As different as my clients are in personality, background, and health history, they always have many of the same questions, concerns, and frustrations. And I get it completely!  I had those same questions myself before I started on my transformation journey. 

Jane, I am working out and eating right, so why am I not losing weight?  The scale won’t change!

So many of my clients get fixated on the numbers on the scale, and it breaks my heart because here’s the real truth:  The scale is not an accurate indicator of your progress. Put the scale aside – the scale is a liar. Period. When you say you want to lose weight, what you really want to lose is fat.  When you lose fat, then the number on the scale starts moving…but that’s not the only change that you will notice. 

Focus instead on the non-scale victories, or NSV.  The scale cannot measure the three inches you’ve lost in your waist.  It cannot measure the improvement in the quality of your sleep or that you’ve stopped snoring.  It cannot measure that you’re not as constipated, or your bowel movements are more frequent. It cannot measure how your skin is glowing.  It cannot measure how much better you feel overall. These are the most important indicators of success – not the number on the scale.

Situps, crunches…how do you lose the midsection?  What does it take to have a flat tummy? How do I lose the midsection ONLY and keep other body parts the same?

Let’s talk about the belly.  I’m going to be honest here, ladies – you’re not going to like the answer.  All the ab workouts, crunches, flutters, leg raises – all of those things are great, but if you’re not changing what you eat, you’ll never get a flat belly.  As they say, abs are made in the kitchen – and it’s really true. It’s not about the exercise – it’s about the food.

If you’re drinking alcohol or eating bread, pasta, cakes, pastries, fast foods, pizza hamburgers…your belly will not disappear.  The reason your belly gets bigger is that you’re eating more energy than you’re expending. And then the only way to get your belly to go away is to go into a caloric deficit, meaning eating less energy than your body needs.  

For you to have a flat stomach, you have to lose fat.  Think about it – you can build up your abs all day long, but if there’s still a layer of fat over them, then nobody’s going to see your six-pack.  So what are you willing to give up to have a flat belly? That’s the question you should be asking yourself. I only work on my stomach maybe once per week because I understand that until I lose the layer of fat surrounding my mid-region by eating the right foods and being in a caloric deficit, my defined abs will stay hidden.

Women always tell me, “Jane, I want to lose weight in my hips, but I don’t want to lose my boobs!”  I get it. We all have “problem areas” that we get fixated on. But I want you to listen very closely here.  It’s not possible to lose weight in one specific part of your body.  The way your weight is distributed is based purely on your genetics. Your fat cell distribution was given to you at birth by your parents. Some of us have a lot of fat cells in our hips, so we carry more weight there. No amount of exercise or even eating right will change your body shape or your body’s fat cell distribution.   

When you lose fat, you lose the fat pretty evenly across your whole body.  You can’t “target” a specific area of your body to lose fat. That’s where we often get discouraged – we’ll eat clean for two weeks, and then we get upset because we don’t have a flat belly yet.  It takes a long time. It takes consistency. Stop losing sleep over the things you cannot control – like your fat cell distribution or your body shape – and focus on the things you CAN control, like what fuel you put in your body. 

What’s the best diet for weight loss?  Should I be eating plant-based, keto, IF?

When it comes to diets for weight loss, most of these methods work – as long as you keep doing them.  That’s the trick. But if you choose a diet that’s not sustainable for you, you won’t be successful. Ask yourself this question, “Can I see myself never eating _____ again for the rest of my life?”  If the answer is yes, then that program might be just right for you. I know that’s probably not the answer you want to hear, but there really is no silver bullet, no magic diet that works for everyone.  So that may mean you have to try different ones until you find one that’s sustainable long-term for your lifestyle. If one doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed or that something’s wrong with you – it means that diet wasn’t going to be sustainable.  Better to figure that out sooner rather than later!

I’m not able to lose weight while traveling, during the holidays…what should I do?

I hear this from a lot of potential clients who will say to me, “Jane, I’m ready to get started with you, but I’m traveling for two weeks, so I need to wait until I’m home to start eating right.”  If you truly want to transform your body, it has to be a sustainable change that you can continue for the rest of your life. When you make a lifestyle change, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are or what’s on your social calendar.  There will never be a time in your life where you don’t have something coming up – a vacation, a holiday, a birthday. Stop using that as a reason to put off getting healthy and transforming your body.  

TL;DR

The most important thing to take away from this article:

The scale is a liar.  It is not an accurate indicator of your weight or fat loss success.  

Remember, your body is an incredibly complex, amazing machine – and you only get one of them during your time on this earth!  Use it well.