbs don’t make you fat – they are a primary source of nutrition that your body uses as energy. Granted, lowering your carbs will help you ensure that you can shred fat but the most important thing you need to do is put yourself in a calorie deficit: burn off more than you’re eating.I’m not suggesting starvation mode as that comes with its own negatives. I am suggesting reducing your calories.If I needed to give only one suggestion from a nutritional point of view, it would be to track what you eat.
The main reason for this is because people vary (obviously). Where one person’s diet could lose weight for them, another person on the exact same diet could gain weight. That’s why it’s super important that you track, not only your calories but your macronutrients too. If you’re maintaining weight, or even gaining weight, lower your calories.
#4 – Cheat Meals
You’ll be in a calorie deficit if you’re wanting to lose weight and it can certainly be a challenge to maintain that week in, week out – so you’re allowed a cheat meal.Before I go further, that’s a cheat meal, not a cheat day and you need to earn it! They need to be in your diet for specific reasons and not just to allow you over to indulge.Here are the rules to keep hitting your targets whilst successfully cheating:
1. You’re allowed one cheat meal per week – it’s up to you what day you choose but remember, it’s one meal, not a weekend or a day of them!
2. You’re only allowed a cheat meal if you’ve stuck to your diet (i.e. you deserve it)
3. You get 1 hour to eat all the junk food you want or can. After that, it’s back to the diet.
#5 – Supplement
I’d suggest consuming between 0.8g and 1.0g of protein for every pound of body weight. Don’t get me wrong, that is extremely difficult to get from food alone. That’s why supplementing protein can be beneficial to help ensure you hit your overall protein intake for the day. Opt for a diet whey or isolated protein wherever possible, it’s important that you’re not adding too many additional calories to your diet.BCAA’s or Branched Chain Amino-Acids, can help with protein synthesis, improve your strength and help you shed fat. It’s ideal if you can take BCAA’s during your workouts or whilst performing fasted cardio to help enhance your overall performance.
#6 – Work out
There are many different reasons people avoid working out: From having a ‘physical job’ to being too tired or not having enough time. Most of the reasons aren’t valid and will, more importantly.
Working out is super important and I’m not talking about wearing the soles of your shoes out on the treadmill. A secret, if you’d like to call it that, is you need to make sure that you’re training like you’re trying to get stronger and more muscle – this will ensure that you become toned, rather than just skinny.Don’t get me wrong, cardio is essential but it is certainly second to weight training – train for strength twice a week and allow your diet to take control of the rest.