At the beginning of 2012 I started an experiment that was born out of pure frustration. I had been trying to lose weight many times in the past using popular diets and the “lots of cardio” approach. Every time I lost some weight but then eventually I regained all of the weight that I had lost.
If you have tried to lose weight in the past, you will probably be familiar with this weight loss cycle:
1. You decide to lose weight
2. You choose some kind of diet
3. You lose weight (sometimes a lot of weight)
4. You lose motivation and regain all of the weight
I call it the vicious dieting circle.
I only realised much later why most people go through these cycles.
Why Up To 95% Of Dieters Fail At Losing Weight
That statistic has been proven more in multiple studies about weight loss success rates. 80% – 95% of dieters fail at losing weight.
We all have lost weight in the past. Losing weight is not the real problem. The key to success is losing weight and then being able to keep the weight off, that is to maintain the new weight.
Here’s why diets won’t help you succeed at keeping the fat off:
1. Diets don’t teach you fat loss
Even if you lost weight using a diet you are basically stuck in that framework. You have to adhere to the rules of the diet to lose weight or keep it off.
2. Diets are not flexible
In the long-term no one wants to stick to the rules of a diet. Once you lost some weight you start changing the rules to take care of your preferences. A muffin here and there. After a while you’ve created your “own diet” that will make you fat again.
3. Diets don’t take care of YOUR preferences
You must be very lucky to find a diet that fits your own needs 100%. It basically doesn’t happen unless you design it yourself.
My Journey To Long-Term Success
Check out the photos above. Between 2009 and 2011, it doesn’t even look like I tried to lose weight. But I tried. I tried many different approaches. All of them failed.
I realized that I needed to completely change my approach.
That is when I started investing five minutes per day in understanding fat loss.
- Within four months I was leaner that I had ever been in my entire adulthood
- Overall I lost 44 pounds of fat and it was the most enjoyable and flexible way I have ever lost weight
- I still ate all of my favorite foods
- I only exercised three times per week
- I didn’t do any cardio (ok that’s not true, I did two sessions in six months)
Let me show you how I did it..
The 5-Minute Fat Loss Experiment
In early 2012, I decided to start my own little fat loss experiment to really understand fat loss. You can see some of the tools I used in the photo above.
Here are the most important steps I took as part of my experiment:
1. The very first thing I did was to start a food diary. I downloaded the free app MyFitnessPal to my iPhone and started logging what I was eating on a daily basis. Every meal, every snack, every drink.
2. I started weighing myself once a week. No more and no less than once a week. Weighing yourself too often creates all kinds of problems.
3. After just a few weeks I started understanding exactly how much I could eat to still lose weight. And most importantly I wasn’t afraid of eating carbohydrates anymore (I love carbs!).
4. Based on my food diary I found a number of bad habits that were easy to give up. I started with things like sugary drinks that just added unnecessary calories. Tackling one thing at a time made improving my diet really easy.
5. I started experimenting with intermittent fasting. This added a lot of flexibility to my diet and made it much more convenient to lose weight. I basically learned where to “invest” calories to maximise my enjoyment. A concept I like to call smart calorie investing.
Over time I learned more and more about nutrition since I was spending five minutes every day to keep a food diary. In combination with my weekly weigh-ins I developed an intuitive feeling for my food intake.
Why Understanding Fat Loss = Long-Term Success
Once I really understood fat loss, I was not limited in terms of what I could eat.
That allowed me to live a very enjoyable lifestyle including:
- Eating out at restaurants several times per week
- Eating fast food and pizza, burgers, ice cream (not daily but definitely regularly)
- Going out with friends nearly every weekend and drinking alcohol
- Eating so-called “bad” carbs every day (I love white rice!)
- Doing only three strength training sessions per week and zero cardio
- Going on holidays without worrying that I will gain five pounds in no time
And an enjoyable lifestyle really is the secret to losing weight and keeping it off. Why? Because it maximises the probability that you stick to your diet (academics call this diet adherence).
Obviously a diet can only work if you stick to it. When other people create the rules for you, chances are low that you can stick to them.
So once you understand fat loss you get to create your own diet. A diet that lets you maximize enjoyment based on your personal preferences (while still losing weight). And when all of your preferences are being taken care off, it becomes easy to stick to your diet.
It’s Time To Start Your Own Fat Loss Experiment
Start today, right now!
1. Download the free app MyFitnessPal to start your food diary. You can get it for your iPhone or Android or sign up for a free profile on their website. Phone is convenient because you always have it with you.
2. Spend five minutes every day logging your meals, snacks and drinks in your food diary. You don’t even have to make any conscious changes to your diet, they will happen automatically.
3. Weigh yourself once a week in the morning. Resist the temptation to weigh yourself more often than weekly, it will hinder your success.
4. Watch the results coming in and adjust your diet over time. There’s no rush, you should be in it for the long-term.
5. Get my book if you want to take your Fat Loss Experiment to the next level :-)
Get “The 5-Minute Fat Loss Experiment” Book Today
It’s 67 pages long and it goes very much into detail on how to setup your own fat loss experiment.
It’s a digital guide so you can download it to your computer, phone or tablet and read it from anywhere!