*The title of this post was taken from the Placebo song of the same name*
I will never be able to overstate this:
If you want to be successful at weight loss and ultimately, weight maintenance, it will not come by accident. You are going to have to plan the majority of this.
That can include some degree of calorie counting/portion downsizing.
It can include a change in how sedentary you are.
It can affect your social and your home life.
You may need to create a food/emotion diary.
You will likely need a support system (this may or may not include friends and family.)
And if you want to hold on to your dream weight, assuming it is a realistic goal, you will probably NEVER be able to fully go back to the way you ate, trained, socialized, etc. before you started losing. Remember that those actions are what created the place where you knew you needed to change.
When Jackie started training with me, she had already been watching the progress her fiance Abe had been making at RevFit. Starting from a place of complete inactivity, Jackie was concerned that perhaps my training methodologies would be more aggressive than she could manage.
For the record, I don’t pride or market myself as an aggressive trainer. If anything, I err to the side of conservative because I’m into training for the long game (the marathon) not the short game (the sprint.)
That’s not to say there isn’t a focus on progression. For those who thrive on sustainable progress, our clients do tend to see better results when there is something of a system in place to gauge increases in strength.
Now that Jackie has a wedding in her sights, she is committed to working the food and training plan to the best of her ability.
When we had our initial consultation, I did see some problem areas in the diet. For instance, she had been adding cream to her coffee without measuring and having several cups throughout the day. This came out to be upwards of 400 calories a day just from liquid intake.
We talked about minimizing the cream intake so she wasn’t completely eliminating but maybe only shooting for 100 calories per day from this area.
Over the last several weeks, Jackie has realized that it doesn’t take much to completely blow a day’s worth of calories without even trying.
Recently, she had been watching her calories throughout the day because she knew she would be going to a restaurant that evening. She had a rough idea of what she wanted to eat before she got there but she decided to pull out her calorie tracking app shortly after being seated.
As is the case in many restaurants, the bread basket arrived immediately and she dove in for a roll. She tracked the calories and to her surprise, that single roll was nearly 200 calories. So, Jackie did the strategic thing and started looking at what she could still eat on the menu that would keep her in line for the rest of the day.
While this may be something of an extreme scenario, it shows Jackie’s willingness to adhere to the plan to see her goals. She won’t have to do this forever and in the grand scheme of things, the bread roll wasn’t going to be the downfall to her diet on a weekly scale.
However, many people fail to look this closely at their diet. They assume that their mental math is good enough and then question the results when the scale doesn’t change week after week.
To clarify, there are many people who can succeed at weight loss without counting calories like Jackie. Some can lose weight just by eliminating snacks, decreasing liquid calories, or stopping at one serving instead of two.
If you’re not losing, you may need a more diligent look at your intake. It is absurdly easy to get it wrong and why so many people get frustrated with the process.
But in Jackie’s case, she is extremely motivated to lose body fat and to do it in a way that is reasonable while she gains a better understanding of what will work for her and, most importantly, how to keep the weight off for good.
Jackie, your journey has barely started and you’ve already got a massive piece of the puzzle solved.