I’ve worked with clients who’ve lost anywhere from 1 to 50kg. Mostly those big losses (and some of the smaller ones) take 1-3 years to accomplish. And this is really important to know, because losing the first 5kg or so can be quite easy, but more important than that, is making sure you don’t gain it back, and that if you have more to lose, that you can do so.
Research points quite clearly to the fact that while losing excess body fat can be quite easy, it’s keeping it off that is the problem.
Many people do regain lost weight (and usually some more as well), and that’s not because losing weight is impossible or that the program was necessarily not effective.
It’s because fat loss is not linear. In other words, you don’t just drop your bodyweight reliably each week in set amounts till it’s gone. And most people don’t understand that and give up before the magic has happened.
In fact, all weight loss programs will stop working at some point. In fact, at many points. But the thing is, a good one is still working, even when it appears that it isn’t.
You all know the drill:
- You start a new diet or fat loss program
- You lose some body fat.
- Then you stop losing body fat (which you usually refer to as a plateau).
- Then you may lose some more, or you may not.
- Then you ‘plateau’ again.
- Then you give up and put it all back on again (sometimes quickly and sometimes over a little while)
I see this happen all the time. After losing some weight and not seeing progress for a week or 2, or at the end of a shorter term fat-loss challenge, you slowly creep back to your old habits because you believe nothing is happening.
This even happens if you did get to your goal weight but then went back to your old habits without letting your body adjust to it’s new set-point.
The thing is, that those plateaus are part of the fat loss process.
Your body needs to readjust it’s set point before it can move on. And while that’s happening, you need to stick to the process to enable that to happen.
When you accept this, you all can achieve great things including more fat loss.
So what is the big secret?
I’ve written about this loads of times, but in case you haven’t read my past posts, your body does not like to change.
From temperature changes, to electrolyte balance to body fat levels and more. Your body does everything in its power to stay the same. It trys to keep everything at ‘normal’ and when we are referring to bodyweight, we refer to this as your set-point. The process of staying the same is named homeostasis.
We all have a normal body weight or set point. You can change this over time – slowly. But regardless of what you think your ‘normal’ weight should be, your body pretty much wants to stay how it is. So fast changes are met with resistance.
You may have read that fat losses of 1-1.5kg per week are normal and sustainable. This may or may not be true, but you can guaranteed that these losses are just averages.
Over time, a ‘normal’ loss of 1-1.5 kg per week, may have actually been 2kg one week, none the next and so on. There is nothing magical about fast or slow fat loss. The key point to remember is that your body does not want to change from what it sees as ‘normal’ or its set-point.
So how can you change your set-point.
Firstly you’ll need a program that combines good nutrition with fat loss. Without supplying your body with adequate nutrients, long term fat loss is an even steeper uphill battle.
Once you have that sorted, you can reset your bodies current set-point by losing some weight and then allowing your body time to adjust to that new weight.
So while it seems like nothing is happening, much is happening, least of all, your body adjusting to the new weight and making it the new ‘normal’. I’ve referred to this over the years to my clients as “Good stuff is still happening on the inside”
If you have lots of weight to lose, you’ll find you can drop more before having to wait for the adjustment than someone who is much closer to their goal weight. People refer to this as ‘she loses weight so easily because she has more to lose’. While this is true initially, once that person gets closer to their goal weight, they too will experience those plateaus more often and may have to wait for longer periods while the body adjusts to each new ‘normal’ or set-point.
Long term larger fat loss almost never happens in a 28 day program or in 6 weeks.
While those with just a tiny bit to lose can maybe do so in that time, they still must continue with their plan beyond that length of time to allow their bodies to adjust and make a new set-point. Otherwise, they’re just going to regain all their lost weight again.
While I do run short term fat loss programs, I always stress that you absolutely must continue the program beyond the end date.
I teach throughout every program about making permanent lifestyle and nutritional changes and how that is the absolutely only way you’ll every succeed with long term fat loss.
It can take 3-8 weeks or even more for your body to adjust to a new set-point depending on how much weight you’ve lost, how much more you have to go, how long you’ve held that excess weight for, your genetics and many other factors.
But it is absolutely possible to achieve a new set-point with persistance and consistency. That’s why you must avoid any programs that promise really fast results and that require you to stick with anything you can’t imagine yourself doing for 6, 12 or 36 months.
The secret as I mentioned above, is to know that your body does not want to change and it is determined to maintain homestasis.
The secret is to keep perservering even when it appears that nothing is happening from the outside. Because the ‘magic’ is happening on the inside and if you remain consistent, you will see progress again.
Please leave your comments about this below. I’d love FitterFaster clients in particular to share their experiences of sticking to the course and seeing results come again.