Lat week, my buddy Matt Terry of Body Solutions, shared with you his thoughts on why weight loss contests don’t work and aren’t really safe. Since New Year’s happens to be the time that people start 90 Day Challenges, we felt it was a great time to educate you on why making lasting changes is more important. If you didn’t catch the first part of the series, you can read it here. Matt’s final thoughts…
- You should be focusing on shape and fat loss NOT overall weight. I saved this point for last as it is the most important. When you are setting out to change your body, you should focus on fat and the shape of your body, overall scale weight is irrelevant. For example, countless times clients come in for their weigh in and they lose several pounds in a week. Most of that is water, a little is fat, etc. Then there are weeks clients come in and their weight is the same but their bodyfat is lower. But had this been strictly a weight measurement, similar to a contest, that particular week might represent no improvement, when actually the client lost fat and added lean tissue. Which is a huge improvement. Each week you should be losing bodyfat, not worrying about the scale. The scale simply represents a number or a mass, not progress, not bodyfat, not hormonal health. When you look at amazing body fat transformations you see the shape of the body change. So instead of an apple now that person looks like an hour glass, an athletic figure emerges. Look closely at most before and afters of weightloss contests; the shape is the same, they are just a much lighter version of themselves. If you lose mainly body fat and your shape changes, your scale weight may not actually be that much lower, especially in short time frames. I have had women come in who did the HCG diet and lose 50 lbs. But they then put it all back on. They start working with us and then drop 30 but now their clothes fit better and they are leaner and have smaller circumference measurements now then when they were 20 lbs lighter. See the below examples of similar body weights but shape changes…
Now there are going to be some people out there who did a contest, got great results and kept it off. That’s fantastic! But those stories are few and far between. No two people are identical and the thing to remember is NO diet will work for everyone. Each person’s digestion, sleep patterns, hormonal sensitivity, catecholamine & mitochondria function is totally unique. Contests don’t take this into account. It is honestly luck of the draw. I have seen terrible trainers who knew nothing about program design or recovery, and even less about nutrition get a person to lose 100 lbs in 90 days.
In my studio we don’t run contests, we don’t do special offers, we simply get people results in a realistic manner. We have had clients get to extremely low levels of body fat and others lose over 100 lbs. All happened in different time frames and all kept it off. We always try to go as fast as we can but we don’t focus on time frames.
We focus on educating the client, holding them accountable and teaching them the tools they need to succeed. We focus on sleep, gut health, food choices for their bodies, lowering toxicity and use lab tests to tweak as needed. And if you were to look at the success stories on our website you will see many, but we honestly have many more not listed.
The take away is, you don’t need a contest to get motivated and get in better health. Contests often lead to unhealthy, short term behaviors NOT lifestyle changes. You need a purpose and direction. If your why isn’t big enough, then a contest won’t help. Focus on being healthy, leaner, your clothes fitting better and forget about how long it takes you. The most important thing is that you get there. Set weekly goals and keep yourself on track or find a professional who takes into account what I mentioned, ask them who their success stories are and if you can contact them. Any good trainer who has helped people change shouldn’t mind, I wouldn’t.
About the author: Matt Terry knows first-hand the issues with weight struggles. Going from an obese child, to an Olympic athlete including a silver medal in the Pan American games in weightlifting, to college football to helping clients in the fitness world for over a decade. Matt holds numerous certifications and is currently finishing his education in functional medicine. He and his team help people with general weightloss, sports performance, fitness competition prep and functional nutrition coaching. For more information check out www.bodysolutionskc.com