Losing Weight is Simple. Not Easy.

This episode is about how losing weight is actually quite simple. It is just not easy.

Most people who struggle with weight loss. They try to focus on things which make it overly complicated for themselves.

This is not because they have tried the simple stuff for long enough. It is because they feel that there is some kind of shortcut; there’s some kind of hack which will give them results quicker.

But like all good things in life, nothing comes easy. Nothing comes quick.

You have to put in the work for a long enough time period.

Especially when it comes to things involving your body. Whether it be building muscles or losing fat, it’s going to take a while.

And the things that get your results in these cases are usually the most simple things; the most basic fundamentals.

It’s only when you try to really complicate things that you don’t get anywhere. The basics are always simple. The basic always work.

So whenever you’re trying to follow advice for weight loss. If it sounds too complicated; if it sounds like you’re not understanding what needs to be done. It’s usually poor advice.

And the things which make you feel like: “Umm, this is too simple. There has to be something else.” That’s probably what you should be doing.

Losing weight is simple. It is not easy. If it was easy, the people around you would not be struggling with it. Obesity would not be a major health concern in the 21st century. And everyone would have a beach body.

But that is clearly not the case.

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It is usually the toughest to stick to simple things, consistently for a long amount of time.

It is not that you have to do crazy exercises, which involve you doing ridiculous movements, which look very fancy, look very difficult. It is not doing those things which get you muscle.

Similarly, it is not following diets which are completely different from what you’re used to eating that will get you weight loss results.

It’s just making minor changes; making some fundamental shifts in your approach towards food and exercise that gets you results.

And that’s what I want to discuss a little bit.

The fundamentals of weight loss comprise of three things primarily. And if you’re not doing these three things. Anything else that gets your results knowingly or unknowingly is going to be achieving these three things.

These three things are:

Number one. Are you hitting your daily calorie target?

In order to lose weight, you need to have a calorie target slightly under your maintenance calories.

Your maintenance calories are the calories where you maintain your current body weight. And when you eat lesser than that, your body taps into your stored fat reserves for energy.

So are you eating less calories than you’re burning? Do you have a calorie target for every single day? And are you adhering to it? Every single day? That is number one.

Number two. Are you eating enough protein?

Are you hitting your daily protein target?

And number three. Are you hitting your daily step count?

Are you completing your step target for the day?

These are it. There is nothing else.

If you’re able to do these things consistently for a long enough period of time. You will see results. There is nothing that can stop you from doing that.

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The reasons people don’t see results are fundamentally two.

It’s a lack of consistency. And a lack of adherence.

When we talk of a lack of adherence, a few things come to my mind. The first is when people hop on very restrictive diets.

Adherence is just you being able to stick to something for a long enough period of time. And you cannot stick to an eating protocol which is drastically different from what you’re used to eating.

When you follow restrictive diets which cut out entire food groups; which say things like don’t eat carbs, don’t eat bread, don’t eat rice.

Or, drink only juices and smoothies.

When you have ridiculous diets which focus on a drastic shift from your regular way of eating. That’s not sustainable.

Ultimately what gets you results is eating at a calorie target lesser than your maintenance calories.

And you can be eating this amount of calories from any kind of food source. Your body treats food as a source of energy. It doesn’t really care if you’re getting that from juices. If you’re getting that from some kind of carbs or from fats.

It doesn’t care.

It only makes sense to make it as easy as possible for yourself to adhere to your diet. And not as difficult as possible by drastically altering it.

The only change that most people usually need to make is to start having a bias towards eating more protein.

Protein is something that people just don’t eat enough of from what I’ve seen in my experience. And what different studies seem to show as well.

You can start eating more protein by making small changes to your style of eating. This could be eating one extra egg for your breakfast.

It could mean eating some yogurt for your evening snack, instead of reaching for that biscuit. It could be introducing a whey protein supplement.

A small shift in your style of eating plus having a change in mindset, that when you sit down to eat. Instead of looking for that main carbohydrate source. Instead of thinking:

“What do I eat with this rice today?”

“What do I eat with this piece of bread? Or, with this roti?”

Think of it in terms of: “What do I eat with this lean protein source?”

What is your main protein source for that meal? When you sit down, ask yourself:

“What is my main protein source for this meal?”

When you have that mindset shift and make these small modifications to every single meal of the day. It’ll make it very easy for you to hit your protein goals.

And as long as you’re able to stay under your calorie target and hit your protein goals, you will lose weight. There’s no way that won’t happen.

In order to facilitate and support your diet, you will incorporate more movement into your day.

Weight loss ultimately is a product of energy in vs energy out.

Calories in vs calories out. Calories are just a unit of energy.

How much energy are you using up compared to what you’re consuming through food?

You use energy when you do activities throughout the day. When you’re walking, when you’re moving about.

Like when I’m talking to you right now, I’m moving my hands. I’m producing sound through my voice box. (This is a podcast transcript. Hence.)

All these things use up energy and the fuel is what I had eaten yesterday. And whatever is stored in my body as fat and muscle.

If there’s no food in my system, my body is going to use up those resources to produce energy for the different movements that I’m doing right now.

Like I’m talking into the mic, this is using up energy. If I’m moving about during the day, that is using of energy.

Many people feel that they need to be exercising a lot in order to burn calories. But if you have been following me for long enough, you’d know that exercise in general does not burn a lot of calories.

If you ate a slice of pizza, you would probably have to do 30-40 minutes of cardio. To get rid of that one slice of pizza.

That’s the amount of fuel just a slice can provide to your body.

It’s unrealistic when people eat out of control. And they feel that they can burn off calories through exercise.

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It’s also a very unhealthy way of looking at food and exercise.

Some people feel that:

“Oh, I ate so much! Now I need to punish myself with more exercise.”

Or

“I need to exercise a lot today so that I can make space for my cheat meal.”

It’s an unhealthy way of looking at things.

If you could just plan ahead instead and stay under your calorie target and hit your protein goals. You could technically eat anything you’d like.

And you wouldn’t have to connect it to punishing yourself with exercise. Or needing to exercise ahead of time to earn that food item you’ve been craving.

What is more effective for you using up more energy, is making sure that you’re getting enough movement throughout the day.

That’s why the third fundamental principle is tracking your step count. Because that is the most straightforward way to measure how much movement you’re getting.

Any kind of movement that you do to burns energy. But it’s hard to keep track of your hands moving or how much you’re talking.

Walking is easily accessible to most people.

Just having something like a step tracker on your wrist throughout the day as you’re going about your daily tasks. It makes it very easy to keep track of a number to hit.

A step goal becomes a easy metric to keep track of. Ultimately it is about building consistent habits.

If you cannot keep track of something. If you cannot measure something, you cannot manage it. You will not have the data to understand if you’re doing that habit consistently overtime.

And you cannot leave these things to subjectivity. Without having objective numbers to keep track of, you wouldn’t know if you’re doing what you say you’re doing.

So when you say you’re eating at a certain calorie target. That you’re eating a certain amount of protein. The numbers have to be there to support your point of view.

Similarly, the numbers have to be there to say that you are moving enough throughout the day.

How much is enough movement?

It is having a baseline step count that you should be aiming towards. An average of 8,000 steps per day is a good starting point for most people.

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These are the non-negotiables. Everything else supports the process.

When you exercise, that is not for you to lose weight. That is so that you can maintain muscle during your weight loss.

For that, you don’t need a lot of workouts.

You can do three 20 to 30 minute sessions throughout the week. And you will maintain muscle pretty well.

But before you even start building an exercise habit. If your main goal is weight loss, the three fundamental things you should focus on first are:

hitting a daily calorie target, hitting a daily protein target and hitting a daily step target.

And in order to make it as easy for yourself as possible, you need to make sure that you can actually adhere to the process.

Don’t do restrictive diets which are drastically different from your current way of eating. Just make fundamental shifts to your lifestyle.

Don’t focus on overexercising because that’s something which takes up a lot of time. Also doesn’t do much for energy expenditure.

Exercise is primarily for muscle preservation and building muscle. It is so that you feel great about yourself, improve your mood and improve performance.

It is not meant to be a tool for weight loss.

The main roadblocks that people face when trying to lose weight are adherence and consistency like I mentioned earlier.

Consistency is usually a challenge for people trying to achieve any kind of long-term goal.

Be it an academic goal. Be it a professional goal or something like saving to buy a house. Or saving for retirement.

It could be investing for long-term wealth, building a business, building muscle, losing weight.

All things which require small efforts put in consistently for a long period of time. These are usually difficult for most people.

And we all struggle with it.

After having read this post, you’d know the things that give you results. But just knowing is not enough.

Because knowing but not taking action is the same as not knowing.

Many of you already knew that these are the things that you have to do to lose weight.

“I know, Ajitesh. I know that I need to track my calories, do my steps and eat more protein. But I just don’t do it.”

And I get that.

I know some things that I need to do in order to achieve my own goals. I know what needs to be done. I just don’t do them either.

Anyone in the world can relate to this. Because there is always some area of our life where we are complacent and we don’t put in the work.

Even when the result is something that is desirable for us. Something that would improve the quality of life for us.

But still, we just don’t do it.

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This is something that’s part of the human experience.

I think there are only few people who are able to do everything they want without facing any kind of internal resistance.

I think that’s rare.

There are always things in our life which we are able to do without much effort. Some people don’t have to think too much about exercise and food intake. It just comes naturally to them.

Some people don’t have to think too much about investing or savings. They are financially strict and disciplined without even trying.

But there are other areas in their lives where they’re not able to exercise the same kind of discipline and consistency. That is understandable.

But figuring out where your own shortcomings are. And where you need to put in the work in order to see results. Is what’s going to make the difference long-term.

So if you’re someone who had been doing the wrong things so far. That as you were doing restrictive diets, things that did not fit into your lifestyle. But you have no trouble staying self-motivated doing these things by yourself. All you had to do was read this post. And I’ve already told you what needs to be done.

If you’re confused still, you can download this free weight loss guide. Follow the instructions step by step. Everything you need to set up your diet is outlined in it.

You can also go listen to all the previous episodes of this podcast (or read all the posts with the transcripts in the blog).

I have tried my best to cover the most pressing questions people have regarding weight loss. And I keep updating the content as I come across new queries.

If you’re someone who struggles with consistency. And you feel that you know what needs to be done, but you just don’t do it. And also when roadblocks come up, you wish there was someone who would tell you what needs to be done to get through that roadblock.

Then you should consider 1-on-1 coaching with Workday Physique. The 1-on-1 coaching is currently a monthly recurring subscription. So you can cancel any time.

But I’d like you to stay for at least 3 months to see any kind of lasting change.

Changing your current habits and building new habits takes a while.

In order for things to become permanent for you so that you don’t keep going back to square one. You should make a long-term investment in the process.

So that once you’re done with this, you don’t have to go looking for another diet after a couple of months.

I’ve seen people go for short-term solutions like diet plans. Where they buy a diet plan which drastically changes their diet from their current way of eating. They lose some weight but are not able to maintain that.

Then they hop on another diet plan. And this is a cycle that goes on for life.

I saw a meme the other day where it said that being an adult is just losing and regaining the same 6kgs of weight over and over till your death. And a lot of people in the comments seemed to relate to that.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

You don’t have to lose and regain the same weight over and over till you die. If that is happening, it’s an indicator that you’re hopping from short-term solution to short-term solution.

What will give you lasting results is making consistent habit changes which become permanent over time.

At Workday Physique, my emphasis is always on permanent results. So that you don’t have to go from one diet to another.

My fundamental philosophy is making sure that you make permanent behaviour and mindset shifts which empower you to make good decisions even after you’re done with the program.

And in order to do that you have to be willing to commit to at least 2-3 months of putting in the work. So that you can reverse your old ways of looking at diet and exercise.

And you’re able to build those new neural connections in your brain; those new habit patterns which will take you forward through your weight loss journey. And let you maintain the results for life.

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Ajitesh Gogoi is an online fitness coach and the founder of Workday Physique™— a weight loss coaching service for busy professionals. His mission is to empower busy professionals to achieve their weight loss goals. And transform them into their most confident selves.
Ajitesh Gogoi

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