As an Expert Weight Loss Coach, I can tell you (both personally and as a coach) that perhaps the HARDEST part of any weight loss journey is having PATIENCE when it comes to weight loss results.
I know how frustrating it can be when you want to be at your weight loss goal quickly and drop 20 lb like TOMORROW.
And here’s the thing – it’s not silly for us to WANT to believe that it can be true. After all, so much of what we are shown on TV lures us in with promises that losing 20 lb within a few weeks is DOABLE and easy, and that we too can achieve amazing weight loss results if we just buy XYZ product! 🙄🙄
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Not only does losing too much weight too quickly require extreme (and miserable) methods – but it is just not HEALTHY (or sustainable!) in the long term. Truth is a good, steady rate of weight loss is usually around 0.5 – 3 lb per week or about 1-1.5% of body weight per week.
Some weeks it might be more
Some weeks it might be less
Some weeks there might be no movement at all
Even though it might seem small, trust me – you WANT to achieve weight loss at a slow and steady pace – because that is how you are going to keep the weight off FOR GOOD and be able to maintain your results for the long term.
When you diet down and cut calories, metabolism slows down. When this is done in an extreme manner, and for several months (or more) on end, it becomes that much EASIER for the body to rebound both from a psychological sense (i.e. feeling like it’s hard to resist your husband’s chocolate chips cookies) AND a physical sense (because metabolic hormones have down regulated). Losing too much weight to quickly can actually be a shock to your system and cause the body to have a stress response which may make the body hold on to fat. Yikes!!!!
Even though it may seem like those small increments are not significant – overtime they add up to BIG changes, and in a couple of months (heck even ONE MONTH)- you can be in a COMPLETELY different place than you are now.
The picture below shows a real life example (actually it’s a personal example of my own data), of how weight loss occurs over time vs just one week.
It’s also worth stating that scale weight is also not the only data point you should be using on the journey to reach your body composition goals.
Just because the scale might be showing little or no change – doesn’t mean that your body isn’t actually changing. Muscle is more dense than fat tissue and you can actually be changing your entire body composition without the scale reflecting this from a data standpoint. That is why it’s important to take pictures, take measurements and do the “skinny jean test” on a regular basis when working towards your weigh loss goals.
I know this is a hard concept to really solidify because all we want to do is throw are hands up in frustration when the scale doesn’t seem to budge – but trust me – if you are following a solid plan (safe calorie deficit, mostly nutrient dense foods, resistance training) – given everything checks out from a hormonal standpoint – you can be rest assured that changes ARE happening!
Whenever a client comes on board their #1 goal is usually “weight loss”, but what they really mean is fat loss. Because here’s the thing … WEIGHT LOSS and FAT LOSS are not exactly the same thing.
Losing weight can mean anything in the form form of weight (fat, muscle, water etc). Fat loss specifically means you are losing FAT.
Other than going out and getting a DEXA scan, one way that you can tell if you are losing fat is to compare your measurement data with your weight, (see infographic above). For example, if your weight is staying the same but your waist measurement is going down (and you’ll probably notice your clothes are filling a heck of a lot better!), CONGRATS – you’ve lost fat!!!!
Again, I want to reiterate this – let me make this very clear and hopefully save you a little bit (LOT) of unnecessary frustration….
You might not have not lost SCALE WEIGHT but you might very well be losing fat. Again, remember to track several data points in your journey to reach your goals – you don’t want to sell yourself short on all the awesome WINS you are achieving !
Obsessing about day to day weight shifts keeps you STUCK. Why? Because it doesn’t allow you to see the big picture.
Think about it – how many times have you wanted to throw in the towel because the scale wasn’t going down after a couple of days (or heck even a week or two) of feeling like you are doing everything right?
While it’s important to different data points as it will help you be able to make informed decisions about making adjustments to your plan if you need to – it’s also important to remember that good things take time, consistency and patience. Wanting to wake up in 1 month 20 lb lighter is just not a realistic (or healthy) goal in the long term. Slow and steady wins the race – remember to have patience, ask questions and most importantly, give yourself a little grace.
If you are following a plan that:
Has you in a safe calorie deficit
Takes into consideration any hormonal imbalances you may have
Incorporates exercise in the right amounts for your body
Don’t obsess over the day to day data (especially scale data) *too* much. Rather – be compliant, look at data trends – and adjust where needed.
Day to day – things don’t seem to change – but I can assure you that if you keep at it – will TOTALLY get the weight loss results (ahem fat loss results) that you want!!!! Just imagine – you could be in a totally different place one month from now.