Sustainable Weight Loss: A reality check

Created by Elly McGuinness

Last Updated: April 18, 2017


Do you want to know how to make your body burn fat?   Or are you wondering, “Why can’t I lose fat?”  Maybe you want to ask, “When does your body start burning fat?”  Or are you perhaps concerned about slow weight loss?  After all, you want to achieve your weight loss goals as quickly as possible, right?

These are the most common sorts of concerns I’ve had day after day, week after week, and year after year of working as a health and fitness professional.  But the answers to these questions are far from straightforward.  As humans, we are all unique and complex individuals; what works for one person will not necessarily work for another.  

Yes, some simple guidelines will help you learn how to make your body burn fat, but there are also additional considerations.

(This post includes affiliate links for which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase)

Why can’t I lose fat?

One consideration encompasses the notion that you are a unique and complex individual.  I could prescribe the same weight-training program for two young men. One might put on weight, and the other might lose weight.  

It’s also the same for nutrition – two people consuming the same diet can achieve two very different outcomes. If you want to learn how to make YOUR body burn fat, you must work out a formula that’s just right for YOU.

Another example of our uniqueness is fat and muscle distribution.  I can eat all I like and will put on very little fat around my hips and thighs – it’ll all go on my arms, chest, and stomach.  Most women are different, however, with the hips and thighs being the predominant areas for fat storage.  

Again, some people (most commonly men!) seem to be able to eat all they like and not put on an ounce of fat.  Men and women store fat differently, and women are more likely to store fat after menopause.

How could that be?

Again, we are all unique. We have different genetic makeups and predispositions for fat storage.   We have different levels of hormones distributed throughout our bodies.  Men and women store fat differently due to the sex hormones.

We have different food intolerances, different stresses, and different strains being placed on our bodies.  We have not yet been designed as clones to produce a uniform external response to the things we are putting into our bodies.

Does this make it sound like it’s too difficult to learn how to make your body burn fat?  It’s not.  It just takes a little bit of trial and error on your part.  If something isn’t working, then change what you’re doing.

There’s a great quote that says, ‘stupidity is repeating the same thing every day but expecting a different outcome.’  But before you jump up and cry in exasperation, ‘none of this is working!’ first, give it a fair chance to start working.

When does your body start burning fat?

Often this requires three to four weeks of doing something consistently, and then you will only usually see and feel very small changes starting to happen.  Frustrating?  Yes.  But in reality, this is how sustainable fat burning happens – slowly but surely. Slow weight loss is much healthier and will likely be more enjoyable

Seriously though, before we go any further, let’s clarify your expectations based on the previous point.  How many years have you been gradually gaining weight?  Five? Ten?  Twenty or more?  If you have been gaining weight over these sorts of time periods, then you absolutely cannot expect that your body will respond to your demands to strip fat right away.

If your body has been working on fat storage over the years, then this is what it knows how to do. There will be a huge array of functions in the body that are working at a less-than-optimal level, so there’s a lot for the body to learn in order for changes to happen. 

how to make your body burn fat

I have seen too many people over the years with the goal of burning fat who really do give up before they give their body a chance to adapt to a new way of living.  It seems absurd to me that there has been no major drive to change over the previous years, and then suddenly, it’s a case of “This must happen now!”

Note that we all get off track with things from time to time. If you’re feeling a bit low from a recent food binge, make sure you read this blog post to help you get back on track.

But Elly, I don’t want slow weight loss!

I know there is always something that has tipped the scales and driven the powerful desire for change (this is a subject for another day), but please do be realistic with your expectations and respect that the road to success is always under construction – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

If you don’t have the patience for this, then jump back on board with diet X, Y, or Z, because, after all, they’ve worked for you in the past, right?  


If they worked for you in the past, you wouldn’t be here reading this article because you would already know how to make your body burn fat, and you wouldn’t need my help. The reality is that diet X, Y, or Z wasn’t sustainable in the long term.  It put your body in a position where it missed out on something it needed.

how to make your body burn fat

Your cravings for the wrong types of foods – the foods you ‘couldn’t have’ – increased.  So you tried another diet, and that one didn’t work either because when you stopped it, you regained all the weight you had lost.

The more times you repeat this cycle, the harder it becomes to burn fat.  Your body doesn’t trust you anymore!  If this is what you’ve been doing to yourself, then don’t be surprised if your body takes a while to respond to your demands for it to strip fat. After all, it’s mighty suspicious of what’s next on your agenda, and survival is the most important on its list.

How to make your body burn fat

Optimal nutrition is a huge part of burning body fat.  I’m sure you’re aware that exercise also plays a major role.  But do you know how stress, sleep, thoughts, and relationships all make up a significant part of this equation?

My holistic fat-burning book ‘Burning Fat for Good’ encompasses all of these areas.  It’s suitable for those of you who have exhausted your dieting options and are ready for a new approach.  If you want to know how to make your body burn fat, treat it respectfully and recognize that you are an individual.  My book will help you understand that it’s time to ditch diets and that slow weight loss is a good thing.

Let’s have one final reality check.  Place your right hand on your right hip bone.  Place your left hand on your left hip bone.  Now place your right hand on the bone at the corner of your right shoulder.  Place your left hand on the bone at the corner of your left shoulder.  

This is called your bone structure.  

No amount of nutrition, exercise, stress, sleep, thoughts, or relationship focus will change this.  So learn to love your bone structure as it is, and instead, focus on the things you can, in fact, have an effect on.

Enjoy the journey, master one new habit at a time, and your body will love you for it.

Click here to buy Elly’s book – Burning fat for Good.

For further reading, learn about the value of incidental exercise for weight loss and ensure you’re familiar with the weight loss success combo. You’ll also want to know about the 80-20 principle for long-term weight loss success and how energy blocks can affect weight loss success.

Do you think weight training will make you big and bulky? Think again and find out why weightlifting can be a vital element in your weight loss training program.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these recommended service provider links, like an insurance broker, or a travel agent, I may earn a commission – at no extra cost to you. [For my full disclosure, please see my DISCLAIMER page].

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Elly McGuinness


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