"Should everyone try and lose weight the same way?"
Do you ever wonder why trendy diets seem to get an awful lot of positive reviews from people who have achieved impressive weight loss results with them, but when you have tried to use the same methods you couldn’t get to your desired weight goal?
Having worked with many clients in similar position I understand that it must be frustrating and discouraging. You may even have accepted it won’t happen for you and given up completely. I am here to tell you not to give up. Here’s why.
According to research data, a structured NHS weight loss plan over 12 months resulted in about the 30% of participants achieving over 5kg weight loss. They all were people classed as obese ad followed a sensible nutritional approach combined with exercise advice and check-in appointments.
This shows that even the most thought-out plans that encourage long-term strategies can bring little to no results for the majority. People who weren’t successful with a plan will assume they haven’t done it right and will not go public with their results. Which is why you don’t hear about those who failed with any of those diets.
What is the solution then? With the best intent, the most qualified personal trainers, fitness coaches or even doctors can give you the best advice, however it’s your task and responsibility to find your unique way to make it work for you. It’s not just about the diet, it’s more about how you interpret it for your own circumstances.
In a previous article we discussed which diet is the best for fat loss, with the conclusion that on the long term for the majority a flexible dieting approach will give you enough flexibility to apply it to your own life.
However, to answer the opening question. Everybody (and "every body") is different and it’s your job to find what method works for your body the best: whether you should crack on with calorie counting, use other methods of portion control, start to eat lean or try any other approach depends on how consistent you can stay with the chosen plan.
I believe, and I coach my clients that the foundations of fat loss are the same: whichever route you choose, there are 3 basic principles you need to follow within that method to see results. You also need to be able to stick to it until you reached your goals and beyond to maintain the results.
Principle #1: Calorie Deficit
This is simple Mathematics. You must eat less than what your body uses for energy to start losing weight and you need to keep doing that until the desired end goal is achieved. There are ways of doing this, including calorie counting, using your hand to measure your portions or even just generally eating slowly and stopping when you’re about 80% full.
How fast or slow your weight loss will be depends on how big the calorie deficit is, provided that there are no other underlying problems that work against your mission.
However, your body has a minimum need in calories and nutrients to survive, maintain your tissues and support vital functions. This varies depending on your age, built and weight. I would never promote consuming less than that on any given day. You would like your food to nurture your body and fuel your everyday activities. This is when principle #2 comes into play.
Principle #2: Exercise
Besides all the health benefits of staying active, you can use exercise to increase that calorie deficit. The more active you are the more calories you burn in a day. It’s not rocket science.
Let’s say you attend three vigorous training sessions per week, may that be a fitness class, personal training or following a plan designed by an online coach, and you burn about 500 calories on each session. That comes out an extra 1500 calories used in the week. Topping that with a daily calorie deficit of just 200 calories will take you to 3250 calories that week.
Everything ads up.
Principle #3: Recovery
Recovery includes good quality and decent amount of sleep and rest days between heavy exercise to allow your muscles to recover and your body to re-energise before the next blow out.
Exercise damages your muscle tissues, tears them down. Recovery is the phase when your body is building back those tissues. If your nutrition is on point, your body will be able to build better quality muscles and that’s how you get stronger and fitter. More muscles will also burn more calories just to maintain their mass.
In brief, yes, the main principles of weight loss are set in stone and science has yet to prove if there’s any other way to achieve weight loss. Within these principles it’s your choice how you play the game though. You will stick to activities and things you enjoy, so make sure you find the way that works for your unique needs but incorporates the three principles.
Have you got a question about how to find that? Send me a message.
My name is Calumn, founder of CD Fitness Coaching. You’ll find me in and around the gym and helping like minded people get the results they deserve. I enjoy everything from keeping fit, yoga, snowboarding, coffee and making people happy. If you would like to be a part of the bigger community join my Facebook group, Healthy Living With CD Fitness Coaching is a must.