How to safely lose weight and why the process is different for everyone!

How to safely lose weight and a healthy recipe from special guest and cooking coach Gili from Vegan Foodie.

Losing weight is the mystery it seems everyone has the answer for. Juice cleanses, fasting, carbohydrate cycling, Mediterranean diet, deprivation, and diet pills are some of the most common things that people try to get in shape. The truth is, the answer to sustained weight loss, fat loss, and muscle maintenance is in the almighty calorie and clean eating!

There are two primary examples of people who seek help to lose weight.

1. Is overweight because they have been overeating repeatedly for a long time, and they find themselves with more adipose tissue (fat) than they want. This type of person can fall into two sub-categories.

A. (Molly) A person who has continued to gain weight for years and decided they were ready for a change. (Continual over eater)


B. (Derek) A person who has dieted countless times throughout their life each time losing weight only to weigh more than they did before the diet. (yo-yo dieter)

2. (Kim) Is overweight because they have cut calories too drastically for too long that their metabolism is essentially on sleep mode. This is the group I refer to as the metabolic reset group. Metabolic reset means that for them to start losing weight again they will need to slowly increase calories to tell the body that it is able to start burning fat again because it will be receiving all the vital nutrients it needs to survive.

The categories have been given names to make the examples make more sense and seem more relatable.

How would these three people get on track to lose weight and burn fat?

Some people would immediately say cut calories, but this isn’t always the case. I would instruct Molly, Derek, and Kim to do the same thing. I would have them download the My Fitness Pal application on their phone or computer and track their food intake for two weeks. I would tell them to eat normally and not to try to impress me. I would also instruct them to log everything that enters their body. If it touches the lips it gets logged. I would then look at their tracking and formulate a plan to get them on track.

Example: Molly

Molly is 30 years old, 5 ft 3, and weighs 220 pounds. After looking at her My Fitness Pal application it shows that Molly consumes on average 3500 calories each day. Molly would need about 2000 calories a day to support her current weight, and 1500 calories a day to lose 1-1.5 pounds per week.

Don’t be too quick to slash calories!

If Molly was to out of the blue drop her calories from 3500 – 2000 or 1500 calories, how do you think that would make her feel? Lethargic, tired, moody, frustrated. That would certainly be my guess.

So if Formal Fitness Training was to help Molly we would recommend that she lower her caloric intake 200 calories per week. It would take Molly 10 weeks to get to 1500 calories. Now if Molly starts to lose 1-2 pounds per week anywhere along the way (3000, 2800, 2600) calories, we would tell her to stick with that calorie intake until the weight loss stops. This will help sustain the weight loss journey.

When you cut calories quickly the body will lose weight rapidly. However, when the body decides to plateau now you have no more calories that you can cut without the risk of compromising health. Molly may be an ideal client because she would be more receptive to information because she hasn’t spent years trying to find the magic potion to weight loss.

Tool – To get an idea of where your calories stack up check out the calorie calculator.

Example 2: Derek

Derek is 45 years old, 6 ft 2, and weights 290 pounds. Derek has lost and gained weight five times throughout his life. He has done the Atkins, intermittent Fasting, the Hollywood cleanse, grapefruit diet, and even a high-priced supplement system which guaranteed fast results. Derek also lifts weights three times per week and rides the stationary bike three times per week.

Derek is generally a tough client because he has experience losing 5-10 pounds per week, even though the weight loss is never sustainable in the long run.

Derek does My Fitness Pal for two weeks and we figure that he consumes 2600 calories per week. Derek should be losing 2 pounds per week with 2600 calories, but he isn’t. Why? Well his metabolism has taken a hit due to the yo-yo dieting he has done in the past, so Derek will be a tricky case. I would recommend an In Body Fat Assessment to see how much muscle tissue Derek has on his body to decide whether Derek should add calories or decrease calories. Regardless which direction we would decide to go the number one important thing for Derek is education. We must spend time educating Derek on why yo-yo dieting is not good for the body, and why he hasn’t sustained weight loss in the past.

Example 3: Kim (Metabolic Reset Group)

Kim is 5 ft 3, 50 years of age, and weighs 180 pounds. Kim works out six days per week on the elliptical with a light resistance for 45-60 minutes.

After two weeks of My Fitness Pal we figure that Kim averages 1100 calories consumed per day. Kim is so frustrated because she has a beach trip coming up in four months and wants to reach her high school weight of 120 pounds. Kim has already lost 30 pounds on her own in the past year but is stuck in a plateau for the last three months. At 1100 calories Kim’s calorie calculator says she should be losing 3.5 pound per week, but she isn’t.

This is the opposite of Molly, for Kim to start losing weight we are going to have to slowly increase her metabolism. First we would suggest backing off on the cardio and aiming for 30 minutes with a more strenuous resistance 3 days per week and then weight training 2-3 days per week so we can start building some muscle to increase Kim’s metabolism. We would also add back 100 calories per week to her diet until we returned to a healthy 1400 daily calories. This would take three weeks. Once Kim puts on some muscle and tells her body that she is going to give it the proper amount of nourishment we can then start to lose weight again.

These are some examples of different scenarios, but this just scratches the surface of what it takes to lose weight, and burn fat while maintaining muscle tissue across varying body types, genders and situation. It is important to seek the help of a professional. A professional will undoubtedly prevent you from making many mistakes and will also help you set good habits for the future. As always feel free to email me or on social media with any questions about working out, nutrition, or weight loss.

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