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Fat Loss Isn’t Straightforward

by | Aug 18, 2019 | Blog

We need to discuss the difference between healthy habit changes for life, and short term fat loss goals…..

You may assume that diets for health, and diets for fat loss are one and the same, and I used to as well – but it’s not the case. 

How is that so??? Any decent diet worth it’s salt (pun intended) surely should include a variety of vegetables, quality protein sources and vitamins and minerals, right.  Simple!  Not so, you see this is where the confusion, and yes sometimes disappointment comes in.

Let me explain it to you this way.

You come to me for PT or classes because you want to lose 5kg.  Like, really want to. ***no, scale weight does’t matter etc etc***….. well I think that statement does take some agency away from the person.  It’s true, scale weight is not an accurate measure of health, on it’s own – BUT – Most people, who are not suffering from an eating disorder, have an idea of the weight in which they feel comfortable, can fit their favourite jeans and feel amazing.

So yeah, a lot of people already have a specific figure in mind.  Let’s be honest.

Moving on – you come to me with this figure in mind, but decide that you want to achieve it without selecting an accurate strategy or way to measure progress – just starting eating “better” and weigh in maybe in a few weeks. 

Don’t get me wrong, that can work in some instances, but I can almost guarantee the person that came to me wanting to be 5kg down and more toned is gonna be pissed if they’re not on their way in 4-6 weeks of training.

(Read about workouts that gain weight here!)

So here’s the thing.

You have a specific goal in mind, then your strategy needs to be specific too.

I recently had a couple of clients with very specific goals comment to me after I laid it out for them:  “Hmmm well it doesn’t leave much room for snacks”, “ummm now that I’m sticking to these targets I can’t just like, eat what I want to” – well, yes, that’s because you want a specific outcome…. and yes you do have to give things up short term in that instance.

Because let’s be honest, if the life you like to lead most of the time has put some extra “fluff” on you, then you certainly can’t “de-fluff” by continuing the same habits indefinitely.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about balance – and most of my clients maintain their results while still enjoying life.  In the long term.

There is a time and a place for short term fat loss strategies such as:  calorie counting, macro counting, portioning and YES, giving a few things up. 

And there is also a time and a place for generalised healthy habits such as:  cutting back on hot chips, switching your large caramel latte for a small flat white, or just eating more vegetables and moving more….

But when we confuse the results we want with the wrong strategy – that’s where the disappointment comes in.

Short term goals require accuracy whether we like it or not.

That really lean friend that often posts “cheat meals” is likely doing so to mask the amount of effort they actually put in (no one is going to share to their followers that they count broccoli florets).  Ask yourself what you’re willing to give up, and how that sits with you?

I am finding myself more often needing to explain, particularly to younger clients, that all is not as it seems on the gram – scary!  – Yes, you can get “shredded”, but if you actually like enjoying meals out with your family, making cupcakes with your toddler, and the odd night out with the girls – it’s probably not for you!

At the other end of the scale I’ll come across “but I’ve been trying to eat healthier”  That’s great, but you CAN still over eat healthy foods (I’ve done it!) and let’s be honest, you do still have a goal in mind that you’re really hoping to achieve.

There’s a time for flexibility and weight maintenance and there’s a time for focus too, like when you say you want to fit into a dress by x date. 

I’ll be honest with you – it won’t be easy, you’ll probably feel hungry and wonder why you’re doing it.

Just like parenting looks so simple on Johnson’s baby ads, the truth about diets is often glossed over online.   

The point I’d like you to take away from this is – I think that people are getting things mixed up.  One method is not against the other – they can work together to achieve your desired result.  It can be unhealthy to apply short term fat loss methods in the long term, and it’s naive to think that health habits will always achieve specific fat loss goals.  Although I absolutely understand that this kind of thing is marketed to you regularly.

I prefer to take the honest and personalised approach with my clients.  If you’re armed with the right information, you are empowered to make choices about how YOU prefer to get to your end result.  And when I see my clients make progress that way, it’s a beautiful thing! 

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