The Truth About Weight Loss

The truth about weight loss by one of the most successful personal trainers in Charlotte

I recently read an article on NPR that said that the average American male is 5’9″ tall weighs 195.5 lbs, and has a waist circumference of 39.7″.
Women don’t do much better; the average woman is 5’4″, weighs 166.2 lbs and has a waist of 37.5″.
Being overweight is the new normal. The average woman’s BMI is 28.5; the average man sits comfortably at 28.9, to put that into perspective, the healthy BMI range is considered 18.5-24.9. We are considered overweight between 25 and 29.9 and obese above that. I am mentioning these facts, not to shame anyone, quite the opposite, we need to be aware of this situation to act.
Going back to our statistic, we quickly realize that we are not far away from being obese on average, as a country. The increased risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, mental illness, arthritis, etc. grows exponentially.Family watching TV and eating pizza
Now, if you are savvy, you will tell me that BMI does not distinguish between body fat and lean muscle mass. You are correct about that. It does not matter, though. The reason for that is simple. Only 20% of Americans get the minimal dose of exercise needed, and those who do are between the age of 18 and 24. While the other 80% are busy busting their butt at work, their family, sitting on the couch or stuffing their face.

How can I be so flippant and insulting? I do not intend to be; it shows a simple reality in life. Once life hits, meaning family, work, grad school, etc. all of the energy available goes towards making a living, raising a family and making ends meet. By the end of the day, the long hours without break take their toll. We break down. We sit on the couch, watching Netflix or Sports, living vicariously through some drama blaring out of the Zombie Box (TV), our phone, tablet, etc. All the while we eat sugary, fatty delights created by the food industry to light up our brain like a Christmas tree and give us the well-deserved Dopamine release we craved for all day and did not get. We are trying to drown our stress, emotional discomfort, and sorrows with food-porn and TV.

Weight Loss is not easy

Against all the propaganda that Fitness Magazines or the whole Fitness Industry spout, losing weight is not easy and not for the reasons that you think.

sport, fitness, healthy lifestyle and people concept - close up of man in fitness bracelet with jar and bottle preparing protein shake

The Job

Very few of my clients work only eight hours a day; they work more like 10-12 hours a day, take work home with them and might even put work in on the weekends. Due to the fear of not being good enough, we are often incapable of saying no to colleagues, projects, and requests. We load ourselves up with more and more tasks or let other people do it for us. Research shows that slaving away is not adding to productivity, but rather takes away from it.
After a particular time, we are just less productive, for some that happens after 40 hours, for others after 50.
– find out what your peak hours of productivity are and do your most important tasks then
– schedule your time in 45-90 min increments
– Cut down on interruptions. Tell co-workers not to bother you at certain times.

The Family

A family is one of the most beautiful things in the world. I love my kids, my wife. I love spending time with them, playing, or simply having a conversation with Jessie, the wife mentioned above. Nevertheless, they can be exhausting, not just physically but emotionally as well. My wife might have a bad day at work, my child trouble at pre-school and I, well, I have a whole host of issues…. On top of it, I am an introvert working in a field suited best for extroverts. I need to re-charge my energy at some point, preferably alone.
You might have a similar experience in your life, or it might be slightly different. The point is, as much as a family can add value, joy, fulfillment and happiness to our life, it can also be hard, draining, and exhausting at times.
It is important to admit to yourself your needs and feelings and find a good way to communicate with the rest of the family those needs. I am a food addict. I don’t look like it but trust me, when I say that my relationship with food is not the healthiest at times.
In my work as a personal trainer and coach, working online and in person with clients, I have noticed that many of my clients never talk to their partner, family, or friends about their goals, needs, and wishes.
Ergo, they do not have the support at home that they could have, if they were to open up.

The Distractions

Google defines distractions as “a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.”
I think that pretty much defines us as a society by now. While driving home, I see people reading books, eating, drinking, being on Facebook, on the phone…and they all sit in the car and drive while doing that. Clearly, I have never pursued any of those activities, yeah, right! We are always distracted nowadays. The inability to concentrate on one thing lets us be less productive at work. The estimate in 2014 was that workers spend about 25% of their work-time on social media.
It might come as a surprise to you, but you could work less with a dedicated time each day to check social media, email, etc. Focus on what is crucial and then dial in on goals like weight loss.

Emotional Issues, Stress, Etc.

Yes, I am touching a “touchy” subject. See a therapist, yes, you, me and the rest of the world. As an alternative, you might find a group that has similar interests, a friend, a church group, or group therapy. We all have our struggles in life, and it seems that the “Lone Wolf” attitude is quite pervasive in our society. We have the need to make it alone, not to talk about issues, voicing them. I am not sure, how often I have heard that therapy did not work, that they could not find a good therapist. I agree, it is not easy, just like with any other profession, just going to school does not make someone inherently good at something. Book knowledge is not everything and especially in regards to all things of the mind; we cannot connect to everyone. It takes work.
Many people coming to personal trainers struggle with identity issues, happiness, feeling fulfilled. They often feel like they don’t contribute to society and their symptom is food. To make a difference in your life, consider talking to someone.

Grocery Stores

Grocery stores are created by evil little minions employed by the food industry to sell you junk. As much as I have to giggle (yes, I can giggle) at that thought, there is some truth to that. Have you every noticed the layout of a grocery store? All the junk is on the inside, well, most of it, while produce, meats, etc. are on the outside. That has changed over the past couple of years, and you can find all sorts of “specials” on the outside just waiting to catch your eye and, more importantly, the memory of your taste buds indulging in hyper-palatable foods created by the food industry. Should you have been able to navigate the grocery, you will have to approach the cash register. You dread it because you see more offers of terrible crap food on the end of the aisles, as well as the little “goodies,” left and right while you are waiting patiently for your turn to pay up, in health and money.
Grocery stores are designed to sell, to make a maximum amount of profit. There is nothing wrong with that. We just need to be aware of the strategies behind food placement in stores.

Conclusion

Without having written much about food, we can see already that there are numerous reasons for us to fail in our endeavor for a healthier life, a life without surplus amounts of body fat. When clients of mine fail to accomplish their goals, it is usually because of these issues.
Our nutrition coaching program is set up for a year. You might think it too long. You might believe that success can be accomplished in a short period. You are correct, it can, for a short while. In 2010 a study showed that 35% of people were able to maintain a weight loss of 5% body weight for about one year, 17.5% were able to sustain a weight loss of 10%, 8.3% lost 15% and 4.4% maintained a weight loss of 20%.
What does that mean in reality:
Let’s pick a male 195 lbs:
A 5% weight loss = down to 185.25 lbs
10% weight loss= 175.5 lbs
15% weight loss 165.75lbs

If we look at our average female 166.2 lbs, the numbers would be:
5% weight loss = 157.89 lbs
10% weight loss = 149.58 lbs
15% weight loss = 141.27 lbs

Those numbers don’t look that terrible and would be a real improvement if the problem was not that they are talking about maintenance of weight loss for one year.
The goal is to keep the weight off for the rest of your life. That is only possible by establishing healthy habits, looking at your motivations, the obstacles, and challenges that you have every life and dealing with them.

Action Steps

I want to give you three action steps that are underrated but necessary to be successful.
For satiation to set in, we have to take time eating. Anything you eat within 20 min, almost regardless the amount won’t let you feel full and satisfied. That process needs about 20-25 min. So, going forward put the fork down in between bites, chew your food longer, take your time. You will find that you eat less, by eating more slowly.
The next step is awareness, make a point of actually enjoying your food. Sit down and turn off the Zombie box and enjoy your food, instead of shoving food mindlessly into your mouth.
The third step asks you to eat when you are hungry. Try to rate your hunger on a scale of 1-10. Eat when you are around 7, just don’t go grocery shopping at that point. You would be surprised what finds its way into your basket.
The fourth step is eating until you are 80% full. Eat when you are hungry, not at a given time. Eat until your 80% limit then stop, regardless what is left on the plate.

If you want to learn more about our nutrition coaching, please contact us at michael@charlottepersonaltrainer.org

Have an awesome day,

Michael

1Comment
  • Linda
    Posted at 19:03h, 13 September

    Well said!!

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