6 Trainer Tips on Losing Weight (and Keeping It Off)
If you’re struggling to lose weight and keep it off, you’re not alone. Matt Stewart was overweight for the majority of his life before he decided that he had enough. He knew it was too daunting to do it alone—because he had tried that route again and again unsuccessfully—so he began training at Fitness Together. With a team of expert personal trainers, Stewart lost 60 pounds and discovered a newfound passion for fitness that he turned into a career.
“I realized that my body was like a piece of marble,” says Stewart. “If I chipped away at the love handles and the fat with diet and exercise, I could sculpt myself into whatever I wanted.”
Today, Stewart is a certified personal trainer and licensed massage therapist with an elite National Strength and Conditioning Association Certification to his name. Using his story to inspire others, he offers these six tips for anyone wanting to change their lives for the better.
1. Prepare all your meals in advance
Taking the extra time to prepare your meals on the weekend will set you up for a happy and healthy week—and encourage you to avoid unhealthy temptations. “Meal prepping is so important,” says Stewart. “Pick a day on the weekend to do your food shopping and then cook your proteins and vegetables for the week. Not having healthy meals prepared caused me to always eat out at fast food restaurants. Eating hamburgers and French fries every day might sound fun, but it will wreck any weight loss goals you have.”
2. Cut out empty calories and fill up on healthy snacks
Stewart recommends removing sugary drinks from your diet, which have more of an impact than you might think. “I used to drink a large caramel macchiato before work every day,” he says. “When I looked at the nutritional content, I was horrified to find it had more than 350 calories in it. That’s 2,450 calories per week!”
You can curb those calorie cravings by swapping in extra fruits and veggies “Next time you grab a coffee, order it black and use those extra calories to eat some fruit and vegetables. If you’re feeling hungry, grab a plate, load it with vegetables, and enjoy! I can tell you firsthand it wasn’t eating too many vegetables that caused me to weigh more than 250 pounds.”
3. Seek guidance and accountability from a personal trainer or coach
“Each time I would start exercising, one of two things would happen: I’d either hurt myself lifting weights without supervision or I’d skip out on workouts,” says Stewart. “Hiring a personal trainer to help keep you safe and hold you accountable is the best investment in yourself you’ll ever make.” A personal trainer will be your biggest cheerleader on your weight loss journey. Their support, expertise, and advice are essential in staying consistent and avoiding injury.
Stewart’s trainers helped him overcome his own insecurities about his body and guided him toward meeting his goals. “When I was heavy, I went for years without ever actually looking in the mirror,” he says. “Finally, I called Fitness Together and I haven’t looked back. Great trainers will never judge you and they will never tease you about your weight. They accept you for who you are and work with you to help you become whoever you want to be.”
4. You can enjoy eating and still lose weight
Losing weight doesn’t mean depriving or starving yourself; in fact, if you’re exercising regularly, you’ll probably need to consume even more food due to burning more calories. “When you switch to being conscious about your foods by eating lean protein, healthy fats, carbs, fruits, and vegetables, you’ll be surprised by how much you can eat,” says Stewart.
And you can eat foods you actually like. “Eating healthy doesn’t mean dull, flavorless foods or barely eating enough food to survive,” he says. “When I was trying to lose weight, I ate nothing but egg whites, boiled chicken, and broccoli, which was gross. My trainers gave me a lot of great healthy recipes that I still use today, my favorite being ground turkey and taco seasoning.”
5. Go easy on the exercise and work your way up.
It’s okay if you can’t do 100 push-ups right off the bat. Start small and build your way up to workouts you’re comfortable completing. “After a meal, get up and go for a walk around the block. Every week increase the distance—this will help burn calories and aid in the digestion of your food,” says Stewart. “If you need to go somewhere close, walk instead of taking your car. Get outside and go for a hike; there are a lot of great local spots to move around in. Walking is low impact so you can never do too much of it!”’
6. Don’t get discouraged; set an attainable goal.
It’s easy to get frustrated when you make huge lifestyle changes and don’t immediately see results. But that’s normal! You won’t reach your desired weight in a week, so set reasonable short-term goals to keep you moving toward something. You can always keep the end game in mind as your motivation. “There are no quick fixes. Losing weight, putting on muscle, and increasing your energy level all take time,” says Stewart. “Think about a reason that will compel you to lose the weight, and always focus on that goal. When things get stressful, it will help to keep you on track.”
Most importantly, Stewart advises anyone brave enough to begin losing weight to have faith in themselves. “Believe in yourself,” he says. “Believe that you are worthy of health and happiness. Believe that if you sincerely want to make a change for the better that you can and you will succeed. You can do it!”
Fitness Together is a personal training franchise offering completely customized, one-on-one sessions with expert trainers in a private setting with a workout plan tailored just for you. With 43 studios in Massachusetts, you’re sure to find a convenient location. For more information, visit fitnesstogether.com.This is a paid partnership between Fitness Together and Boston Magazine