Guest Post: Winning the Fat Loss Lottery (not what you think…)

By Sean Flanagan

The primary benefits of slow and steady change – as opposed to rapid weight loss – get talked about a lot.     Muscle gets preserved, your metabolic rate gets some protection, and your overall health is maintained (or improved) in the process.

I think though there’s another set of benefits that’s important to think about – and that’s the psychological preparation for your visualized end goal.

Lots of people will tell you they WANT to be wealthy – but when happens to lottery winners?  They can’t handle it.  They’re not prepared for life as millionaires and they often quickly sabotage their financial situation and quickly end up back in the same (or worse) situation they were in before they hit the ‘jackpot’.

The same thing can apply to fat loss goals – in 2 ways.

First is simply in terms of learning the skills required for maintaining success.   Like our lottery winners could have used some budgeting workshops, those who  have pursued fast fat loss could have benefited from hitting “plateaus” so they could develop the SKILLS of maintaining their weight at different points before hitting their target weight/body composition.    Slow and steady fat loss, along with the plateaus that people are often frustrated with, incrementally give you the tools for success at maintenance.

Second is the need to give yourself time to mold a new self-perception.   When you make big changes, you’re often challenging the way you view yourself.   If you’ve been the ‘fat kid’ all your life and then ALL OF A SUDDEN, you’re the stereotypical picture of ‘lean and fit’, you’re probably going to freak out a bit – and then may be prone to self sabotage.  We often have deeper identity issues tied with the shapes that we’ve held for a long time.   If we slowly change our external shape, we can incrementally address the internal drama creeping up in the process.

I hope the ideas I’ve talked about in this post help you respect your slow and steady process – and maybe even talk you off the ledge if you’ve been tempted to try some radical ‘fast transformation’ challenges.

Sean Flanagan is a Health, Fitness, & Nutrition Coach specializing in helping women worldwide break from the traps of dietary dogma and to develop the habits, knowledge, and skills required for long term health-first body composition management.
You can (and should) follow Sean over at his Facebook Page ( and you can download his free Ebook “The No B.S. Guide to Health-First Fat Loss” here at

9 thoughts on “Guest Post: Winning the Fat Loss Lottery (not what you think…)

  1. I totally agree with this, and I’ve always thought the same thing when it comes to shows like The Biggest Loser. Those people are not only performing a ridiculous amount of exercise everyday and are on an unsustainable diet, but they experience massive weight loss in such a short amount of time. They don’t have the necessary time to build good habits and allow mental and emotional changes to occur to go along with the physical changes. And it’s all done in an insulated environment for the most part — not in the “real world”.

    Slow and steady works best long term for sure.

  2. I can so relate to this.
    I lost about 75 pounds over the course of about 4 years. Having been a ‘fat kid’ my entire life, I had no idea what it was like to be a normal size. And you’d think that 4 years would have been enough to acclimate myself to being smaller, but that self-image sticks with you if you’ve not changed for most of your life. I went down to a size where I could no longer shop in plus-sized departments, and there were periods of panic. Why? It was all new territory. I would see a reflection of myself in a shop window and think “hey, who’s that?” and then look around to see who was behind me. It was the weirdest thing – I just couldn’t wrap my head around being so small.
    That lasted for about 2-3 years. YEARS.

    Brains are weird.
    I’m better about that now. Of course, it’s been 9 years. I made healthy choices habits that have stuck with me.

  3. I love the way the concept of weight loss was compared to the winning of the lottery. If you not ready for it you would probably return back to square one.
    Thank you.

  4. I LOVE this post!

    I started eating just a little bit less than I need to. And I started walking 3-5 times a week. That’s it, really. I have lost 15 pounds in the last 3 months and a few days ago, I was able to put on a smaller pair of pants. That’s slower-paced, but that’s okay. I’m enjoying taking it slowly. Trying to get skinny fast did NOT work for me and is the reason why I went from a size 6 clear up to a size 20 in 3 years’ time. And when I was wearing that size 6, I wasn’t even “fat” to begin with…sheesh.

    Trying to lose weight fast is NOT sustainable! I have a quick story: A lady I know of sells a high protein, very low carb/calorie/fat diet. People lose weight quickly on it, especially her! But it didn’t last. I have one a friend who did it who is getting back on the DIEt again because…she “likes bread and sweets too much”. And the lady who sells it? She is obese again. This is really sad and diets like this are not sustainable.

    When I announced (on Facebook) that I was wearing a smaller pants size, everyone wanted to know how I did it and I gave them the plain, simple answer. I ate a little (teeny-tiny) less than I need to and I became active. One lady even messaged me, and after I explained what I did to her, she still couldn’t understand. One of her final comments was “rice makes you fat, so maybe I’ll stop eating it.”

  5. Wow, this article and site is great! Fad diets are not solutions they are just quick fixes simple as that! If you want resolve a problem (weight loss) then you need a permanent solution. Bottom line is you need to be consistent in order to get sustainable results.

  6. This Happened to me. I lost around 30# in a short amount of time & I could not handle all the comments from people. Ended up gaining it all back! Now I’m slow & steady so people wont notice.

  7. Pingback: Guest Post: Winning the Fat Loss Lottery (not what you think…) | Go Kaleo | goodfoodmama

  8. Wow! Dd you read my mind! Love this post! It has taken me 2 years to lose 90 lbs! The last 10 lbs I have taken off and put back on in the last 9 months! I still have a long way to go! But I have made real life changes: food and exercises! I live making changes and challenging myself! Thanks for this post I needed it right now!

  9. This is an excellent article. Hardly anyone ever talks about developing the mindset to overcome challenges during dieting & weight loss, but this gives one the skills to have success long-term and be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Everyone wants instant gratification, to be the hare instead of the tortoise, but that leads to shortcuts and unhealthy choices, and ultimately failure. Slow and steady wins the race indeed.

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