The Most Common Fat Loss Mistake –  short-term strategy v long-term strategy

The most common fat loss mistake –  short-term strategy v long-term strategy


‘Four-week shred’, ‘eight weeks to abs’, ’30 days to your summer body’ – sound familiar? These are just a few of the ‘diet plans’ I’ve seen advertised over social media. Some, I must admit, I fell foul to in my teens.

Without taking these cleverly named plans into account, I find that most people’s mindsets are driven around a short-term strategy when trying to get results; one that is flawed from the onset as it entails a very restrictive and dramatic approach.

Let’s explore why having a long-term strategy will yield better, more sustainable results.




“I’m on a diet” is a phrase I hear all the time. And it is nearly always linked with failure. Why? Because that term, and the ideology behind it, always has an end date.

Even the ones I mentioned initially that don’t literally have an end date will still eventually collapse because they dramatically change and restrict your normal daily eating habits overnight.




The term ‘it’s a lifestyle’ may sound cheesy, but it is actually the right mentality to have. I have successfully practised and preached this long-term approach throughout my time working in the fitness industry.

Why? Because it’s flexible and does not have an end date. Nothing is off the menu in terms of food. Instead, there is an understanding of calorie and protein intakes that are specific to you. These don’t even have to be hit perfectly and can occasionally be disregarded if on holiday or out eating with friends.




Homeostasis is this body’s ability to maintain stability. Our body is constantly working to maintain its homeostasis, and anything that dramatically disrupts it is amended as quickly as possible. Because short terms diets generally involve drastically cutting calories, they disrupt our body’s homeostasis.

 A Study by the University of Colorado investigated the biological response of short-term dieting. They found that the body does not have time to adjust the brain’s appetite to match the drastic drop in calories. Consequently, a less invasive long-term approach (i.e. only a small calorie deficit of 10-15%) was more sustainable, as the bodies homeostasis wasn’t dramatically disrupted.




We cannot shortcut the process of fat loss. It is something our bodies ancestral genetics simply will not let us do. Therefore, you must have foresight when wanting to improve your body shape. It is flexibility that allows your journey to be long-term, as it isn’t as restrictive and doesn’t create negative perceptions of certain foods.


A study by Louisiana state university looking into the success rate of different dieting strategies found ‘a strong relationship between flexible dieting and the absence of overeating, lower body mass and lower levels of depression and anxiety.’

Basically, participants with a flexible approach lost weight and did so whilst being happy – because they could still eat their favourite foods, just in moderation!




Throughout my career working as a personal trainer, I have come to appreciate the importance of how our brains react to change. And that too much change in one go ultimately leads to failure.

Studies have shown that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, depending on its severity, for something to become a habit. We can safely say that overhauling one’s lifestyle is severe, so will be at the upper end of their findings.

For this reason, the approach I have taken whilst dealing with clients is to make gradual changes. We deal with the bigger issues first. As one thing becomes a habit, we will then implement the second biggest issue, and so on.

I recommend you take this approach when starting out on your fitness journey. The long-term success my online and gym floor clients have had due to this approach has been excellent. So much so that it is now ingrained into their everyday lives.



The Big Question

The question you should ask yourself when deciding which approach you’re taking is:
“Can I see myself doing this year after year?”
If you can’t, then it’s a short-term diet. And I recommend that you rethink.




My time in the industry, my knowledge of the human body, and a library of studies all point to the same outcome; to successfully get results and maintain them you must have a long-term strategy.

Remember, no single food is the cause of weight gain. Not bread, not chocolate, and not alcohol. What is? A long-term over-consumption of an individual’s maintenance calories.

Consistency is what you should be striving for, not perfection. Like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race. Visit the membership page of my website if you would like to start your journey with me, whether it be as an online or gym floor client. 

All the love,


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