When most people embark on a journey to lose weight, they want to see the results in the smallest time frame possible. No one sees a future of months and months of slogging away at the gym and dieting as something that looks particularly appealing, and that last minute rush for a “bikini-body” or the need to fit into their sister’s bridesmaid dress causes so many girls to look for those quick-fixes. This is part of the reason we see so many of these “shake” diets floating around, products that can “make you lose 10lbs in a week”, and various other diet fads that can help you lose weight. But this is the key word in that sentence: they make you lose WEIGHT. Not fat.
Actual fat loss takes time – there is no avoiding this. If you are losing weight at a faster rate of about 1lb a week, the chances are you will be losing muscle and water, not actual fat. If you are already relatively small, a half-pound a weak might be what you are aiming to lose for sustained fat loss.
That’s why one of the biggest things I have learnt throughout my weight-loss journey is to be PATIENT. Mantras such as ‘slow and steady wins the race” are to be followed if you really want to succeed in changing your body. If any of you read my first blog post, you will see that I have lost weight several times only to rebound massively after a few months of extreme dieting. If from the very start I had seen it as a walk rather than a race, avoiding the extremities and taking my time, the overall process of getting to my ‘goal’ body would have actually taken much less time in total and evaded the agonising weight loss/weight gain cycle.
The main reasons for taking on this “slow” mindset from the start are twofold. Firstly if you start off from the get-go with a severe calorie restriction and running for an hour a day, sure you may see great results in the first few weeks. But what happens from there when your body adapts? It will stop loosing weight. If you aren’t at your goal by this point, what do you do next? Cut your calories further and increase your cardio, making yourself miserable in the process and eventually causing a rebound (or giving yourself some kind of binge-eating disorder!)? Or, conversely, you will give up altogether. That brings me to the second point of why you should take it slow. If you go in with that all or nothing mentality, putting yourself through hell, there is very little chance you will actually stick at it. That’s why we see so many people starting a diet in January, going to the gym everyday and completely cutting out carbs/fats/meat/dairy, but by February they are flagging in the gym and back ordering take out every night. This is because what they attempted to do was way too intense and almost impossible to adhere to. The solution to this example would have been from making a plan from the start was much more sustainable, gradual, and achievable. That’s why plans such as Kayla Itsines have been so successful, as they advocate this much more moderate approach, which will always get the best results in the long-term.
Another mantra that I have learnt is to TRUST THE PROCESS. If you are really sticking to your calorific deficit and adhering your cardio regime, you WILL see results. They may not be instant, they may be slow, but they will come. It’s really just science – if you burn more calories than you consume, eventually your body will start using the fat supplies for energy. I would recommend weighing yourself only once or twice a week, and taking what is says as a mere indication of your fat loss, not the be-all-and-end-all. The scale number can be determined by a number of factors (which I will explain in a further blog post) so there’s no need overly stress or attach too much weight (excuse the pun) to the number it shows to you. It doesn’t mean you aren’t loosing fat. If it hasn’t budged in a number of weeks and you know for certain that you have stuck to your diet perfectly, then you can reassess whether your body has reached a plateau. But only then! There is no point in getting impatient and upping your dieting regime until your body at reached this point.
Obviously – as I’ve highlighted – consistency and persistence are also vital to any weight-loss journey, but I hope that this also illustrates why being patient is equally as important, if not more so! If you want to sculpt a body you can be happy with for the rest of your life whilst maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle, the changes will not happen overnight. Don’t rush them!