A lot of us want to lose fat but get disheartened when the scales don’t drop as fast as we want them to. Hundreds of gyms advertise weight loss challenges but they never tell you how much change you can realistically expect to make. Rather than setting lofty weight loss goals, you should instead focus on making small changes that are actually achievable. It’s better to aim low and exceed expectations than to expect significant fat loss and feel disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
It Depends Where You’re Starting From
Okay so you’ve made the decision to begin a weight loss journey. The amount of weight you can expect to lose will depend on where you’re starting from. Obviously some people are carrying more body fat than others. Don’t expect to drop plenty of kilos if you don’t have many to begin with. Rapid weight loss should never be anyone’s main focus. Research shows that those who make drastic changes are less likely to maintain a lower body weight for long. Take a more sustainable approach and focus on implementing healthy habits instead. Weight loss is a byproduct of making better lifestyle decisions. If you focus solely on the scale, it will unlikely change. However if you prioritise eating within your calorie budget, going for walks and training hard, the weight loss will happen on its own.
More Weight Loss Will Require More Changes
Changing your lifestyle is not easy to do. Humans are creatures of habits and your body fat percentage is the product of your current lifestyle. If you wish to change it, you must alter your environment to some degree. We know that reducing calorie intake, eating more protein and being more active are the most important factors for fat loss. This doesn’t mean you have to train like an Olympic athlete or eat rabbit food. Start with small tweaks like keeping a food diary, hitting a consistent daily step goal and lifting weights. Increasing your protein intake is easy to do if you stock up on NZProtein powders and treats. Little changes in the short term lead to big differences in the long run.
Not Every Week Will Be The Same
If you think weight loss is linear, you’re wrong. That number on the scale is likely to fluctuate a lot. This is why those eight week challenges at your local gym can be disheartening. Participants will see the scale go up one week and feel like they’ve failed when in fact they haven’t. Menstrual cycle, digestion, water intake and sodium can all impact how much you weigh on any given day. Weight is not the most accurate representation of your body fat or health in general. Prepare for a few hiccups along the way. Weight loss journeys are never easy or linear. You might notice a big drop in the first week and an increase the second. Don’t let this get you down. Trust the process and keep going. If you’re prepared for a few bumps along the way, you will be less distressed when they eventually occur.
Measure More Than Weight Loss
Although there are many benefits to losing extra fat (e.g lower blood pressure and glucose levels), weight loss is not the only thing you should track. There are so many other measures of progress. Don’t limit yourself to only focusing on the scale (as they say, “a watched pot never boils”). Research shows that dieters who set a few short term goals and celebrate the little wins are more likely to achieve success. So rather than constantly monitoring the scale, how about counting the number of workouts, steps, and healthy meals you have every week? Physical changes can also be tracked using photos, waist measurements and clothing sizes rather than just weight in kilograms. Even if you don’t see changes on the scale, you are probably improving in other facets of life. These areas deserve equal recognition. By all means, monitor your physical progress. But take into account more than just body weight.
If you’re ready to begin a weight loss journey, go for it! But make sure to set realistic goals. You won’t be dropping two kilos every week and your weight is going to fluctuate. If you stay consistent and take the scale results with a pinch of salt, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy size. Measure a variety of factors and celebrate all the little wins along the way. Every healthy choice you make is another dollar in your fitness bank account. Keep making daily deposits and do something your future self will thank you for.