It is interesting in looking at some of the search terms used when someone wants to know how to get leanerOne of the ones that comes up quite frequently is “Lose Weight Fast”.

This got me to thinking.

It is a three-word search. So how can it be so wrong?

Getting your head in the right place is half the battle when looking to overcome sticking points in either starting on making progress on your goals.

To help you get started, I’ve created a downloadable PDF outlining the Mental & Emotional Foundations that should be in place in order to be successful in your health and fitness endeavours.

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Why this question is setting you up to fail

Many of you will now be thinking, how can I know if it’s wrong or not?

How can I know what the person was thinking?

And the fact is, I can’t for sure. But that still doesn’t make the phrasing of that term any more correct.

Let’s break it down:

How fast can you lose weight?

Let’s focus on the word ‘Fast’.

This is a big deal for most people.

They want results and they want them yesterday.

No one wants to put in a long period of effort. They just want a magic solution that will get an instant result with little change on their part.

The problem is there is no such thing as magic and you cannot defy physics. Your body is composed the way it is and can only be changed at its pre-determined, optimal rate.

You may have heard the guideline of targeting 2 pounds of fat loss per week.

There is a reason that is such a commonly quoted guide.

For most people, that is the optimal rate. If you lose more than that you are likely sacrificing muscle tissue and in return you are jeopardising your long term success.

In very basic terms, the more muscle tissue you have (lean muscle mass) the higher your metabolism. 

That is a very crude way of looking at it, but the principle still stands. 

The higher your metabolism, the more you can eat and still lose weight.

The more you can eat, the higher your metabolism (thermic effect). Plus, the more you can eat the more fuel there is for you to function. 

This allows you to train harder; giving you a higher calorie burn; which allows you to eat more and add more lean muscle mass.

It’s an ever-increasing cycle that ensures as you lose the pounds.

Fat is the thing that gets burned and leaves you looking toned or ‘ripped’.

What happens if you lose weight fast?

If you go the other route and ‘lose weight fast’ then you will drop muscle tissue.

This then lowers your metabolic rate (again over simplification to avoid the technicalities) meaning you have to eat less to be in a calorie deficit.

The result is a lower thermic effect (further reduction in metabolism).

Plus, you have less energy for exercise and daily activities. This lowers your calorie output.

You, therefore, have to eat even less to continue losing weight. And the cycle continues.

The problem with this route is, it is in no way infinite.

Eventually you would run out of calories to eat.

In other words, the more measured approach would be optimal for burning fat, improved body composition and keeping the fat of long term.

Then there is the issue of loose skin. 

Your skin is amazingly elastic. But it can only cope with change at a fairly slow rate.

If you put on weight too quickly, your skin can’t keep up and you tears (stretch marks).

Similarly, then, if you lose the pounds too quickly, your skin won’t keep up and you end up with loose skin. Which was not in the initial vision of when that lose weight fast goal was set.

Just remind yourself how long it took you to put those pounds on in the first place and realise that it will take a good chunk of that same time to take it off. That is assuming you want it to stay off and to ensure it is fat you are losing, leaving you looking trim and toned, rather than ‘skinny fat’.

Is it really weight you want to lose?

Let’s look at that second word – ‘weight’

Let’s imagine we have a female who is a dress size 20.

Regardless of the weight, if it was possible to instantly change her shape to a more toned (zero flab) shape, suddenly slimming her down to a size 8 dress, yet the weight on the scale stayed exactly the same, do you think she would be complaining that she still weighed too much?

From the feedback I’ve had from many women, the answer might still be yes. But that is more because there is something ingrained in a lot of girls as they grow up that the scale is king. (The media has a lot to answer for).

The fact is, scales tell you very little due to the fact they weigh everything – Bone, water, muscle, fat etc. And it doesn’t account for how in proportion these things are.

Because muscle weighs more than fat, then a loss of muscle tone would look better on your scales than a similar sized loss of fat.

Similarly, improving your muscle tone and losing fat could end up with you weighing the same or even more, but looking so much better.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Use it or lose it”?

As you get older your body will adapt to whatever stress and strains you put it under.

If that is simply the odd walk, run or sports activity, but you spend a large amount of your time sitting at a desk or in front of the TV, then your body will do what it can to make life easier for itself.

As muscle tissue is quite a heavy thing to carry around, it’ll drop the muscle as fast as possible. So what can often happen is you stay the same weight as you get older, but you look worse as time goes on.


Because the composition making up that weight is changing.

You may have dropped a few pounds of muscle but added a bunch of fat and water to make up the weight.

So, if someone in their 40s turns round and says smugly “I weigh the same as I did when I was 20” so what?

Do they look the same?

And if not, who cares?

For most people, when it comes to losing weight, what they actually want to do is lose fat. Weight has little to do with it.

Just one last way to think of it.

If you could lose 10 pounds in 5mins would you want to?

If you answered yes, then go get a saw and chop your arm off, that’s at least 10 pounds right there.

Is that really what you meant when you thought about losing 10 pounds?

how to lose 10lbs instantly - is it really all about 'weight' loss?

Losing fat versus getting lean

Let’s look at the final word in the initial phrase, ‘lose’.

Whilst this might be the true intention (to lose weight, lose fat, lose the pounds, lose water retention etc.) it is a poor choice of words. 

It puts the focus in entirely the wrong place.

It leaves you focusing on the problem, not the solution.

You are now thinking of, in this case, the fat. And what you think about most is ultimately what you’ll move towards.

A better way of looking at it is to think of what you want.

You want to Tone Up. 

You want to get ripped.

You want to get lean.

You want a flat stomach.

Whatever you WANT If you can focus on that, rather than what you don’t want, the chances of you getting there is so much higher.

Could One to One Coaching Help?

You might be reading all this and think, “OK I get the point”, but you are too busy to spend the time thinking up the right strategy that will move you forward.

Or you might have an idea of what to do, but there are so many things you could improve, it becomes overwhelming.

If that rings any bells, I’d invite you to have a look at my one to one coaching service.

It’s not for everyone and I have very limited spaces for new clients. But if you feel it may benefit you, I’d be happy to discuss your situation and see if I can be of assistance.

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Improving your long-term fitness results

As you make your plans for a new, improved, physique, think of where you want to be long-term.

What do you actually want to achieve?

Then take as long as is OPTIMAL to get there.

Even if you have a short-term goal, like a wedding; a party or a holiday, you should never be dieting or training at the expense of your long term results. 

There will be another event along soon enough that will then become your focus.

But if you’ve gone about things the wrong way this time, chances are you will have added even more fat than you have now. Plus, you will have slowed your metabolism in the process.

Meaning it will now be much harder to lose the pounds of fat you have added all over again.

Your results should be forever not just for next month.

Play the long game and never panic about how you are going to lose the pounds you want in time for the next event ever again.

Lose Weight Fast - Playing the Long Game
Lose Weight Fast
Playing the Long Game by Mark Tiffney

What say you?

Do you have experience of either side of this equation?

Do you have a history of focusing on the scales; focusing on the negative or stressing about trying to get results faster than it is physically possible to do?

Share your experiences in the comments below.

The first step to getting over obstacles is to get your head in the right place. 

As such, I’ve put together a PDF on Emotional & Mental Foundations and how to get them in place, free to download right now.