For those of you who know me, you’ve known that the last few years have been a journey through weight loss for me. I’ve spent countless time making decisions with cumulative outcomes that have made me the athlete that I am today.  Slowly, over the course of the last few years, I have experienced every aspect of doing away with a large portion of my excess energy storage to lose about 45 lbs.

Experiencing weight loss, and speculating on how it should be done are two very different monsters – both of which I’ve formed a love/hate relationship with.  For this post, we will discuss the experience of weight loss, and some key components for success.

A Plan

There are numerous strategies for losing weight – too many to count.  Some are popular, some are not, and trends come and go. What matters about strategy is that a) you have one, and b) it is evidence-based, practical, and specific to your goals.


Along with your plan comes the fact that you must make changes.  As mentioned above, you can think of your current body composition as a cumulative outcome of every decision regarding nutrition and training that you’ve made up to this point.  Do you want more of the same outcome, or do you want to be different?

Long Haul

The changes that you make are not just for today and tomorrow.  Don’t think of them as something you do until you reach your goal.  It may be helpful to think of them as permanent (although they may not be), as you really need to change the way that you live your life to undo what you’ve done.

If your plan requires you to make huge changes for a short period of time, it probably isn’t evidence based, and it probably isn’t going to give you the long term results that you want.  At some point, you can shift your focus to maintaining your weight, but cross that bridge when you get there.  Don’t try to project or predict when it should happen.

You need to be prepared to commit to your strategy for a long time. Consistency is imperative to results, and when applied over time the effect is exponential.  A couple of slips per week can be enough to undo your progress.

Make it Taste Good

Necessary for the long haul is attainability. You probably love food. I love food, it’s ok – admit it. Up to this point, you’ve probably made a lot of choices for taste because nothing is better than food that just tastes good. You need to make your strategy taste good, and it’s totally possible. Get creative, get out the pots and pans, and put in the work if you want to be different.

Get Tough

Everyone eats. Is it our genetics or our environment that has shaped the way that we eat?  In the context of how you think about weight loss, it doesn’t matter. Don’t blame your genetics, don’t blame your environment. The bottom line is that you just need be tougher than all of it. You must be prepared to consistently adhere to your strategy for the long haul; toughness is crucial. In my experience, this is both the essence and secret to weight loss that many people just seem to overlook.

It’s Hard for a Reason

Metabolizing your body’s energy stores for a long period of time shouldn’t be comfortable. It shouldn’t be easy. If it were that way for everyone, humans would not be the species that we are today. There was a time when there wasn’t food production for the masses, and your ancestors who were comfortable losing large portions of their energy stores for extended periods of time probably died before they could reproduce.

That means that people who were both physically and psychologically more resistant to fat loss were more likely to withstand the tests of famine and live to reproduce. Consequently, today, you are fine tuned to hang on to the food you throw down, and you can use all of the science available to figure out the best way to beat that. You still won’t overcome this if you don’t have the will power to do it.

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Matt Chatlaong
Associate Coach
Data Driven Athlete