How to get fat quickly…

By: Quinton de Bruin

Odd title I know, however the statistics are against us when it comes to what happens when you have reached your diet / body fat goal. An astounding number of people who work long and hard to drop a few dress sizes or to fit into the 10 year old club rugby jersey seem to blink and be 5 kilos heavier again. As we hit the end of this challenge, I find myself asking, "What next? What will happen from Wednesday?" I conveniently say Wednesday because I have saved my cheat day for Tuesday after measurements.

It would be so easy to just assume that because one has been going to the gym (or wherever outdoors) and eating well, drinking a few less beers and watching the amount of snacks you eat at BBQs that when the time comes, you will just stick to that routine – WRONG! Now obviously this doesn't apply to us (tongue in cheek) but interesting all the same. The 14 contestants of The Biggest loser 2009 season were followed for 6 years by researchers who compiled a study that found that 13 of the 14 had gained weight after the contest and four of them ended up heavier than when they started their weight loss journey. Here's a group of people who have been put through the ringer in training, had access to the best training methods, top nutritionists and under doctor's supervision took on a challenge of their own. If with all this knowledge they still found it difficult to keep on track, what is our strategy going to be to not fall into a similar trap?

In order to come up with a plan, it may be worth getting an insight into what factors tend to lead to people putting on weight after their diet and exercise regime.

  • The most common factor is that people tend to go back to eating as much as they did before they got their portion size under control.
  • Then there is the thing about taking out a gym membership that lines up with your 30-Day or 12-week program. When they get to the end, they don't renew their gym membership! Getting rid of the extra weight is one process the next is the maintenance work of keeping it off.
  • As important as it is to celebrate your success, if your idea of celebration is to treat yourself to all the unhealthy foods you have been avoiding (this is me) then ensure you start and end the celebration – quickly.
  • Another reason people start piling on the pounds again is because they have forgotten about the power of protein and the consumption of adequate amounts of it may fall from the radar.
  • A tough one, especially at this time of the year, is that you allow the odd beer back onto the menu. As long as it remains the odd beer that is fine, it is when your drink with dinner turns into a regular happy hour.
  • Like most people, when I have had a few bad weeks, be that because they have been busy at work or whether winter has kept you in bed rather than on the spin bike at 6am – you avoid the scale. Albeit not the only or best measure, it will tell you when you have had a few too many Top Deck chocolates!
These are all valid reasons however the top three would surely be:

  1. Not setting a new goal to challenge you when your regime comes to an end – Having something new to shoot for reinvigorates you to keep working towards something and keep you motivated and challenged. It may be along the same lines as your previous goal or it could be something totally different. Nine years ago I completed a 12-week Body for Life training program. Right before that came to an end, I was feeling fitter and healthier and so I challenged myself to run the Auckland half marathon. At that stage of my journey running a half marathon was the impossible! So, what could your next challenge be - Waipa Fun Run? Running up the Hakarimata stairs? Walk along the cycleway to Karapiro?
  2. The change was a temporary dietary change not a lifestyle adjustment – common sense suggests that you reached the outcome you were after because you ate better for your body and lifestyle. It would make sense to retain this change, embed it as part of your life. The Wild Diet is something I could stick to long term because it simply sticks to eating good, natural and unprocessed foods. Remembering too that setting up the game in a way you can win is vitally important. Success isn't about perfection, it is about getting it right a lot more regularly than getting it wrong.
  3. You don't hit your goal – I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about tomorrow's weigh-in and measurements, I'm a wee bit competitive. When people don't quite hit the mark, they react differently. Some will get right back on the horse after a bit of self-talk and some tweaking of the plan. The other group tend to look for comfort and find it temporarily in the bottom of an ice-cream tub or the wrapper of a slab of chocolate. This ends in a lot of negative self-talk and frustration – I have first-hand experience.

Being made aware of these factors out there to test you as you draw close to your goal, hopefully it arms you to consider and develop your strategy. Along the lines of set a new goal before the old one expires and make your chosen vehicle of achieving this outcome (exercise and the stuff you put down your throat) a part of your lifestyle, you stand a much better chance of achieving it. If for some reason you don't hit the goal, possibly you set the bar a bit high, possibly you had a few too many cheat meals. That really doesn't matter because your health and the health of your family isn't an overnight activity, so what if it takes you 14 weeks rather than 12 to hit your target weight!

The small print: now is probably a good time to encourage you to have a discussion about your personal situation with your doctor, a nutritionist and the Body and Motion trainers to work out how best to achieve any challenges you have in mind. The thoughts in these blogs are my own personal opinion and shouldn't be taken as direct advice. Some of the choices around what I consume or what activity I partake in may not be endorsed by Body and Motion. However, the team will always be keen enablers of your fitness goals! Talk to us today.


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