An expert answers the most common weight-loss questions you've always wondered.

In the world of weight loss, there are questions from clients that come up again and again. Here are the most common ones that may help to explain why you may not be getting the results on the scales you have been expecting.

Why does it take so long to lose weight?

Basically, the human body does not like to lose weight, rather it is programmed to build and store. As such, mobilising fat stores, especially fat stores that have been present for some time, takes time but also plenty of energy. And, the fewer the kilos you have to lose, the longer it can take.

When people lose weight quickly, it tends to be a whole lot of water weight and also the stores of glycogen found in the muscles as opposed to fat. The average person with 10kg or less to lose at most will be able to lose ½ -1kg a week and as such it will take at least four weeks to drop 5kg and close to 3 months to lose 10kg or a little more, at best.

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Why do I need to eat more to keep losing weight?

When you begin a new weight-loss regime, it is the sudden, dramatic reduction in overall calorie, carb and fat intake that sees relatively quick changes on the scales, as extra fluid weight and glycogen stores in the muscles are rapidly depleted. Over time though, as the body starts to burn through fat stores, the body’s cells actually become more efficient at burning energy. As such, you will actually need more calories to continue burning fuel efficiently.

In addition, if you are exercising and gaining muscle mass, over time metabolic rate will increase again meaning the body requires more calories to function. This is the reason you may begin a weight-loss program with just 1000-1200 calories but long-term need to increase it when you find your weight-loss results slow and your appetite increases.



I am exercising every day, and only eating 1200 calories, why am I not losing weight?

Most likely the difference between calorie output via exercise is far greater than the number of calories you are consuming. For example, if you are burning 600-800 calories at the gym, walking 10,000 steps and then only eating 1000-1200, there is too great a differential and the body is likely to be in starvation mode.

To avoid this, keep your calorie output and input differential to 400-500 calories at most to avoid this scenario. In most cases, this simply means you need to eat an extra small meal of 200-300 calories to compliment your extra training.

Is an early breakfast really that important?

Unless you are adopting an intermittent fasting regime, the earlier you eat in the morning, the better it is for your metabolism. The reason we feel hungrier when we eat early is that our metabolism has increased slightly. Eating early (before 8am) helps to shift our calorie intake forward; helps to control our appetite later in the day and ensures we focus on our nutrition early in the day.

Can I drink alcohol and still lose weight?

It depends really on what you eat when you are drinking. Alcohol as a nutrient is metabolised preferentially to carbs, proteins and fats and as such, when we eat and drink at the same time, the food we are consuming is more likely to be stored. As such when you have several alcoholic drinks along with a burger, the burger calories are much more likely to be stored.

The average person needs to limit their alcohol intake to just 1-2 drinks at most, and if they are also eating fat metabolism will be far less likely. As such, the fewer days you drink overall when your goal is weight-loss, the better.

This article was first published on Susie Burrell’s blog Shape Me.