Understanding Weight Loss & Gain: What You Need To Know

By Coach Shawn. 

Relatable Struggles:

In the journey of fitness and wellness, one of the most relatable struggles many of us face is the constant battle with weight fluctuations. 

Whether it’s the perennial quest to shed those stubborn pounds or the desire to pack on some muscle mass, the rollercoaster ride of weight loss and gain is a familiar experience. 

Yet, amidst the plethora of diets, workout regimens, and wellness trends, understanding the fundamental principles behind intentional and unintentional weight management remains crucial.

Relatable Aspirations:

For many, the aspiration to transform their bodies is fueled by both external and internal motivations. 

The desire to fit into that favorite pair of jeans, to feel sexy, radiant and confident, or simply to improve overall health and vitality often drives us towards setting weight-related goals. 

Whether it’s shedding excess fat through mindful eating and regular exercise or sculpting a stronger physique through targeted strength training, the vision of a healthier, fitter self serves as a beacon of inspiration.

Intentional Versus Unintentional:

At the core of the weight management spectrum lies the distinction between intentional and unintentional approaches. 

Intentional efforts encompass deliberate and specific actions aimed at achieving specific outcomes, be it weight loss, weight gain, or maintaining current body composition.

Intentional Strategies:

  • Maintenance: [staying the same]
    • Strategy: Understanding Energy Expenditure
      • Recognizing your basal metabolic rate (BMR), activity level, and total energy expenditure (TEE) is crucial for maintaining weight. Living within a consistent range of calories aligned with your TEE ensures you remain at the same weight without unintentional fluctuations.
      • Understanding this number is the starting point for maintaining, losing or gaining weight. 
  • Calorie Deficit (Weight Loss):
    • Strategy: Tracking Macros – 500 Calories Under Maintenance
      • Keeping a daily record of macronutrient intake (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) helps individuals understand and live within a calorie deficit by ensuring they consume the appropriate balance of nutrients while reducing overall calorie intake. 
      • A steady -500 calories under maintenance will lead to approximately 1 lbs of weight loss per week. 
      • Hands down this is the fastest and most accurate way to lose weight. 
  • Calorie Surplus (Weight Gain):
    • Strategy: Tracking Macros and 500+ Calories Over Maintenance
      • In addition to consuming at least 500 calories above maintenance, tracking macros ensures individuals prioritize sufficient protein, carbohydrates, and fats for muscle growth while avoiding excessive fat gain.
      • A steady +500 calories over maintenance will lead to approximately 1 lbs of weight gain per week. 

However most of us aren’t intentional. We are unintentional. 

Unintentional Strategies:

  • Unintentional Weight Loss:
    • Eating Below Maintenance Without Realizing It
      • Unintentionally consuming fewer calories while possibly increasing activity levels can lead to weight loss without conscious awareness. 
      • Beware the Risks: Without intention/awareness of your macros and overall calorie imprint, you run the risk of keeping fat and losing precious muscle, which is not the goal.
  • Unintentional Weight Gain:
    • Easily the Most Common Scenario
      • Without understanding, awareness or consistency around food and liquid choices, individuals often surpass their maintenance calorie thresholds, leading to unwanted weight gain. 
      • This for most people happens like a slow drip and compounds over time. 
      • Beware the Risks:  Decreased self-confidence, compromised health, and increased risk of diseases and health complications. 
  • Unintentional Maintenance:
    • Usually By Luck and Day-to-Day Patterns
      • Staying relatively the same weight without deliberate effort can be common, but it’s usually luck.
      • Without focused awareness, individuals may inadvertently tip the scale, usually towards gaining weight. 
      • Beware the Risks:  Without focused awareness and staying relatively the same we can assume “we’ve got it figured out.”, When in actuality we usually easily tip the gain or loss scale, usually leading to weight gain over time. 
      • Bonus Risks to be aware of
  1. You can’t outwork a bad diet. 
  2. Punishing yourself with more exercise or activity isn’t healthy or sustainable. 
  3. You’re avoiding the root problem, your behavior and choices.. 

What Do I recommend?  Taking Responsibility:

If you want to lose weight or stay the same, yet you’re being unintentional about it, you must first accept responsibility that this specific approach isn’t the most ideal and likely won’t get you towards your goal. 

That you’re gambling. 

I would do the following:

  1. Determine your specific goal, 
  2. Identify why it is important to you at a core level (must be important) 
  3. What you will/absolutely commit to, 
  4. Determine how you will execute it. 

I also recommend if you’re not tracking any food intake you learn how. 

And that you devote 30 days out of every 3 to 6 months at a minimum.


  • Intention.
  • Accuracy.
  • Understanding.
  • Speed to goals.
  • Knowledge.
  • Results.
  • Accountability. 
  • Ownership and personal power.

“Ughhh but I don’t want to track…”

Then you must accept the responsibilities that come in its absence. 

I’m not saying track forever.

If tracking is a pain in the ass for you, I hear you. What I am saying is build in times of the year you increase your focus and put attention to it. It’s temporary.

Especially if you have weight loss/fat loss goals. 

Ask for Help:

And if you need help, ask for help. This is what we do. 

We coach people in nutrition and teach them how to build sustainable habits, helping them get to where they want to go. 

Consider this…6-12 months of focused nutrition coaching and accountability to give you tools for the rest of your life. 

Apply here if interested – www.railroadcrossfit.com

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