What is going on when you are not seeing progress, not losing weight, unable to see body composition changes, etc. ?
Well, there could be one of two things going on here:
There are two questions you need to ask yourself right now if you’re in this predicament:
1. Do your efforts align with your weight loss goals?
2. Do you have realistic weight loss goals? Let me explain what might be going on….
First, I’m going to tell you where I used to be and what changed as I began to understand nutrition, body types, and exercise.
I remember being a teenager and even into my twenties, I would be so angry and frustrated at the fact that I couldn’t look like the women on social media or the women you see in magazines. No cellulite, no flab on the back of their legs or underarms, no pooch on their belly. I wanted that… and I couldn’t see or understand how they were just magically and maybe genetically blessed to have that type of body.
I would cry about my weight, my flaws (or what I saw as flaws), I would frantically search for the best diets and I would of course, try them. I would starve myself for a day or two and then get ravenous and binge. I would run and run and run on the treadmill hoping to burn off all the fat. It was miserable and frustrating. I’ve been through it ya’ll. I’ve been the girl who tried all the things in a desperate attempt to lose fat on my body. I didn’t want to look the way I did. I saw myself as ugly and fat. And I saw myself as less-than, compared to many other women. I had a full-blown body image disorder.
There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell my younger self. I look at the old me and it makes me sad and angry that she felt as if she had to look like the girl in the magazine to be worthy or desirable. I wish she knew that on a regular basis that’s not how those women actually looked. That they were photoshopped and likely starve themselves for days or weeks in preparation for those photoshoots. But it’s likely not how they lived.
I wish she knew it was not a life to live where you’re miserable because you have fat on your body that protects you and is necessary for survival. I just didn’t see it that way. I looked at it as if it were wrong or bad to have any fat. And to be clear, I wasn’t overweight or obese. I was average. I wasn’t cut or toned, but I was very average for my age, weight, and height. So, there was a bit of body dysmorphia there as well.
To be clear, my mom probably didn’t know how I really felt about myself or she would have intervened in some way, but she did hear me talk about how frustrating it was to look at these women and then look at myself in the mirror ashamed and disappointed.
She saw me trying to restrict calories and try the fad diets. And one day she said something simple and. at the time, it didn’t click for me, but I look back now and I’m like that was pretty wise to say.
She said, “if you truly want to look like that, you have to be willing to do all the things that they do to get there. If it’s worth it to you to give up all the things and if it’s worth it to miss out on delicious food with your family and friends, then you’ll get there. You have to decide if it’s worth it.
And what she was really telling me is that it’s not realistic to look like that.
I think it didn’t click with me at the time because I thought these women just kinda naturally looked that way. But now that I know better, I know what they have to go through to get into body competitions and to look nearly flawless with very little body fat for photoshoots.
Let me tell you, it’s not sustainable. And some of those people realize it. I’m not going to say all of them because I can guarantee a lot of them have severe eating disorders. I know that there are a lot of women who go into body competitions and have a hard time going back to eating normal because they’re used to looking like they have no fat on their body. But some CAN handle it and understand that they eat a certain way only for that short period of time to go into this competition or photoshoot, and then they eat back at a maintenance level and gain back some of their body fat so they are healthy.
Having that kind of minimal body fat will wreck your body and metabolism.
So, I struggled for a very long time with my body. I struggled and continued with the dieting and the endless cardio. Until I started to learn and know better. Once you know better, then you have the tools to do better. That’s my goal for this podcast. Educate you so you can know better and then do better.
So really, one of my intentions with this episode is to help you realize that body fat is not bad. It’s necessary.
Body fat in the right proportion is crucial to sustain life and hormonal balances. You need that fat. And if you stay in that bare minimum range of body fat for too long, your body will begin to break down and it’s not pretty.
Now, some people have too much fat, yes. And it is necessary for some people to lose some of that fat that has begun to form in spots where it’s dangerous to your health. For the moment, I’m talking to the women that want that unrealistic skinny body.
I know a lot of women don’t want that belly pooch. They don’t want the cellulite on their legs. But ladies, it’s normal. Why haven’t we normalized this yet? We have extra fat on these areas for a reason.
We have a belly pooch because we have an organ that guys don’t have. We have that pooch because a lot of us have had children. We have extra fat in certain areas meant for childbearing. It’s just the way it is. And this constant striving to eliminate it is really pointless isn’t it?
There’s nothing wrong with having goals to lose body fat, especially if you’re overweight and need it for your health. But there is something wrong with wanting the bare minimum amount of body fat because you want to look like someone else or be desirable. That’s the root problem.
That’s why I do an assessment before I start the coaching process. I want to know what your intrinsic motivation is for weight loss. Do you want to feel better, have your clothes fit a little better, build confidence and strength, or do you want to be as skinny as possible because it’s what society tells us is desirable?
These are the core factors we need to uncover first. How about we focus on what is healthy for our body type as very unique women? If you’re past the teenage and early twenties, you’re old enough now to understand that those women on social media and in the magazines have filters and photoshop magic applied to the photos and videos. That’s not real life. What is a healthy weight for your height? Not how much cellulite do you have on your legs?
I get it. I still look at my cellulite sometimes and wish it wasn’t there. But, I certainly don’t hinge on it. I don’t obsess over it. It’s there. I’m still desirable. I’m still confident. I still eat and enjoy food.
So, let’s go back to the title of this episode:
Do you have Realistic Weight Loss Goals?
Do your goals resemble someone who struggles with body image disorder?
Do you truly want the least amount of fat on your body needed to survive? Or do you want to get healthy and thrive in this body you’ve been given?
Do you want to be skinny so bad that you starve yourself and overwork your body?
Because essentially, that’s what it will take to do that. So, is that really what you want?
Is that a realistic goal to have? Are you willing to miss out on family functions and events or just avoid anywhere that serves food? Are you willing to obsess over every gram of fat or carbs you put in your body? Are you willing to feel like a slave to food? Because often times, if that is truly your goal, then this will be your way of life.
So, is it truly what you want?
For me, absolutely not. I do not want to be that person. I don’t want to be obsessive; I don’t want food to consume me instead of the other way around. I want to enjoy a night out without worrying about calories. So, at some point on my journey, I had to let go of what I thought I wanted because there’s no way I wanted to live my life in such a way. I had to change my weight loss goals to align with the effort I was willing to put it.
I was absolutely willing to put in effort, but not to the extreme where it consumed all my time.
Now let’s talk about the flip side of this and the other extreme.
Let’s talk about the people who want to lose a little or a lot of weight so they can simply be healthy and fit, but are just hoping that weight loss will eventually come instead of planning and acting.
Are your efforts aligning with that weight loss goal?
Are you putting in a decent amount of effort? Because it’s all about balance, right? We don’t want to obsess over every calorie and every gram. But we do need to have some restriction. Restriction gets a bad rap. But if none of us ever had restrictions, we’d all be in a really bad spot.
The truth is, we as humans do a lot of things that are harmful for us. Some people don’t place any restrictions on themselves for how or what they eat. And they become morbidly obese and end up dying at an early age. People who don’t restrict their alcohol consumption become alcoholics and can die from cirrhosis of the liver. So, moderate restriction is good for us. I’m not going to be the coach that says “you’re going to lose all the weight and have zero restrictions.” That’ false and that’s misleading.
So, if you’re looking for weight loss, there has to be some kind of structure and some kind of restriction. You can’t magically wish away fat. You can’t do the bare minimum and expect to see the kind of results you’re looking for.
So, you can track your macros and calories without being obsessive about it. I’ve said this before, that tracking your food intake is a lot like tracking your finances. Sure, you can try to wing it, but if you have a goal, then it’s going to take tracking and monitoring to get there.
If you have a weight loss goal, whether it’s significant or small, tracking is the best way to see how your body responds to different amounts and types of food. So, there has to be some effort put into this. There’s also the option of doing hand portions if you don’t want to weight your food. But the point is, there has to be effort pointed in the right direction. You need to be moving well and often throughout the day, getting workouts in 3-4x a week minimum.
Are you doing the things that are going to get you to your goal? Is your weight loss goal realistic?
If you’re not willing to do some of these things and have some structure and restriction, then you have to change your goal. If your efforts and methods are extreme and making you sick and unhealthy, it’s definitely time to change the goal. That’s where I was. I was willing to put in the effort, but my goal was unhealthy and unrealistic. I wanted to look like I had 12% body fat. That is unrealistic.
What IS realistic for me is somewhere between 18-20% body fat minimum. When I want to slim down a little that is what my goal is because it’s healthy and it’s doable and I’m willing to put in the effort it takes me to get there.
For some of you that goal is unrealistic for your body type. For some of you, that goal is unrealistic because your lifestyle doesn’t support it.
So where do you fall on this continuum? What is your truly desired goal and is it healthy? Is it sustainable? Are you willing to do the things required to get there?
If you’re not, that’s fine. But don’t blame the process, don’t blame the trainer, don’t even blame yourself. Just realize that currently you’re not ready to tackle this goal because your lifestyle doesn’t support it.
Now, if you’re lifestyle can be changed with some effort, then it’s up to you.
This isn’t meant to shame anyone, it’s simply meant to challenge you and make you think about what is realistic, what is doable, sustainable, and what is desirable.
I hope my own story speaks to some of you. I don’t want any young girl or any female or any person for that matter to feel like they’re not good enough because they don’t look like someone else. Too many young women have developed a body image disorder and eating disorders because of it.
This is real life. We don’t live on a movie set. We all have cellulite and extra fat in some areas.
Let’s normalize it.
Now, as always, I want to put the offer out there for a discovery call with me if you want to chat about your goals and what is in fact realistic for you and what it will take to get you there.
If you’re still unsure about those things, let’s have a conversation about it. If you understand but also realize that you need help with tracking food and exercising, let’s have a chat. That’s my job, it’s what I’m here for.
To set up your call, click here and click on "set up consultation call" and let’s get you on the schedule for your time with me.
Alright guys, I hope you feel inspired by my own journey and that you are possibly reframing yours and taking a deeper look into what you truly want. If this post helped you in any way and if you’re getting value from this blog I’d love for you to leave a review for me and make sure you’re following me on Instagram for daily inspiration and tips (@bridges2barbells).
Thank you guys for being here and I’ll talk to you soon!
Bye for now!