5 things you must know about losing fat
Updated: Jun 25
Losing fat takes effort, you want to make that effort worthwhile. To optimise the chance of results I’m going to share 5 things I’ve learnt over the past 23 years of personal training. 1. WEIGHING YOURSELF DAILY IS EFFECTIVE BUT EXPECT FLUCTUATIONS & HAVE LONGER TERM GOALS Weight can vary throughout the day by up to 0.8kg, mainly due to fluid retention. Clearly weighing yourself daily could result in over-analyzing your diet and exercise routine. In spite of that risk, numerous studies have shown(1, 2, 3) that those who do step onto the scales every day are most effective at losing weight and keeping it off. It helps keep eating and over induglence in check. People generally are motivated by results, goals and feedback that are immediate. This needs to be tempered by an awareness that lasting success at pretty much anything comes from repetition and consistency over time. Building habit matters and having medium and long term goals help with that. A motto worth considering is seek to do in the short term what will serve you in the long term. If you do choose to weight yourself daily, then do so with the awareness of, and willingness to ride the waves that will be the fluctuations. That approach will help guard against getting discouraged. Know that the fat loss journey is rarely a nice and steady one. It doesn’t always directly reflect the effort, as a graph the process would typically look choppy or wavy. 2. THE FITTER YOU ARE THE MORE EFFICENTLY YOU BURN FAT.
Unfair isn’t it?
Really commit to getting fit and your body becomes a fat burning machine. That of course doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you like as you get fitter. It does however mean it’s a good idea to shift some focus to improving fitness rather than having it all about shedding the pounds.
The boring, predictable, general advice around getting fit is worth heeding. Start conservatively, increase intensity and duration gradually and look to be really consistent. Do that, and in a couple of months your metabolic rate will increase, and you’ll be burning more fat more often. Even while resting.
3. YOU NEED SOME STRUCTURE, RULES, PROCESS OR PROGRAM There are so many different exercise and diet programs out there and to varying degrees they all work. What is common though is that structure. There are rules. A general intention to eat well or go to the gym more won’t work. It takes a specific plan. A process you can review with clarity. A structured plan enables you to quantify and analyse specifically what you’ve done. This allows you to more accurately adjust things if you’re not getting results. Great resolve and motivation are useless without a plan or program. A mediocre plan followed reasonably well is far better than just brute effort not directed through any particular consistent process or program. Know what you’re going to do, how much you’re going to do of it, for how long and when. This applies to both diet and exercise. It’ll greatly increase the chance of eating well and exercising more. Give it some time to work too. Just because you do a program for 2 weeks and don't lose 4 kilo's doesn't mean it's a bad program. Really committ to doing 6 weeks and then review. These things take a bit of time, and to labour the point- weight loss is rarely a smooth linear process. 4. YOU NEED TO FOCUS, IT’S WORTHWHILE BUT NOT EASY People generally underestimate the amount of focus needed to make just a couple of lifestyle changes. I was surprised when a very experienced dietician told me she advises clients against starting an exercise routine while also making changes to diet. Her reason being that in practice people have limited capacity to make and sustain change. All of my experience since then has only supported that view. If you really want to significantly lose fat, and keep it off, you need to focus and prioritise it. In truth it’s going to have to move up the list of priorities in your life, and there’ll be sacrifices. As Scottish Golf pro Colin Montgomery said after shedding many pounds, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.” It's worth the effort and sacrifice, but don’t underestimate the focus needed. If your life is really chaotic it makes fat loss even harder. 5. ENJOYMENT AND SUPPORT ARE VITAL To lose weight and keep it off it’s been shown that exercise becoming enjoyable (intrinsic motivation) is a key predictor of long term success. That's shown in this study- 'Exercise motivation, eating, and body image variables as predictors of weight control' which also shows that having support really matters too. This could be in the form of a specific support group, a role model who’s trodden that path or a personal trainer. To optimise motivation there is an individual degree of challenge and difficulty to be found. This heavily influences the enjoyment factor- if something is too hard it’s typically unenjoyable. Conversely enjoyment can be enhanced by a level of challenge that brings a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Note that exercise can become enjoyable. Often people find it's initially a real chore. That sense of toil or even dread can be for 2 reasons: Firstly they believe (often due to several unpleasant experiences) that exercise is all about pain and discomfort. Secondly, because they’ve been inactive it is indeed uncomfortable and that lack of fitness means they’re unable to go for long enough to experience any uplifting effects. That uplifted state is known as runners high but isn’t unique to running and is basically the pleasant effects from shifts in the body's chemistry. It's a large part of what get's people exercising regularly. Starting at a manageable, moderate and pain free level will limit that initial discomfort and goes a long way toward making it more enjoyable. Besides which it's a practical way to reduce injury risk, soreness and allows greater scope to make regular progress without excessive effort. For many people enjoyment and support are closely related. Humans are essentially social creatures. A lof of the discomfort is reduced when the process is shared with others through both distraction and enjoying the social interaction. You're also much more likely to turn up and see things through. Plus stories shared by others who've successfully done the weight loss journey increase belief. To recap on what you must know to optimise losing fat; 1. Weighing yourself daily is effective but expect fluctuations and have longer term goals. 2. The fitter you are the more efficently you burn fat. 3. You need some structure, rules, process or program 4. You need to focus, it's worthwhile but not easy 5. Enjoyment and support are vital Need more help? Get in touch if you'd like to know more about time effective mobile personal training. Alternatively I offer professional, individualised programs no matter where you are.
Enjoy that article?