Today, I received an awesome email that explained everything about fat loss that I’ve ever wanted to say perfect. It came from Adam Bornstein, owner of BornFitness.
If you’ve never heard of him or read his stuff, I highly recommend you subscribe to his email list. He has a very honest and straightforward writing style that covers a multitude of subjects. I’ve probably spent hours on his site since I’ve discovered him. Although he sucks at Twitter (You’re supposed 80% other people’s articles that you like and 20% of your own. Obviously he thinks he’s awesome because he only shares his own.) But that’s beside the point.
I couldn’t find this article on his site, so I’ll summarize it for you and talk to each of his points.
First of all, calories count. There’s no doubt that any diet that works inherently uses some sort of calorie manipulation, but calories aren’t the entire story. Other things that impact how you gain or lose are: diet composition, amount of body fat, hormone issues like insulin resistance, nutrition, food quality and exercise. This shows, and Bornstein put it perfectly, “So calories are important and essential, but they don’t occur in a vacuum.”
He goes on to say that we need to examine our eating patterns and change how we eat. That many of us fail in our diets for the wrong reasons, none of which people really think about.
Reason 1: Willpower
You need to plan for the least amount of willpower. Plan everything not to rely on it.
We have less control over behavior than we’d like to think, and are often a product of our environment. That’s the reason you eat everything in the fridge after a bad day. You might call it stress eating, but it’s really your brain not wanting to make any more decisions the rest of the day. So yeah, sure it’s stress eating, but it’s also because we have limited self control, of which dieting drains pretty quickly.
This is why it’s important to build systems that require no willpower. When you don’t have any left, there’s other options besides failure.
Bornstein says, “The more structure and rigidity to the systems you build, the easier it is to program your behavior” which I completely agree. If you have a stressful day and want to eat all the candy in your cupboard, it won’t be there. When you want to skip the gym because you didn’t sleep well, your trainer is there waiting for you and will *gasp* charge you full price for the missed session.
Reason 2: You Don’t Eat Enough
This is simple enough. We don’t like being hungry. If we’re always hungry, we’ll throw our diet to the wind because it makes us feel grumpy and dissatisfied.
The truth is, you don’t have to eat less. Bornstein says it’s “about volumetrics and food flexibility.” Which is totally true. If you eat nutrient dense, lower calorie foods like veggies, fruits, grains, and lean protein, you’ll likely get enough to keep you from being hungry. But only 80-90% of your diet needs to be this. The other 10% can be fun foods that you love and aren’t necessarily good for your diet.
From here, Bornstein mentions IIFYM and how it works so well for some, but not all. Some people aren’t able to handle the “balance” and fall in to binging/restricting, then failure, which is obviously painful.
Reason 3: Instant Gratification
Bornstein mentions that most diets fail after 4 weeks, which is just before all the good stuff happens. Burning off excess fat doesn’t happen overnight, or in a week. It takes time and perseverance.
“I work with clients every day of my life. The hardest phase? It’s the inevitable 4-6 week period where the scale doesn’t seem to move and it appears that the plateau has set it. This happens at different times for everyone, and it occurs about 90 percent of the time.
The reality? You’re usually about 1-2 weeks before the weight starts dropping again and you continue to see changes.”
Progress isn’t a straight line and removing unrealistic expectations will do wonders for you in the meantime.
I love how he didn’t get in to the small details about what diets work and what doesn’t. People love to get down and dirty to defend what they’re doing, but when it comes down to it, these three bullet points are the reason your weight loss fails or succeeds.
It’s clear that I’m not posting that often anymore or even doing personal training/health coaching, but I still am passionate about helping women get the results they want. After reading his email, I couldn’t NOT share!