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The psychology of fat loss

What is the difficulty with fat loss? Can it really be as simple as calories in Vs calories out? Many sport-science text books will glaze over the subject of fat loss, in that, they will tout that it is just a matter of reducing calories and upping your exercise output. If you were to read a physics books on energy transfer and thermodynamics, you’d read in great detail how energy is used and how bodily fuels work at a chemical level. The thing is, it seems so straight forward, so why, in the real world, is it so damn hard for the vast majority of overweight people to actually do it?

The answer lies within you.

The truth of the matter (with regards to the physiological method of burning body fat) is that it is extremely simple. Although, if you consider the factors that can influence your ability to burn fat, such as: –  your fitness level, insulin sensitivity, muscle mass, age, metabolic rate etc. and put these to one side, the basic method of fat reduction in every situation is the same. You must increase your energy output and decrease your energy input. This is the main purpose of having fat stores in the first place. ‘In times of low energy availability, your body will survive by using its own body fat in place of ingested energy’. It’s like always keeping a sandwich in your pocket. You’ll never starve if you always have a sandwich there to eat.

If you can accept the principle of fat reduction is just an energy transfer of turning body fat into movement, you are half way there. This article is not about biochemistry, it is the psychology of fat loss. However, the start of understanding yourself will usually come down to understanding your problem. Often, I meet people who have suffered with weight management for years and profess that they have tried everything, and nothing works. I know, this person is not willing to take blame for their size and will struggle to ever lose weight. They are looking for an external reason to blame for being the way they are. There is no reason. It is solely down to you and your decisions. For your fat loss to work you must believe that using more energy than you consume will work, and, it is down to you to do this long enough to let it work.

In my work I meet an enormous number of overweight individuals, every now and again I meet someone that used be obese, who is now slim, or has lost a massive amount of weight. The first thing I ask them is how they did it. The answer is always the same. They controlled how much food they ate, and they exercised loads until they had lost it all the excess. I’m always so proud of people when I hear this, firstly, because I know how much work has gone into it, and secondly, that it has once again proved what I know to be true.

After accepting the first two points above, the psychology of fat loss becomes far simpler. The question to ask is; what is it that’s in your life or what has happened to you that has made you overweight? Has something happened that has forced you to over-eat or under-move? If you can pin-point this, you can actively decide not to let it ‘make’ you do it any longer. Like I said, we all have a choice. You can choose to let it affect you, or not. It may not have been your fault in the first place, but it was your choice to react the way you did. As harsh as that seems, it is the truth. No one put a gun to your head and forced you. There are also often logistic reasons like work and children that get in the way. You can blame them as well if you like, but can you honestly put your hand on your heart and say ‘I don’t have 60 minutes a few times a week to exercise’. I would come back and ask you how much time did you watch television that day, or what time did you wake up or go to bed? Seldom do I meet a person that is so busy that they can never do anything. It is the conscious decision or lack of will power that stops you from getting on with exercising and eating correctly.

Understanding each individuals’ reasons for gaining weight in the first place can be a complex path of emotion and pain. Understanding why you became over weight in the first place is not an excuse to justify your shape, it is the key to unlocking your full potential. I believe everyone can be a slimmer healthier version of themselves. It is the individuals that accept responsibility for how they look and decide to do something about it. Believe in the science that has explained the principle of fat loss, and, know that if you stay consistent to these beliefs for long enough you will succeed. Lack of adherence or unwillingness is the only way you’ll fail. The psychology around fat loss is straight forward, you must forget the history that has lead you to where you are and decide to do something about it until you succeed. You must decide to control your food intake and be strong enough to stick with it. You need to find the time in your life to exercise and prioritise it. You have to believe that both of those things work. Then, and only then, will you succeed.

If you’d like some help with your fat loss journey then contact the team a

Keep on liftin’ Ali ‘Fat Al’ Stewart

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