Obesity & Weight Loss: The struggles & how to overcome them

Since the government linked obesity with COVID-19 risk factors, weight-loss seems to be the topic on everyone’s minds. With conflicting information available at the touch of a button, S&C Coach Andy Reay wants to set the record straight.

With Covid-19 consuming the news channels, it brings with it the news of an increased threat to those who are overweight or obese. Boris Johnson has highlighted this, but apart from telling people to ride their bikes more and moving adverts for sugary snacks past the watershed, the advice is scarce. 

Information on diets and exercise swamp the media, with quick fixes, high intensity workouts, and an eat less move more mentality, but is this all there is too it? Surely if it was this easy, approximately 65% of the population wouldn’t be struggling to keep in shape? 

I have never been obese or overweight. I was very lucky to be a reasonable rugby player which kept my weight in check, but if I hadn’t, and if it hadn’t have led me to my current profession, I truly believe I would be. 

I have trained many people who are looking to lose weight, and I have seen first-hand the difficulties and struggles that are faced. 

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Deep Seated Beliefs #

In the past, we have been told that fat is bad, then carbs are bad, then there was a focus on veganism to achieve a healthy lifestyle. We have also been told which exercise is best — usually by those with ulterior motives, ultimately trying to sell their product. It is beyond the scope of this blog to delve into my personal beliefs, but it is difficult to avoid being led and influenced by social media, the news and magazine articles.

The earlier in your life these beliefs were introduced, the more difficult they are to unlearn. Seeing beyond these beliefs takes time, it takes an open mind and a willingness try new things — as well as the motivation to stick to the plan. It’s tough, and they linger, but it’s all part of the journey.

The Long Road Ahead #

Let’s not beat around the bush. For some the road is long and that can be daunting. To go down this route lacking the necessary knowledge and support generally does not end well. From experience a support structure is vital and relying on friends and family can have its pitfalls. Unfortunately people can be destructive, some won’t like to see you succeed, especially if it is the same goal that they would like to achieve for themselves. 

It’s very likely that your family believes they have your back and your best interests at heart. Although this comes from a loving place and is well-meaning, wanting you to be happy can manifest itself in providing delicious and indulgent meals, with encouragement to over-eat and enjoy a second helping. 

If this has been the case in the past, this may mean that some will be unwilling to accept your changes. For those who are strong willed, this will not cause any problems. For those who are not, it is helpful to have a 3rd party’ to offload some of the pressure. Having that resource can be invaluable; as well as being an informative and supportive influence, a Coach can act as your scapegoat until you have overcome the first few weeks of your changes and those close to you can see the benefits of what you’re doing. 

As a short side note, its highly likely that you will greatly inspire others through this journey, and it’s also likely that you will see the true colours of others who don’t support your journey (of which, unfortunately, there will be some).


Losing Weight Is Not A Linear Process #

The biggest problem that I have encountered with people I’ve worked with, is experiencing a significant initial weight loss, then a long plateau of little to no change. This links back to the deep-seated beliefs that there is a quick fix, that you should lose 20lbs in 5 minutes, which is simply not the case.

I will always say to new clients starting this journey that this will be the process: you will lose weight quickly, you will plateau, you will be frustrated, then the weight will come down again. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. If you can accept this, you are much more likely to be successful.

Changing Habits #

This is the coach’s job. All or nothing approaches, in my experience, do not work. I like to work on the 8020 rule. 80% of your habits should be targeted at your goal, with 20% room for slip ups, if they happen. If you can make the right choices 80% of the time, in the long term you will be successful. It is a coach’s job to educate on what these choices should be, so pick your coach wisely, as incorrect information will destroy the journey. 

Initially when you implement these new changes, expect some adverse reactions from your body. The body craves equilibrium and has become accustom to your lifestyle and the habits you currently have. There may be time’s when you feel tired, have a headache or feel a little out of sorts, but it will change, and quickly. 

What to Do and What To Expect #

  • Find someone who is accredited in what you need. Accredited Nutritionist, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Consultants who specialise in weight loss, and ask to see documentation. 
  • Expect to be challenged. Beliefs you have held for years will be proved wrong, you will probably be eating more than you expect, you will exercise differently, your weight will not crash down. It will be a massive leap of faith. 
  • You will get frustrated, things will slip, weight loss will plateau. Find someone who is willing to support you — genuinely support you — educate you and make you self-sufficient.
  • If you succeed, it will be the best thing you have done for yourself. People generally have increased energy, capacity to walk, play sports, be in less pain, the list goes on but most importantly, you will be healthier and right now that seems more important than ever. 

In conclusion, there are no quick and easy fixes, but tackling weight loss in the right way with the correct information and support will get you to your end goal efficiently and equip you with the tools and mindset to keep the weight off. 

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