Mini Mikkipedia - weight loss, managing expectations


Hey everyone, it's Mikki here. Welcome to Mini Mikkipedia on a Monday. And today I wanna talk about progress. Progress and weight loss and managing expectations with reality. And of course, right now I've got my Mondays Matter cohort for May. They are coming up on their sixth week. So we've got a couple of weeks left to go.

And of course I have various clients that I check in with week to week and everyone has their own sort of goals and expectations, if you like, around what they can achieve with body composition. And part of my role as a nutritionist, and of course I know other health coaches and personal trainers and people in the space will probably be in a similar position, is managing the expectations of the clients. And I think it's such a good

topic to address because as you have probably heard, people overestimate what they can do and achieve within one to two months, like a program like Mondays Matter, and underestimate what they can do in a year. And it is so true when you think about it. I think about people who have been through a few rounds of Mondays Matter and are now just connecting with me one-on-one or just through social. And I get

multiple messages each month by people saying, I just can't believe how much I've changed my habits and what I've managed to achieve. And they're not talking about weight loss, although of course it is a big part of it for them, but they are just talking about the person that they've become. And of course, whenever you join a fat loss plan like Monday's matter that has this defined timeline, you know, zero to eight weeks, we sort of almost pin our

expectations in and around that end date. However, as I say, when people join up and it's through all the sort of written sort of material around the plan, this is a kickstart. Any plan you adopt, be it Monday's Manor, be it Jenny Craig, be it Weight Watches, anything like that, it is not necessarily a one and done. Because part of the process, you're not just changing your body composition.

but you're changing your thoughts, your habits, your behaviors to become a different person. The real transformation occurs on the inside. However, of course, you would like to see that physical transformation as well. And if you are on a plan that is suitable for you and you are following it, then that will of course happen. But you can't really put a timeline on it. And despite what you might hear in different

arenas of, you know, drop 10 pounds in 10 weeks or lose 5 kilos in 4 weeks or anything like that, there is no guarantee that that's going to be the case. And for what it's worth, that is a significant amount of weight to lose if you don't have that much weight to lose in the first place. So people overestimate what they can do within this short space of time without thinking about the fact that the real success lies in their ability.

to adopt those habits and behaviors that will get them there in the long run, regardless of whether that takes them 8, 12, 16 weeks, 6 months or a year's time. And you know, I've got a couple of sort of examples which made me think about this as a good topic for Mini Micropedia, including of course the messages that I have gotten from you guys as to topic ideas, so this certainly came in as part of it. I have a friend

who is currently training for a physique competition and she has been super consistent. She has been on the actual cut for the competition, probably a good sort of 8 to 10 weeks now. And she is pretty petite anyway. However, she hasn't seen much scale shift or physique shift visible sort of day to day until probably the last week. Now

Think about that, that is 10 weeks of consistently following the calories set by her coach, by doing the cardio that the coach outlines and of course to the strength training that she is required to do for her physique competition and of course for the cut. She has been consistent, absolutely down to the last calorie if you like, for 9 weeks

shift in the scales. Now if you look at her progress photos from sort of week to week and she occasionally sort of shares these on social media you can see definitive changes but there was some dramatic shift in this last week and her and I were just chatting about it earlier and she walked into the bathroom she wasn't really thinking about the weight or the scales or anything then she sort of did a double take when she saw herself in the mirror she's like oh wow

she saw changes in her physique which were so stark that weren't visible even like 3 or 4 days earlier. And subsequently, actually 3 or 4 days earlier, she did see a drop in the scales of a kilo which after 4 or 5 weeks of being pretty stable on that weight front was a significant drop overnight. Now we will talk about scales and their utility in a minute but I just thought this was such

pin our hopes and dreams on things like scale change, if you like, when it's pretty meaningless whereas for her, she of course saw the scale change but it was several days later before she really got a good look at the physique that she's uncovering in this journey towards her competition. And she sort of said, you know, I felt like I was losing weight but it wasn't obvious on the scales but I could just sort of feel it and it wasn't until I saw myself in the mirror and like, oh yeah, I see that now.

This is where it is of course managing expectations, but it's about using other tools than just the scales to measure your progress. And for her, her real success lies in the fact that she has been, as I've said, she's doubled down on the process the entire time. So she couldn't be anything but successful. She also of course had to trust her coach who was sort of determining her.

sort of calories and determining the cardio that she was doing in order to burn additional calories and all of that sort of thing and she said you know other than you know once maybe you know late May I sort of threw my toys a little bit and sort of thought this is not happening she really just stayed really consistent and true to the process and it is totally happening for her yet you could look at someone else with very similar macros very similar body size if you like or weight and their experience could be really different.

So this is why you just cannot compare what you are going to go through, if you like, on this journey, to someone else who is doing the same at the same time or has done it previously. Because you just cannot compare this. Everyone's physiology is just so different and how adaptive and responsive their metabolism is is also just incredibly different. Another example I thought about actually when I was chatting to her was

Another friend of mine, this was a few years ago actually, like maybe 10 years ago or even more, when we were just embarking on the ketogenic diet. From a research perspective at AUT, where I was a senior lecturer, and we were playing around if you like, and a colleague of mine and his wife decided to do the ketogenic diet over the Christmas break. So it was several weeks before we really saw him at least, because that's what it's like when you're an academic, you can take lots of holidays.

Anyway, he came and he looked quite different. He was a lean guy anyway, but he certainly leaned up. And he said, you know, my wife, she, just nothing is moving with her in terms of her weight, but her ketones, they're reading at about five millimoles. Now, a couple of things with this. One, is that his wife is a petite w-

She didn't have a lot of weight to lose, so that's first and foremost. So she certainly didn't carry a ton of excess body fat, but she was hoping to lose a little bit of weight with this sort of ketogenic approach because that was the promise. And the other thing is that a blood ketone reading of five millimoles is actually really high. You know, I was just listening to the latest or the second to latest podcast on STEM Talk when Dom Dagestino was talking about ketogenesis and...

optimal blood ketone levels and he sort of thinks you know anything above sort of two is getting up there in terms of How the body's responding to the ketogenic diet now This is a bit of an aside But of course from a therapeutic perspective you want your blood ketones to be high and higher than five You know six seven eight or whatever to help with their therapeutic benefit for neurological conditions and things like that But for your general everyday person

if you get your ketone levels too high, then that could definitely impact on that insulin response and it could rise insulin, you could dump a lot and sort of crash in relation to these high ketones. But I mean, hey, this was back in the dark ages when we were doing it, you know, early 2010s. So it's certainly these, the idea of this just wasn't even on our radar. So anyway, so we've got my colleague and his wife.

He's going great guns. She's certainly getting her ketone levels up there, but her physique isn't changing. But then, just like my previous example, it was like something switched, and then suddenly, that weight sort of just melted off her, and she lost five kilos, which on a small, petite frame was quite significant. Not unhealthfully so, but it certainly was significant, and it was just at almost the drop of a hat.

And for whatever reason, it took her body that long to sort of kick into gear with that ketogenic diet. Her blood ketones came down to sort of 1.1.5, which is what you would expect with a ketogenic diet that's a good physiological response. And her body just sort of was able to not only sort of produce those ketones, but burn them for energy. Had she along the course of that, it was probably a good 8 to 10 weeks.

had she sort of gone, oh bugger this and just given up she would not have realized the power of a ketogenic diet for her and that would have been a real missed opportunity. And I guess I'm thinking about these I mean they're quite different in terms of you know the body composition goals that they were striving to achieve obviously the diet approach is really different but the outcomes are the same in that the success of their journey

really lies in the habits that they are instilling and believing in the process day to day. And this is where people fall down a lot of the time. This is why people do something for 8 weeks and then go back to what they've always done, or let other things sort of slip in because they've reached their goal weight. Whereas to reach a goal weight isn't the marker of success to my mind. It's that adoption of behaviors as long as they

include a lot of the pillars that are required for good health, it's that adoption of those behaviors and the consistency of it. And you know I talk about the scales, the scales are not the be-all and end-all and we've talked about why in a previous mini micropedia episode of why acutely they can change day to day, you know anything to do with your fluid or water retention is going to shift that scale up or down so be mindful of that. But you do need to, and this is a good chance to

you need to think beyond the scale and think about the reasons why you're doing your diet change in the first place. Because oftentimes when you are successful with fat loss beyond the habits, it's a change in that body composition, which you just can't really measure. Or sometimes it doesn't align with the number that you expect on the scale. And even though we intellectually know this, like you can look in a mirror and go, whoa, I look really different.

and be super pleased with that, then you jump on the scales and doesn't show any difference and you feel totally demotivated. Intellectually you know that you're changing and you're seeing results but your brain is just so wired to that number on the scale that it is hard to see past that. You can absolutely change this though and this is one of the reasons why I really encourage the Mondays Matter crew to use the journal that comes with the plan.

Um, but anyone who is undergoing a physical transformation should try and keep in touch with the overarching goal for the reasons why, because it is more than just weight loss, you know, and feeling good and looking good. These are really valid goals though, so I'm certainly not wanting to dismiss them, but how do you want to feel, you know, other habits and behaviors making you feel this way, despite the fact that the number on the scale has yet to shift or isn't where you would like it to be.

So we have to really try and reconcile our emotions. So we have these strategies in place when that scale weight doesn't align with what it should be in our heads. So you're writing down in your journal, you're remembering your why that is beyond the scales. And I can't remember if I've mentioned this or not, but Mel Robbins has an excellent podcast. Anyone who listens to that will know. And I listened to one a couple of weeks ago, which I just loved.

And she talked about setting goals and reminding yourself of these goals daily. And the goals that you set, I mean, of course, I'm talking about this in a body composition space, but they're just overarching life goals. It could be, you know, to retire at 50. It could be, I don't know, to go on an overseas trip. It could be to learn surfing, anything like that. And then if you remind yourself of these goals daily, and then what you do is you write them down, whatever they are, write down five goals that you're hoping to achieve.

either in the present or in the future. And then you decide, am I for my goals today or am I against them? You can't be neutral because to be neutral about your goals is actually being against them. So if you have this physical process that occurs and you're actually thinking about it, then it does mean that you are much more likely to align your behaviors for that day towards the goals that you're wanting to achieve. And this is just such a missed

when it comes to weight loss because people are only concerned with following a food plan, doing the exercise, jumping on the scales, fitting into those jeans, you know, all of these are all part of the process but it's only happening because you're changing your habits and you're changing your behaviors and those are the things that stick with you long after the meal plan has finished. Another thing I actually do want to bring up about weight and it's

body weight, and often people have a number in their head that is tied up to how they used to look, or what they used to weigh when they were younger. Don't forget, you were a different person then, and if I'm thinking about any woman or man that is my age, you know, we are middle-aged. I can't even believe it either. No, cannot believe that I am, in fact this comes out a day before my birthday, 46, I'll be 46 on Tuesday. That is middle-aged man, I can't even believe it.

I am quite a different person than what I was at 26. So there is just no point in me having down this unrealistic expectation that my weight should be the same as when it was when I was 26. What it took for me to lose weight back then is quite different to the things that I would do now. And that just comes with knowledge, experience, practice, goals, priorities, everything like that. And you should feel that way too.

Your life and your responsibilities would have been so different 20 years ago, even 10 years ago potentially, than what they are now. You've got a career, you can no longer spend hours in the gym, you have to cook for a family, you can't feed yourself rabbit food, breakfast, lunch and dinner, or as my friend Nikki likes to call it, girl food, and she's not half wrong. And when we put into place these strategies to lose weight, we were way more robust and you

You just can't do that in middle aged. So if you were thinking about fat loss and you're sort of, you know, your desired outcomes, try, you know, you might have a number in place, but don't attach yourself to that because oftentimes your body weight is actually higher or your body weight goal and how you want to look is a bigger number on the scales than what you would have anticipated. And that just comes with sort of experience. And I will also say that.

We know so much more about the importance of muscle mass than what we did 20 years ago, that it's not just about losing weight, it's about building a strong and resilient body so we can rock our next 40 years, if you like. And I'm not suggesting that no one knew about muscle, of course lots of people did, but certainly in the circles I ran with, it wasn't really something that was on the radar. And what I would just finish up with expectations around weight loss is that

Some people have a very quick response on the scales and it legitimately is a lot of body fat actually. It goes without saying, I think, that people with more excess body fat will lose more weight overall because there is more weight to lose. The closer you get to your desired body fat percentage or way you wanna look, the more difficult it is to lose those last few kilos. And

A lot of the weight we lose can initially be weight we might not even see. It can be visceral fat stored around the organs. This isn't visible to the eye. Might make a minor change to sort of, or it will make a change to your waist circumference, but it certainly isn't the subcutaneous fat that is on our bums and our thighs and our arms and things like that. So be mindful that your expectation of how quickly you lose weight.

might be different to what the reality is. And sort of a desired weight loss might be about 0.4 to 0.8% body fat or weight, I'm sorry, on average a week actually. So people will lose faster, but some people will lose slower because when I'm talking like on average you should lose 0.4 to 0.8% of your body weight, we're speaking in averages and we're speaking in sort of population means, and you are not a population mean. So

across the spectrum, again, like I say, there will be people who will healthfully lose weight faster and there will be people who really can struggle to see a shift in the scales, like my friends that I was talking about earlier, until of course something shifts. So you may be that person or you may just be the person that just, it just takes a little bit longer. But again, there's no timeline here, hopefully. And hopefully the way you feel is motivation enough.

to help you continue when you feel that progress is too slow or you're not getting anywhere. So always check in with your why. Why are you doing this? Give yourself reasons to celebrate at the end of every week that aren't related to the scales. So have you nailed 18 of those 21 meals? Did you work out five of the seven days that you were intending to? Did you manage to hit your step goal?

six days out of seven, you know, all of these things that you get to bed on time in order to wake up feeling refreshed. These are really important things. And look, they're not relevant for everyone. Some people don't need goals around that stuff because it becomes natural to them. Other people do. So if you are able to set targets and goals around the things that you can control, which are your habits and behavior, then of course, you still will care about what you see on the

less important when you know that you are transforming the person that you want to be. And I think that's the most important part of this anyway. All right team, so that's just some thoughts on managing expectations around weight and any comments or questions on this. Please don't hesitate to just flick me a message on Instagram or Twitter @mikkiwilliden over on Facebook @mikkiwillidennutrition or

head to my website,, because this week I'm having a birthday sale. And that does mean that there's 46% off my fixed term plans, which is pretty bloody exciting. So you'll hear more about that. And look, thanks so much for tuning in. I just really appreciate you and have a great week, won't you?