Bill Victor: Weight loss starts with how you think



We’ve all seen that commercial a thousand times. You know, the one where a guy lives on sub sandwiches and loses so much weight that he practically zipped himself open to see a guy half of his original size walk out.

Naturally, our conclusion is that by eating that company’s sandwich, we stand the chance to lose a significant amount of weight. Is this hyping the merits of a good diet or high-octane marketing?

Turn to another channel, and you’ll see another “half-person” emerging from the woman who ate a series of prepared, frozen meals.

Does eye-bulging insomnia hit you at odd hours? Check out the stuff on TV at 3 a.m. and witness the testimony of a person who “blendered” themselves thin, converting anything that could be changed from a solid to a liquid and then drinking it.

The recurring theme from so many of these “how I lost a million pound” diets is that the foods that compose these diets are secondary to the amount of calories consumed. The list of diets include names such as Scarsdale, Atkins, Paleo, South Beach and countless other food groupings that are supposedly going to turn your body into a fat-burning mode that rivals wax melting from a candle.

Scientifically, there are undoubtedly certain foods that are healthier for weight loss than others. Worthy of more attention is that, when it comes to this subject, the person who is truly ready to make a change to eating styles, quantities and selections will experience success, regardless of what they consume.

Hypo-caloric diets, or serving sizes that would insult a mouse, will undoubtedly help you lose pounds, but this comes with two other side effects.

The first side effect is an inevitable plateau when the body will “hold on” to fat because it is anticipating further starvation.

The second effect of eating infrequently and at extremely low calorie levels is that you start losing muscle as well as fat in a process called sarcopenia. Assuming that the body only knows how to shuck fat and not muscle in rapid weight loss is incorrect.

It is for this reason alone that safe weight loss should also include ongoing muscle development through resistance training and frequent, well-timed meals of high-quality macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and yes, fats) that maintains even levels of insulin — the hormone responsible for pushing sugar into our cells.

As a trainer, I frequently ponder what makes one client more successful than another as it relates to weight loss. Regardless of a person’s thyroid health, metabolism, hereditary predisposition or emotional state, the common denominator among all those who lose weight (because they need to) is that they have made up their mind to experience success regardless of the level of discipline it takes.

Those who coach clients on weight loss, fitness or wellness will often refer to this emotional determination as a person’s “why.”

The “why” is what drives a person to be successful — their emotional trigger to finally undertake and succeed at overcoming the challenge.

In the case of our sub sandwich model, his “why” is off the charts — an 11 out of 10. It doesn’t matter if he was on the cottage cheese diet, the burger and fries diet, or the sticks and stones diet. His “why” was strong enough to make him successful.

My point is not to encourage anyone to eat 500 calories a day, and yet that’s exactly my point. My guess is, if our sandwich guy ate 10,000 calories a day, his “why” probably would have made him take up marathon running to burn all of those calories. In other words, when a person hits that critical threshold of finally getting the job done, after sometimes weeks, months or years of procrastination and self-sabotage, they will succeed.

Ultimately, it comes down to the way we think, and how driven we are to succeed that trumps the selection of how we choose to succeed. Inarguably, the more nutrient dense the diet, the better.

While the thought of injecting yourself with substance X to lose weight summons up visions of a great body, or paying someone to surgically remove fat from the places you least like it, the fact still remains that if you don’t change the way think about food, exercise, and the associated discipline, you’ll continue to feel like you’re running in place.

Bill Victor is the owner of Victor Fitness System Professional Fitness Trainers, Flashpoint Athletic Speed & Agility Specialists, and Performance Nutrition Consultants. He can be reached at and online at and