Weight Loss for Beginners – Q&A

September 12, 2023

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Hi, I’m Victoria! Certified in exercise physiology + nutrition coaching. I wanna help you create vibrant health without losing perspective on what matters.  

Meet Victoria

Weight loss for beginners

If I had a penny for every time someone started a diet, and then immediately got overwhelmed and quit— I could buy an island.
Actually no….. I could buy so. many. islands.

Today we are talking about WHERE TO START so that you can finish WELL.

Did you know that roughly 95% of diets fail? And about 97% of dieters REGAIN everything they lost (and then some) within 3 years.

I can talk about why dieting is dumb for days…
But since you probably have plans this week, I think we should skip that part and head straight for the solution.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I personally use and love!*

It’s pretty obvious diets aren’t working.

But what tf are we supposed to do when there is weight to lose?
I got this question last week and thought it deserved a deep dive.

Q: “What’s the most important thing to focus on when just starting out?”

First of all, can we acknowledge what a great question this is?  She’s not asking what to do to lose 5 pounds fast- she’s playing the long game.
Amazing Question. And here’s my answer.

A. It depends, there are levels to this 💩. 

I know, not helpful- but stick with me.
“It depends” because we are all starting from different places.

Below I will share from start to finish what the trajectory might look like. Find what phase fits you best and go from there.


Weight Loss for Beginners, PHASE 1:

If you’re currently eating mainly ultra-processed foods….

Your first step is to switch to 80% “non-ingredient foods”. 
This means there’s no nutrient label, it’s just THE food.
Fruits, veggies, red meat, chicken, eggs, etc.
Check out these lists so you get the idea:

Ultra-Processed Foods List: 

  • Any fast food
  • Chips
  • Packaged baked goods (Twinkies, cookies, etc)
  • Microwave meals
  • Donuts
  • Ice cream
  • French fries
  • Hot dogs/ Sausages
  • Soda beverages
  • Frozen pizza
  • Ready-to-eat meals

Non-Ingredient Foods List:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Red meat
  • Chicken
  • Potatoes
  • Whole milk
  • Eggs
  • Whole grains

These lists aren’t extensive, but you get the idea.

If you make the switch to mainly non-ingredient foods your health (mental, physical, emotional) will already look NIGHT AND DAY DIFFERENT.
It’s easy to want to move toward a very specific diet plan and approach early on.

Start here.

So, when it comes to weight loss for beginners, this step is so important because it creates a new habit and sets a new standard for what type of food you eat.
Once 80% of your food falls into the non-ingredient foods category, you can move on.

Weight Loss For Beginners, PHASE 2:

Once you’re eating mainly non-ingredient foods…

Remember how I said to shoot for 80% non-ingredient foods? Now is when we focus on that other 20% of your diet.

Start improving the quality.

  • Shoot for less than 5 ingredients on processed food
  • Educate yourself on ingredients
  • Look for slightly better ingredients than before.
  • Pay attention to how you feel, how your digestion responds, how your skin reacts, what happens to your energy etc.
  • Adjust as needed.

This is a big process and one that you can work on for YEARS. Don’t stress about rushing through, instead use this to educate yourself on what you and your body respond to best.

Weight Loss For Beginners, PHASE 3:

Once you’re eating mainly Non-Ingredient foods + You’ve cleaned up the 20%… 

Now is the time to aim for higher quality non-ingredient foods.

We used to think that an egg was an egg.
Science is showing that quality matters.

There is A LOT of evidence to show that an egg laid in a factory and an egg from a pasture-raised chicken contain drastically different levels of nutrients.
You can read more here if this topic interests you.

In a dream world, we would all be eating 100% organic, local, humanely raised, and regeneratively grown foods.

But that is a LONG way away from the way most Americans eat. 

Pick one thing at a time. As your budget, energy, and resources allow, you can gradually improve the quality of the items you’re eating.
Again, this process takes time.

Weight Loss For Beginners, PHASE 4:

Once you’re eating high-quality, non-ingredient foods, and a higher quality 20%…

Now is the time for fine-tuning.

Let me first say this— you can live in phase 3 for the rest of time and be ABUNDANTLY healthy. 

Phase 4 is mainly for people who are looking for a very specific physique. And YET this is where most people START when they ask how to start losing weight.

No wonder there is such a high diet failure rate! 
The foundational habits and understanding that are KEY TO SUCCESS haven’t been built before these folks dive right into the deep end. 

Phase 4 is when you decide what type of eating style fits you best, the ratios of carbs to fats to proteins that fit you personally, when to eat, when to rest and digest, etc.

“Eat the cake, don’t argue about the sprinkles.” 

Health can be confusing with all the information available on the internet.
But all educated health professionals agree about the cake:
What varies is the sprinkles: The macronutrient ratios, when to eat, when to rest— aka the fine-tuning.

When a diet has you jump head-first into fine-tuning, it’s a recipe for a rough road. You might be able to hold on for a short while, but without a strong foundation to stand on you’ll end up with the 97% of dieters who start, fail, regain, and repeat.

You deserve abundant health. 
And I promise that it’s actually not as far away as you might believe. Our bodies WANT to be nourished and strong. And if you start the process, your body WILL respond.

So back to where we started:

Q: “what’s the most important thing to focus on when just starting out?”

A. It depends, there are levels to this 💩

The more you learn and practice the better you’ll do.
You can actually totally rock this.


P.S. This is a simplified list, duh. It might not always feel this clean and tidy and that’s ok. Just do what you can with where you’re at. 

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