The Biggest Loser Lie
By Coach Matt Hartsky
So you watched John Smith lose 13 pounds on television last night and you want to do that too. When I hear this demand, I usually ask my clients several questions:
1) What is your starting body fat percentage in comparison with John Smith…Do you have 100 or more pounds to lose?
2) Are you on a television show designed to make money by ensuring people lose huge amounts of weight?
3) Would you like to hire me to follow you around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to monitor everything you put in your mouth, and exercise you to a guaranteed caloric deficit?
The participants in this show are monitored closely by physicians, trainers, & dieticians in order to manipulate their bodies to the point where they are eating the bare minimum and exercising the maximum. Everything they do is controlled and limited.
Dropping extreme amounts of weight over a short period of time can be dangerous. Moreover, if the way in which you lose weight isn’t healthy and balanced, the changes are not likely to stick. Keep your goals realistic within your specific situation.
But what is healthy weight loss?
When stripped of emotion, the fat loss game is really a simple equation. Eat fewer calories than your body needs and it will pull those calories from the energy stores in your body. Now, many people will say, “but I heard if you don’t eat enough calories, your body will go into starvation mode and store fat.”
This is a dramatic overstatement. And while true to a small extent, we shoot to overcome this by reconditioning your metabolism with meal frequency.
Keeping your calories at a deficit that is consistently realistic, is the best way to get rid of your unwanted fat.
Mathematically speaking, calories in, minus calories out = fat loss or fat gain.
1 pound of body fat = 3,500 calories. Burn 500 more calories a day, than you consume (eat/drink), for 7 days, and you will have burned 3,500 calories and 1 pound of body fat. A 500 calorie deficit per day is a healthy amount that can be maintained without the feeling of starvation kicking in. This makes 1 pound of fat loss per week a perfect goal.
While more fat loss can surely happen, this is my safe recommendation. I will never push for more weight loss than is healthy, intelligent, and conducive to life-long change. Yes, this means that you have to keep a log of your food intake for a while; Because the fat loss game is not easy, so its wise to lend yourself a hand by taking out as much of the guess work as possible. We don’t always have to count calories, but we do always keep a journal.
Before I get an onslaught of messages educating me on ketosis or paleo or some other diet of the year, let me acknowledge that there are thousands of approaches to nutrition. I recommend my clients follow an approach that will set them up for smooth sailing and no crashing for a lifetime of eating on purpose. This essentially means, I believe in balanced nutrition with the majority of our focus on eating clean, whole foods, when our body needs them.
With all of that said, set yourself up for success by keeping your goals safe, realistic, and trackable.