Coach Alex Maclin is here to share what sustainable weight loss looks like and also share some insight about what to expect result-wise.
We often see things like progress photos or ads about people losing weight (maybe very unsustainably) and this can really skew our beliefs and expectations about the weight loss process.
We’re going to include some of the raw weight data from nutrition clients that Alex and his coaching team have worked with to show you what realistic weight loss actually looks like!
Realistic Weight Loss Takes Time
It may take 3-6 months to start stacking good habits, get consistent, find your calorie deficit “sweet spot,” and to see start seeing results. Even when we find our sweet spot and start losing some weight, sometimes we gain some weight back. Life happens and your journey can be temporarily interrupted. It’s important to remember that it may take multiple diet phases over multiple years to reach your goals. You gotta be in it for the long haul!
Let’s see an example:
Realistic Weight Loss Isn’t Linear
Weight loss naturally slows down the more we lose, and you’ll likely need to make adjustments to your diet and activity to continue losing.
Once you’re exercising regularly, consider creating your deficit mostly by dropping calories. As time goes on and calories are getting low, *then* consider adding activity (via steps) if needed to keep things moving.
Periods of high stress (and inconsistency) can make weight loss efforts more difficult to sustain and may slow progress down.
Here’s an example of what this might look like:
Weight Will Spike & Fluctuate
Weight spikes and fluctuations are normal. They happen for a variety of reasons that may have nothing to do with the loss or gain of fat tissue (digestion, menstrual cycle, getting sick, dining out, etc).
Don’t be discouraged if you see a spike in weight, even if it lingers for a few days, especially post-travel, post-holiday, or post-alcohol. Look at the trend of your weight over time. Looking at your weekly average (rather than solely your daily fluctuations) may help!
Check out this graph to see what we mean:
Sometimes We Need a Break
Sometimes we need to take breaks from our goals because it’s not feasible or always the healthiest choice to diet. Taking a diet break and going back to maintenance at times can help us cultivate habits that align with health, our long-term goals, and keeping the weight off.
It’s also worth mentioning that fat loss that comes fast might not be fat loss that stays. Slow and steady. Keeping making daily deposits.
An example of this:
Your Goals Might Shift
Your goals may shift and change over time. Maybe you decide after successfully losing weight that you want to gain muscle and a more defined physique. Or maybe you want to improve athletic performance, so you start eating at a calorie surplus to support those goals.
The scale doesn’t always tell the whole story with body composition. Spending time gaining muscle and being at a higher body weight will result in a more muscular and defined-looking physique in the future.
Here’s what that might look like:
Your Results Will Vary, Stop Comparing
You could be doing the same exact things and putting forth the same level of effort as someone else and get completely different results. Do not compare your weight loss results to anyone else, or even your own past weight loss efforts!
If your goal was to lose weight, then ANY amount of weight that you can lose and keep off is a win.
A final example:
Some Final Thoughts
As a final reminder, try not to hyper-obsess over only seeing a smaller number on the scale.
We talk about this a lot, but there’s so much more to health than weight loss and body size. You can make a ton of improvements to your eating habits, fitness, and overall health, plus become a much happier person, and experience very little to no weight loss.
These were real clients of ours that lost weight, but the most fulfilling changes they made had nothing to do with their weight.
Don’t solely fixate on the scale – big-picture energy!
About Coach Alex
Follow Me: @alexqmaclin
Need Nutrition Help? Coach Alex and his team provide 1:1 nutrition coaching.
Reach out at: alexmaclin.com/coaching to apply for a free nutrition consultation with us.