It is interesting in looking at some of the search terms used when someone wants to know how to lose the pounds. One of the ones that comes up quite frequently is ‘lose weight fast’, which got me to thinking how astonishing it is that a three word search can be so wrong!
There are only three words yet every one of them is wrong.
Many of you will now be thinking, how can I know if it’s wrong or not? How can I know what the person was thinking? And the fact is, I can’t for sure, but that still doesn’t make the phrasing of that term any more right. In the end it probably is correct in that it will help find the site being looked for, but in respect of what they are looking to achieve it is wrong in every other way.
Let’s break it down:
Working from the end, we have the word ‘Fast’. This is a big deal for most people. They want results and they want them yesterday. No one wants to put in a long period of effort. They just want a magic solution that will get an instant result with little change on their part.
The problem is there is no such thing as magic and you cannot defy physics. Your body is composed the way it is and can only be changed at its pre-determined, optimal rate.
You may have heard the guideline of targeting 2 pounds of fat loss per week and there is a reason that is such a commonly quoted guide. For most people, that is the optimal rate. If you lose more than that you are likely sacrificing muscle tissue and in return you are jeopardizing your long term success.
In very basic terms, the more muscle tissue you have (lean muscle mass) the higher your metabolism. That is a very crude way of looking at it, but the principle still stands. The higher your metabolism, the more you can eat and still lose weight. The more you can eat, the higher your metabolism (thermic effect), plus the more you can eat the more fuel there is for you, allowing you to train harder, giving you a higher calorie burn, which allows you to eat more and add more lean muscle mass. It’s an ever increasing cycle that ensures as you ‘lose the pounds’, fat is the thing that gets burned and leaves you looking toned or ‘ripped’.
If, however, you go the other route and ‘lose weight fast’ then you will drop muscle tissue, lowering your metabolic rate (again over simplification to avoid the technicalities) meaning you have to eat less to be in a calorie deficit, which lowers the thermic effect (further reduction in metabolism) and gives you less energy for exercise and daily activities, lowering your calorie expenditure. So you then have to eat even less to continue losing weight. And the cycle continues.
The problem with the latter route is, it is in no way infinite.
Eventually you would run out of calories to eat.
So in other words, a more measured approach would be optimal for burning fat, improved body composition and keeping the fat of long term.
Not only that, but there is the issue of skin. Your skin is amazingly elastic, but it can only cope with change at a fairly slow rate. If you put on weight too quickly, your skin can’t keep up and you tear the skin (stretch marks) so similarly, if you lose the pounds too quickly, your skin won’t keep up and you end up with loose skin, which is far from attractive and a long way from looking toned or ripped.
Just remind yourself how long it took you to put those pounds on in the first place and realize that it will take a good percentage of that time to take it off if you want it to stay off and to ensure it is fat you are losing, leaving you looking trim and toned, rather than ‘skinny fat’.
Looking at the second word in the phrase ‘Weight’ – Is it really weight you want to lose?
Let’s imagine we have a female who is a size 20 dress size. Regardless of the weight, if it was possible to instantly change her shape to a more toned (zero flab) shape, suddenly slimming her down to a size 8 dress, yet the weight on the scale stayed exactly the same, do you think she would be complaining that she still weighed too much?
From the feedback I’ve had from some women, the answer might still be yes. But that is more because there is something ingrained in a lot of girls as they grow up that the scale is king. The fact is, scales tell you very little due to the fact they weigh everything – Bone, water, muscle, fat etc. And it doesn’t account for how in proportion these things are.
And because muscle weighs more than fat, then a loss of muscle tone would look better on your weighed result than a loss of fat. Similarly, improving your muscle tone and losing fat could end up with you weighing the same or even more, but looking so much better.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Use it or lose it”?
As you get older your body will adapt to whatever stress and strains you give it. If that is simply the odd walk, run or sports activity, but you spend a large amount of your time sitting at a desk or in front of the TV, then your body will do what it can to make life easier for itself and as muscle tissue is quite a heavy thing to carry around, it’ll drop the muscle as fast as possible. So what can often happen is you stay the same weight as you get older, but you look worse and worse as time goes on.
Why? Because the composition making up that weight is changing. You may have dropped a few pounds of muscle but added a bunch of fat and water to make up the weight.
So if someone in their 40s turns round and says smugly “I weigh the same as I did when I was 20” so what? Do they look the same? And if not, who cares?
So for most people, when it comes to losing weight, what they actually want to do is lose fat. Weight has little to do with it.
Just one last way to think of it – If you could lose 10 pounds in 5mins would you want to?
If you answered yes, then go get a saw and chop your arm off, that’s at least 10 pounds right there. Is that really what you meant when you thought about losing 10 pounds?
So finally, let’s look at the first word in our phrase – “Lose”.
Whilst this might be the true intention (to lose weight, lose fat, lose the pounds, lose water retention etc.) it is a poor choice of words and puts the focus in entirely the wrong place. It puts your mind in a place where it is focusing on the problem. You are now thinking of, in this case, the fat and what you think about most is ultimately what you’ll go towards. A better way of looking at it is to think of what you want. You want to tone up, you want to get ripped, you want to get lean, you want a flat stomach etc etc.
If you can focus on what you want to achieve rather than what you don’t want, the chances of you getting there is so much higher.
So as you make your plans for a new, improved, physique, think of where you want to be long term. What you actually want to achieve. And take as long as is optimal to get there. Even if you have a short term goal, like a wedding, a party or a holiday, you should never be dieting or training at the expense of your long term results. There will be another event along soon enough that will then be your focus. But if you’ve gone about things the wrong way this time, chances are you will have added even more fat than you have now and slowed your metabolism in the process, making it much harder to lose the pounds of fat you have added all over again.
Your results should be forever not just for next month. Play the long game and never have to panic about how you are going to lose the pounds you want in time for the next event ever again.
About the Author:
Mark Tiffney is a certified Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Fitness Instructor & Life Coach. (REPS Registered) with over 8 years experience in the sports, health, fitness and exercise field.
If you are interested in having your diet evaluated or having a meal plan prepared for your body type, fat loss or muscle building goal or are looking for general help with your training of fitness goals, please contact Mark by emailing:
Mark is also currently offering one to one Personal Training & Coaching sessions in Glasgow.
To arrange a free consultation, please call 0141 41 60 348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(c) Dynamic Core Solutions Ltd