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I bet at some time or another you said, or had a friend tell you: “I am doing everything properly but I still can’t lose weight.”

I have heard this sentence, or variations of it, over and over since I first started working as a health and fitness specialist over 22 years ago. Why do so many find it hard to lose weight?


In my experience there are three common and very clear reasons people fail. Reasons that are very simple yet we’d rather follow a celebrity, listen to something your grandmother said or follow a crazy magazine article.


Reason 1: Diet for All

Most people wrongly believe that there is one perfect way to eat, exercise and live for fat loss and health.


We are all human, our bodies have the same parts, and these parts are all connected in the same way, so what works for one must work for all. We are as chemically different on the inside, as we are physically different on the outside. The need to follow rules, off-the-shelf meal plans, shopping lists and recipes is the main problem.


Most think there is a right way and a wrong way to lose weight. If you just follow the right way then you are sure to succeed. The problem? There is no right way. There is only your way. A nutrition plan designed for your unique metabolic expression, psychology and personal preferences. Your metabolism is different and requires a slightly different approach compared to everyone else.


Reason 2: It’s Only About Diet and Exercise

Diet and exercise are important but they are only half of the equation. There are two other factors that are equally, if not of greater, importance.


Dr Jade Teta the founder of Metabolic Effect calls it the total equation the four Ms: Meals (the diet), Metabolics (the exercise), Movement and Mindset. Dr Teta has written: “There is something researchers call Non-Exercise Associated Thermogenesis (NEAT). NEAT is all the movement you do in a day that is not exercise. Standing rather than siting, walking, doing the dishes, doing the laundry, fidgeting… Basically all forms of movement. Metabolics (exercise) only takes up about 5% of your changeable metabolic rate, while NEAT constitutes 15%.”


That makes non-exercise thermogenesis three times more important than exercise. If you want to lose weight, and be successful at maintaining that loss, you need to think of movement and exercise as two different things. As Dr Teta says: “The idea is to move as much as possible and exercise just enough.”


Mindset is the fourth and most overlooked of the four Ms. Avoiding catabolic state and lowering stress hormones is essential for truly successful weight loss. Stress contributes to overeating, insulin resistance and metabolic slow down. The mindset component helps combat stress.


If you are not considering all the four Ms you are not doing everything right.


Reason 3: Keep Doing the Same Thing Again and Again

The metabolism is adaptive and reactive. The last thing you want to do to a system that is changeable is keep doing the same thing without deviation.


We must continually vary our inputs and outputs, so that our bodies continue to adapt and change. When you approach weight loss by thinking: “I will just eat less and exercise more,” you will get results, but only for a very short time.


After about four to 10 days the metabolism begins to compensate for dietary and physical activity alterations. We promote a metabolic mix-up approach with great success. We mix up your metabolic routine constantly to achieve your desired result by utilizing four different models:


— ELDM (eat less, do more)

— ELDL (eat less, do less)

— EMDM (eat more, do more)

— EMDL (eat more, do less).


Each of these models has a purpose, and can be used to keep the metabolism humming and guessing. That is the way the metabolism prefers to work.


Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763, at his website or through Star Fitness (

Phil Kelly

Phil is an avid sportsman and loves most things fitness. With the final realisation that he would not be an All Black, he turned his full focus to studying the human body in regard to improving movement and posture, developing strength, function and performance, as well as scrutinising the conventional wisdom of nutrition for fat loss and performance. He loves challenging the 'norm' and is dedicated to the prosperity and health of his clients and the community. He has a mission to educate and empower people to "be all they can be" by providing accurate, research proven and industry leading information.