I can probably count on one hand (possibly two) the amount of people I’ve worked with who are in no particular rush to lose unwanted weight.
Most everyone wants the weight off yesterday.
At a base level, I understand it. By time someone comes to my door (in my brick and mortar business or through online coaching), they’re sick and tired of the number on the scale.
They’re ready to change right.this.very.second.
Or, at least, they think they’re ready to change which can be a step in the right direction.
There are just a few problems right off the bat.
-Your body doesn’t care how fast you want to lose weight.
-The deficit you need to create to make fat loss occur quickly is more than what most people are willing to stick to.
-If you want the weight to stay off, you have to play the LONG game.
Hence, the title of this week’s post.
I think the most “weight” (not the same as fat) I’ve successfully helped a client lose in one month without embarking on a 500 calorie diet or doing anything crafty with water and sweat is about 20 pounds.
Would you like to know what that client asked me when I remarked how astounding that was?
“What do I need to do to get the weight off faster?”
Counter that with clients who legitimately need to spend days, weeks, perhaps months learning how to eat at their body’s current maintenance levels because they’ve only ever known two speeds: aggressive deficit followed by uncontrollable surplus, rinse, repeat.
As a result, some of those clients need to appreciate conscious effort at maintaining a given body weight before they can psychologically handle some type of deficit to lead to fat loss.
Follow enough fitness pages, health influencers and well meaning coaches and you’ll no doubt see transformation photos, testimonials, fad diets, food swaps, trending supplements and more. All of which has a fantastic chance of convincing you that maybe what you’re doing is wrong. That if you hop over there on the other side of the fence, the grass will not only be greener but the fertilizer is better (not to mention, organic, LOL) and that means you can get to your goals faster.
Let me know how that works out.
Seriously. I want to know. I have a vested interest.
The point I’d like to leave you with is this:
You may indeed be one of those people who can lose weight quickly (like my aforementioned client). If that is you, I applaud you. Keep doing what’s working, pay attention to the details, and live a life at maintenance. Godspeed.
If this doesn’t sound like you, consider yourself more the majority and less the exception. You’ve got company and let’s get you in good hands.
Also, please, be patient.
This journey (I love that word) will take longer than you want, it will have more detours than you planned for, it will frequently hit potholes which will feel like the bottom is falling out of your world, and you, my dear reader, are 100% normal.
You’re not broken.
Whether you have menopause or perimenopause, PCOS or PCOS with insulin resistance, a healthy thyroid or a thyroid that needs attention, or you just need to “get focused”…put on your seatbelt, grab your popcorn (or protein shake) and get ready to ride.
Impatience with fat loss will riddle you with doubt, it will steer you off course (when you were likely already heading the right direction) and it will lengthen the amount of time the journey (there’s that word again) will last.
Imagine having a geographical location you want to go to. You start at home, hop in your car, set the GPS, turn on some great tunes, and you’re on your way.
You will likely hit bad traffic, construction, rough weather, and possibly some detours due to closed ramps. All of which will slow down the time it takes to get to your destination. That doesn’t mean your GPS was wrong. It just means, that some obstacles couldn’t have been overlooked. You try to re-route yourself because you don’t want to lose valuable time but every option available stretches time out further.
Fat loss is similar.
A case can be made for rapid weight loss. There’s data to support that an aggressive start to a fat loss plan can actually be more motivating than a conservative start because if you see that needle moving down quickly, you’re more likely to stay the course.
However, rapid fat loss isn’t for everyone and for good reason. It’s hard to sustain (especially if you strength train and/or exercise regularly).
And, if all you’ve ever tried is the aggressive route and you’re still not where you want to be, you may have to accept that slow(er) and more conservative is the route to go.
That’s not failure of you as a person. It’s just the best route your “GPS” can give you right now.
(Photo courtesy of Pavel Danilyuk)