Especially after scrolling down your social media feeds and seeing all those “experts” that have been training for years with chiseled bodies.
You’re determined to lose ALL the weight in one big stride.
You’re focused and decided to do it. No matter what.
Here’s the thing: It is possible to lose A LOT of weight really, really fast.
But it requires VERY aggressive dieting for long periods of time (depending on how much weight you want to lose).
It’s a non-sustainable approach for most people.
At the end of these aggressive diets, people are usually so beat up physically and mentally from the restrictive dieting that they end up giving into cravings.
Little by little the cheat meals end up turning into cheat days, and then into cheat weeks.
And suddenly, you wake up one morning looking exactly the way you did before starting the diet.
Your Body Doesn’t Want to Lose ALL The Weight at Once
To lose weight you need to create an energy deficit with your diet and daily activities so that your body uses your fat tissue as fuel.
There’s a point where the deficit becomes way TOO big, and consequently, the amount of food you’re eating on a daily basis way too small.
When this happens, your body enters into defense mode. That means that your metabolism slows down to prevent yourself from starving to death.
At this point, you’ll stop losing weight and you’ll stall, then you’ll have to create an even bigger calorie-deficit to keep on losing weight.
There’ll be a point when the amount of food will be too small and you will be hungry all the time, and your metabolism will get even slower, which means you’ll have to eat even less food to keep on losing weight.
You’ll end up running in circles and chasing your tail.
Your Body is Conspiring Against You
The body is a very, very smart machine.
Its only purpose is to survive. It doesn’t like change, it hates it!
So, when you diet too aggressively to lose all the weight, your metabolism slows down, and your body will do EVERYTHING it can to prevent you from losing weight.
Even worst, if you manage to lose all the weight, it will do everything in its power to gain it again and take you back to your old bodyweight.
Usually, after aggressive diets, the cravings come in with such force that even the individuals with the strongest willpower give in.
And if you manage to not give in to the cravings, you’ll end up angry and miserable because you want to eat all the tasty foods and you can’t.
You’ll Become a Turtle (Without Realizing It)
There’s this thing called NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which is “the energy expended for everything that we do that is not sleeping, eating, or exercising.”
Walking to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, playing with children, fixing the garden.
All the activities that fall in the NEAT category burn calories. And depending on how your days go, you can burn somewhere in between 150–500 calories on NEAT activities.
Did I say the body conspires against you?
You might think that all these activities are spontaneous, but they’re really not. When you’re on a very aggressive and restrictive diet, without noticing, your NEAT goes down significantly.
Unconsciously, you’ll move less around the day, which means that you’ll burn fewer calories.
Which means that you’ll have to eat less food to keep on losing weight. Which means your metabolism will get even slower. Which means bigger cravings.
Which means SUCKNESS.
Starting to get my point?
Knock Em’ Down Slowly but Surely
This dieting stuff sounds complicated. I know. Don’t panic.
It is possible to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way. You just need to change your mindset a bit and understand that it might take a bit longer than what you want.
Generally, there are a couple of rules you can follow to make sure you’re not overreaching and setting yourself up for failure.
1% per week —
For most people, losing more than 1% of your body weight per week is a bad idea.
If you try to lose more than this, you’ll enter the vicious cycle that I explained above, and you will be setting yourself up to fail.
This rate of loss is sustainable and will allow you to ease yourself into the diet.
10% per diet stretch —
Yes, you can lose more than this in one stretch, but you already know all the bad stuff that happens when you do that.
Aim at losing 10% of your body weight per diet stretch and then take a break from dieting for fat loss.
Maintain your new body weight for months!
Maintain, maintain, maintain.
After losing weight, maintaining your new body weight might feel sexy.
But remember, you want long-lasting changes.
Every day, you manage to stay at a lower bodyfat than you were a couple of months ago, it’s considered progress.
After you reach a new body weight, maintaining it for a couple of months before embarking on another fat-loss diet will allow you to recover physically and mentally.
You’ll feel more energetic, stronger, and motivated to start another diet after maintaining for a couple of months.
During a maintenance phase, your metabolism will get back to speed, the cravings will disappear, and your NEAT will return back to normal.
Also, remember that your body HATES changes and maintenance periods will give your body time to “understand” that you have a new body weight, which will increase the chances of keeping the lost pounds off forever.
You Gotta Walk Slow And Never Walk Back
What’s the point of losing 40 lbs over the summer just to gain them back in the winter?
Wouldn’t you prefer to lose 8–10 lbs and NEVER gain them back?
Aggressive diets might work for some people, but for most, they don’t work.
The slow metabolism, the cravings, the NEAT reduction, and the small portions of food make it almost impossible to do an aggressive and successful diet.
Dieting should help you be healthy, look better, and feel better.
If your dieting approach does not accomplish any of this, you either have the wrong approach or are trying to accomplish too much.
Yeah, there’ll be times when dieting sucks no matter what you do. But you should aim at long-lasting changes.
Dieting is a marathon, not a sprint (#cornyphrasetime).
That dream body you’ve had in mind isn’t just a silly fantasy.
It’s a completely achievable reality.
And the best news is that it’s so easy to get started. All the steps are spelled out in this post.
That being said, look at what’s possible in 12 weeks (these are pictures of my clients):
It’s a long game, but as you can see big things can happen in 12 weeks.
Imagine what you could accomplish in two years…
Now, make it a reality.