7 Differences Between How 2 People Lose Weight
There isn’t one “right” way to approach weight loss. This article explores some of the differences between just Megan and myself and our personal experiences with losing weight.
Through our examples, I hope you’ll see you don’t have to hold to any strict expectations of what weight loss looks like. It will give you some ideas of where you can be flexible with your methods, so you can stop being so hard on yourself.
When you live with another person, it doesn’t take long to realize that people do things differently.
It can be different methods of communication, different holiday traditions, different eating preferences, or even something as serious and potentially relationship-ending as how you fold (or roll) your socks.
No two people do everything exactly the same. This includes weight loss.
Of the 7 differences I’ve pinpointed between my wife and myself, some of them are personal preference, some are related to our lifestyles, and some are completely beyond our control simply because we are two individuals inhabiting two separate bodies.
As you read through this, consider where you personally line up with these differences. It’s ok if you aren’t sure. Or, you might even think you know, but only because you’ve never really experimented otherwise.
Either way, pay attention to what you can take from this and try for yourself.
1. The First Meal
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
For me it is. I get out of bed and start making breakfast. It’s my biggest meal. None of my meals are small, but lunch tends to be slightly smaller, and dinner a little smaller still. I find doing it this way helps me stay full throughout the day.
For Megan, breakfast is more of a necessary evil. It’s not a specific nutrition strategy, she just doesn’t feel good if she eats right away, so she holds off and then eventually has a modest breakfast.
I could point you to the science-y benefits behind either approach, but the fact is, we do it the way we do because we took the time to experiment and find what our bodies responded to best. It’s not that the science is invalid — it can help inform your process — but it still has to make sense on an individual level.
2. When to Eat
Is it better to plan your meals or listen to your body and eat instinctually?
My instinct sucks. I think it’s broken.
OK, that’s an exaggeration. My body is just more subtle at signaling when it’s time to eat. So subtle that, if I’m busy, I can flat out ignore it until it’s too late and I lose my cool.
Because of that, I schedule my meals. I’m not strict about it — I still listen to my body — but I know not to stray too far off schedule.
Megan is the opposite.
That’s not to say she doesn’t have any kind of schedule, but she’s much more in tune with her body’s hunger cues. She can rely on them more than needing to check the clock.
I recommend working on learning your hunger cues. It can be an important part of your journey toward losing weight sustainably, and you may find it leads to you eating more intuitively. You may find you still need a schedule like I do, but you’ll be better able to create that schedule if you can base it off those cues.
3. How Often to Eat
Is it better to eat more often?
Not for me. If I try to eat smaller meals more frequently, I’m hungry all day. It sucks. So I have 3 large(ish) meals spread out by several hours. Period.
Megan typically has 3 regular meals each day, too. But because she listens to her hunger cues, it’s not uncommon for her to add a 4th meal or a couple snacks on any given day.
Again, both of these come down to personal preference and have nothing to do with speeding up our metabolism or anything made-up like that.
We just don’t want to feel like shit.
4. How Much to Eat
How many calories should you eat to lose weight?
If I listened to what most apps and websites say about how many calories to eat, I’d never lose weight. My body is abnormally resistant to change. Because of this, Megan and I eat close to the same amount of calories when we’re dieting.
The reason this is a big difference between us is this: Megan drops around 500 calories when losing weight. I drop more like 1,200.
I can’t say how much you’ll need to eat to lose weight. There are methods for getting an accurate guess, but you can’t know for sure right off the bat.
Your body may adapt heavily to a calorie deficit, or it may not (it will likely change over time). The only way to find out is to get started, accurately track the variables, then make changes based on what you discover (more on this in #7).
5. What to Eat
Are there certain foods you should eat to lose weight?
I don’t like to cook. That means when I’m trying to lose weight, I have a few breakfasts and a few lunches I cycle through. The only reason I get more variety than that is because Megan cooks dinner most nights (and she makes a lot so I can also have leftovers several times).
I’m ok with that. It works for me.
Megan is what I would call more of a “normal human being.” She needs more flexibility and variety. She can also look at the food available in our fridge and/or pantry and whip together a quick meal with ease. Because of that, her diet consists of a lot more different kinds of foods.
In general, more variety is a good thing, but neither approach is right or wrong. You can lose weight whether you’re a great cook with a sophisticated palate, or a picky eater and terrible in the kitchen.
It’s best to find the approach that works best, and then be willing to work on your weaknesses, like learning to cook a bit more, or being content on a slightly less exciting (but temporary) diet.
6. How Long to Diet
How long should your diet last?
I can go months without taking a break, even if that means my metabolism adapts and I have to eat less and less calories to get the same results. I’m not saying that’s the best approach, I’m just saying it’s easier for me to have more consecutive weeks of dieting without it affecting me psychologically.
Megan needs more frequent breaks. If she starts dieting on Monday, she’s ready for a break by, well… dinner time on that same Monday.
She has more self-control than that, but the point is that it makes more sense for her to plan regular breaks. It might be after a couple months, or even every couple weeks. It really just depends on what’s going in her life at the time.
How long you should diet depends mostly on how much weight you’d like to lose, but if it’ll take you more than a couple months to get there, you’d be wise to factor in breaks here and there. It’ll give your body and your mind a chance to recover.
7. How the Weight Drops
How quickly can you expect results?
Even if Megan and I lose weight at the same pace (based on percentages), the numbers on the scale don’t drop in the same way.
Megan’s weight tends to hover in the same place for a number of days, then she’ll have a sudden drop, only to stall out again until the next drop. Whereas I’ll steadily lose weight for a couple days, then gain weight for a couple days, then lose weight for a couple days, and so on.
In the long run, both of our weights trend downward, but if we were fixated on the scale, we’d lose our minds.
Weighing yourself is a good method to track progress. (We recommend losing no more than 0.5-1% of your body weight per week. Most people do well to stay on the low side.) But it’s important not to react to changes in the scale on a daily basis.
Instead, look at the trend over a 2-week (or even month long) period.
Where Do You Land?
You may relate more to Megan with some of these things and more to me with the others. Do you know what that means?
It means, between these 7 differences alone, there are 128 possible combinations for what weight loss might look like for you.
However, if you assume there’s a third option where you could land somewhere in the middle of these differences, that raises the number to 2,187 possible combinations (if you question this, email me and I’ll show you the math).
That’s a lot of variability for how your weight loss might look different from someone else’s.
Realistically, there are far more than these 7 differences and the actual combination of factors surrounding your weight loss is incalculable. That’s why there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s why what works for one person might not work for you.
It’s why most people need help achieving sustainable results.
If you’ve ever lost weight only to put it all back on again, we can help end that cycle once and for all. If you’re ready to do that, apply here to see which of our online coaching programs is right for you.