How to sustain weight loss

Welcome back to part 2 in this series. Last week I explained why losing weight quickly doesn’t work for 99% of the people out there, if we’re looking for sustainable weight loss. Today we’re talking about how to do better and sustain weight loss in the long term. It’s important that you understand why a fast weight loss track doesn’t work. If you haven’t already, check out last week’s blog here, or read the last paragraph right down below.

”We have come full circle here, so let me summarize this quickly. You’re trying to lose weight fast by cutting your calories to an unsustainable number. Your body adjusts quickly (because that is what the body does) and the weight drops off like water. When you reach your goal, you start eating more food again, your body doesn’t know what to do with the excess calories, so it stores it as fat, which means short/long-term weight gain (depending on how much you eat). This is how you end up back where you started in the first place.”

By now you hopefully understand that it is the process of losing weight that makes it unsustainable. In turn this means we have to change up the approach not the outcome. What this translates into is a slower track, taking our time and being able to hold onto our weight when we do reach our goal. Slower progress but more rewarding long-term.

How do we do it?

What we talked about during last week’s blog is that most people cut their calories down WAY too much. We need to understand there is a point of diminishing returns. Your body will eventually catch up with you and simply burn less calories, this means you stop losing weight no matter how few calories you’re eating.

To avoid this problem, we use what I like to call the stair system. If you do this right and track your food and progress correctly, it will be easier than you think. You need to track your food and weight in order for this to work properly. The idea behind this stair system is simply working our way down like you would on the stairs.

To do this we have to start by eating more than most people are probably accustomed to. You or your nutrition coach need to find the number of calories that are keeping you at your current weight. This starting point is vital to success. Having this starting point means knowing and understanding what number of calories are related to the weight you’re at. When you have figured out that number, you want to cut your calories down anywhere from 10-15% (5% is acceptable but too slow for most people), this is the point at the top of the stairs. You want to maintain this number of calories until you get to a point where your weight is staying consistent, this is the bottom of the next step on the stairs. From here, you want to keep decreasing your calories in smaller steps (5-10% at a time) until you reach your next barrier (the next step on the stairs). You keep doing this until you reach your target weight, the bottom of the stairs.

Using this approach allows your body to adjust to the number of calories that you’re eating. For example, I might start at 80 kilos while eating 2000 calories a day to start losing weight. My goal is to get to 65 kilos. Let’s say 2000 calories a day will only get me to lose 3 kilos (so 77kg) and I get stuck there for a week. That is the time to decrease your calories by 5-10% and follow the same process. By the end of this longer process you will know what weight is linked to what number of calories. In the future you will know how many calories you should be eating to get to whatever weight you want to. However, the biggest benefit of all this is ending up with a sustainable number of calories that is linked to your ideal weight. This number of calories is what you want to stick with so you can maintain the same ideal weight.


To finish this off, let’s compare last week’s approach to this one. Last week’s approach brought me down from 2000 calories to 800/600 calories, it made me lose weight a lot faster but not sustainable in the long-term. I was making myself suffer for no long-term success. This week’s approach slowly works me down, to let’s say 1500 calories, which is sustainable on a daily basis. It might take more time, but long-term you will see benefits rather than wasting your time and hating your daily food intake. Nutrition should be somewhat enjoyable otherwise there’s a very low chance of success long-term.

I hope this clears up the discussion between losing weight quickly but not seeing long-term benefits and a slower but sustainable approach. Everyone has to make their own decisions, but I know what approach I would choose.

Categories: health, weight lossTags: , , , , , , , ,

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