The Truth About Weight Loss

by | Mar 15, 2024

The truth about weight loss. 

I will ask you a question, what do you believe about weight loss? What is the truth about weight loss? I’ll sit right here while you answer that. Picture me looking at you waiting for the answer. A lot of you might be thinking weight loss is hard or weight loss is confusing, and you would not be alone. I presented this topic a couple of weeks ago in my program Self Made, which is a group coaching program.

If you didn’t already know, we obviously do group coaching every Tuesday night, my group meets. We usually have a topic for our Tuesday night calls. Then we also do a group coaching session on Fridays, which is office hours. You can bring anything you want to that office hours call, it could be on food or fitness supplements, feelings, you name it, we coach on it. You can tell us you hate everyone and we will coach on that too. There is nothing too big or too small for any of our coaches or coaching. We also do one on one private personal coaching as well, which makes us a little bit different. So all of our clients get four coaching sessions that happen within the first 97 days. 

When I was ready to do this presentation for the group, the Truth About Weight Loss, I took some time to think about  why I initially wanted this topic. I do know why, but then I really thought about what else I need to share or that I think would be helpful. Not just it’s not hard, it’s not confusing. That’s just a thought, you should think something different, because that’s really not that helpful. 

1) Calorie deficit.

I think first and foremost, a good place to start, a calorie deficit is required. This is where it gets a little tricky. Your brain is going to want to show you evidence because we’ve all been there, where we created a calorie deficit, and then we didn’t lose weight. However, the math and the science all point to the fact that we have to consume less than we need in order to lose body fat, for our bodies to tap into stored fat or stored muscle, some type of stored energy, in order to lose weight. So a calorie deficit is absolutely required. 

2) Calculators.

Speaking of the calorie deficit, and why sometimes weight loss can be confusing. I’m sure you’ve seen these calculators before. I have referenced this before, there are a lot of calculators online. They do ask for your age, height, current weight, goal weight, if you know your body composition, and your activity level. However, these calculators are not your doctor, we don’t have lab tests, we don’t know your actual metabolic rate at all. It’s a guess. 

That’s why sometimes I think it can feel confusing that although I know I need to be in a deficit, what’s the deficit? This is where I think we need to have the time. 

3) There is no correct speed for weight loss.

When I thought about this topic for my group, the one thing I really wanted to impress was that there is no correct or right speed of weight loss. There is no normal. I know we’ve all heard it before this idea that you should lose one to two pounds every single week, that will indicate that you’re doing it right. 

It’s funny because in 20 years of working with women in weight loss, I’ve really only known one woman who lost weight every single week. There was a program I had at my gym location and we did it in person. Which by the way, we do not do anymore for a number of reasons. We did in person weigh-ins and she literally would lose one to two pounds every week. Now do I know what she was up to? Was she fasting the day before the weigh in? Perhaps. I don’t know. By and large, there is not one right rate of weight loss. 

Sometimes weight loss can be or feel slow. I had another client who had a very significant weight loss, about 80 some odd pounds. Along the way in her weight loss she fell in love with working out and then she fell in love with Olympic lifting or powerlifting. She kept going on her journey. I remember her distinctly saying, when people ask me about my weight loss, how I do it or how long it took, I just tell them, I lost half a pound at a time. Sometimes, a quarter pound a week, point two pounds a week. She didn’t lose one to two pounds every week. She didn’t lose 5 or 10 pounds a week. Even though she had weight to lose, it was not fast, but it was still very consistent. She was on a journey of weight loss. 

What is the rush? If I want to lose body fat, I want to keep muscle, I want to have a life, I want to include foods that I like, and I don’t want to be starving or obsessed with food all the time. I want to be able to keep it off, maintain, and sustain this. What is the rush? Why do I have to rush this? 

It’s kind of like an analogy. I want a luxury mansion. It would be fun to build and have all of the bells and whistles, all of the high end upgrades, make it exactly as I want. But no matter what kind of house you have, you know that there’s maintenance. So whether it’s your luxury mansion or it’s a 1950s cape, whatever type of house you’re living in, it’s going to eventually need a new roof. It’s going to get a leak in the basement, you’re going to have to build an addition, you’re going to have to constantly shovel when the snowstorms come or plant new grass. We’re constantly having to maintain and sustain what we have so that it doesn’t fall apart. 

One thing about weight loss is that sometimes it might feel slow. If we can get over this idea that it has to be fast, it has to be a certain amount, we’re going to enjoy the ride, we’re going to get where we want to go. Another client, I did not coach her well on this because I was so shocked. It was a little bit earlier in my coaching career. I had a client and the first week we were together, she lost four pounds, and was pissed off. I couldn’t understand. I’m like, why is that not good? Why aren’t you happy with four pounds? Well, because in the past, I’ve lost more the first week. She might have. We can lose a lot of water weight, it depends on what we have been eating. It depends on a lot of things. She had it in her mind what the first week had to be on the scale. 

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, I would challenge you to figure out what it is that you believe about how fast or how slow weight loss needs to be. If you’ve ever identified as a slow loser, this is for you. There is no definition of slow loser, that is us just judging how fast or how slow we think we are compared to other people or compared to the norm or how it should be. If there’s one thing you take away from today’s podcast I hope it is that when you catch yourself thinking this isn’t happening fast enough, or I’m just a slow loser, remind yourself that you’re still losing weight. It is weight loss, a loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter if it’s two pounds at a time. Rather than quit and get so frustrated. Why don’t you just keep going. 

There are always tweaks that you could make. I think some of the additional items here might help you understand where you might want to go next. If you feel like maybe weight loss is too slow. If it’s not happening, maybe you actually have reached a plateau. I want to tell you most of my clients who say they’re plateauing are not plateauing. It’s just a matter of not being consistent. 

4) We don’t want to stay in a deficit forever.

You don’t want to stay in this deficit place forever. You don’t want to keep cranking down your calories more and more. Sometimes we are starting at 1200 or 1300 calories and thinking oh geez, I gotta go to 1100 calories, I gotta go to 900 calories, I gotta go less than less than less. That’s not necessarily true. Sometimes we need a diet break, sometimes. I’m not saying a diet break is to go to 5000 calories a day. 

To always be in a deficit, always trying to crank it down, exercise more, do all the things. That’s when our bodies will adapt because that’s what bodies do. Our bodies aren’t going to prioritize fat burning or fat loss. Our bodies are going to want to try to stabilize. Over time, if your weight loss journey is a year or two or three in the making, this is really important. Otherwise we can get really stuck in this pattern all week long, I’m not going to eat very much, I’m going to be very strict, everything’s gonna be very perfect. Then either on purpose, or by accident, I overeat and I binge on weekends. I just keep repeating that cycle and I can’t seem to break it. If I do, I’m going on these really restrictive diets for a month or three months or six months, only to regain that lost weight again. We want to be able to look at six months to a year. What amount of months are we really going to dedicate to being in that deficit? Then are there months that we are going to try and maintain that weight? Because then it makes losing the rest of the weight easier. 

5) There is a difference between weight loss and fat loss. 

Sometimes we throw the baby out with the bathwater, and we don’t care. I just want the scale to go down, I just want my stomach to feel flat, or I just want to fit into the pants. We can do all that, but we can also lose muscle mass. That does happen when we try to stomp too hard on the gas and we try to lose weight too fast. We try to be in a really low deficit that has our body consuming just as much muscle as it does body fat.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the scale that we ignore this thing called muscle. We want to have muscle because we want to have a metabolic rate. A lot of times, what we’re looking for in weight loss is to also have muscle tone. To have a certain aesthetic to our weight loss. 

6) Don’t just make the scale go down.

You also tap into fat stores and lose body fat, not muscle mass. Sometimes we get so caught up in weight loss on a scale that we miss the big picture. For me, especially working with women who I want to help be healthy and have a good metabolism and not create more problems, is that we want to do weight loss in a smart way. We want to lose body fat as much as we can and keep as much muscle mass. Sometimes that doesn’t show up on the scale. 

7) Losing weight will not fix your life. 

It’s not better over there. I’m not happier over there. I won’t be magically transported to a fairy tale when I’m at my ideal weight or my high school weight or I fit into the size double zero jeans. Losing weight might fix some health problems, might make your joints feel better, might bring your A1C down. 

There are a lot of great things that can happen when you have less body fat. But we have to work on all kinds of things no matter what weight we are. We have relationships, families, spouses, careers, finances goals. You have things that come up. You have other people in your life that you can’t control. You have a lot of circumstances that you cannot control. Losing weight is something that we can control but it doesn’t necessarily make other people like us. It doesn’t necessarily bring us the man of our dreams or the job of our dreams or the house of our dreams or the life of our dreams. We have to create all of that no matter what. 

We’ve all lost weight and then put it back on because there are other pressures that happen when you do lose weight. People start noticing you, looking at you, wanting to get to know you, touch you, love you, ask you questions. It’s a lot easier when people leave you alone. If this has ever happened to you, I think it’s really important to recognize that losing weight is not the end all be all and to be really clear as to why you want to lose weight. 

What is it that you want? It’s totally okay for you to want to lose weight because you want to look a certain way or you want to feel a certain way. It doesn’t have to be, I need to lose weight so I’ll live a long time and I’ll see my grandchildren, unless that’s truly what you want.You don’t care what size clothes you wear. You don’t care what your body looks like, it’s okay. There is not one right answer when it comes to weight loss. But losing weight is not a fix for everything else, it does not make everything come into your life that you want or everything stay out of your life that you don’t want. 

8) Long term weight loss will be predicted by your ability to be consistent. 

The truth about weight loss is that consistency does not equal perfection. Consistency is kind of just doing the daily things over and over. A lot of the things aren’t sexy, aren’t exciting, and aren’t social media worthy. You’re not going to go on Facebook and be like, I brushed my teeth today. I brushed my hair today. Which are two things I may or may not have done today. Just basic daily things: I got my steps in, I drink water, I strength trained, I eat protein. It’s just doing the little things over and over that add up. Our brains are going to make a big deal. Like that’s so hard to do all the time. 

It just takes practice, I don’t have to drink a gallon of water to drink water, I don’t have to get in 200 grams of protein to get in protein. I just have to work on having a little bit more than I did yesterday. It is just compounded over time. If you find yourself with the full body, ugh, when I say the word consistency, you’re not alone. The truth about weight loss is that consistency wins. It’s not perfection, it’s just being consistent. That’s it. Don’t make it a big deal. If you’re having a lot of thoughts and feelings. If you’re triggered by that word. Ask yourself why? What are you making it mean to be consistent? 

9) You can change your metabolism. 

You can not overnight, not with a flick of a switch and not with just one supplement, or one regimen. It takes time. You have to figure out;

  • Is something going on? 
  • Do you have some type of inflammation, injury, or metabolic issue? 
  • Do you have something going on with your hormones? 
  • Maybe your thyroid hormones?
  • Maybe cortisol?
  • Maybe you’re very stressed out? 
  • Maybe you do not sleep? 
  • Maybe you don’t eat enough? 
  • Maybe you don’t eat enough protein?
  • Maybe your digestion is not good? 

It’s going to take some time to figure out because you’re not going to be able to do it all.

Figure out, okay, what is happening? Sometimes we think how we are or how we feel is normal. It’s normal to be tired all the time, to have brain fog, to have dry skin, to feel cold all the time or hot all the time or lose your hair, but it’s not. Those are signs that perhaps there is something going on with your metabolism and it’s not a quick fix to fix your metabolism. You know what will not fix your metabolism is eating less and less and less and less. Eating Less nutrition, eating less real food, eating more restrictive types of diets and things like that will definitely not fix your metabolism.

Sometimes it’s very unsexy to slowly but surely eat more food to slowly but surely lift more weights. It’s just a matter of time. Ignoring certain things or not speaking to your doctor or not taking into account or not being consistent with ways to take care of yourself will not repair your metabolism. If you’re over 40 and especially over 50, it does become a little bit more serious that you get more into strength training, that you do take care of yourself in certain ways, you might need supplements to help you actually pull calcium and build back up your bone. There are things that you do have to pay attention to. Because otherwise right our metabolism is not going to repair itself. It just does not.

10) You can lose weight eating any kind of food. 

That is the truth. Is there some nuance in there? Of course, we all could agree there’s a big difference between Cheetos and chicken. There’s a difference between real food and processed food. There’s a difference between junk food. There’s a difference between just eating like a three year old or a five year old or a 10 year old. It’s okay also to eat your favorite candy. It is okay to have that favorite wine or what have you.

I think if you’re going to lose weight and keep it off, it is just figuring out;

  • What is the majority of your intake going to look like? 
  • Are there foods that in your mind you’re telling yourself are good or bad, or you’re good or bad for eating them? 
  • That makes our relationship with food not easy? 

That’s sometimes why we think weight loss feels so hard.

Automatically we think we’d have to give up everything, that we cannot have foods that we enjoy. That we’re going to have to restrict and lock ourselves in the house and never go to a social occasion and have to bring our food everywhere. There might be times that you do choose to bring your food places, those are all decisions you can make. The truth is, you can lose weight eating any kind of food. 

11. Data over feelings.

Data is greater than feelings when it comes to the truth about weight loss. I don’t know if you follow this guy, Layne Norton. He’s really into research, which I like. He is into the data. He debunks a lot of the people who go on Instagram and Facebook and have products and books and things they sell where they’re trying to tell you, the world’s worst food is broccoli, or the world’s worst food is XYZ. He is very good about debunking a lot of this kind of nonsense, which can make weight loss feel really confusing. He has a shirt that says, “data is greater than feelings.” I believe that too. 

When you feel like weight loss is;

  • Hard,
  • Confusing, 
  • Too slow,
  • Not happening,
  • Not for you,
  • Eluding you,
  • A problem, 
  • All of that, 

Get into the data points you might have. 

This is why I think writing things down is very helpful, and more than just the scale. 

12. Different data points that you might track.

You don’t have to do them all. Do the ones that you can be consistent with. Even if just for the next 30 days, I’m going to track XYZ. I don’t have to track all of this the rest of my natural life.

A food journal. This is one of those kinds of easy, doesn’t have to be precise. You could also put other things in the journal about how you felt that day. It gives you more room to write. It’s not necessarily like macros, not like having you stuck to your phone or looking for an app typing into small places. But just a food journal. It could be a food journal that you record as you go or if you’re doing any type of planning. Then you can look back when you feel like weight loss is hard or it’s not working or the scale isn’t going down or I must be doing it wrong. Do you even have a food journal to look at what happened over the last week? What happened over the last 30 days?

A workout journal. I’m a big proponent if you’re going into the gym or even in your own home gym, having a notebook. If I did a dumbbell Chest Press;

  • Was that a flat bench? 
  • Was it an incline bench? 
  • How much weight did I lift? 
  • How many reps? 
  • How many sets? 

I want to know all of this and I just keep track.

I probably referenced my workout journals before. I do have a bunch of old ones that I can’t bear to throw up because they bring me such joy. Such great dopamine to look at them and go look at all those workouts I did. The way I track is a super simple, easy way to track okay, it’s not complicated. You don’t need a spreadsheet but then you can look back over the workout. Like oh gee, I haven’t gone to the gym in three weeks. Well that might explain it or I haven’t actually lifted any heavier weights in three months. Give yourself that data. 

Habit Tracker. What about a habit tracker? Something really simple.They sell these things, we have them and I think we have a bunch of Self Made and the Society habit trackers. Where you’re just filling in like a tally mark of how many eight ounce glasses of water or if you drink a half gallon of water or you’re tracking your sleep. Just so that you can accumulate that visual of looking at all the days I strung together where I did the things. 

Photos. What about photos? Do you have photos? Do you take a photo of yourself every single week? I know you’re like, nope. Photos are a hard one for people. If you’re going to use the scale every week, why not snap a photo on that day? 

Measurements. Why not take measurements? Maybe it’s just a waist measurement, or hip and waist, or a hip, waist and chest or hip, waist and thigh. You don’t have to measure every single body part when you do measurements. I don’t know that you want to do them every week. Maybe you do them every two weeks or every month.

Clothing. Do you have some piece of clothing that you’re trying to get into? Maybe hold out that pair of jeans, put them on a hanger and hang them somewhere where you see them. Then every single week, try them on. Take a picture. 

Mirror. What about a mirror? This is one that’s interesting to me, because I think sometimes we get so down on ourselves that it’s hard to look in the mirror. This might be starting with photos and as you go along in your journey, you will get a little bit better with being objective in the mirror.

The scale. If you’re going to weigh yourself every day or once a week or every other week or once a month or every quarter, write it down. It’s a data point just like trackers, macro trackers, calorie trackers, that kind of stuff. 

I’ll probably do a whole podcast on macro tracking because I think it’s interesting, and not necessarily interesting for all the right reasons. It is common for people to think I need to track macros, I need to see the calories in order for this to work. What it comes down to is just being consistent and really being in touch with your hunger. 

You can definitely use a tracker, they have lots of them, they’re free. Maybe you commit to a full week or 14 days or 30 days, where you really focus on tracking as closely as possible, so that you do have actual data points and can’t go on the feeling that I feel like it’s not working. I feel like it’s hard. I feel like I don’t know enough. I feel like I need to know more. I have to do more research. Do I actually have any data to compare this to body composition? 

There’s a lot of different types of body composition trackers, I like this as a benchmark. If I’m going to track body composition, like, what is my body fat percentage? This does not change every week. If it does change every week, then I would question the type of data that it’s really producing. By and large, body composition is going to change, at best, once a month. For most of my clients, if they’re going to do body composition, I probably do it four times a year. Maybe you could convince me to do it six times a year, but definitely not every week. It is something that you could track as well because we do want to build muscle and burn body fat. 

Then last but not least, there is an acronym and I love this. This is not mine. This is Sam Miller Science Shreds. This is an acronym for sleep, hunger, recovery, energy, digestion and stress. This would be something great for a journal. If you’re going to keep a food journal or any kind of journal, on a daily basis you could assess on a scale of 1 to 10:

  • How was your sleep or your sleep quality? 
  • How many hours did you sleep? 
  • Hunger? 
  • How recovered does your brain feel?
  • How recovered does your body feel? 
  • Are you trying to push your body to hard energy? 
  • Do you feel energetic? 
  • Do you feel vibrant? 
  • Do you have a lot of energy or do you feel tired, sluggish? 
  • Do you have regular bowel movements? 
  • Do you get gassy? Bloated? 
  • What is happening after you eat certain food?
  • What’s your stress level like?

All of that stuff matters. Although it’s not precise data, because it is you sort of putting a value on it. It gives you certain markers. 

If I’m going to track things for the next three months. The goal would be, I’d like to have more sleep, better quality, sleep longer, and sleep time. I’d like to not necessarily feel so hungry or that I feel like I’m not eating when I’m not hungry. I want to be more in touch with my real hunger and so on. There’s a lot of different data points. 

13) Not gaining and losing body fat overnight. 

If you want to lose weight, your data is going to be more reliable than feelings. Feelings are going to come and go. If you’ve ever had this, I feel fat. Maybe you will feel less fat the next day. Sometimes, when you put on clothes, they feel a little weird or tight. Maybe you’re holding more water for whatever reason. I want you to know something. The truth about weight loss is that we don’t gain fat overnight. We just don’t. Even if you got on the scale yesterday, and today it was up four pounds, you did not gain four pounds of body fat. You’re holding four pounds of water for whatever reason. Probably because you’re so stressed out about the scale. I’m sorry, I had to say that. 

This scale can change quite a bit, but those are usually water adjustments. That’s why I think these other data points can be so much more helpful so that you will start to believe that weight loss is just a process. Weight loss is just a matter of time when you actually can focus on things that move the proverbial needle on the scale. 


Bonnie Lefrak is a Life & Body Transformation Expert and Founder of Self Made, a program designed to help you tackle the physical aspects of health and weight loss as well as the beliefs and thoughts that drive our habits and behaviors. It is her goal to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities.

Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet – it is about MUCH more than that. Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on.

Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience. Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line. Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out.

By addressing both the physical and mental aspects of dieting and weight loss, she has coached thousands of women ages 30-55+ from all over and helped them ditch the mindsets that are holding them back, achieve permanent weight loss, and get the bangin’ body of their dreams.

Bonnie is an expert at Demystifying weight loss. She helps you u****k your diet brain. She is on a mission to help women love themselves, to find PEACE in the process of losing weight, taking care of themselves, and leveraging the power they do have to become who and want they want right now.

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