The 3 Steps I Took to Lose 5 Pounds in 1 Month
Ok, before I go right into the how, I gotta preface with some context. Context in weight loss matters!
It was June 2023 and I'd been playing LOTS of basketball at that time, more than I was in the gym doing weights. By now I'm pretty locked in to my normal weight range (~195-198), but even so, it's good practice to keep track of yourself. When I hopped on the scale on a whim and read 206, I was puzzled, to say the least. It's true that I tend to gain some weight in my legs when I'm doing more running, but 206 seemed like a bit much.
Now, having the lowest body fat percentage possible and rippling abs all the time has never been very important to me, but I believe if you can look at yourself in the mirror and say "I'm proud of that person," you're doing pretty well. In my case, I could have been prouder of myself, and I figured less weight to carry during basketball is a worthy reason to cut a bit, so I decided I'd go for it. As with any proper goal, I gave myself a quantifiable metric with a specific time frame: Lose 5 pounds in one month.
Here's EXACTLY what I did. I'm gonna be fully transparent about the process because although I'm a personal trainer, I'm first a HUMAN who enjoys life. Nothing wrong with that, though in the interest of integrity, this human's regularly gotta take his own advice. Step 1: Identify the offending habit The very first thing I have a client do when they ask for nutrition advice is write down everything they eat for the next 3 days. Usually after only one or two days I'll hear back "Ohhkayyy, I know what happened. I snack on ___ every day and don't think about it." In my case, I had a habit of taking a walk from the office to a coffee shop for an afternoon snack. I LOVE having an iced latte on a warm day, and you should too! But the problem was that I'd usually also grab some kind of banana bread or cookie with the latte. 1 latte + 1 cookie x 3 or 4 times a week really adds up!
Step 2: Replace the offending habit Obviously giving up lattes cold turkey would be no fun, and I don't actually recommend making drastic changes when it comes to fitness. Most of the time, it's too much too soon, and we're likely to quit pretty quickly. Besides, if one small habit can cause problems over time, one small habit change could fix those problems. Instead of walking to a coffee shop FROM the office, I made espresso and a snack IN the office. For a bit of sweetness I used exactly one serving of oatmilk vanilla creamer in the espresso, and for my snack I had high-protein Greek yogurt with some granola. Again, I suggest to my clients to start with one simple change, so that's how I started for myself. Step 3: Have an accountability system
I told my friends and clients that I had started a "latte diet" to create a kind of performer's accountability: I like the feeling of having an audience because I know I'll do my best.
Writing things down is a helpful way of creating a visual accountability for yourself, so I used a calendar template in a notes app on my iPad and wrote down my weight measurements and any physical activity for that day. I also did my best to take my weight measurements at around the same time of day on the same day every week for consistency. Here's a snippet of what the first couple weeks looked like (excuse the poor iPad handwriting):
You can see there was a lot going on! I wanted to call attention to a few things:
Circled in green is my first week-to-week weight comparison since I started the latte diet. You'll notice my weight actually went up a pound. That can feel alarming for sure, but it's part of the process! The red circle marks a day I got food poisoning from a rogue salad or something. It's important to note because all the physiological factors involved with being sick certainly have an effect on your weight. You can see in blue, by the end of the third week I was approaching the goal even though it was a lighter activity week.
You can use the same 3 steps I did and have success, but I have to mention two caveats: Caveat #1 - I already exercise regularly
This might seem like a no-brainer, but that's my point: I wasn't starting from a point where exercise isn't a habit for me. Through years of practice, it's second nature for me to know when to push hard, when to get some extra rest, and how to be consistent when I don't feel like it. If you haven't built those habits yet, that's ok! It just might take more than 3 steps. Caveat #2 - I didn't have obstacles that were out of my control
By this I mean sometimes hormones or medical conditions or injuries can get in the way and impede progress for a long time when they wouldn't otherwise. If you are working through a condition like this, keep going!
I hope this was a helpful read for you! I shared it in such detail so it wasn't just another "count your calories and move more" article; I wanted you to know exactly what it took for this specific goal. If you're making moves to hit your goals, I'm ALREADY proud of you.