A personal trainer laments the unstructured quick-fix approach to weight loss

“Be careful what you wish for.

A lot of my clients tell me that one of their main goals is to lose weight. So I say to them “how would you feel if you lost 10kg, but you looked the same in the mirror, your clothes fit you same way, you were still chronically tired and lethargic and still had flabby bits in places you don’t like?”

The response is usually “not very happy”. Conversely, most people would be delighted to look better, have less flab, fit into their clothes better (or fit into better clothes), have more energy and be happier.

That is the main reason I like to refocus people’s goals onto what they really want to change in their lives.

Weight can also be a very fickle measure of progress.

A lot of people like to weigh themselves every single day, and go on an emotional roller coaster as their weight varies up and down. Put on half a kilo? Disaster! In reality, that 500g is quite possibly just the result of a different fluid load in the body.

Been training hard for a month and the scales haven’t moved? Catastrophe! What may have really happened is that you have lost 1kg of body fat, but put on 1kg of muscle.

Don’t throw away the scales, just put what they tell you in context. We sometimes get so caught up in our desire to lose weight that we can’t see the positives.

You can also measure progress through girth measurements (the distance around your hips or stomach for example), skin fold measurements, clothing size or fit, or fat percentage. Without going into detail, each of these has its positives and negatives.

Personally, I think one of the nicest ways to measure your progress is through the positive comments of your friends and family.

If you work at it, the results and compliments WILL come.”

With acknowledgement and thanks to Jeremy Rea, personal trainer, of Sissu Fitness Studio, Melbourne.

One common way to assess whether or not you fall within a healthy weight for your height is through the Body Mass Index (BMI). If you’d like to know more about this, and how to calculate it for yourself, please see here.

And if you would like some practical tips on losing some of that unwanted body fat, you can learn more here.