The Journey on a Weight Loss Program

Most trainers around the world work with clients every day looking for one thing: weight loss. While my starting point wasn’t exactly one that required me to drop weight, I wanted to drop some bodyfat and cut some weight while maintaining the majority of my strength.

Diet is the #1 factor in weight loss, but I wanted to design and test a program that would work without huge diet changes. In my case, I didn’t change my diet at all. As a trainer, I like to test all of my programs before I put clients on them (what kind of trainer would I be to give people programs I never tried?). I don’t even like to have volunteers run it until I’ve done it and seen results.

At the end of the 16 weeks of training, I saw results that were promising and even more promising if there was a diet change. Looking at the data reinforced a concept that needs to be understood by everybody trying to lose weight or bodyfat.

Weight Loss is NOT Linear!

As you can see in the graphs below, the only straight line is the trend line. Every week, another peak or valley happened. These are the graphs after plotting 16 weeks of both weight and bodyfat data.

Weight loss graphThere are some obvious observations here:

  • my weight and bodyfat fluctuated A LOT!
  • there were weeks where I gained 2+ pounds on the weigh-ins.
  • the trend line, despite all the fluctuation, is LOSS.

Bodyfat Graph

I weighed in every day, except for a week in August when I was on vacation, on a simple Taylor BIA scale. We all know BIA isn’t the most accurate in terms of getting bodyfat percentages, but by hopping on the scale at the same time, in the same conditions every day, it provides consistent data. The data allowed me to match up spikes to changes in training style, times I went out to eat, etc.

Had I just looked one point to the next or even one week to the next without the knowledge that the process isn’t linear, I would have and could have been severely discouraged before it even hit three weeks. I might have quit testing the program, writing it off as a failure like so many people trying to lose weight.

INSTEAD

  • I stuck to the plan.
  • I trusted the process.
  • I ran the entire program.

and

I got results.

Why did I stick it out?

Because I knew weight loss wasn’t linear. I knew I didn’t change my diet, so there was a chance I wouldn’t see consistent progress. More importantly, because if I didn’t go to the end, I’d never know if it worked.

The Results

The results don’t look tremendous, but I didn’t have a lot to lose going in, I took a week-long vacation in the middle of the program, and didn’t change my diet. By the end, I dropped 8 pounds (201 – 193) and 1.2% bodyfat (18.7 – 17.5). Again, there was no change in diet is the #1 factor in weight loss.

Takeaways

  • Be patient and run the course.
  • Expect the peaks and valleys.
  • Zoom out and look at the big picture, not day to day or even week to week.