When you read the ads for weight loss products, diet pills, etc., or the claims in popular weight loss and diet books, there seems to be a common theme. They all, often contradictory in nature, seem to promise a loss of so much weight in so much time.
By the way, even the best and most realistic weight loss products, when showing their success stories, usually include a disclaimer to the effect that “results are not typical”. Hint! Hint!
Anyway, since weight loss depends on so many factors; age, exercise habits, diet, genetic makeup, and the personal dedication of the individual, the ultimate results are going to have a high level of variance from person to person. On top of this is the reality that most people are not going to achieve results in a directly descending line.
Another factor is that when people use exercise to lose weight, a good tactic, by the way, they may actually gain weight at first as lean muscle tissue is added faster than fat is burned.
It is for these reasons, and others, that many lose heart in their quest for health and weight loss.
They overlook the fact that changing the condition of a body which has deteriorated over time is going to take time. They also often overlook the fact that changing the body too rapidly, or by drastic means, can often also result in results completely contrary to what they were anticipating.
As fitness trainer and nutrition expert, Tom Venuto, points out in his fat loss book, “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”, when speaking in reference to weight loss guidelines and expectations:
“Because of the way the weight regulating mechanism works, fat loss seldom follows these calculations precisely, so don’t get caught up in them. An emphasis on exercise with a small reduction in calories is the best approach. 500 to 750 calorie deficit below your maintenance level is usually plenty. Add weight training and aerobics into the mix and this will produce as close to 100% fat loss as possible.”
This statement also brings out one other point overlooked, or poorly understood, by those entering a weight loss regimen.
The key to “losing weight” is not to concentrate on weight loss per se, as this can lead you down false trails and actually cause you to select strategies which are actually contrary to a healthy, permanent, health and fitness plan. The key is to concentrate on “fat loss” as it is the excess fat accumulated on the body and the habits, intentional or not, which led to this accumulation which caused most of the problem in the first place.
Focusing on a consistent lifestyle which centers around regular physical activity and proper nutrition will ultimately move the body towards its healthiest weight and level of fitness. Monitoring and modifying this plan as it, and its results, unfolds will eventually lead the individual to new levels of health and fitness, but the path will be uneven with gains and losses along the way.