Have you ever said to yourself:
“I won’t starve myself on 1200 calories a day to lose weight”
“It works so well for the girls on Instagram, but I still look like this”
“Things are going well, but the people in my fitness group on Facebook said I’m doing the wrong approach”
Yes? That’s you?
Because this stuff is confusing.
Everyone has fears based on things they have heard or perhaps tried that left them feeling hopeless for success.
But why listen to me?
For one, you’re already here. Might as well give me 4 minutes.
Unless you read a little slower, then maybe 5 or 6.
Second, I don’t know everything. What I can do is share my thousands of hours of experience with you based on people I have helped first hand to get through scenarios like these.
Let’s dig into those above 3 fears.
1. You Are Scared of Low Calories
In the intro above I mention someone saying they won’t starve themselves on 1200 calories a day to lose weight.
I used 1200 since it is a fairly common amount of “dieting” calories you hear thrown around for females.
Does 1200 scare you?
I don’t know and neither should you until you take the time to estimate your maintenance calorie needs.
AKA the total amount of daily calories needed to maintain your body weight with no changes to muscle or fat.
It’s beyond the scope of this particular article for me to teach you how to estimate your maintenance calories, but feel free to email me if you would like help — JwaltersPT@gmail.com
Let’s assume you have estimated your daily maintenance calories and have arrived at 1800.
Remember, this is the number that if you hit it dead on you would flat line changes to muscle and fat.
Your scale weight, however, could still change based on water retention, digestive track fullness, the time of the month etc.
Before we go further, keep in mind we are talking about a female who desires to lose weight. She is not looking to maintain.
Let’s say our girl decides to cut 400 calories off her maintenance and consume 1,400 calories per day.
Assuming she locks into that amount every day she should lose weight, right?
Caveat — We are simplifying energy needs here not personalizing a nutrition protocol. What makes up the calories is far more important for some than others. If you are already annoyed by this generalization and you would like to write me a scathing email about how calories don’t matter — JwaltersPT@gmail.com
With that 400 calorie deficit each day our gal would wind up with a weekly weight loss somewhere around 0.75 pounds.
Well, for some of you.
There are two problems with 0.75 pounds.
First, over the course of being dialed in for 8 weeks you would drop about 6 pounds of body fat.
To me this is fantastic, but for most people this simply isn’t enough to keep them motivated.
I can tell you to “deal with it” or “toughen up that’s the way it is” until I am blue in the face, but it doesn’t necessarily make you feel any better.
You still feel like a Chihuahua running a marathon.
On to the second problem.
I’m not perfect.
You aren’t perfect.
Kiva, my Chocolate Labrador, is not perfect.
With that being said, what if that 400-calorie deficit vanished into thin air without you even knowing it just because you weren’t perfect.
Say you were spot on all day, but:
-At breakfast you had a blended protein shake, but you put 2 tablespoons of peanut butter into it rather than 1
-Mid-morning you had 14 extra almonds that you didn’t have in your plan
-At a work meeting in the afternoon you grazed on 15 M&Ms while sitting there
-For dinner at Chipotle you decided to add guacamole to your bowl
None of this sounds like you train wrecked your day does it?
Based on my experience over the years, I can tell you that most people would consider the day to be a success even with those add-ons.
Most the time the add-ons are totally by accident.
What was the actual damage to our deficit you ask?
All of it.
Our lady went from an eating plan of 1400-calories, which would slowly yield her consistent body fat loss to losing nothing simply from the above additions.
Because we make mistakes.
I mentioned two issues with the 1400 cals (too small a deficit to be motivating and we aren’t perfect)— how do we solve them?
If you could laser hit your numbers daily and don’t mind slow, but consistent results, there is no problem at all.
However, if you would like slightly quicker results (I would not advocate drastically faster) and know that you may measure food wrong at times or have a few extra walnuts, then 1400 is too high.
And just like that, a 1200 calorie daily goal becomes reasonable.
2. Inaccurate Messages from Social Media
You’ve heard people say that one of the downfalls of social media is that it’s the highlight reel of people’s lives.
That is what you need to understand about the multitude of Instagram “fitness” accounts and Facebook pages.
Of course, the cool new thing on Instagram is for the “fitness” girls to show you side by side shots of their relaxed and flexed abs in attempts to narrow the gap of you to them.
Somehow this is supposed to make you feel better because they are “normal” too.
Yeah, okay, but maybe next she can explain why you have been training your lower body the same way as her for two years and your butt looks no-where near the way her’s does.
But you are made to feel like it should. I mean she did it in two years why didn’t you?
You must be doing something wrong because you don’t have those “perfect curves”.
She must have some “superior plan” that you aren’t doing that gets her better results.
Or maybe it’s because she eats less carbs than you.
No, no, and no.
For sake of example, we are going to assume you are totally on program and eating in the amount to allow your body to build muscle.
She is doing nothing differently from you. In any amount that significantly matters.
You both do glute bridges, deadlifts, squats, lunges, pull-throughs, swings, reverse hypers and so on.
You both do heavy work, high-rep work, and high-volume work.
You both have done body part splits, upper/lower splits, and full body splits.
But, she has certain genes and so do you and that is the way the world is.
Can you improve what you have?
But, it’s a flat out lie that if you genetically have a flatter backside that the right program and a bit of time will have you looking exactly like every flaunting girl on Instagram.
You also must remember that your efforts to put on muscle are not going to be as successful during weight loss versus maintenance or in a surplus.
During weight loss your goal should simply be to not LOSE any muscle, which often happens when people are in a deficit over periods of time.
Once your weight loss goal is achieved you can then decide if you want to switch gears and spend some time in a surplus to build up particular spots of your body.
3. Bad Information Being Spouted in Fitness Support Groups
Being supported by those around you while in a fitness journey is very helpful.
Usually, the people I see fail are those who don’t have people around them supporting their journey.
But, sometimes too many surrounding opinions can make things worse.
Over the years I have had people ask me what I thought of the training and nutrition program their personal trainer had them on.
There have been some cases of downright stupidity in programming, but usually I tell them to trust their trainer.
I have no idea what you told them your goals were.
Perhaps your calories are high because of something you told them or low because of something else. Perhaps they are their temporarily.
Maybe you are currently doing sets of 20 reps for a period of time then are going back to low reps.
How can I derive a valid opinion if I don’t have all the information leading up to and during your training with them.
The point it, when you decide to trust someone and let them help you, follow through with it.
Or, when you do a bunch of research yourself and find a program that you like, stick to it.
Stop hopping around looking for answers when your number one problem is that you aren’t consistent.
The picture below is a client folder I scribbled on years ago to remind them of something. We often get hung up on if what we are doing is the perfect thing and it causes the details to paralyze us into not taking action.
Next, as I just mentioned, giving advice based on not knowing all the variables and facts isn’t wise.
When you surround yourself with people who have a bunch of opinions, it can end up making you question everything you are doing.
Furthermore, just because Sally knows what has worked well for her, that might be helpful for you or it might be completely irrelevant.
Where Do You Stand?
Do you find yourself in some of these same headaches?
If so, you aren’t alone.
I hear it every day and it frustrates many people.
1. Work hard
2. Be consistent
3. Be patient
It will happen.
If you have any questions I would be happy to help you.
Send me an email at: JwaltersPT@gmail.com
or, for more information, check out my website at: