bikiniDo you have just a couple extra pounds you want to lose?

You know, those last couple pounds that will give you six-pack abs or make you feel comfy in a bikini, or will send  your former classmates into fits of jealousy at the class reunion this summer?

Well, I’m here to tell you: those are the hardest pounds to peel off. They’ll require more attention and focus than weight loss for health/wellness/energy/general fitness.

That extra attention and focus is exactly why I had to write this post today, even though the sun is out and I’d rather be sitting on my deck enjoying the fresh air.

What? How does this blog being written TODAY have anything to do with losing vanity weight?

Because here is the deal: I have specific goal related to writing and my blog. It’s the kind of goal that requires consistency of specific, targeted actions. Deciding to laze around doing nothing just because it’s nice out will not get me to my goal.

Likewise, if you have vanity weight to lose — weight that has nothing at all to do with health, wellness or general fitness but is all about an aesthetic goal — you also have to be consistent and tactical.

There’s less wiggle room the less weight you have to lose.

What a week!

So, yes, this is the blog post that almost didn’t happen. I’ve had a week! Nothing singularly terrible occurred, but a lot of stupid things popped up to derail me.

First, my website was apparently hacked and my host company took it offline, which meant I had to figure out how to fix it (I am *not* an sql database wizard; in fact, what even IS that?). Then I had to figure out how to prevent a recurrence. Second, my modem/router died and I had to make several phone calls to my internet service provider to prove to them that, in fact, it was dead. Third, my offline training business is a little crazy right now.

There’s quite a list of other things, too, but I will spare you.

In the midst of the chaos I started to write a different, politically correct post but then this one decided it wanted to be written, TODAY.

When this happens, I know someone needs to hear the message. (cue the woo woo music!)

Side note: maybe I’m the one who needs to hear this message. 🙂 Hello, my name is Wendy, and I’m a donut hole addict with a cute new bikini I want to wear, who also committed to writing a blog post every week.

The last 5 to 10 pounds

In my eyes there are two different types of weight loss and they require dramatically different approaches.

The good news is that if weight loss for health and general wellness is your goal, you’ll never have to worry about the second type.

What am I talking about?

Weight loss for health/wellness/energy/ease of movement vs. weight loss for vanity.

Why do you want to lose weight?

The numbers I’m using here are related to women. For men, depending on your size, add 5 to 15 pounds to these numbers.

The first type of weight loss occurs when you have more than 10-15 pounds to lose. This is when you want to bring down your BMI/body fat percentage to within a normal or healthy range.

The second type of weight loss is purely aesthetic. This is when you want to attain a “cut” or defined look, six-pack abs, reduce cellulite, or “get shredded.” This is that last 5 to 10 pounds that take you from healthy and fit to lean and ripped.

Bottom line: it’s far less complicated to get to the healthy/fit level than it is to get to the lean/ripped look.

The difference

The more weight you have to lose, the less “fancy” you have to get with the approach. Basically, it boils down to moving more and eating less. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy — it means eliminating some habits, relearning portion sizes, changing your mindset and building new habits over time.

In fact, I’d wager that the more rules/habits/”fanciness” you try to introduce to the equation right out of the gate when you’re losing weight for health/wellness, the harder it’ll be to stick with the plan.

I know that in the past when I’ve wanted to peel off a winter fluff layer it’s been a lot easier by just cutting out/changing some of my diet extras, paying more attention to my portion sizes and ramping up my exercise a bit.

But a lot of times, when we start a “diet” to lose weight for health/wellness reasons, we jump right into the advanced “vanity” program — diets aimed at giving you a six-pack or an ultra-lean look.

Don’t do that to yourself.

Dieting for the ultra-lean look often means we have to get tricky with things like managing our body’s hormones/blood sugar levels/more. And that definitely falls into the “fancy” category — there are more guidelines to follow, and it requires more will and focus.

Bodybuilders

As a trainer who works with bodybuilders and physique athletes, I am here to tell you: you do NOT have to diet like they do to get to your wellness-related weight-loss goals.

And thank goodness! You don’t have to eat six times a day, you don’t have to cart around a jug of water and you don’t have to eat six egg whites at a sitting. (Neither do they, really, but it’s part of the culture, so we let that sh*t slide.)

However, if you want to lose that last bit of vanity weight, you might borrow a few tricks from the bodybuilding nutrition book.

Your meal plans might be a little more stringent.  Your off-plan eating might not be as “off” as normal, or maybe it goes away for a while. Your meal design might become more important — you have to look beyond the calories your meal contains to also looking at specifically what is IN your meal.

It becomes a balancing act.

Vanity’s insanity

The thing about dieting away the vanity weight? I have met very few people who didn’t immediately put it back on when they went off their eating program.

It’s work. There also is some going-without (buh-bye, donut holes! TTFN!).

But the results can be really fun. Fitting into that VS bikini? Wearing short shorts? Doing a photo shoot? Yes!

But those results are only for a while. Just like those cute 6-inch heels you saw at the mall, keeping off the vanity weight isn’t practical for regular everyday life. At least not for most of us who don’t have DNA programmed for flat abs.

So that being said: we are on the brink of summer. If you want the six-pack or the bikini butt, you gotta lean into it pretty hard and get tactical. (I am also talking to myself here.)

For some of us, vanity has its place …. for a little while. But be sure to bring it back to a healthy balance.

And for me, for now, the blog post is done. That means I am going to go enjoy some of the fresh air on this late-May day. I’m saving the donut holes for another day, though.