How To Achieve Weight Loss Goals
One of my clients from my training business achieved some massive success this week. Her progress pictures are in this blog post, but you can check out the full blog post on her journey here. Her success got me thinking of what she overcame while striving for this goal and I wanted to share.
Many people make the mistake that believing that weight loss goals are easy. You simple increase your exercise volume, take down calories a little and voila.
And while that is definitely the basic formula, there is so much more to it than that.There is so much more to #weightloss than #exercise volume and #calorie intake #fitnessjourney #weightlossjourney Click To Tweet
If you’re already a fit person, you have good nutritional habits or you don’t need to lose that much, the formula above will work for you. Your habits are already in place and just require some tweaking.
But what if you’re starting from scratch? What if you think you eat healthy, but you’re overweight? What if you’re not sure what foods in which combinations is healthy?
By this point in the journey most people feel frustrated, alone, confused and spend half the time chasing goals and the other half beating themselves up for not succeeding.
The above formula isn’t so easy then. This viscous cycle is real and (as much as I hate to admit it) only perpetuated by the fitness industry.
We’re bombarded with a lot of messages from my industry, messages like:
- You need to be smaller
- Just eat less
- Just do it
- Low fat foods are the way to go
- Just eat more protein
- It’s just laziness that’s stopping you
I could go on, but I won’t. I won’t, because honestly it makes me sad that this is what most of our industry is about. There’s so many “quick” fixes out there it’s alarming. Your body doesn’t need a quick fix, it needs time to lay down better roots.
So, let me tell you about Bella (name change!). Bella was a very much a part of this cycle. She spent her whole life being overweight, despite her best efforts to eat healthy. She was a weight watchers queen, a lover of cardio and a hater of herself.
And this is her transformation.
And while her physical transformation is great, I’m super proud of her. It was her mental transformation that brings me tears.
It took us two years, but together we broke the cycle.
Now, before I get too sappy, like I mentioned you can read her full journey here. It’s one hell of a story.
It was while I was writing about her transformation that I got to thinking about this blog post and providing my fellow mamas and friends with tips that aren’t often promoted or discussed in the fitness industry.
There’s no “just chase your goals”, in this blog post. I won’t call you lazy or ask if you want to lose “those muffin tops”.
What I want to do instead is bring light to what it looks like when you work towards a serious weight loss goal.
When Bella first came to me, she thought of a number and a number alone. When I first spoke to her, I outlined these goals:
- Develop a better relationship with food- you should love what you eat!
- Making exercise fun and not a punishment
- Accept the mess ups
- Be happy
It sounds so simple… but it wasn’t. and in the past two years she’s worked her butt off to change in every way possible.
And together, we came up with these tips or reminders when it comes to weight loss goals.
Your Progress Will Not Be Linear
You would think that with lowering calories and having a good plan that the weight will just come off. You would be wrong.
Your weight will fluctuate. Regardless of goals, scale weight can fluctuate 1-5lbs daily depending on menstrual cycle, what you ate, water intake etc.
In regards to the goal, it will fluctuate a lot. Sometimes you will gain and sometimes you will lose. Not all of this is because you weren’t consistent or that your plan is wrong. Just that your body sometimes doesn’t want to let it go.
I encourage clients not to weight themselves too frequently. I know this is a hard habit to break but the mental stress it places just creates bigger issues. Example: you were great this week, ate everything you should have, never strayed. But the scale went up three pounds. You beat yourself up over it and decide not to eat for the rest of the day to counter act it <– not helpful
You will have bad days
This was perhaps the biggest struggle for Bella in the beginning. If she slipped up once, she went into binge (eff it, I had a cookie, so I might as well eat alllll the cookies) and then restrict.
It took us a long time to break this cycle. To come to terms that she will have less than stellar days. But those days don’t have to be all out terrible. Life happens and yes #consistencyiskey but you’ve got to learn to deal with the bad days as well as celebrate the good.
As her coach, I was okay with bad days. I knew they were going to happen. It’s ensuring that the good days outweigh the bad and how we handle bad days that matter. Me yelling at her and professing disappointment in her choices wasn’t likely to help. Find a good coach.
There’s more to weight loss than exercise and food
Oh, this is always a fun one. If I work out and east healthy foods I’ll lose weight, right? RIGHT?! Ahh, no.
There’s a lot more that goes into big weight loss than just a workout a day and some vegetables. Everybody responds differently to intake levels. Which means, yes beans are healthy. However, having beans and rice with veggies for lunch every day may not be working in your favor.
My mentor once told me “if you don’t have the body you want, you’re not eating the way you should be”. It’s harsh, but there’s some truth in it. Healthy doesn’t always equal weight loss.
Another factor that comes into play is sleep. Yes, you’ve heard of this one and you think of it… sometimes. But when it comes to making sleep goals you kind of ignore it. Sleep is a biggie. Your body needs it and it need quality sleep. It WILL impede your progress.
And then there’s stress. To be honest, I hate this one (when it comes to my own goals!). I get stressed making stress management a priority haha But, it needs to be. Stress does funny things to your body. It holds on to things it shouldn’t. If you’re serious about your weight loss goal, you will have to tackle this.
Exercising More & Eating Less Has Its Limits
Countless times I’ve had people come in and be at this end of the extreme. Eating too little (about 11o00kcal) and exercising too much (greater than seven hours a week). There is a sweet spot.
Your body can adjust to a pretty high exercise volume, but it needs to fuel to do so. If you’re workout volume is high, but your calorie intake is low, there will come a point when weight loss ceases.
You shouldn’t focus on cheats like low carb or low-fat meals
I can truly say I hate this kind of marketing. I had a client way back in the day that would binge on these silly brownies because they were low fat and low calorie- so it’s okay right?
The problem with many of these foods is that you’re filling your body with empty food. Meaning, instead of giving your body fuel, you’re giving it crap calories.
Much of this time people are eating very little. They lots of poor-quality foods which leaves them nutrient deficient. Your body can’t focus on weight loss if it has no vitamins and enzymes to work with.
You SHOULD focus on health first
When it comes to starting from scratch, I normally have people ignore calories and focus on quality choices first.
Often what we perceive as healthy isn’t and the biggest lesson to learn is to chose nutrient dense foods over calorie dense ones.
This lesson sucks for a lot of people. It’s hard and it requires you to make your own food. But it also gives you the biggest band for your buck when it comes to a weight loss goal. Very rarely can you lose weight eating processed foods.
Make the switch to quality and then worry about calories/intake levels.
You need to do more than cardio
This one will start a riot, so I’ll keep it short. Cardio has its place. I love running. But cardio alone is a poor choice when it comes to weight loss goals. You’re literally looking at time in and time out and it’s a waste. Strengthening, building your muscles, using your muscles and asking them to push further is a better choice.
Cardio burns energy while you do it. Better muscle function allows you to boost your metabolism and burn energy throughout the day.
Find a better balance of the two.
You need someone to support you and your goals
It sounds silly but it’s true. You are going to stumble and fall. You will be angry, annoyed and frankly pissed off. And you need someone to help you get through that.
If you have a weight loss goal and your friends go out every week for beer and pizza, it’s going to be hard. Find a friend, a coach or someone you can trust to rant to. To tell about your bad day. To get it out. It makes all the difference.
You have to WANT it
This is a hard to hear one: many people believe they want to lose weight, but they want nothing that comes with it.
They don’t want to change their habits, their lifestyle or their views. These people will fail. To lose weight, you need to truly want it. To be pissed off, determined you will get it.
You will have to try new things, step out of your comfort zone and change. Yes, you’ll have to change. Having a weight loss goal isn’t an easy goal like quick fix fitness programs make you believe. It’s hard as hell and if you don’t fight for it you’ll lose.
Viewing exercise as a punishment is a mindset that will set you back. Eating “rabbit food” is a thought that will push you back. Thinking “this is dumb” will reverse your progress. You’ve. Got. To. Want. It.
Do you know how many people can’t work out due to a true issue? How many people would love to be able to take a class or hit the gym. Exercise is a damn gift and don’t forget it. If you hate your program/hitting the gym, change it. Find something you enjoy.
My step mother had esophageal cancer. She would have given anything to eat that “rabbit food”. Sometimes, your mindset needs to change. You need to practice stepping out of your daily habits. If you hate the food you’re eating, work with someone to help develop a better plan. There’s more food out there than chicken and rice.
Your mind can change a lot of progress, don’t let it be what stops you from achieving your goals. Like I said, you’ve got to want it and believe you can get it.
Weight loss goals are hard. The take time, stumbles and more time. My client Bella didn’t have it easy. It was no small transformation. But it makes my heart happy to see her now. If you have a goal- fight for it. Enlist everyone to help you smash it. Your progress may not be smooth, but progress is progress and sometimes wins come from something off of the scale.
Don’t stop believing in yourself xx