This is the last thing any Personal Trainer wants to hear when weight loss is the goal.
One of our newer members came to us and told us she’d gained 2kg in the past week.
She was obviously shocked, upset and maybe even a wee bit horrified.
“I can’t afford to gain any more weight.”
No one wants to go backwards, particularly when they’re putting so much effort into going forwards.
But here’s a few things we need to consider:
1. Womens menstrual cycle
Weight loss for women is never linear. You don’t lose weight daily, and certainly not weekly. Keeping tabs on weight weekly is sensible, but expecting weight loss weekly is not.
You can gain anywhere between a few pounds to even up to 8-10 pounds during your period.
Assuming you stick to your guns and keep exercising and being sensible with your eating, the weight will most-likely come back off post-period.
But if you throw your toys out the pram, get emotional and comfort eat…you’ll most likely gain more weight and be even more miserable.
2. Diet history
Shake/detox diets are all the rage these days.
Again, I understand why…you don’t eat anything for weeks/months and you lose weight. Very simple.
It’s hard not to lose weight when you’re starving.
Just watch daytime TV and you’ll see a myriad of African children on the charity adverts showcasing the effectiveness of this approach.
But what happens post-shake diet?
You go back to eating ‘normally’ and your weight balloons back up to where it was before…or heavier.
I’ve yet to meet someone that proves that wrong, but – again – I understand the appeal so I’m not knocking people for being attracted to it or doing it.
3. Calorie intake
Most people don’t over consume during the week.
But once they get to the weekends they do damage.
Generally speaking, 10% below maintenance calories is where most trainers will advise you start in order to have the highest chance of both losing weight and sticking to the diet.
If your maintenance calories work out to be, say, 2,000 per day, your ‘weight loss’ calorie target will be 1,800 per day.
Over 5 days (Monday-Friday) you’ll ‘save up’ 1,000 calories.
This is good.
But, come the weekend, it’s very easy to consume 1,000 calories in wine. That’s about 2 bottles. Add on a dessert after dinner or a wee cake with your coffee on Saturday afternoon and you’re over your calorie allowance.
You’re going to struggle to lose weight…and that’s a modest weekend’s indulgence.
4. Scales aren’t always the best way to monitor progress
A lot of people have got such negative emotional ties with the scales that it’s often a good idea to get rid of them altogether.
But, in this case, you need to chose another method of measurement for your progress.
This good be wrapping a tape measure around your waist once per week, using an item of clothing and how it fits or taking weekly/monthly photos of yourself.
These will, more often than not, be better for you to use psychologically than weighing yourself.
Once we’ve considered these factors, you’re hopefully a little more pragmatic about your weight loss.
From there you must focus on controlling as many variables as you can.
– Monitor your calorie intake
– Exercise 3-4x per week
– Be as active as you can out-with exercise
– Pick a method of measurement and stick with it
Finally, consider your options.
Is there a more effective way to lose weight than the approach you’re currently using?
Are there other non-weight loss related health benefits involved in your current approach? (i.e. improved strength, bone density, muscle mass, heart and lung function, balance, coordination, increased energy levels and mood.)
Can you sustain the method you’re currently using long term?
Will there be negative health implications if you do stick with it long-term? (i.e. reduced muscle mass, digestive issues, decreased mental function, bouts of dizziness/sickness/, lethargy/low energy levels, decreased strength, decreased heart and lung function.)
Once you’ve decided on the approach you’re going to use, based on evaluating the points I’ve made above, you’ve got to commit yourself to the process.
Take control of your weight loss and stop letting it control you.
Accept that bumps in the road are going to occur and use them as learning experiences.
Most of all…
Believe in yourself.
If you don’t believe you can succeed or you don’t believe in your approach, you have no chance of success.
You’ll hop from fad to fad in the hope of finding the magic pill.
Give yourself no option but to succeed by taking ownership and being consistent.
Lastly, if you’re lucky enough to have someone in your corner who knows what they’re talking about…use them, lean on them for support, ask them questions.
Develop your own knowledge and understanding so that there can be a time not too far away when you don’t even need him/her.
Believe me, they want you to succeed every bit as much as you do.