I recently wrapped up a successful "6 week winter weight loss challenge" with my outdoor training group. Each client had a personalised eating plan, based on the amount of weight they wanted to lose, their activity level- intentional training sessions and day to day activity (NEAT), their dietary preference, (including vegetarian, plant based, low fat, low carb or balanced), and how many times a day they prefer to eat. I used software from Precision Nutrition (PN) to calculate their daily needs according to their goals. It gave them their calorie intake but more importantly portions per day according to hand size. This concept worked very well. For example they knew they had 6 palms (not including fingers) of protein, 6 fists of vegetables, 4 cupped hands of carbs, and 4 thumbs of fat to eat per day. They had a table where they marked this off daily to stay on track.
They didn't start out on the lowest possible calories, we had room to move according to the scale- if there was a downward trend over time we stayed exactly the same for adherence, if the scale wasn't moving, we took 1-2 serves out from either fat or carbs.
We had weekly mini challenges (or focuses) along the way to stay connected and motivated.
The final results:
6 weeks is a perfect amount of time for a fat loss cut for adherence
The average weight loss was 2.5kg over 6 weeks, with the maximum being 4kg
Combining strength training 2-4 times per week (specifically more of a HIIT style training) to this diet produced a high number of centimetres lost particularly around the waist and hips. The top 3 lost a whopping average total of 22cm, and the winner lost 24cm total.
Everyone felt more satiety eating whole foods- specifically eating more protein and increasing their volume of vegetables in each main meal. If they stuck to the eating plan they did not feel hungry.
They focused on playing the diet "game" instead of going to battle/war with their food.
If they slipped up, they went back to the plan the next meal.
Conditions were not ideal- it was winter, cold, we were in a lockdown with kids being home schooled, but they did it anyway, to the best of their abilities.
The more people who participated in group training, the group weekly mini challenges, and keeping connected with me; had a higher level of success.
The people that focused on their failures or slip ups, instead of trouble shooting or sharing with the group did not have as much success, and got stuck in that headspace for too long. This is why staying connected to a coach/group is so important in this process.
They had a plan post diet- either go to maintenance and increase calories slightly or continue their fat loss phase for a another 6 weeks.
They understand to keep the results they must continue doing what they were doing both training and eating like an adult.
If I was going to change one thing, I would add another check in (1-1) at Week 3, to keep everyone onboard and focused until the end. Week 3 is when people start to realise that dieting is not so fun, and you have to do the work- plan, prepare and exercise daily to achieve the results, instead of letting life and emotions get in the way.
I am a qualified Precision Nutrition Coach, and I firmly believe if you are training and have goals of fat loss/muscle gain or body re-composition, then combining nutrition coaching with a training plan is the only way to achieve and maintain successful results. Contact me to see if we are a good fit, either in person or online and let's get to work!