Changing your body composition, (or losing fat), can be a very frustrating and challenging endeavour. This month I’m sharing my thoughts on why many people fail, and how you can learn from their mistakes.

Beware our obesogenic environment

We all have easy access to buses, cars and trains that take us door-to-door. Most food outlets sell convenience foods that are high in sugar, salt and refined carbohydrates, and portion sizes are getting bigger and bigger. A lot of our jobs are now desk-based, and technology has replaced the need for movement (at least you had to get up to collect a fax or pick up the post). In addition, gadgets like the smart phone and social media means that we’re busier than ever before – and that means less time to shop, think about food and prepare fresh meals and snacks.

Identify a strong motivating factor

Are you completely clear about why you want to change body shape? You might think you want to, but have you thought about what that will entail, and how you’re practically going to make it happen? Tip: write down ‘Why Now?’ on a piece of paper and mind map all the reasons why now is the time. Make sure you have total clarity before you make a start. 

Make it personal

The one-size-fits-all approach to diet and fitness is very dated. There are now DNA tests that you can do that will tell you what your ideal diet type is, and the best type of exercise for you, and I’ve seen these significantly improve success rates. A personalised diet and exercise plan based on your genotype will do away with a lot of the guess work, and gives you a solid structure to follow.

The change are too drastic

A common mistake is trying to make too many changes too soon. Start small, allow two to three changes to become ingrained into your lifestyle, then pick another two or three things to work on, and so on. The overall effect will snowball over time. Be wary of charlatans promising rapid weight loss – these diets won’t work last beyond a few weeks. Finally, see things in perspective: a pound of fat is the approximate equivalent of a chicken breast. That’s a significant amount of fat – if you can lose that every ten days, that’s a great result. Don’t set yourself up for failure by aiming too high.

Other disruptors

A good sleep pattern, minimal stress, good hydration and having control over levels of other disruptors such as caffeine, alcohol and sugar are as important as what you eat. Watch out for these disruptors; they are the gremlins in the machine that stifle or prevent progression. You’ll need to factor all these aspects into your planning before embarking on your goals, as they have the power to make or break your resolve.

leanne spencer

Leanne Spencer

This feature first appeared in the November issue of SE22 magazine.