Weight loss is not all physical. It is mental. Sure there is a large physical component, such as workouts and meal preparation, but it is the mental battle that is usually lost. My advice today will cover many areas, but the mental battle is where I plan to steer you.
This is how I helped Andrea McFarlan with a goal of losing 40 pounds. The first thing I had to do was to adjust her goal. Many people have a number in mind, like 40 pounds in this case. The question I ask is “how did you come up with that number?” A realistic number is one that is derived from getting a body composition test, so you know how much fat and how much muscle you have. Picking a number out of the sky, or picking a weight that you were in college, is not a realistic number. In Andrea’s case, 33 pounds was the correct amount of fat (not weight) to lose, not 40. A tool for you to use is a Body Mass Index, offered for free on this web site. You can play with the weight entered to help establish a realistic goal, but a body composition test is far superior.
Losing 33 pounds in 5 months is attainable, but it will depend how drastic of a lifestyle change you plan to make. You can lose 2 pounds of fat per week, but it is a huge lifestyle change, and one that may prove temporary. Andrea set a goal of 1.5 pounds of fat loss per week, and with this her end result would be about 25% body fat, which is normal for a woman 40 years old. You must realize weight loss takes time, especially if you plan to keep it off, as lifestyle change takes time.
To lose 1.5 pounds of fat per week, Andrea needed to create a 5250 calorie deficit per week. With diet alone, this would result in super-strict eating, which is not realistic and would end in failure. Lots of people choose the lazy way of losing weight, which is without exercising, and they all inevidebly fail. Andrea cut 600 calories a day from her eating, and had to burn 350 calories with each of her 3 cardio workouts per week.
Andrea succeeded with her goal, and is maintaining this successfully.
Here is an overview of her success, and great advice to follow:
1. The focus is not on the scale, but rather body fat lost and muscle tone gained, and only a body composition test will show you this. Ignore the scale if you are strength training.
2. Identify your emotions accurately. Fat is not a feeling, so do not say you are feeling “fat” when you are feeling shame, guilt, embarrassment, etc. Identify what is really going on, and move forward from there. Diets do not fix deeper issues, but doing good things for yourself such as living a healthy lifestyle, will help tremendously.
3. Keep your cool and be realistic. First Andrea quit late night eating, then worked on eating a healthy breakfast, etc. Doing all of this at once would make it a super-strict program, and one you cannot realistically maintain. Many people fail because of unrealistic expectations.
4. Accept you have been doing it wrong and need to change. It is not anybody else’s fault, it is yours. You decide whether you workout, you decide what goes into your mouth. Be accountable to your actions and quit blaming others, your schedule, the kids schedule, etc.
5. Quit being lazy. You need to build healthy habits and the bad habit of blowing off exercise has you where you are today. Women do not miss a manicure appointment, and men never miss a golf game, but both will blow off a workout because it involves effort and we have a natural tendancy to avoid effort. The accountability of a trainer is a most valuable tool with this.