"I've Tried Everything."

The Ultimate Guide for Personal Training Clients

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve uttered those four demoralizing words more times than you can count: “I’ve tried everything” when it comes to weight loss.

Your voice heavy with frustration, your eyes clouded by defeat, you’ve been through the wringer of fad diets, intense exercise regimens, and restrictive eating plans.

Yet no matter how diligently you adhered to each new program, the number on the scale refused to budge – or worse, it crept back up, erasing any hard-fought progress.

For you, the path to better health and a healthier weight has felt like a relentless uphill battle, riddled with setbacks and disappointments at every turn. With each fresh attempt, you allowed that familiar spark of hope to reignite, only to have it extinguished by the harsh reality of little to no results.

It’s a vicious cycle that’s left you questioning whether you’ll ever achieve your goals.

The frustration is palpable, a weight that bears down heavily on your shoulders. You’ve felt the emotional lows, the crushing disappointment of feeling like you’ve given your all, only to come up short time and time again.

And you’re tired – bone-tired – of riding that rollercoaster of hope and despair.

There is Hope

As you sit here reading this, you may be thinking to yourself, “But I’ve tried every diet and weight loss program under the sun. What makes this any different?” That feeling of resignation and frustration is all too familiar, a heavy weight that has likely settled on your shoulders after countless failed attempts to reshape your body and reclaim your health.

But here’s the thing – you haven’t tried everything. Not even close. The path to better health and sustainable weight loss is vast, with an endless array of potential routes, each one tailored to your unique needs, preferences, and lifestyle. To claim that you’ve exhausted all of these possibilities is simply untrue.

You see, the traditional approach to weight loss often forces people into rigid, one-size-fits-all programs that fail to account for the complexities of human behavior, psychology, and individual circumstances. It’s a narrow, cookie-cutter mentality that disregards the fact that we are all delightfully different – with distinct schedules, food preferences, family obligations, and personal goals.

Your coach is here to guide you along your own unique and sustainable weight loss path, one that harmonizes with your authentic self rather than forcing you to contort into an ill-fitting mold.

Along the way, you’ll uncover a wealth of knowledge and strategies that extend far beyond the tired dichotomy of “eat less, move more.”

You’ll delve into the fundamental science of calorie deficits, exploring a multitude of personalized approaches to creating that all-important energy imbalance. But you’ll also dive deep into the psychological and behavioral underpinnings that have likely sabotaged your efforts in the past and undercut your efforts at maintaining weight loss, arming you with the tools to confront and overcome these patterns.

With the unwavering support of your coach, you’ll soon discover that the possibilities for lasting weight loss and acheiving a healthy weight are truly endless.

What About So-and-So Plan?

You see, what may have worked for a friend, family member, or even that Instagram influencer you follow religiously, may not be the right fit for you. We’re all individuals, with distinct schedules, food tastes, family obligations, and goals.

A one-size-fits-all approach is rarely, if ever, the answer.

But here’s the key: there are better approaches out there, ones that will work for you, that you can actually implement into your life seamlessly, and that you may even find enjoyable.

And when you hit the trifecta – an approach that’s effective, sustainable, and genuinely satisfying – that’s when the magic happens.

That’s the recipe for not just short-term success, but lasting, sustainable weight loss and better overall health. A 360 Wellness certified coach can guide you through this entire process so you see the weight loss and the healthy weight you want.

This ultimate guide is here to help you navigate that vast network of potential paths, steering you towards the one that’s perfectly tailored to your unique self.

From unlocking the simple science of calorie deficits – the fundamental cornerstone of weight loss – to understanding the deeper psychological drivers behind your behaviors, you’ll gain the tools to craft a personalized approach that sets you up for the lasting success you’ve been striving for.

Because at the end of the day, lasting weight loss isn’t about forcing yourself into a mold that doesn’t fit. It’s about finding the path that aligns seamlessly with who you are, one that empowers you to make sustainable changes that enhance your life, rather than detract from it. Your coach or personal trainer can collaborate with and guide you to your successful weight loss.

There is a Common Thread

While the paths to lasting weight loss may be vast and varied, there is one common thread that runs through every successful approach: creating a caloric deficit.

At its core, weight loss boils down to a simple equation – consuming fewer calories than your body burns. This creates a caloric deficit that forces your body to tap into its stored fat reserves for energy, resulting in that number on the scale trending downwards.

Sounds straightforward enough, right? Yet anyone who has attempted to lose weight knows that in practice, creating and sustaining a caloric deficit is often easier said than done. Our bodies are hard-wired to resist weight loss, throwing a myriad of biological and psychological hurdles our way.

But here’s the good news – the ways to create that all-important caloric deficit are almost endless. From adjusting your nutritional intake to increasing your physical activity levels, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The key lies in finding the approach (or combination of approaches) that seamlessly aligns with your lifestyle, preferences, and individual needs.

And that’s just the beginning. When you pair an effective calorie-deficit strategy with a deeper understanding of the psychological and behavioral roots driving your habits, you unlock a powerful combination. By addressing the “why” behind your actions, you open the door to lasting, sustainable change that goes far beyond just the numbers on the scale.

It’s this powerful pairing – creating a caloric deficit through personalized means while simultaneously tackling the root causes behind your behaviors – that serves as the foundation for true, long-term weight loss success. And in the following sections, you’ll gain invaluable insights into both components of this potent one-two punch.

The Caloric Deficit: The Bedrock of Weight Loss

At its core, weight loss comes down to one simple equation: calories in versus calories out. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. This puts your body into a caloric deficit, forcing it to tap into fat stores for energy.

But before we get into the specifics of how to do that, let’s address the elephant in the room: the frustration you feel. You are not alone. Your coach is with you to guide you. You’ve likely tried countless diets, restrictive eating plans, and exercise regimens, only to see the weight come back (or never leave in the first place). It’s demoralizing, and it can make you want to throw in the towel.

Don’t. I promise you, there is hope.

Calories In, Calories Out: The Many Ways to Create a Deficit

The beauty of the calories in, calories out model is that there are countless ways to create a caloric deficit, each one as unique and individualized as the person employing it.

From adjusting nutritional intake to increasing physical activity levels, the paths to that all-important energy imbalance are virtually limitless. Some may find success through portion control and mindful eating, while others thrive on structured meal plans or intermittent fasting protocols. Still others may prefer to emphasis increasing their daily calorie burn through exercise, be it cardio, strength training, or simply moving more throughout the day.

And for many, the most effective approach lies in a strategic combination of diet and exercise modifications tailored to their specific circumstances and preferences.

The possibilities are truly endless, bound only by the limits of one’s imagination and willingness to explore new territories on the journey towards better health. Let’s explore a few realistic options here:

Identifying Caloric Offenders

Take a close look at your current eating habits and identify the high-calorie culprits.

These might be obvious things like sugary drinks or fast food, or they could be more subtle, like the extra dollop of butter you add to your vegetables.

Identifying these “caloric offenders” and finding ways to reduce their impact by finding replacements that fulfill the same root cause (more on that later in this article) can be a powerful first step.

Increasing Caloric Expenditure

On the flip side of the caloric equation, you can create a deficit by increasing the number of calories your body burns through physical activity. And contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t necessarily require grueling hours at the gym or punishing yourself with intense exercise regimens that leave you dreading the very thought of movement.

Even small, sustainable increases in your daily caloric expenditure can yield meaningful results over time. Something as simple as increasing your step count by going for a daily walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or engaging in low-impact activities like gardening or household chores can help tilt the scales in your favor.

But for those seeking a more structured approach, there’s a vast array of exercise modalities to explore. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts can deliver a potent calorie-burning punch in a relatively short amount of time, making them ideal for busy schedules. Strength training not only burns calories during your session, but can also boost your metabolic rate in the hours and days that follow as your body works to repair and rebuild muscle tissue.

And let’s not forget the oft-overlooked benefits of low-intensity steady-state (LISS) activities like walking, cycling, or swimming. While they may not leave you drenched in sweat, these gentler forms of exercise can still contribute significantly to your overall calorie burn, particularly when performed consistently over an extended period.

It’s important to note that while increasing physical activity is a valuable component of weight loss, it may not be as impactful for creating a calorie deficit as adjusting your nutritional intake. However, exercise offers a multitude of additional health benefits that extend far beyond just calorie burning, including improved cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle mass, better sleep, and reduced stress levels.

Ultimately, the key is to find an approach to increasing your caloric expenditure that aligns with your preferences, abilities, and lifestyle. Whether it’s carving out time for structured workouts or seamlessly integrating more movement into your daily routines, any step towards a more active lifestyle can contribute meaningfully to your overall calorie deficit and journey towards better health.

Understanding Macronutrients

The ratio of macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) in your diet can also play a role in weight loss. For example, a higher-protein diet can help you feel fuller on fewer calories, while a lower-carb approach may help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. By understanding how macronutrients work, you can tailor your approach to your individual needs and preferences. Your coach or personal trainer can help you set targets for these macronutrients and create tailored strategies that work for you.

Applying the Appropriate Strategies

In the pursuit of creating a caloric deficit, there is no universal, one-size-fits-all approach that will work for everyone. We are all unique individuals, shaped by our distinct preferences, lifestyles, and physiological makeups. What may be an effortless and sustainable strategy for one person could be a constant uphill battle for another.

This is why it’s crucial to approach the quest for a calorie deficit with an open mind and a willingness to explore a variety of potential strategies until you find the one(s) that seamlessly align with your specific needs and circumstances.

For some, intermittent fasting protocols several times per week may provide the structure and defined eating windows needed to comfortably create that calorie deficit. Others may find that a low-carb or ketogenic approach helps to regulate their appetite and insulin sensitivity, making it easier to consume fewer calories without feeling deprived.

Still others may gravitate towards more simplistic strategies, like consciously swapping out processed, calorie-dense foods for more nutrient-dense, high-volume alternatives several times per week. Something as straightforward as trading refined carbs for an abundance of vegetables at a few meals each week can create a significant calorie deficit without requiring strict adherence to a specific diet or fasting regimen.

It’s important to note that no single strategy reigns supreme – the “best” approach is the one that resonates most deeply with your unique preferences, lifestyle, and psychological makeup. For a few, the structure and rules of a defined diet or fasting protocol provide a sense of control and adherence. For most, a more flexible, intuitive approach centered around simple swaps and mindful eating habits may be the key to long-term sustainability.

The true path to success lies in applying the appropriate strategies – those that are effective in creating a calorie deficit, easy to implement into your daily routines, and, ideally, enjoyable enough to maintain over the long haul. It’s a highly personalized journey, one that may require some exploration and experimentation to find the perfect fit. But with an open mind and a willingness to be your own advocate, you can unlock the power of a truly sustainable calorie deficit tailored to your authentic self.

Embracing the Minimal Effective Dose

In direction contradiction with its name, minimal effective dose is a big player in the quest for weight loss and achieving a healthy weight.

All too often, we approach weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes with an all-or-nothing mentality. We convince ourselves that in order to see results, we must overhaul every aspect of our lives, adhering to strict regimens and protocols that require an immense amount of effort and sacrifice.

But what if there was a gentler, more sustainable path forward? One that didn’t demand you to radically upend your daily routines or deprive yourself of the foods and activities you enjoy? This is where the concept of the “minimal effective dose” comes into play.

The minimal effective dose is the smallest change or intervention that still yields meaningful progress towards your goals. It’s about identifying the bare minimum adjustments needed to create that all-important calorie deficit, without overwhelming yourself with an onslaught of monumental lifestyle shifts.

The Practical Application of M.E.D.

For some, this may look like simply adding a nutrient-dense protein shake to their daily routine, perhaps as an easy, on-the-go breakfast replacement. For others, it could be as straightforward as skipping your usual morning meal a couple of times per week, effortlessly reducing your daily caloric intake through a modest fasting protocol. For others it may look like an eating curfew several times per week.

The beauty of the minimal effective dose approach lies in its simplicity and sustainability. By making small, incremental changes that don’t disrupt the core of your daily habits and preferences, you increase the likelihood of adherence over the long term. There’s no need to go “all-in” on a rigid diet or exercise regimen that leaves you feeling deprived and miserable.

Instead, you can focus on identifying the low-hanging fruit – those tiny tweaks and adjustments that, when compounded over time, can yield significant results. Perhaps it’s swapping your nightly bowl of ice cream for a serving of fresh berries and Greek yogurt. Or maybe it’s choosing to go for a brisk walk during your lunch break instead of remaining sedentary.

These minimal effective doses may seem insignificant on their own, but their power lies in their compounding nature. As you consistently implement these small changes, week after week and month after month, they begin to build upon one another, gradually reshaping your habits and behaviors in a sustainable, enjoyable manner.

And here’s the best part: as you experience the positive results of these minimal interventions, you’ll likely find yourself inspired and empowered to explore additional adjustments, slowly but surely optimizing your lifestyle for better health and lasting weight loss success.

So instead of overwhelming yourself with lofty, all-encompassing goals that may prove too daunting to maintain, embrace the minimal effective dose. Identify those tiny, actionable steps that align with your lifestyle and preferences, and watch as they pave the way towards sustainable transformation – one small, effortless change at a time.

Understanding It’s Not All or Nothing

Similarly, you don’t have to adopt a new approach wholesale. You can incorporate elements of different strategies in a way that works for your lifestyle. Maybe you don’t go full paleo, but you can add more vegetables to your dinner. Or you don’t fast for 16 hours every day, but you can skip breakfast occasionally.

The goal is to find a balanced approach that fits seamlessly into your life.

The EATS Model: Understanding the Root Causes of Behavior

Now that we’ve explored various strategies for creating a caloric deficit, it’s time to delve deeper into the psychological and behavioral underpinnings that so often sabotage our weight loss efforts. Because at the end of the day, knowing what to do is only half the battle – truly lasting change requires an understanding of why we do what we do, even when it doesn’t align with our goals.

And that’s where the EATS model comes into play. This powerful framework, developed by leading experts in the field of behavior change, can be an absolute game-changer in helping you achieve sustainable weight loss success. By shining a light on the root causes that drive our actions, it empowers us to take a more holistic, proactive approach to reshaping our habits and patterns.

EATS stands for:

E – Escape

A – Attention

T – Tangible

S – Sensory

Let’s break down each of these components and explore how they can impact your ability to create and maintain a caloric deficit.

Escape

In our fast-paced, stress-laden world, food often serves as a means of escape – a way to numb uncomfortable emotions, relieve boredom, or simply seek solace from the pressures of daily life. We turn to familiar comfort foods as a coping mechanism, seeking temporary reprieve in the pleasurable act of eating.

By understanding this root cause, you can start to identify healthier, more constructive ways to meet your emotional needs. Perhaps it’s practicing mindfulness techniques like meditation or deep breathing to better manage stress and anxiety. Or maybe it’s finding enjoyable hobbies and activities that provide a sense of fulfillment and joy, reducing the need to seek escape through food.

Attention

For some, food is a way to seek attention or validation, whether from others or from ourselves. We may use it as a means of nurturing, either by providing for loved ones or as a form of self-care and indulgence. Alternatively, we may engage in patterns of disordered eating in an effort to garner concern or attention from those around us.

Recognizing and addressing this need for attention can be a powerful step towards breaking these ingrained associations. It may involve finding healthier ways to nurture yourself and others, or exploring the underlying emotional voids that drive the desire for external validation.

Tangible

In many cases, we use food as a tangible reward or treat – a way to celebrate accomplishments, commiserate over failures, or simply provide comfort and pleasure in our daily lives. We associate certain foods with positive experiences and emotions, creating a powerful psychological link that can be difficult to break.

By exploring other tangible rewards that align with your goals, you can start to disrupt this association. Perhaps it’s treating yourself to a massage after a successful week of adhering to your plan, or indulging in a non-food-related activity that brings you joy and satisfaction.

Sensory

Finally, there’s the undeniable allure of the sensory experience that comes with eating. The tantalizing aromas, the rich flavors, the satisfying textures – these sensory inputs can be incredibly pleasurable and, for some, downright addictive.

Finding alternative ways to satisfy your senses can be a powerful strategy for mitigating this root cause. Explore new healthy recipes that tantalize your taste buds, engage in activities that stimulate your other senses (like aromatherapy or tactile hobbies), or simply savor and appreciate the sensory experiences that come with nourishing your body in a mindful manner.

By understanding the EATS model and how it applies to your unique situation, you can start to identify the root causes that have been driving your behaviors – often subconsciously – and address them proactively. This holistic approach, which combines strategic calorie deficit strategies with a deeper exploration of your psychological and emotional drivers, can lead to a much more sustainable and satisfying weight loss experience. One where you’re no longer relying solely on willpower or discipline to maintain your efforts, but instead addressing the underlying roots that have held you back in the past.

When you’re working with a 360 Wellness Coaching certified fitness professional, they bring all of this to bear on your weight loss journey.

Putting it All Together: A Personalized Approach to Weight Loss

By now, you’ve gained a deep understanding of the foundational principles of weight loss – the importance of creating a caloric deficit through sustainable, personalized strategies. You’ve also explored the powerful EATS model, unlocking insights into the root psychological and emotional drivers that can often sabotage our efforts.

But how do you take this wealth of knowledge and transform it into a cohesive, action-oriented plan tailored to your unique needs and circumstances? Here’s a step-by-step approach to help you synthesize everything you’ve learned and craft a truly personalized path to lasting weight loss success.

Step 1: Conduct an Recall of Your Current Nutrition and Activity

Before you can begin mapping out your journey, you need to gain a clear understanding of your current landscape. This recall should be a deep dive into your daily habits, routines, and environmental factors – all the elements that shape your relationship with food and physical activity.

Where are the potential caloric offenders lurking in your diet? Are there deficiencies or imbalances in your nutritional intake that need to be addressed? What barriers or triggers in your environment might be sabotaging your efforts? And perhaps most importantly, what emotional or sensory associations are driving your behaviors, even when you know they don’t align with your goals?

This self-assessment can be a daunting task to undertake alone, which is why working with your certified 360 Wellness coach is invaluable. With their expertise in exercise science, nutritional science, and behavioral psychology, they can guide you through this process, helping you identify blind spots and uncover insights you may have missed on your own.

Step 2: Identify Your Unique Needs and Challenges

Armed with a comprehensive understanding of your current situation, you can now begin to pinpoint the specific areas that provide the opportunity for adjustment. Perhaps your recall revealed an overreliance on ultra-processed, calorie-dense foods due to a busy schedule and lack of meal planning. Or maybe you identified a pattern of using food as a means of escape or seeking validation, driven by underlying emotional needs.

Whatever your unique challenges may be, this is your opportunity to explore them deeply, using the EATS model as a framework for unpacking the root causes behind your behaviors and finding appropriate replacement strategies that fulfill the same root cause.

Step 3: Craft a Tailored, Multi-Pronged Strategy

With your needs and challenges clearly defined, you can now begin crafting weight loss strategies. This is where the true power of a personalized approach shines – by developing a comprehensive plan that harmonizes calorie deficit tactics with targeted efforts to reshape your habits and patterns.

Your strategy might include:

  • Adjusting your environment to remove triggers and make healthy choices more accessible, such as stocking your kitchen with nutritious, calorie-conscious options and clearing out tempting snacks.

  • Exploring alternative outlets to meet your emotional and sensory needs, like taking up a new hobby, practicing mindfulness techniques, or experimenting with flavorful, healthy recipes.

  • Developing essential skills for meal planning, portion control, stress management, and other pillars of sustainable lifestyle change.

  • Incorporating a mix of calorie-reduction strategies (like intermittent fasting or appropriate replacements for caloric offenders) and calorie-burning activities (strength training, cardio, etc.) that align with your preferences and lifestyle.

The key here is to create a multi-faceted approach that addresses every aspect of your weight loss journey, from the physiological to the psychological. And if you’re working with a coach, they can be an invaluable partner in this process, leveraging their expertise to help you identify the most effective tactics and strategies for your unique situation.

Step 4: Implement, Iterate, and Embrace the Journey

With your personalized strategies in hand, it’s time to take action and embark on the journey towards better health and lasting weight loss success. But remember, this isn’t a linear path – there will be twists, turns, and occasional setbacks along the way.

Embrace the notion that weight loss is a continuous process of iteration and refinement. As you implement your strategies, remain open to adjusting the approach as needed. If a particular tactic isn’t resonating or producing the desired results, don’t be afraid to pivot and explore new options.

Most importantly, cultivate patience and self-compassion throughout this journey. Sustainable change takes time, and there will be moments of frustration and self-doubt. But by staying the course, celebrating small victories, and leaning on the support of your coach (if you have one), you’ll gradually reshape your habits and patterns, laying the foundation for a healthier, more vibrant life.

Remember, you’re not alone on this path. With the right guidance, a personalized strategy, and an approach that is effective, easy to implement, and enjoyable, the possibilities for lasting transformation are truly limitless.