The Ins And Outs Of Fat Loss Progress

The Ins And Outs Of Fat Loss Progress September 26, 20192 Comments

Ah, progress.

The sweeping word, phrase, feeling, and state of mind that one minute can have you on top of the world and the next wanting to scrape your eyes out with the scoop from your favourite protein powder tub.

It’s a funny old thing.

And a concept that people trying to drop a dress size or shed a few stubborn pounds battle with throughout their journey to defined abs, toned arms, and ‘hip dips’, whatever the shithousery they are.

So, what should we expect from our friend ‘progress’?

How can we use it to propel us forward through times of disheartenment? Pull us back when all we want to do is run around naked showing friends and family we have an ab peeking through? And make sure we stay on the path to Instagram-model status?

Here goes:

What Is It?

Progress is results. And results are whatever you want them to be.

If you’re making progress, you’re moving toward your end goal. And that could be a lighter bodyweight, a smaller jean size, or even getting stronger in the gym.

The only problem is, it doesn’t work the way we want it to.

When we want to shuttle forward into the abyss of glory, we seem to be stuck in a perpetual state of stagnation, and when we’re content with the way things are, we often find ourselves making more moves forward than we thought possible.

Progress fluctuates, plateaus, hides, appears out of nowhere and repeatedly wreaks havoc with our minds.

Damn you, progress.

So, Why Does It Suck?

Progress Will Never Keep Up With Your Expectations

When people set out on their fat loss journey, they have visions of where they want to be and what they want to look like. Except it never quite works according to plan.

People expect that initial ‘rush of progress’ to continue in the same fashion forever.

That, because they continually lost 2lbs a week for the first four weeks of their diet or dropped an inch off their waist every month for the first few months, those results will continue to occur for the rest of eternity.

People believe progress to be a linear experience. Except it’s not. Progress will inevitably slow down as time moves forward.

The main reason being, people inadvertently start to let old eating and exercise habits slip back into their routine. It’s more of an adherence issue than anything.

There are, of course, physiological reasons for progress plateauing as well. People forget their body will always try to ‘fight back’ and return to that body fat ‘set point’ it has grown accustomed to over the years.

Similarly, as you drop body fat your body requires less energy to function, meaning you continually need to recalculate that calorie deficit for fat loss progress to continue.

It doesn’t mean you’re doing things wrong, or you should throw your toys out the pram and look for something different to try, it just means you’re going to have to ride the storm and accept you’ll never experience the jaw-dropping results you saw at the beginning of your endeavour.

Progress will always flatten out after that honeymoon period.  

Sometimes We Don’t See Progress At All

Have you ever tried so hard to lose a couple of pounds by eating well, training hard, and being ‘soooo good’ throughout the week?

And then when you jump on the scales on Monday and see absolutely no change, want to get your trusty sledgehammer out the cupboard and smash that weighing device into a million pieces?

This is an all too familiar occurrence amongst people trying to look better.

Whilst some will experience rapid progress at the beginning of their journey, some will put in weeks and months of hard work without experiencing any results.

This is a concept James Clear talks about in his book ‘Atomic Habits’.

The notion that the results of our efforts are often delayed. People hope their hard work will pay off instantly and, when things don’t go according to plan, get frustrated and usually pack it all in.

This can result in, what Clear states is, a ‘valley of disappointment’, where people feel discouraged after putting in weeks or months of hard work without experiencing any results.

It’s only much later down the line that the full merit of these previous efforts is revealed. That, if you keep going and trusting the process, progress will surface.

That hard work you put in at the beginning isn’t fruitless, merely stockpiled for when you least expect it.

As with any endeavour you undertake, you’ve got to just keep going.

Sometimes We Get Greedy With Progress

Progress is great. Until you forget about it.

There seems to be a predisposition in the human mind that overlooks the months of hard work and progress that preceded your current condition and ends up solely focusing on all that is left to achieve.

This ‘void of wanted progress’ – everything left to reach your end goal – supersedes everything that has paved the way for this moment in time. It subsequently screws with people’s heads and expectations.

They get impatient. They want more. They end up neglecting the methods and dedication they put in to get to their current shape, size, and weight, and become impatient with reaching their ‘end goal’.

The ‘void of forgotten progress’ – everything they’ve achieved before this moment – is pushed to the back of their mind as they become fixated on what is left to accomplish.

They forget where they started: the weights they could barely manage to lift, the crap they used to consume regularly, and the body they were never happy with.

They end up unhappy when they should be elated.

They should revel in the progress they have made and take a moment to realise what they’ve actually achieved.

Don’t become blindsided by the ‘end goal’ and make sure you never forget where you came from.

What Can We Do To Overcome Those Prickly Progress Feelings?

Set Better Goals And Expectations

Most people suck at setting fat loss goals. Which is why their expectations are completely misaligned with reality.

Take a step back and ignore everything you’ve heard about what you should be achieving.

Not everyone fits the expected model of weight loss, whether that be losing 2lbs a week or adding weight to the bar each session.

Once we can strip back what we expect to happen, we’re not going to get disheartened when things don’t go according to plan.

If we appreciate at the start we’re not going to drop weight every week and the rate of progress will slow down as you move forward, you’re less likely to wonder why the hell you’re supposedly failing.

You’re not. It’s just progress working its wily ways.

Trust The Process

Trusting the process can be defined as ‘persevering with your training and nutrition in exactly the same manner, with exactly the same amount of determination, even if you’re failing to experience progress’.

It’s about believing the steps you’re adopting are correct, and appreciating that results will eventually materialise, despite there being no current progress.

Most people panic and wildly run around the room shouting ‘oh my god I haven’t lost any weight this week’, when in reality they just need to calm down and know that change takes time.

No evident fat loss doesn’t necessarily mean things are going wrong; you just need to give progress a chance to surface.

This doesn’t happen if you’re constantly dropping calories, changing your training programme, or altering other facets of your journey every five minutes.

You must have unerring faith in your training and nutrition programme. Follow the appropriate steps, with complete consistency and accuracy for a few weeks, before starting to adjust the plan.

Then, and only then, can you look to change one or two variables, before seeing whether you’ve kick-started progress again.

Don’t Forget Where You Came From

Just because you’ve got another 5kg to drop or another dress size to get rid of doesn’t mean you haven’t made progress.

It’s always important to remember the hard work, effort, and results that came before this moment.

The more you can appreciate what has preceded those feelings of exasperation, the better set you’ll be to continue plugging forward.

Always consider where you used to stand and how far you’ve come. That is what real progress looks like.

Appreciate Progress Is An Accumulative Process

If you find yourself struggling to kick on with any initial progress you’ve made, or have yet to experience any results, it’s not because you’ve lost your ability to improve.

You need to persist long enough to break through that plateau – or what James Clear likes to call the ‘Plateau of Latent Potential’.

Progress fails to appear until you cross this critical threshold and progress will suddenly blossom out of nowhere.

All those behaviours, habits, good routines you implement to shed some serious body fat will slowly but surely add up until suddenly they appear out of nowhere and you’ve suddenly dropped a large amount of weight or got even leaner than you thought possible.

Progress requires patience.

And that patience is the result of a plethora of previous actions that ultimately add up to unleash a major change.


This Article Was Too Long And I Didn’t Read It; Can You Summarise It Please

Progress doesn’t work the way we want it to.

When we want to shuttle forward into the abyss of glory, we seem to be stuck in a perpetual state of stagnation, and when we’re content with the way things are, we often find ourselves making more moves forward than we thought possible.

Progress fluctuates, plateaus, hides, appears out of nowhere and repeatedly wreaks havoc with our minds.

Progress Will Never Keep Up With Your Expectations – People believe progress to be a linear experience. Except it’s not. Progress will inevitably slow down as time moves forward.

Sometimes We Don’t See Progress At All – This can result in, what Clear states is, a ‘valley of disappointment’, where people feel discouraged after putting in weeks or months of hard work without experiencing any results.

Sometimes We Get Greedy With Progress – There seems to be a predisposition in the human mind that overlooks the months of hard work and progress that preceded your current condition and ends up solely focusing on all that is left to achieve.

Set Better Goals And Expectations – If we appreciate at the start we’re not going to drop weight every week and the rate of progress will slow down as you move forward, you’re less likely to wonder why the hell you’re supposedly failing.

Trust The Process – No evident fat loss doesn’t necessarily mean things are going wrong; you just need to give progress a chance to surface.

Don’t Forget Where You Came From – It’s always important to remember the hard work, effort, and results that came before this moment.

Appreciate Progress Is An Accumulative Process – All those behaviours, habits, good routines you implement i to shed some serious body fat will slowly but surely add up until suddenly they appear out of nowhere and you’ve suddenly dropped a large amount of weight or got even leaner than you thought possible.

How To Win At Fat Loss

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2 comments

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