weight loss where do i start image

Weight loss – where should I start?

In the world of weight loss there are many opinions on the ideal way to succeed. In reality there is no one single protocol that is right for everyone, however there are some principles that work with the majority of the population.

In this article I am going to explore some of those and introduce a starting protocol I have created to help you kick start your weight loss journey.

Here are some important principles that are worth considering on any fat / weight loss plan.

Consider your calories

Now, I’m not one to get obsessive about this, I think calorie management can be achieved without having to take your weighing scales everywhere with you and logging every meal into your myfitnesspal account.

Also when we make adjustments to the type of foods that we eat and perhaps the timing when we eat, then controlling calories starts to happen more naturally.

For example, fibrous vegetables are generally part of any successful fat loss plan, they help to fill us up, but offer little in terms of calories. Likewise protein stimulates hormones in our gut that help induce satiety much quicker than other foods, along with the fact that they are also the most thermogenic food available. This basically means they produce more heat and thus caloric output compared to fats and carbohydrates.

Interestingly certain tribes in very cold locations on earth will use very high protein diets to help with body temperature during the harshest months of the year.

Of course for some people having an eye on your specific calorie level is a good idea, especially those with specific time dependent goals such as for a photo shoot, movie, competition etc.

Assessment of calories consumed can also be useful to assess current levels and then set appropriate goals, but also to check in with a nutrition plan at a later date that you are not under or overeating.

Trust me when I say this, these days chronic under eating is becoming as much of a problem as chronic overeating, particularly in the population of clients that I consult with who are often very active as well. I have had to support a number of people with ongoing health issues associated with their chronic calorie restricted diets, often restricting carbs and fats and living on proteins and vegetables, coupled with a volume of training that would trump that of an Olympic athlete.

Improve insulin management

In case you didn’t know, insulin is the hormone that helps to manage blood sugar levels as they increase. It’s job is to communicate with cells in our body to help move sugar from the blood into cells where they can be stored as glycogen and used at a later date or used immediately to make energy in that particular cell for it to do what it needs to do.

It’s possible that when we eat foods that over stimulate insulin, particularly in a caloric surplus state, this can encourage more conversion of those sugars into fats, thus causing you to gain additional fat as a result of excessive carbohydrate consumption or poor carbohydrate choices. You will typically see more mid-sectional fat storage when insulin is poorly managed.

Everyone is different with this, and having worked with hundreds of individuals with differing health and physique goals and differing body types this is not the same for everyone. We’ve all got a friend that seems to be able to tolerate high carb foods almost all the time and never really put on an ounce of fat. This is the joy of biochemical individuality and why creating a nutrition plan is a bit like planning a wedding. There are things that you need to include for a wedding to function, but the small changes and additions made to make it your own is what makes that wedding unique.

Coming back to insulin and blood glucose management, fiber, proteins and fats can also help to lower the rate of which carbohydrates are broken down and released into the blood stream from the digestive system, potentially blunting the insulin response.

For me, it is evidently clear that the management of the hormone insulin is one of the most crucial steps in any nutrition plan, especially one that you intend to help with fat / weight loss.

Therefore levels of carbohydrate are what differ from one individual to another more than any other macronutrient. Your levels of exercise, current body fat levels, gene’s, hormones, etc all play a role in this and being flexible and changeable with your carb intake is important for long term health and successful fat loss.

Be realistic & consistent

Pick a plan that can fit into the lifestyle you want to achieve. You shouldn’t need to lock yourself away to be able to achieve your nutrition and physique goals. Achieving fat loss, especially in the long term is about adapting yourself in situations and also allowing a little flexibility here and there to allow for the social and psychological role food can play. Believe it or not flexible dieting with the right person also has physical benefits as well.

Likewise be realistic about the goals you are setting out to achieve. We are lead to believe that fat loss is only successful if you have dropped 10lbs in 10days or 8kg in 8 weeks.

Marketing of the majority of fat loss programs and success stories that fill social media are often focused on short-term dramatic weight loss reductions and little emphasis is put on the long term or that individuals health. Social media is driving expectations higher than they have ever been before and people are pushing themselves to higher extremes, often contributing to very poor relationships with food and exercise.

Let me ask you this. Let’s say you had 10kg in body fat to lose. Would you rather lose 10kg of body fat in 1month to then rebound back again to your starting weight not long after or lower your body fat by 2kg on average per month for 5 months and be more likely to make it stick?

Evidently we want the best of both worlds, quick results initially to help stimulate motivation levels and then steadier results over the long term. Of course this is achievable so long as you have the right support network around you to develop your program.

Longer-term success requires thought and adaption of someone’s lifestyle and often the thoughts and perceptions of the people that surround them. I believe it takes on average around 12months to really start to change someone’s relationship with food. It should be seen as a process. Rarely is it a perfect process, there will be challenges along the way but it is how you interpret and adapt to those challenges that leads to long-term results.

Starting your weight loss journey

A weight loss journey has to start somewhere. Firstly assess what it is you really want, why you want it and how it is going to benefit you is a great starting point.

There has to be a high enough value on the weight loss result to increase internal drive / motivation. If you value the goal enough you will do what it takes to get there. Our amazing GB Olympians are a perfect example of this. Years and years of dedicated training and adaptions to their lifestyle, social environment are what allow them to achieve their goals.

I believe there is an athlete inside everyone and if you create a clear enough vision on what you want to achieve you will be able to succeed in your goals.

For those that need more support with this you can also employ someone like myself to assess, discuss and create a plan that is right for you. Alternatively you take a base protocol that works for a lot of people then over time you adapt it to fit into your goals, beliefs and the lifestyle you want to create for yourself.

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