Module 1 - Lifestyle Plan

Introduction to Weight Loss Central


Imagine you are about to drive a car. You have never driven a car before and you are a bit apprehensive. To begin with you are:

Unconsciously Incompetent – because you don’t know what you don’t know!

Then you try actually driving a car and you become:

Consciously Incompetent – because you’ve just realised what you don’t know but you are compelled to get better! With a lot of practice you start to realise that you have become:

Consciously Competent – you are getting the hang of things and you feel so much better about yourself and your abilities. With yet more practice you get better and better at what you are doing and all of a sudden you become:

Unconsciously Competent – you don’t have to ‘consciously’ think about dipping the clutch to put the car in gear, because you do it automatically and without thinking.

As you drive the car you instinctively look right when joining a roundabout or you look left and right when you cross the road. The whole thing has become ‘natural’.

And so it is with making a lifestyle change and weight loss. To begin with ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’. The food industry in general (and other industries) like to keep us in the dark so they can get us to do their bidding. Food and Drink is very cleverly sold with huge marketing budgets.

Even Slimming Clubs have their own Agenda with book sales etc running alongside weekly classes.

The idea behind Weight Loss Central

Given the above we realised that losing weight ‘in principle’ is not rocket science – anyone can do it as long as they are given the right knowledge and tools. After all, knowledge is power!

So we have set out to teach people the basics of nutrition and weight loss.

(Just some of the books we have read!)

We have read (and tried) the ‘diet’ books, thrown them away and started from scratch. Moreover, we set out to give people the tools to do it competently and from a knowledge base rather than a food advertiser/slimming club perspective.

Until quite recently it has been extremely difficult to understand what is going on in the Human Gut. The reason is it operates in a situation where there is no oxygen so when you expose the contents to air they react and change.

The Human Genome Project which led to mapping DNA enabled the Human Microbiome Project to start in 2008. By analysing the DNA of poo it has become possible to understand what is going on in the Human Gut and therefore think about remedies for problems. This includes weight loss.

But it also includes skin health (your gut microbiome ‘talks’ to your skin microbiome) – when I was a kid I was told not to eat too much chocolate ‘because it will bring you out in spots!’ (Remember that?)

It also includes depression and mood because there is a motorway between your brain and your gut called the vagus nerve and it is constantly exchanging information. What goes on in the gut can affect your mood.

We will be referring a lot to the microbiome and Module 3 will start to become more and more important to you as time goes on. New advances are coming out almost daily and we will be updating you and Module 3.

So to begin with we are going to assume that we are all unconsciously incompetent as we go through the weight loss journey.

It’s an important and exciting journey because the result is a new you!

About the Modules

The Modules are set up to be ‘standalone’.

In reality this is not possible because for example stress (Module 10) and Sleep (Module 8) affect the microbiome. So actually there is a blurring of the line between the modules. For this reason you will find some of the module content to be a repeat of something you have read elsewhere. This is not necessarily a bad thing because ‘good people need reminding’ and it just reinforces learning.

How the body uses energy

Total Daily Energy Expenditure

As you can see from the image above we have a Total Daily Energy Expenditure broken down into three parts:

The biggest use of energy is actually the body staying alive. So keeping all your vital functions going heart, lungs, liver, brain etc. takes up about 70% of our energy and obviously it is working day and night!

When we eat food, which is energy into the body, we also burn some of that energy processing it and using it in the body. The energy used here is known as the ‘Thermic Effect of Food’.

BMR graphic

(As an interesting example: when the body consumes protein, it burns 30% processing it (this is not the same for fats and carbs). So if you eat 100 calories of protein you end up with 70 calories because 30 calories are used up processing it.)

The final energy component relates to energy used up as we exercise.

There are two energy burns going on here:

The first is the energy we use going about daily life eg vacumming the carpet, pottering about the house, making the beds, gardening etc. This type of exercise is called Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).

The second energy burn relates to any ‘formal’ exercise we undertake including going to the gym, running, cycling, swimming etc. This is known as Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT).

Working in an energy (calorie) deficit

In order to lose weight (and by that we usually mean burn fat) it’s generally recognised that we need to burn more energy than we are taking in. This is known as a caloric deficit.

caloric deficit

Your energy and macro targets have been calculated based on the information supplied. The targets generally assume a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day. This is because it is generally accepted that a total calorie deficit of 3,500 calories per week will result in a weight (fat) loss of one pound.

One reason people lose weight and then put it on again is that to lose the weight in the first place they have gone on an unsustainable low calorie diet where the calorie input is less than the basic body energy need. (The red block in the diagram above).

When this happens the body goes into a defence mode to stay alive and it reduces your energy spend. One of the first things it does with women is to shut down their periods. After a while on this type of diet the body starts cravings and when people give in the body over-compensates for it’s loss not only putting back the weight lost but often adding more to protect against future starvation binges. (More on this later).

Your Targets Explained

We will have sent you Calorie, Macro, Fibre and Exercise Targets. The fibre target is set to help improve and maintain gut health. Fibre is also great for helping you to keep fuller for longer – it has a high satiety effect (along with protein).  You should increase your fibre intake gradually to allow your microbiome to adjust.

The Macro targets are designed to optimise protein for muscle building, fats for energy and nutrient absorption, along with carbohydrates for energy. The targets are designed to allow for long term sustainable weight loss at a rate of 1-2 pounds a week.

We would suggest a review of your progress after one month to make any tweaks necessary to your plan.

Setting Expectations

You need to be aware that to (say) lose 60 pounds it could take you between 30 weeks or 60 weeks depending on progress. This means that you will be in the process for the long haul and you need to commit to that, motivate yourself and get the right mindset. (See Module 5).

Calorie Counting Short Term

In order to hit your Targets it’s important at least in the short term to measure the calories you are putting into your body and compare that to your targets. What we need to get to is calorie awareness. In other words as an example, we need to get an understanding of what different calorie amounts look like on a dinner plate.

Once we know that a plate of spaghetti bolognaise equates to X calories, with Y protein and Z fibre etc. then we no longer need to count because we have become unconsciously competent.

In practice calorie counting is not as onerous as it sounds because trackers like My Fitness Pal (which is free) actually ‘remember’ dishes you have already entered, and so you only have to enter them once.

It’s also a fact that a lot of us are creatures of habit and so tend to eat the same meals repeatedly. What becomes important in the long term is portion control.

The 80/20 Rule

They do say: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. So for this reason it’s important to cut people some slack when on a weight loss journey. We are going to suggest that you reserve 20% of your calorie target every week for treats. Have some cake and have some wine! A little of what you fancy does you good!

Also be aware that if you do fall off the wagon for one day don’t beat yourself up. In the grand scheme of things it won’t make much difference as long as you get back on it the following day.

Exercise Goals

We are setting most people the target of burning 500 calories per day through exercise. There will be more on this in the Exercise Module 7.

This target is commonly being achieved by people committing to taking 10,000 steps daily and many are using Fitbit trackers etc. to measure their energy spend. BUT there are other ways of doing it as we will explain in Module 7.

Learn about your Macros and Micros in Module 2

Back to the Modules page.