Expert Roundup time! As promised, I set out to get the opinion of three weight loss experts, ask them all the same questions, and give you the answers. Sprinkle in my opinion, and you will get a unique answer to all of your weight loss questions.
I should have creatively named this blog “Three Twitter Experts Weigh in on Weight Loss.” That sounds more catchy. Hind sight is only 20 – 20 after all. I do have some bad news. This is long. As in, hundreds of words per question. Strap in, because you are going to get a lot of information.
What are the 3 Weight Loss Questions?
I sent each expert three weight loss questions. Short and sweet and directly to the point. I also gave no other real instruction. I just told them to answer the questions. It sounds easy enough, but for people who are experts, the easier the problem, the more they had to say.
- What is your number one weight loss tip for someone just starting out trying to lose weight?
- In your opinion, what is the best exercise for fat loss?
- What is the difference between someone who succeeds in losing weight and someone who fails?
These are the most commonly asked questions I receive. The number one tip is an obvious choice. I enquired about the best exercise for fat loss because even experts disagree on what exercise is best. Question three was asked to force our expert panel into give us insight to their experience and compare those who fail, and those who succeed. This should answer questions we have yet to discover yet.
Who are our Experts?
This group of non-expert experts was all hand-picked because they each represent a unique outlook on nutrition, weight loss, and fitness. Each person was hand selected to provide individual answers. Not information I agree with – but they do offer a perspective which is unique and actionable.
Scott Van Hoy of 2 Week to Health. (This is a link to a review I did of his most recent book – a pretty good read if you ask me). The first thing Scott told me was no. See, Scott wanted to answer, but he was busy and did not feel qualified to have me call him an expert. After we got over the ‘just answer my questions, Scott,’ he provided some great information. As a personal trainer, his advice focusses on work with clients.
Real-world solutions for real people. Everything on his website reads as if it comes from him and is practical. Unlike most bloggers who have content missing real scientific backing, Scott’s information is backed by fact. His advice comes across as an expert who was once in your shoes and explains everything like you would expect from a professional. His approach is well-structured and influenced by his time in the military – making it so anyone can follow along. His website is 2 Weeks to Health. You can connect with Scott at on Twitter @2WeeksToHealth.
Mathiah Mckinney of Big Lifts Fitness. Despite how professional Big Lifts Fitness sounds, Mathiah is a regular guy. He is the ‘blogger’ of this roundup. Mathiah is a personal trainer who writes as if he is still starting in fitness. He lives and breathes improving his body. Everything he writes comes across as someone self-reflecting and sharing what he wished he knew when he first started.
Mathiah’s website, Big Lifts Fitness, is a reflection of this. It is a blogger blog he purchased a domain name for. His website is a blog – from feeling to the layout. He also suggests a lot of things I do personally, such as kettlebell training. I have read a lot of fitness blogs, and not many stand out to me as giving good advice. Mathiah does. You can connect with Mathiah @MathiahMckinney.
Andreas Michaelides of Thirsty 4 Health. This is probably the last person you would expect in a round up by me. Not because Andreas is not an expert (He is), it is because our philosophies differ so much. Andreas is a well-educated man who also served in the military. After settling in with a job in the IT field, he developed a life time of bad habits. After reading countless books, he started taking action.
Quitting smoking and eating junk food habits were just the start. Andreas went from a couch potato to a marathon runner, literally. He soon discovered that most media is wrong about weight loss and fitness, and he adopted a plant based diet and fitness routine. Intensive on cardiovascular exercise and eating food in the most natural form, Andreas has a system a lot of people agree with and use. His most recent book is on his website Thisty 4 Health, and you can connect with Andreas @Thirsty4Health.
What is your number one weight loss tip for someone just starting out trying to lose weight?
“Don’t try to change everything at once. Try looking at is this way, have you ever tried driving a friend’s car before? You may have noticed when you hopped in the driver’s seat that the mirrors don’t quite match your height, the radio stations don’t match your style, the seat is so far back that you can’t even reach the pedals, and the gas pedal is so sensitive that you almost rear end the person in front of you. When this happens, do you try to change everything all at once? Probably not. You need to prep the car one step at a time. First, adjust the seat, then the mirrors. After that, you can focus on finding a good radio station or two. Finally, you can start driving and getting used to the different feeling of the car.
If you tried to do all of those at once, your risk of crashing would be significantly greater than if you took it step by step. Weight loss can be treated the same way as driving a friend’s car. When first starting out, you don’t need to change your diet, start an exercise plan, quit watching television, and train for a 5k all at the same time. Habits normally take a minimum of 2 months of continued practice to form, so I recommend spending time forming habits one by one. For example, choose one goal such as to exercise 5 days per week. Work on this single goal for a couple of months, don’t stop until your exercise plan is like the mirror in your friend’s car, once you set the mirror it’ll stay in place until someone moves it. Once you are consistently exercising five days per week and the habit is established, then continue exercising, and add a new goal.
Don’t believe you need to change everything at once. Change one thing at a time, form new habits, and enjoy the weight loss road trip.”
“My number one tip for someone who is just starting to try and lose weight is to find a nutrition strategy that they can use on a daily basis and not feel deprived. This comes with rules like “get your protein consumption, 35% of your calories is a good place to start” and “make sure you’re eating your veggies, 5+ servings per day is adequate.” but beyond that, whether you go low fat, low carb, or balanced matters more on whether or not that is sustainable for you in the long haul. You can’t succeed at something that continually makes you miserable, so if you feel better with carbs in your life, eat carbs and vise versa. If you do this with a caloric deficit, you will lose weight and you’ll be able to sustain this over the long haul.”
“I have a lot of tips, that’s why I wrote the article “42 Weight Loss Tips That Will Change Your Life Forever.” but my number one should be to keep a daily diary of your progress. The reason is that at some point in the future you will get H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely Tired) and you will be considering quitting your weight loss effort. That’s when your diary will come to your rescue, it will show you first hand of what you accomplish thus far and will bring you back on track.”
These answers rock! From keeping a food diary to keeping at it until you succeed, these are great practical advice. Andreas’ advice is routed in fact (It is proven that you are more likely to lose weight if you keep a food diary). Scott and Mathiah shared advice backed by personal experience and what I would tell a client. Solid advice.
In your opinion, what is the best exercise for fat loss?
“I believe that when trying to lose weight you need a variety of workouts that combine both aerobic and anaerobic training. That being said, if I had to choose a single exercise that is essential to weight loss I would choose high intensity interval training (HIIT). There are a few ways exercise can help you lose weight. One way is to burn calories. The more calories you burn, the more likely you are to achieve a calorie deficit that can lead to weight loss. Another way is through lean body mass gains. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body needs to maintain its weight. The last way is called post-exercise oxygen consumption, which allows your body to keep burning calories after completing an intense workout. HIIT is perhaps the best way to maximize all three of the methods that help you lose weight.”
“The best movement for weight loss/calorie burn in my opinion is the Kettlebell Swing. The reason for this is that it gets the heart rate up, and it only takes 5 minutes of swings to get your heart rate up very high. This means that given 15-20 minutes you can burn a very large amount of calories. This also means you’ll be considering the EPOC effect, which is basically the amount of extra oxygen you’ll be using over the course of the next 2-3 days after using Kettlebell Swings. This extra oxygen consumption causes you to burn more calories, which helps you get into the coveted caloric deficit necessary for weight loss.”
“For me, the best exercise for fat loss is running. Running unless you have a serious illness or handicap that does not allow you to run is the best athletic activity.
It’s all advantages and in my opinion zero weaknesses.
You can run whenever you want where ever you want. You only need a pair of running shoes, and a sense of adventure and the world is yours.
Approximately, you burn 100 calories for every mile you run. Of course the intensity of the run, your physique will play a role in how many calories you burn eventually.”
Great advice. I more personally align my beliefs with Mathiah, but the entire fitness community loves HIIT like Scott. It is proven to scorch calories like nobodies business. Andreas brings up an excellent point. Get in exercise when and where you can. You can run anytime you want; you can’t always bring a kettlebell with you.
What is the difference between someone who succeeds in losing weight and someone who fails?
“I recently conducted a survey of people trying to lose weight. I asked them about their diet and exercise habits, and I discovered something surprising. People with gym memberships, low-carbs diets, low-calorie diets, or who are part of a regimented diet program were no more likely to lose weight than someone who didn’t utilize these weight loss techniques. Many of the things we believe we need to do to lose weight are unnecessary. But to learn what we need to do we can turn to the National Weight Loss Registry, an organization that has tracked over 10,000 people who have successfully lost weight. According to their studies, 98% of successful weight losers modified their food intake in some way. 94% increased their physical activity with the most commonly reported exercise being walking. 90% exercise, on average, an hour per day.
By looking at people who have successfully lost and kept off weight, we can determine that to be successful, you need to aim for one hour of exercise every single day. You also need to modify your food intake, which doesn’t necessarily mean going low-carb or low-calorie, or following a diet such as paleo or Mediterranean. I offer the suggestion that when modifying your food intake, begin with eliminating foods from your diet that are high in sugar and that come in a box or a bottle. I’m hesitant to point out processed foods as the culprit since all food is to some degree processed, however, try to eat as many whole foods as possible. So in conclusion, the difference between someone who succeeds in losing weight and someone who fails is an hour of exercise per day, and the choice of whole and healthy food options. Yes, it’s really that simple.”
“The difference between someone who succeeds in losing weight and someone who fails is largely based on whether or not they were able to build a habit in the process. My number one piece of advice was to find a nutrition strategy that is sustainable, and largely because it leads to habit building. Habit building means that you are building yourself up to a point where you don’t really stop to think about what you’re doing. For the sake of weight loss this means that you stop thinking about whether or not you’re going to eat healthy because what you’re going to eat has become a habit and you’re eating in line with your goals. This also means that you’ve gotten into the habit of working out two to three times per week and are doing an hour of movement at least five times per week.
If you can build the habit by building up over time, by using a sustainable program then you’ll feel like you aren’t deprived. Most people who embark on a weight loss journey work from the idea that it requires you to suffer a great deal and change your entire life around (for some this is the case, but still should be built up over time in a sustainable fashion so that success is more likely) when it is usually smaller changes like actually eating breakfast, cutting fast food intake down, drinking more water, and finding a plan that you can continue to use for years and years with minor tweaking. You can’t do this without building up a habit over time because then you don’t eat fast food one week and then the next week that’s all you eat. If you’re building a habit then once it is built, success will largely be built in.”
“From my point of view losing weight is easy. I know a lot of people will disagree with me but in the long run losing weight is easy. For me, the difference between a successful weight loss regime and a failed one is the ability to lose the weight healthily and never get it back.
Personally, I achieved this by adopting a plant based lifestyle as I describe in my book: My Weight Loss Journey: How I lost 44 pounds and never gained them back using a plant based diet.”
Authors Note: You can find a link to Andreas book in the section about our experts.
The common thread is building habits and creating a new life style. I completely agree with the philosophy that you should adopt new healthy habits to lose weight.
The Take Away From The Experts
The biggest take away is to get started! All three experts come from a different place and philosophy, but as you can see, their unedited answers show a lot in common. Why? It works! Start now, track what you get, get active, and build new habits. The weight will drop right off.
Find all the resources used in this article and the scientific basis of all our article at The Science Behind Fitness.