Beginning with wrestling and soccer, Jake has been immersed in fitness nearly his whole life. Personal training and studying exercise in college were the natural progression of that passion. Competing locally in bodybuilding and powerlifting, Jake currently studies exercise at university and does online coaching at Jackalstrength.com.
People come up to me all the time to say, “I tried (insert any weight-loss strategy) and it didn’t work.”
I can tell from their opening line that the problem isn’t their diet strategy; the problem is their attitude.
There’s a huge difference between weight loss and weight management. Weight management involves gaining weight, losing weight, and maintaining weight over long periods of time.
Weight loss is not as easy as your favorite Instagram model makes it seem. Yeah, weight loss can be boiled down to eating less and moving more (if you don’t care about health, performance, or appearance), but it should come as no surprise that creating specific physiological responses in a highly complicated organism involves more than two factors.
If you ate nothing but ice cream for the next seven days, you would lose weight. Most of that weight loss would be water, some of it would be lean tissue (muscle mass), and a tiny fraction might be fat. You might enjoy your first 2 meals, but it wouldn’t take long before you felt like trash. You’d look bloated and sick, performance would be pitiful, and health… um… you can imagine… would be nonexistent.
So weight loss is complicated. So what?
Weight management is a skill. Just like learning to play the guitar, learning to ride a bike, or learning to work a new job. Weight management takes learning! It’s a continual process, not a binary outcome.
I’ve run into a handful of older (60+) individuals who proudly proclaim to me that they’re still the same weight that they were in their twenties. This statement is… actually a little bit disturbing to me; because they say it like it’s a positive thing.
First off, at no point does the number on the scale indicate health, happiness, or long-term well-being. We can pull lots of statistics from things like BMI, but at the end of the day you can be overweight and healthy, or normal weight and unhealthy. Does weight management matter to your overall health? Undoubtedly. Does that mean that weighing 150lbs your entire life is important? Absolutely not.
Secondly, over the (roughly) 80 year lifespan of a human, weight will fluctuate significantly. From birth, when body weight is measured in ounces, to your deathbed, where literally no one cares what you weigh, there’s a massive amount of fluctuation. Injuries (when being heavier is often better), illnesses (where being lighter generally helps), high-performance moments (where performance is all that matters), and low performance moments (where what you weigh does literally nothing to change your life) ALL have a place in a normal lifespan.
Your weight SHOULD change as you go through life!
Being in control of those changes is what really matters.
Weight management is a continuum. It’s a skill to be developed, not a box to be checked.