As you embark on your transformation challenge, you may have certain expectations about when you’ll get results, how you should feel, or what your friends and family will say when you’ve reached your weight loss goal.
But, the truth is that every weight loss journey is unique. Even if you’ve lost weight before, and you are starting a new venture, this one will be different from the last one.
You may also experience a multitude of feelings (both good and bad) that you’ve haven’t experienced before or anticipated.
Here is a list of 15 things nobody tells you about weight loss.
15 Things Nobody Tells You About Weight Loss
#1 It Takes Time
Decades of salacious advertisements on magazines, billboards, and internet ads have led individuals to believe that weight loss is effortless and can be accomplished in rapid succession.
Sure, adopting some crazy fad diet like a juice cleanse or detox may help you flush a bunch of water weight in a few days' time, but the reality is that you haven’t lost any fat.
Real, meaningful, sustainable weight loss (the kind you keep off for years to come) will take time. For some it may take longer than others, but regardless, expect it to take several weeks or months to get the results you want (especially if you have a lot of body fat to lose).
#2 Portions Matter (Even If It’s “Clean” Food)
Many individuals hit a plateau in their weight loss journey, but don’t understand why. They eat a clean diet, eliminate processed foods, and exercise regularly.
So, why aren’t they losing weight?
Quite simply, they’re eating too many calories.
Yes, even if all of your food is “clean” (minimally processed), it’s possible to consume too many calories.
That brings us to the next point…
#3 Track Macros
Building off of the previous point, to ensure that you are in a calorie deficit, you need to track your macros each day, or at the very least your calorie intake.
Tracking what foods you eat enables you to make sure you’re consuming enoughprotein, carbohydrates, and fat each day so that you’re eating enough to support your workouts and muscle recovery while still remaining in a calorie deficit.
If you need help figuring out how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, click here.
#4 You’re Not Burning As Many Calories As You Think
We’ve all fallen prey to this over the years -- we overestimate how many calories we burn during exercise and underestimate how many calories we consume during the day (which is why point #3 is so important)
You just finish a cardio session at the gym and the readout on the machine says you burned 600+ calories in 45 minutes of work.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that number is likely incorrect (and by a fairly wide margin).
You see, the “calories burned” indicator on cardio machines is built off of an algorithm. How accurate the algorithm is depends on a wide variety of factors, including the sample population the company used to determine the average number of calories burned based on the intensity setting and duration of exercise.
You can use the calories burned readout as a way to measure your progress from one week to the next (if you use the same cardio machine each week), but don’t take the number displayed as 100% accurate.
#5 Tastes Will Change
As you improve your diet, eating more whole foods and fewer hyper-processed ones, you’ll find that your taste buds will change over the coming weeks. Where at one time you may have enjoyed ordering takeout or hitting up the local diner, you may find that you don’t enjoy those greasy indulgences as much anymore. Your microbiome will also change as you tweak your diet, and those fatty foods that at one time gave you so much enjoyment may actually make you feel bloated, sluggish, or just plain “off.”
#6 Weight Loss is Just One of Many Benefits
As the title says, weight loss is just one of the many benefits you’ll obtain during your transformation challenge.
Simple things like tying your shoes, scratching your back, or walking to the mailbox will all feel easier and you lose excess body fat and build lean, toned muscle. As you improve your body composition, you’ll also improve your cardiometabolic health -- blood sugar regulation, insulin sensitivity, triglyceride levels, etc.
#7 Your Plan Has to Be Sustainable
A diet and exercise plan is only as effective as your ability to stick to it.
Therefore, the changes you make to your nutrition plan and gym schedule have to be ones you can repeat week in week out for the foreseeable future.
Adopting fad diets or extreme exercise regimens will invariably lead to you jumping on and off the diet bandwagon for years to come.
Find a style of training that motivates you to show up to the gym and build your diet around foods you enjoy eating and you’ll experience greater, longer-lasting success than you ever thought possible.
#8 Cravings Can Be Conquered
One of the biggest struggles that individuals face when dieting is craving the “dirty” foods they used to eat all the time before they started to clean things up.
While there may be some struggles in the early days of your transformation challenge, realize that over time, your tastes will change and those constant cravings you had will become a thing of the past. They may not go away completely, but they’ll be drastically less than what they used to be before you embarked on your weight loss journey.
#9 Clothes & Jewelry May Not Fit Anymore
As you lose weight, expect to have to buy new clothes and/or get jewelry resized. It’s also possible that your shoes won’t fit either (especially if you’ve lost a lot of weight).
However, make sure to wait until you’ve reached your final weight loss goal before going crazy on a new wardrobe so that you’re not spending money on clothes that are only “transitional.”
#10 You’ll Feel Lighter
One of the best things about weight loss is that you’ll actually feel yourself getting lighter. Some individuals have described it as literally having a weight lifted off their back!
#11 Expect Some Double Takes
The combination of new clothes and a slimmer, more toned figure will be enough to cause some individuals to not recognize you first glance, especially if it’s someone you don’t see that frequently.
As such, expect individuals to do a double-take or take a bit longer look at you than usual as they’re blown away by your amazing transformation!
#12 You May Have Loose Skin
If you lost a considerable amount of weight during your transformation challenge, you may have to deal with loose skin.
Yes, skin has elasticity, but if it’s been stretched out for too long, it loses some of its springiness. If having loose skin causes discomfort, there are options that can be looked into for assistance.
#13 Your Relationship May Be Tested
Losing weight can make you feel more confident and sexier, but it may also bring challenges in your relationship, especially if your significant other isn’t as into health and fitness as you are.
If you’re trying to eat healthier and be more physically active, ask your significant other if they’d like to join you, but don’t force it on them. At the same time, if they’re not being supportive of your endeavors, you need to discuss matters with them and why what you’re doing is important to you so that the two of you can come to an understanding.
#14 You’ll Sleep Better
Research has shown that individuals who have lost at least 5% of their body weight over a six-month period slept an average of 22 minutes more each night than they previously had. Other studies have noted that even modest weight loss may significantly improve symptoms of sleep apnea, which encourages deeper more restorative sleep.
#15 You’ll Have More Energy!
Perhaps the biggest benefit people notice when they lose weight is the tremendous boost in energy they feel daily.
Why does this happen?
Walking around at a higher bodyweight forces your body to expend more energy even doing mundane tasks like getting out of the car or walking into the kitchen. When you’ve lost weight, you use less energy going about your daily tasks. What’s more, your body’s oxygen efficiency also improves, which means you won’t find yourself out of breath so easily when climbing stairs or exercising.