The fitness industry has a dirty little secret. Have you noticed that nearly all books, magazines and fitness infomercials send the message that weight loss is “easy”, achieving super fit status is “simple”, and radically changing your life is “fun”? I am possessed, obsessed and consumed by all popular media in the fitness industry. I get very…..ummm, fussy… when I see another headline that says you can lose 10 lbs in a very short time.
My fellow fitness experts are going to kick me out of the cool kids club for saying this, but I’m going to anyway: Ladies, weight loss is HAAAARRRRDDDDD. Your body is designed to avoid losing weight at all costs – it’s a survival mechanism. Because of homeostasis, the human body works very hard to hold the status quo at all times. Basically, in order to survive, your body wants to keep everything nice and stable. While our lives are modern, our bodies are still very ancient and operate in ways that don’t necessarily make sense. In a larger sense, your body’s top priority is survival and it is a strong mechanism. Any hint of change in your body sparks up this dormant, unconscious and powerful drive to resist the inherent threat. For example, if you consume fewer calories for 5-7 days, your body is going to suspect that it’s safety, and survival, are at risk. In defense, your body summons incredible forces of nature to prevent the weight loss. Because if you don’t eat enough, you’re going to die, right? Of course not! But your body is worried that you will.
In order to cause weight loss you have to be bigger, badder and smarter than your body’s survival mechanism. You have to remain in your brain and remind yourself that your body will provide sneaky ways of sabotaging your weight loss. Please note, I’m using the words “weight loss” very generally. Ideally, your goal is to improve your lean body mass (muscle) and then decrease your body fat. This will create the lean machine that you want to be. “Weight loss” can occur from muscle loss, water loss and general deterioration. We don’t want that – not so much. But for today’s purpose, let’s just think generally.
Here are some useful tips regarding weight loss:
1. Weight loss happens in stages. One week you may drop 2-3 pounds, then the next week you’ll stabilize. I find that weight loss happens in 10 day cycles.
2. It takes about 10 days of consistent calorie deficit (a combination of diet and exercise) to cause a drop in weight. Just before your body gives up and burns off fat, it will offer you some lovely symptoms like hunger, cravings, fatigue and my favorite, grumpiness. Hold on tight for 1-2 days, embrace the discomfort and your body will give up the fat and you’ll see a drop in pounds.
3. You must be consistently consistent on a consistent basis. Catch my drift? A common misstep is to be “good” all week and then lax it up over the weekend. This usually causes the calorie deficit from the week to be negated.
4. Deep, quality sleep might just be the best friend that you’ve been searching for your whole life.
5. If you fall off the wagon. Errrrrr…. WHEN you fall off the wagon, GET, BACK, ON IT! Everyone stumbles, trips and full on face-plants all the time. The key is to get up and keep trying. Weight loss requires massive, discernible, definitive, hard-core, bad-ass effort. And you can do it.