How To Suck Less At Fat Loss
(And What To Do Instead To Succeed)
There’s more to losing fat than those dramatic before and after pictures on Instagram: all the unpleasant stuff along the way.
Just ask Joe, a composite character based on several of my clients.
Joe woke up on Monday morning, wiped the crust out of his eyes, and headed to the bathroom. But he didn’t like what he saw in the mirror after emerging from the shower. Joe’s gut was hanging over the top of his pants and he had man boobs.
When did that happen? How had a responsible 35 year-old-man with a great job and fun lifestyle end up like this?
For the last five years, Joe had repeatedly told himself that he was going to start exercising and eating right. But somehow, it never really happened. Joe would get started, then quit soon afterwards when his busy life got in the way.
But this time was going to be different, Joe told himself. Sitting at his computer at work later in the day, Joe started Googling
“gym workouts for busy guys” and “healthy meal plans to lose fat.” Joe decided not to get bogged down in all the conflicting information. He just picked a routine that looked doable and some healthy food plans that were easy to make.
On the way home, Joe signed up for a gym membership then went to the grocery store to buy the food he needed. He threw away all of the junk food, cleared out his pantry and fridge and replaced it with the healthy food he just brought.
Joe was hot. In fact, he was on fire. He plunged into meal prep.
And the enthusiasm continued — for a while. Joe trained four times a week and focused on sticking to his new eating plan. The results were fast. Joe lost five pounds in two weeks. Even better, he had more energy at work and was more active on the weekend.
So far, so good. Joe was picturing himself looking good with his shirt off at the beach. At this rate, he’d be there with a few weeks.
And then it happened: what had always happened before…..
Results stalled after the first two weeks. Joe was now losing only one pound a week, not five. Going to the gym seemed like a chore. Joe was frustrated. His hard work was not producing the results he thought he deserved.
So Joe read a few articles on fat loss plateaus and discovered that weight loss isn’t always going to be as fast as it was at the start. Joe kept pushing through and grinding.
He stuck to his workouts and his eating plan for another two weeks.
He began to track more than just weight on the scale.
He tracked his body measurements, how much weight he was using in the gym and anything he could to measure some sort of progress.
Joe was now at month two of his fitness journey and it felt like a grind. The weights he used in the gym his were going up, the scale was the same but his body measurements around his waist were going down.
This meant that he was gaining lean muscle while losing fat.
It still felt like a grind but Joe persisted through and kept reminding himself that he would not give up.
Even though Joe hadn’t given up, he didn’t have the same enthusiasm for when he first started. 3 months later Joe woke up and when he was getting dressed he caught another glimpse of himself in the mirror.
“Holy shit, look at me”! Joe could see the results from the work he had put in. No longer did his belly hang over his pants. He could actually see the outline of his abs and his chest muscles. Joe felt proud of what he accomplished and seeing himself that morning reignited the fire. After seeing himself that morning, he was full of energy and focus to keep going and keep pushing through.
A few months later Joe was walking around on the beach with his shirt off feeling proud of the way he looked. He knew that this wasn’t his “final” achievement but he was proud of what he accomplished.
Joe had finally made health and fitness a habit that he would keep for the rest of his life.
What does this story about Joe have to do with you?
This is the realistic scenario of how your fitness journey is going to play out.
First, there’s the excitement of starting something new.
Then after a few weeks, the excitement wears off and then comes the suck, the grind, the slow progress. it’s not as fast as you would like.
This can be discouraging and most people give up at this point. This is known as the make or break point because this is where the habits are formed over time. If you persist long enough through the suck you will come out at the top of the mountain and accomplish what you wanted to. You will get the lean body you want, you will be able to walk around on the beach with your shirt off. But the achievement doesn’t come with the suck and the suck can take a long time.
Three Ways To Get Over The Suck.
- Remind yourself why you’re doing this. What the reason you want to lose fat? Is it because you want to walk around with your shirt off and feel confident? Is it to look better in your suit? Is it to reduce your chances of diabetes? It doesn’t matter what your reason is but you need to constantly remind yourself of that reason to help you keep persisting.
- Get some support. Reach out to a friend or family member to help you through the tough times. Even better, hire yourself a trainer who can help you through the suck. Who can keep you on track, keep you motivated and have someone cheering in your corner. It’s hard to go the journey alone but when you have someone who’s supporting you it’s so much easier.
- Track your progress in other ways. The scale only tells one story. Take body measurements, use photos and track your workouts. Having multiple ways of tracking your progress is going to help keep you motivated and know that you’re on the right track if you see something moving.
If you are going through the suck right now or you have a friend who may be struggling, share this article with them. Let them know that this is completely normal and if they just keep pushing through they will get the body they want.