Don’t Shoot for the Stars

Unrealistic expectations can either set you up for success or to be let down and then go into a negative spiral.

Often social media and weight loss television shows don’t show us what realistic, sustainable weight loss (or muscle gain) looks like.

Changing our body composition takes time, consistency and patience to see results. 

Most of us are juggling multiple commitments at once. A job, a family, hobbies, a life and don’t want to live in an isolated diet hole while trying to reach our goals. So be aware of who you are comparing yourself to because they may have a totally different environment, schedule and time commitments than you do.

Losing just half to one pound per week is perfectly normal and great. Losing a maximum of one-half percent of body fat per week is phenomenal.

If you see changes in the scale happen really quickly that is not due to fat loss/gain or muscle loss/gain. It’s most likely due to water depletion or retention. So try to value the slow, steady changes.

Bonus strategy: think of your weight in terms of kilograms if you want to be less worried about the tiny fluctuations.

Now for a personal anecdote: I’ve lost about five pounds in the past six weeks on a mini cut. That’s averaging less than one pound per week. I’ve eaten pizza and lived a life fitting the occasional pizza and ice cream into my calorie goals. I’ve taken a day or two break from tracking here and there for balance. Most importantly, now that my mini cut is over, after two weekends of vacations and fun, I’ve maintained the weight loss.

What some people don’t realize is that not all that five pound loss was fat. Some was water, some was muscle and hopefully most of it was fat. When we lose weight it’s always a ratio of those three things; you can do things to tip the scale so that most of the weight lost is fat, but it’s still going to be a ratio.

If you take away nothing else: 1) Set small goals so you don’t have to live a miserable life while trying to change your body 2) Set small goals so you meet or exceed your expectations versus not meeting them and getting discouraged 3) Set small goals with your eye on long term sustainability so that you keep the results once you get them.

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