The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between

Fat Loss is Not Easy – Myths and Facts about Fat Loss

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about weight loss is that weight loss shouldn’t be hard.  I think this thought is perpetuated from a number of different factors – media telling us how to lose 10 lbs in 10 days, infomercials that sell exercise machines that end with the catch phrase, “It was so easy,” along with seeing genetically skinny individuals who don’t have to work out or think about what they’re eating.

If you were to combine those reasons along with the media portrayal of “the perfect woman” – who are models on the covers of magazines –  then you’re caught subconsciously believing that A – weight loss is easy, and B – “I’m so lazy and such a fat a$$, because I’m not that skinny.”

In other words, what I’m saying is for the majority of people, weight loss is NOT easy.  This is especially true for obese individuals who lose weight.  The following link is to James Kreiger’s Weightology website and the research he presents in his article was the most eye-opening article I read all of last year.  I read over 1,000 articles last year and this one was the most important.  In other words, please read the article.

What the article states is that if you’ve lost weight, you will spontaneously move and burn less calories naturally then if you are “naturally skinny.”  This comes out to about 400 calories a day if you’ve lost over 10% of your body weight.

What this means is that not only is weight loss in and of itself not the easiest thing to do, but that it’s an uphill battle to maintain that weight loss in the long-run.

This fact isn’t meant to be disheartening (although it is), it’s meant to show two things – A – Sometimes, reality sucks, and B – There is something that you can do about it.  Here’s a hint: it starts with E and ends with e.  Did you guess what it is?

Hopefully (and I’m not joking) your answer was exercise.  Yes, if you’ve ever lost over 10% of your bodyweight, then you’re going to have to work harder than those “skinny bastards” that don’t have to worry about it.  Why?  Because they naturally burn more calories than you, every single day.  So you have to make up those calories, through a modified eating plan and exercise.  Exercise being the more important of the two, to actually keep the weight off.

So what’s the point of all of this?
1 – Losing weight for most people is NOT easy. In fact, it’s pretty damn hard.  Are there ways to adjust your eating habits to make it easier?  Sure.  Here’s my favorite method – Intermittent Fasting.

2 – If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re going to be hungry sometimes. You know what though?  Hunger does not mean that you’re going to starve to death and die.  It just means that you’re in control of your body.  Now don’t get me wrong, everyone has a breaking point with their diet, but if you can’t move past the initial hunger pangs of a diet, don’t complain that you, “eat all the right foods and can’t lose weight.”

3 – You need to work out if you’re trying to lose weight AND keep it off long-term. You see, MANY people spread so much bs by simply dieting and then telling ALL of their friends what they did to lose the weight.

These are the people that will lose weight from weight watcher’s or any other diet, while doing almost NO exercise.  What happens is that you then see this person and you’re like, “Wow!  You look amazing.  What did you do?”  They then tell you, “Oh, I joined Weight Watcher’s.”  And in your head, you have ALL the social proof you need to be forever confused about weight loss. In your head you say, “Well Jenny did Weight Watcher’s (or Atkins, or vegetarianism, etc) and lost weight, so it must be good.”

What you failed to notice is that a year later and still following the SAME diet, they’ve regained ALL the weight.  Why?

Because your body’s not stupid (insert Carlos Mencia voice – de de de).

In other words, your body will start to adjust it’s metabolism to conserve more energy.  It will effect your thyroid hormones, your leptin levels will make you hungrier, growth hormone levels will drop and you’ll stop rebuilding your body.  It takes both a modified diet AND exercise to keep the weight off.  Oh, if you didn’t read the article about why it’s so easy to regain your weight, here’s the article again.

4 – You should feel tired from working out if you’re trying to lose fat. This doesn’t mean that you can’t move afterwards – but it does mean that you shouldn’t be ready to do it all again 15 minutes later.

5 – Are there people that don’t necessarily follow all of these patterns?  Yes. Typically, they’re the people that lose weight from changing one habit.  These are the guys who just get rid of sugar from their diet.  Or the people that don’t do ANY movement all day who then take up walking an hour a day.  You hear about these stories all the time and although they can be somewhat commendable, they are NOT the norm.

Also, the people who are able to achieve weight loss relatively easily, with relatively benign changes, are typically men.  This is because they either start with higher overall metabolisms or are highly obese to begin with.

6 – Achieving weight loss is NOT the same as achieving the body you want or your individual best. The people in number 5 may make it onto the cover of a People magazine cover about “Amazing Weight Loss Transformations” but typically they won’t make it onto a Men’s or Women’s Health magazine.  Don’t get me wrong, not everyone aspires towards these ends, but if you’re somewhat skinny to begin with, don’t use the same random advice from the person that was 100 pounds overweight about how to lose those last couple of pounds.

The key is knowing that the closer you get to your genetic potential, the harder it gets to hit that potential.  At that point it comes down to persistence, smarter methods and the knowledge that you’re going to have to do things “outside the norm.”

But seriously, have you seen “the norm?”  Do you REALLY want to be the ‘norm?’  I sure as hell hope not.

7 – Just because someone who was already skinny to begin with likes a certain method of exercise doesn’t mean it’s the best type of exercise. If you see a skinny woman doing Pilates, touting it’s benefits, ask her what she looked like before she started doing pilates.  Seriously, PLEASE ask her.  I can almost undoubtedly bet that she says, “I look so much better.”  But ask her if her weight’s changed or if she’s dropped any pant sizes or lost any body fat and her answer is most likely, “I don’t know.”  Which means, NO.

This means that she was already naturally skinny to begin with – AND didn’t exercise AT ALL before Pilates.  She starts doing Pilates and you automatically assume that she looks the way she does because “Pilates is so great.”  No, no it’s not.

Pilates didn’t “lengthen her muscles,” or help her lose weight.  It may have helped her ‘tone up’ by actually activating her musculature as opposed to letting it completely atrophy.  But it didn’t help her build or “lengthen” any of her muscles.

In other words, if YOU need to lose fat, do the important things to lose that fat – Heavy Strength Training, a modified eating plan and more movement overall.

Now stop being suckered into the Fat Loss myths and Do the work!

*This was originally a post about using Social Support – evidently, I got off course on this rant.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at John@PersonalResultsTraining.com.

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5 comments found

  1. Totally disagree with your first assertion that losing fat is difficult or supposed to be difficult. It isn’t difficult, you just have to follow the gameplan and BE CONSISTENT. That is what everybody lacks and why people only tend to achieve short terms results. Sure it takes effort, but that doesn’t make it difficult. The trouble is that too many people want a quick fix instead of having to change their lifestyle. They want to eat like a pig, move as little as possible and still be lean. Your comment about people being lazy fat asses IS RIGHT ON. People hate to admit they are lazy and don’t want it bad enough to do what is necessary, but this is true in all areas of life from finance to fat loss to having a nice personality.

    1. Well, the question then is, what makes anything “difficult” or “hard?”

      Is it that we don’t know what to do? Sometimes.
      Is it that persistence and work, typically hard work, is needed? Personally, I think it’s a combination of both.

      In today’s society, persistence for a goal, any goal is becoming a more rare commodity because it requires going against the grain. Why does it require going against the grain? Simply because there are so many perpetuated myths that surround us. There’s “get rich” schemes that caused a huge housing bubble, along with “easy fat loss” myths that induce us to believe that hard work isn’t necessary when it comes to losing fat or becoming financially wealthy.

      So I agree with you that it requires a gameplan and consistency, but I think the “difficult” part is sticking to that gameplan in the face of societal pressures to make your life your own. As Emerson wrote: What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

      In other words, when we have the gameplan and act on it, when we’re by ourselves it is easy. When we actually live and associate with others who have differing goals, it can be “difficult.” Not the steps, but the follow through.

      Thanks for the comment.

    2. @shandor: Spoken like someone who has never had a weight problem. Here’s some better advice: only take advice from people who have experience with it, not just repeating the same boring stereotypes.

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