The Weight Loss Secrets That Will Never Get Published

Long term, permanent weight loss is a process and a slow one at that. I know that’s not exciting and probably not a magazine cover you’re gonna see anytime soon.

But let’s be honest, the truth about weight loss almost never gets published. The media would rather prey on our insecurities and exploit our desire for a quick solution than give us practical advice that might actually change our lives.

If they did it might look something like this:

A Realistic Health Magazine Cover

Weight loss, body image, and self-confidence. These are the struggles I hope to help you overcome.

I grew up as a fat kid.

I knew I was fat, other kids knew I was fat too. I did my best not to draw the wrong kind of attention to myself but other kids teased me.

Yup, I was that kid.

I was smart enough and pretty good at sport so I didn’t cop it too bad, but some things just can’t be avoided.

I remember one day we had to wear our winter uniform for class photos. I was bigger than the year before and my pants didn’t fit.

I pleaded with Mum to get me new pants for the occasion but we couldn’t afford them. I was anxious as hell about wearing those pants in public, so on the day I got changed at the last possible minute and did my best to go unseen.

But, ya can’t really go unseen at school.

The wrong kid spotted my ridiculously tight pants and brought the entire class up to speed. There was laughing, sound effects and pointing. It was a day and an experience I never forgot. I really wanted to make Paul, the kid that started it, feel what I felt before disappearing for a long time.

I spent the next 20 years avoiding photographs. It wasn’t long after that I gave up competitive swimming and stopped playing team sports. Shit, I spent the next 20 years avoiding pretty much everything that took me out of the house and into the world.

I still don’t love being photographed but I’m fitter, stronger, happy to be out in the world and determined to help people overcome the struggles I once faced.

Where I am today is the result of many failures. I moved away from sinking all my hopes into the latest diet, I ditched plans that had an end date and gave up on over-hyped superfoods and one-off exercises. Instead, I focussed on mastering and continuously improving two tiny changes at a time. One about food and one about exercise.

The weight loss and fitness industry would have you believe that you need to ‘feel the burn’, give up whole food groups and change your entire existence overnight, not just so that you’ll be alive tomorrow, but you’ll look sexy as hell too.

We try, we fail, we blame ourselves and then convince ourselves it’s impossible. Truth is, it’s all bullshit!

Successful and sustainable weight loss looks nothing like that over-hyped propaganda. Successful and sustainable weight loss is actually pretty mundane and the result of slow but steady changes to your daily lifestyle. It all starts with you believing one simple truth: You really can transform your body and your overall health.  

I lost 60 kilograms and I can tell you it doesn’t happen in 30 days, 12 weeks, at the end of a handful of episodes on a television show, or at the bottom of a packet of the latest superfood. Long term, permanent weight loss might take you a couple of years, or more.

I’m gonna repeat that because it’s important: Long term, permanent weight loss might take you a couple of years, or more.

How Weight Loss Really Works

Ok, let’s get this out of the way first: No matter what you do, every approach you take to losing weight will stop working at some point. Weight loss isn’t a simple trip from A to B. At some point, no matter what you do, the weight loss will stop, progress will stall and you won’t see any changes.

This is when most people give up. It’s right here we start to blame ourselves, we start thinking we’re not worth it, we buy into all the bullshit headlines and start believing we’re just doomed to be fat.

The thing is when it seems like things have stopped working, and your progress has stalled, this isn’t a bad thing. When you stall and stop losing weight, it’s actually a good thing and a natural part of the process. IT’S STILL WORKING.

“WTF?! The process is still working?! But nothing is happening! Shane, I think you’ve eaten too many goji berries.”

Yeah, I hear ya, it’s confusing (and I don’t eat goji berries!)

Losing a few kilograms is easy but when progress stops, people quit. Most people give up before they lose any significant amount of weight. Usually, the process looks like this:

  1. You lose some weight
  2. Progress slows
  3. Progress stops
  4. You lose patience and quit

Those steps in the middle, the frustrating bit where you think it’s all been a waste of time, is normal and actually a necessary part of the weight loss process. Sometimes your weight isn’t changing, despite all the effort you’re putting in simply because your body is adjusting to the change. It’s adjusting to your new normal.

Your body needs time and you need to be patient. Unfortunately, us humans aren’t a particularly patient breed. We want the stuff we want, and we want it now.

And this is why so many people fail. Too impatient and simply don’t realise you need to wait out these periods of adjustment.

Understanding and accepting that this WILL happen can change your outlook on the whole process.

Your Body Hates Change

Yup, your body hates change. It doesn’t matter who you are, your body has a weight, shape, and size that it knows, it’s familiar with that and it’s become comfortable there. And you can be damn sure it wants to stay there.

Shit, it’ll do everything it can to keep you there and it’s got some pretty dirty tricks up its sleeve too. Yup, your body will deploy its full arsenal of dirty tactics to get you back to your old ways, it’ll hit you with increased hunger and a slowed metabolism. Shitty right?!

The more weight you lose, the harder your body will work to pull you back to your old ways.  

There’s a name for this and it’s called set-point theory. Basically, YOU want to change but your body wants to hang on to what it knows. It wants to stay in its comfort zone.

You can think of set-points like cruise control in your car. If your car’s cruise control is set to 100km, the car will do whatever is necessary to maintain that speed. It doesn’t care that you’re approaching a pedestrian crossing, or if you suddenly hit a steep hill. It makes the necessary engine adjustments to maintain it’s speed.

That’s what your body does after you lose some weight; it starts making adjustments to get back to its ‘100km’s’.

The only thing you really need to know is that your body’s set-point is temporary. You CAN turn the cruise control off.

How to Lose Weight Permanently

Like I said, this period of adjustment is temporary and set-points aren’t permanent. Your body’s set-point isn’t inscribed in your DNA. You CAN change it!

When your weight loss progress stalls your body is adapting to its new reality. It’s adjusting to your new weight. In this time, if you maintain healthy habits, continue to exercise and accept that a lack of weight loss is part of the process, you’re body will eventually come to accept that this is the new you. This is its new normal and this is its new set-point. Once it does you’ll start to find it easier to lose weight again.

How long will that take? I dunno. For me, it was usually 4 – 6 weeks. But everybody is different. And, everybody’s set-points will be different. You can reasonably expect your body to take 1 – 2 months to accept that this is the new normal.

If you have a lot of weight to lose, say 30, 40, 50 kilograms or more,  you can expect the gap or the amount of weight between new set-points to be bigger. If you only have 10 kilograms to lose, you might find that your progress stalls after the first 2.

Earlier we looked at what the weight loss process looks like for most people that fail. Now, let’s look at what the weight loss process looks like for those that succeed and see long-term, permanent success.

  1. You lose some weight
  2. Progress slows
  3. Progress stops
  4. You remain patient and maintain healthy habits
  5. You lose some more weight
  6. Progress slows
  7. Progress stops
  8. You remain patient and maintain healthy habits
  9. You lose some more weight

I could go on but I think you get the (set) point, right?

Each time you wait out that frustrating period of nothing happening, your body is in the process of accepting its new set-point. When it does you’ll find it much easier to stay there, and you’ll start losing weight again. Basically, your body’s desire to get back to what it used to know has faded and it now accepts this is the new you.

Permanent weight loss is absolutely possible but it won’t happen in 30 days, 12 weeks, or any set period of time. Just about any diet or exercise plan can deliver fast results, yup that includes crazy shit like the cabbage soup diet. The promise of fast results can be appealing, but ignore these empty promises and focus on making changes to your daily lifestyle that you think you can sustain for the next 12 months or more.

I mean, do you really see yourself eating cabbage soup every day for the rest of your life?!

-Shane

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