The speedy truth
Now I am not going to bore you, because I know, and you know, that everyone wants to lose their weight quick as, like yesterday, all done, goodbye, finished, see ya.
Once we decide that we have had enough and are sick of being overweight we want the results quick!
All around us we see stories of people losing weight super quick, 10lb in a week for example, and we want some of that too!
but there is a difference between weight loss and fat loss:
This is basically your relationship with gravity, as represented by the scales, so includes water, bone, muscle, soft tissue, hair, food in your stomach, organs and fat. Basically the total sum of what you are.
It is the WRONG way to measure your progress long term because too many variables affect it.
- You get on the scales, weigh 140lb, go for a poo, get back on now only weigh 139lb – but you have NOT lost fat
- You get on the scales, weigh 140lb, have a cup of tea, now weigh 141lb – but you have NOT put fat on
- You have salty food for tea one night causing your body to hold water overnight, get on the scales in the morning and weigh 1lb heavier – but you have not put fat on
This is the problem, the scales don’t actually tell you WHAT is happening and is an unreliable way to measure your progress.
A quick note about muscle first. YOU WANT IT, lot’s of it, you certainly don’t want to lose it. Muscle is not only required for health and posture and strength etc but it’s actually your muscles that burn calories in your day, not the fat. The more muscle you have, the more food you can eat (which is great). But we all know this yes?
The problem when you lose muscle through dieting (I will get to that next) is that when you finally reach your goal weight the amount of food you can now eat to maintain you new weight is a LOT less than it would have been if you had lost NO muscle.
So for example. If before you started your diet your body could maintain at 2000 calories, but then you diet for 3 months and in the process lose 10lb of muscle as well as fat then NOW your body would only need 1800 to maintain its weight (because there is less muscle).
This means that if you go back to eating 2000 calories a day (which the books probably say you should) you are actually eating MORE calories than you need, and the weight goes back on!
Now, the problem is that when you diet the scales are what you DO focus on, it’s your drive and motivation, and when they go up, or don’t move downwards as fast as we like we get disheartened, and most people think what’s the point, and go and binge.
BUT you need to understand this (it’s the important bit)
- A pound of fat stores around 3500 calories of energy (roughly)
- A pound of muscle stores around 600 calories of energy (roughly, when it is metabolised for fuel)
Now, let’s do some maths.
If you want to lose 2lb a week that means that you need to create a shortfall in your weekly calories of 7000 (2 lbs at 3500 calories each)
That’s basic simple maths.
So lets take a typical woman at 160lb, her maintenance calories will be around 2000 per day (just trust me).
SO if she only focussed on her diet she would have to now drop that by 1000 every day in order to lose 2lb a week, meaning she would only be able to eat 1000 calories per day.
Now that’s not easy, I know very few people who can do that, and hopefully this shows you how hard it is to lose 2lb a week but it also shows that on the weeks where you lose more than that, IT WAS NOT FAT, it will have been water, or muscle tissue, or poo etc
The faster you try and lose weight, the more muscle you will lose, and the more muscle you lose, the fewer calories you need to eat, making the whole situation even worse and harder for you. It is easy for the body to burn muscle for fuel, but at only 600 calories for 1lb of muscle you can see quite easily that :
- 1 pound of fat gives 3500 calories
- 6 pounds of muscle gives 3600 calories
So if you try and lose weight too quick you can easily burn through a LOT of muscle, like really quickly and that is BAD!
While you are looking at the scales and thinking GET IN, GO ME, I AM THE MAN/WOMAN, THIS DIET ROCKS, ultimately you are NOT doing yourself any favours at all. Losing muscle is BAD, I cannot stress that enough.
Everyone always tells you, aim for 2lb a week, and there’s a reason for that
IT’S THE ONLY REALISTIC AMOUNT OF FAT YOU CAN LOSE IN A WEEK (without excessive exercise). The figure even more realistically should be 1.5 to 2 a week (but that would really depress you)
SO listen, PLEASE, stop focussing on SPEED, who gives a toss what you weigh on the scales, ONLY YOU. You don’t walk around with a sign on your head telling everyone what your relationship to gravity is, you don’t care to tell everyone what you WEIGH, all you are concerned about is how you LOOK, so focus on that.
Settle down for a nice 6-8lb per month, steady away, some months a bit lower when your body resets itself, but do not chase and race for the big numbers, because it won’t, in fact it CAN’T be fat, it’ll be the good stuff you are losing instead, and that is actually dead BAD and setting you up for all manner of health issues AND a lifetime of yoyo dieting.
SLOW DOWN. If you want this to be realistic, sustainable and the results long lasting, SLOW DOWN. If you lose 6lb in a month you have NAILED IT and should be proud.
That is still over 5 stone a year.