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  • Writer's pictureLaura

The psychology behind weight loss

Twain Teo ( Weight loss coach, Co-Founder of Elevate 360 (@elevate360fitness), Elevate Barbell Club (, Elevate Physiotherapy (@elevatephysiosg) and Type A Fitness Online Coaching (, former powerlifter and lifetime fitness enthusiast

The science behind losing weight is very simple. To lose weight, you simply have to burn more calories than you consume. One of the key fundamentals is that you have to burn more calories than you consume for a dedicated period of time. The concept is fairly simple, but human beings are extremely variable. As a result, what works for one individual will often need to be catered to another. A key characteristic of human beings is that we all have different personalities, different traits, different preferences, and even different motivation behind our individual fitness goals.

In order to figure out how to help clients lose weight, I have to understand them first. Most people who come to me have already been through a cycle of yo-yo dieting, where they have tried various with varying degrees of results, but always end up being unable to keep the weight off. In the process of trying these different restrictive diets, they often develop a poor relationship with food. For instance, some people attach their emotions to their food and eat when they feel down.

In cases like these, it is important I identify what triggers them to eat when upset before we can correct the behaviour and promote better eating habits. Coming up with weight loss solutions from this perspective will make weight loss more sustainable as opposed to simply making them follow a generic diet.

So what’s a person to do if they find that they are suffering from any of the above issues that’s hindering their weight loss progress? Firstly, they need to learn to be kind to themselves. Find a trustworthy friend who understands how they feel, cares for them, and empathises with their struggles. Secondly, they need to understand the fundamentals behind weight loss. This is where hiring a coach will come in handy. Most coaches will offer some sort of consultation call as part of their sales process, so using that as an opportunity to learn more about what you need to do in order to get started can help you get started.

What are some red flags to look out for when hiring a coach? Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, if you don’t feel comfortable with your coach, then that’s a clear warning sign. Secondly, if they are unable to help you draw out a clear plan towards reaching your goal while helping you understand why you need to do what you need to do to get there, then it’s not likely a good fit. Thirdly, if your coach talks more than listens and doesn’t ask you enough questions, then there might be a lack of communication as sustainable weight loss is a collaborative one between the coach and client. Lastly, any coach that espouses a dogmatic approach might not be the best choice. After all, we’ve found that different methods can work for different people, and it’s often a case of finding the right solution that you can stick to.

Remember, science directs what needs to happen in order for us to get the results we want, but our individual preferences dictate how we achieve those results. There are so many ways to customise a plan based on your preferences and goals, and it would be foolish to think that there is a one-size-fits-all solution. One final note on weight loss: don’t worry about screwing it up, because the only time you truly fail is when you give up. If you fall off your plan, get right back on and figure out why you fell off. Learn from it so that you can do better the next time. Be kind, but firm with yourself. Losing weight is hard enough; let’s not make it any harder than it needs to be.


About Sunnystep


After sustaining a traumatic postpartum spinal injury, Ting founded Sunnystep to bring shoes designed to minimize stress to the feet and the body to more people. The mission of Sunnystep is to provide the best tool, knowledge and inspiration to help people move their bodies freely and happily.


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