One of the first things people ask me is “how much weight can I drop in 3 months” or “how long will it take me to lose 20 kilos”, “how long will my weight loss goal take”… They must wonder why the hell I begin to smile, lean back in the chair and take a deep breath! As it’s a fair question to ask since it’s entirely relevant, of course I try to give the most direct answer as possible – it all depends on you and how open you are to change.

ManScales
What I mean by being open to change is working very hard at changing many of your bad habits! Have you ever tried to do this? Change a deep seated habit of yours. It’s harder then you may think! First, you need to recognise your habits which are conflicting with your weight loss goal, i.e. Going to bed too late so you can’t get up early to exercise, or getting home after work and pouring a glass of wine, or simply not stopping to eat during your busy work day! And for some people habits can be changed quite easily without too much resistance.

For others it’s very difficult. I’ve trained people for months, even years and they still continue with the same daily bad habits which stop them from achieving their goals they set out to achieve, even though it’s been pointed out to them that is the problem. My most successful client (in the realm of fat loss) and good friend Vince has lost 47 kilos since March 2012 and I bet if you were to ask him how he did it he would say I changed the way I eat. Maybe not realising that eating is an actual habit, because that’s what it is! So is exercising. We form our habits and eventually those habits will form us, literally! So work on forming good habits first and foremost, and I promise you if you get that right and continue to get it right you will achieve and maintain your goals.

So what next? How long will it take to reach my goal? How fast can I drop weight?

According to Dr John Hawley, an exercise physiologist who spoke at the Boutagy Nutrition Conference I attended in July this year suggested ‘a maintainable and realistic

[weight] loss would be 400 grams per week’. Although, he also stated using the scales as a measure for healthy weight loss is the worst and most inaccurate method to use.

Why? All the scales tell you is how much of you exists at that particular time. Not how much muscle you have, not how much fat you have, and especially not how much fluid you are retaining on that day or that week (and if you happen to be a women due for your period the scales are not your fiend!) But, as a consistent measure which avoids any human error the scales are quick, easy, and reliable. What a dilemma! So what to do? Firstly before you begin your journey, use a tape measure and ensure you use permanent body fixtures for re-measuring! I measure:

  1. across the nipple line for the chest measurement,
  2. on the smallest part of your waist OR the belly button for your waist measurement, and
  3. the largest point of the glutes (your butt) for a hip measurement.
Tape_sml

These are the 3 key measurements which need to

[consistent]. You may also measure the quads and biceps if you’re focused on these parts. And always, always, always take a before photo in your underwear! From the front, from the side, and from the back!

I would also recommend to everyone who are serious about starting their weight loss journey to get a DEXA scan! DEXA is a ‘dual energy X-ray absorptiometry’. It is a very low level X-ray which measures your soft tissue (fat and muscle), and also takes a reading of your bone mineral density which is an indicator for osteo-arthritis late in life. The scan can also tell you if you are high risk for diabetes and other serious weight related diseases, as it identifies how much internal fat you have around your liver. And the most important reason why you would have a DEXA scan is it’s [accuracy and consistency], it’s ability to tell you exactly what kind of weight you are losing and gaining! It’s entirely safe, easy to do, and only costs $85. The key reason for these types of measures are so that you can make sure you are losing body fat, not muscle! It is imperative you do not lose muscle! I cannot emphasise this enough.

After all that explaining I would tend to agree with Dr Hawley’s recommendation. 400 grams per week would be a healthy, realistic and achievable weekly target to be setting if you do decide to weigh in weekly on a standard set of scales. You will fluctuate but if you try not to get hung up on the difference between one week to the next, over the duration of 1 month a total body mass loss of 1.6 kilos is very achievable. If you’re eating correctly for fat loss (on a calorie deficit diet) and this amount of weight loss is just not happening you may need to re-evaluate your food intake or the type and/or intensity of activity you are doing, assuming you’re not insulin resistant or diabetic and you have the excess fat to lose in the first place! That doesn’t sound like much weight to lose but if you were to maintain your muscle mass, or hopefully put on a little, in 6 months you would have lost over 10 kilos of body fat alone. That would be a very good result! As most people lose muscle as well as fat unfortunately and can still be unsatisfied with their body shape. And this point brings me to my next topic, body composition!

WomanScalesMediumShadow
[/fusion_builder_row_inner]

My pet hate with the humble bathroom scale is it plays with people’s heads! My scenario example with a new client:

Chris: So what is your number one health and fitness priority, what is the key result you want to get out of training with me?

Client: I want to lose 10 kilos!

Chris: Ok great, I’m glad you have a specific goal in mind! Why 10 kilos?

Client: Because I just look and feel good at that weight.

Chris: So is it about looking and feeling good then? Not so much about weighing less?

Client: Yes of course, I want to have a better body shape so I can fit into my clothes. So I can feel confident at the beach and when I go out, that stuff.

Chris: Ahah! Let me tell you something about ‘body weight’ then!

Hopefully you get what I’m trying to say here. Never mind about body weight so much, it’s important but it doesn’t tell you anything about your fat to muscle ratio does it! Let us focus on how your clothes feel on you, how many belt holes you have to tighten, and how your next photo will look by comparing it to your original! That’s what you want to focus on!

I won’t go into what type of training to do in this article, but if you like the sound if that then please feel free to facebook, twitter, or email me about training! Thanks for reading! And good luck with your weight loss goals!