Today I want to talk to you about weight loss.
Nah, screw that. I want to do a lot more than talk to you about it.
I want to help you fully understand it and then successfully make it happen. To do this, I’m going to provide answers to three of the most common (and important) questions…
- What is the best way to lose weight?
- What is the fastest way to do it?
- What is the best way to permanently keep it off after you’ve lost it?
Let the games begin.
But First… The Clarification
In order to properly answer these questions, we need to make sure we understand what it is we’re trying to answer. You see, we might be talking about “weight loss,” but what we’re really interested in is “fat loss.” That’s what we want this lost “weight” to be.
Now that may seem like an annoying nitpick of semantics, but it’s not. There is a very important distinction that needs to be made here.
As I almost always mention in every article I write about this subject (seriously, if you’re a regular reader, you’ve seen me say this approximately 80 billion times before), you could lose fat, muscle, water, glycogen, poop and more, and the scale will tell you that you lost weight. However, out of everything on that list, the one you’re truly seeking to lose here is fat.
This point is important for two reasons:
- To help you avoid losing muscle, or avoid seeking weight loss at the expense of muscle loss. Basically, the secondary goal of everyone trying to lose weight should be to preserve as much lean muscle as possible while that weight is lost, thus ensuring it’s primarily body fat. This is a topic I’ve covered in detail before: How To Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle
- To help you avoid useless nonsense that will cause some temporary weight loss, but won’t do dick in terms of causing any actual fat loss. This would be stuff like cleanses, detoxes, fasts and other similarly pointless garbage marketed as miracles to people who don’t understand the difference between fat loss and weight loss… in the hope that they’ll be so easily fooled by the fast initial decrease in body weight that takes place that they won’t actually notice there was no body fat lost… or that any weight (water) they do lose is instantly regained right after. Yes, that was a really long sentence.
So while people use these phrases interchangeably all the time (and I’ll probably do it a few dozen times in this article), and we know what most people truly mean when they use them, it’s still worth noting the very important difference between them. It matters. You’ll see why in a few minutes.
With me so far? Cool. Now let’s start answering the first question…
What’s The Best Way To Lose Weight?
I’ve spent a whole lot of time trying to answer this one, and what I’ve discovered is that it takes a combination of three things:
- A fact.
- A method for implementing that fact.
- An approach to implementing that method.
Let me show you exactly what I mean…
Step 1: The Fact
So what’s the best way to lose weight? That’s easy: create a caloric deficit.
Not only is this the “best” way, but the bonus here is that it’s literally the only way. Literally literally. There is no other (non-surgical) way of losing body fat. A caloric deficit is a requirement and every single smart, sane, evidence-based person agrees. That’s my nice way of saying that everyone who disagrees is either misinformed, stupid or crazy. Or all of the above. Or maybe just trying to sell you something useless (so misinformed, stupid, crazy or an asshole).
So what is a caloric deficit, you ask? It’s what happens when you consume less calories than your body needs to burn for energy, thus requiring it to find some alternative fuel source to burn instead. That alternative fuel source is your stored body fat. I explain all of this in detail right here: How To Lose Fat
Wait… what’s that you say?
“But what about the glycemic index and cortisol and clean foods and superfoods and slow metabolisms and starvation mode and carbs and meal frequency and 40 thousand other things?!?!”
“But calories in vs calories out is too simplistic and doesn’t apply to humans and blah blah blah!!”
No. Just no.
“This is just your preference and you’re trying to pass it off onto everyone else!!”
Sure, if by “preference” you mean “proven fact,” you’re right. As I’ve said before, there’s a reason it’s called the law of thermodynamics and not the opinion of thermodynamics.
“But I tried creating a caloric deficit and it didn’t work for me?!?!”
The key word there is “tried.” If you successfully did it for a reasonable period of time, it would have worked. 100% of the time, in fact. So if it didn’t, there was simply no deficit present. Yes, even if you undeniably believe that there was. I promise you, there still wasn’t. Details here: Why Am I Not Losing Weight?
“But I’m losing weight right now and I’m not paying any attention to calories!! My diet allows me to eat as many calories as I want!!”
That’s fantastic. Please let me be the first to congratulate you on unintentionally creating the required caloric deficit you needed. Or, slightly more bluntly, for being too stupid to realize your often pointlessly restrictive “calories-don’t-matter” diet has tricked you into eating less calories. More about that right here.
“But [insert someone/something widely regarded as a terrible source of information] says…”
Sorry kids, but the answer is still no. Calories in vs calories out is, was and always will be the key. If you want to lose weight (and by “weight” again we’re really talking about fat), there must be a caloric deficit. This is a fact.
Always has been, always will be.
And please note that this isn’t me saying that nothing else matters besides calories. That’s not true at all and I’m definitely not saying that. PLENTY of other stuff matters. What I AM saying is that the deficit is always what matters most. Take that away and no fat will ever be lost regardless of everything else. On the other hand, put the deficit in place and completely screw up the rest and guess what? Fat will still be lost 100% of the time.
Yes, even if most of your daily calories come from:
- Twinkies (real world example)
- Potatoes (real world example)
- Fast food (real world example)
The one thing each of these extreme examples have in common is the presence of a caloric deficit. And for that reason alone, fat was lost just fine in all three cases. (And no, I don’t actually recommend these “diets” or anything similar to them. They are however perfect examples of real world evidence that support my point.)
So what’s the best way to lose weight? By creating a caloric deficit. This is not an opinion, or a concept, or a method, or even just my personal favorite way. It’s the required way. If you still want to argue against it, feel free. Just understand that when you argue against a fact, you’re guaranteed to be wrong. That’s just how facts work.
Step 2: The Method
Now let’s move on to part 2 of determining the best way to lose weight. And that is by coming up with the best method of implementing our one required fact.
Or to put that another way, what’s the best way to create a caloric deficit?
There are really only three possible options…
- Diet: Eating Fewer Calories
So if you maintain your current weight eating 2500 calories per day (which is just a random example), eating 2000 calories per day would put you into a 500 calorie deficit (which is just a random example deficit) and cause weight loss to happen.
- Exercise: Burning More Calories Through Cardio And/Or Metabolic Training
So using this same example, if you eat 2500 calories per day but then burn an additional 500 calories through exercise such as cardio (e.g. steady state or HIIT) or metabolic training (which is essentially turning more strength-focused weight training into a form of high intensity cardio), that same 500 calorie deficit would exist and you would lose weight.
- Diet + Exercise: A Combination Of Both
Again using this same example, if you eat 250 fewer calories and burn 250 more calories, this same 500 calorie deficit would exist yet again, thus causing weight loss to occur.
So the question now is, which of these three methods is the best of them all?
Well, strictly in terms of fat loss and with all else being equal, a deficit is a deficit. So whether it’s created by eating less, burning more or a combination of the two, you’ll lose virtually the same amount of fat at virtually the same rate.
So then which method is best? Simple: whichever one best suits your personal needs and preferences, is most convenient, efficient and sustainable for you, and will make you most likely to consistently be in the required deficit you need to be in.
Meaning… how would you like go about creating your deficit? Which method would you prefer to use? Different people will give different answers, which is why you’re honestly the only person who can answer this question.
Here are my best attempts at helping you:
- How Much Cardio Should I Do To Lose Weight?
- Weight Training Workouts For Burning Fat
- What Are The Best Fat Burning Exercises?
But wait, there’s more!
You may have noticed that I purposely went out of my way to name cardio and metabolic training as the types of exercise being used for the “exercise” method. That’s because in terms of exercising for the explicit purpose of burning calories and losing fat, cardio and metabolic training are the two most efficient choices.
There is however one other form of exercise I didn’t mention, and that is strength-focused weight training. You know, the kind of weight training you’d use primarily to gain muscle and/or increase strength rather than burn calories and create a deficit like these other two are much better suited for.
Now, sure, this style of training burns some calories as well which means it will certainly help a bit in that regard. But, it’s just not what it’s best used for in this context. Rather, this style of training is best used as a method of maintaining muscle and strength while losing fat (and in certain cases, building muscle while losing fat).
Remember our little weight vs fat clarification from before?
Well, in terms of losing weight, all forms of exercise are completely optional.
Your deficit can very easily be created through diet alone and not a second of cardio, metabolic training, strength training or anything else ever needs to be done at all. (Which, by the way, is a point I wish all of the “I want to lose weight so badly but I just don’t have any time to exercise” people would realize. Details here: How To Lose Weight Without Working Out)
But in terms of improving the composition of the weight being lost (fat or muscle), the cardio and/or metabolic stuff still remains completely optional (yes, seriously… and I personally rarely do any myself). HOWEVER, heavy, intelligent, strength-focused weight training now becomes a requirement.
Why? Because some form of heavy, intelligent, strength-focused weight training is what signals your body to preserve muscle mass in a deficit, thus helping to ensure the “weight” being lost is primarily body fat.
Now if all you care about is just losing weight, seeing the number on the scale go down, fitting into smaller clothes and being skinnier, you’ll be fine without it. If, however, you want to maintain whatever muscle and strength you currently have or potentially gain more muscle and strength while you lose this fat, or you simply want to look strong/lean/toned/muscular/other-similar-words instead of skinny/thin… then you will NOT be fine without it. For this purpose, heavy, intelligent, strength-focused weight training is required.
Additional details here: How To Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle
So what does all of this mean for the “method” portion of weight loss? It’s pretty simple.
Decide how you want to create your deficit. You can do it through diet, a typical calorie-burning form of exercise (e.g. cardio), or some combination of both. And make this decision based solely on your own personal preferences and needs because that’s really the only part of this decision that actually matters. Pick the most convenient, efficient and sustainable option for YOU.
Then, assuming you don’t want to lose muscle/strength while you’re in this deficit (or that you’d like to gain some while you’re in this deficit), combine that deficit method with the type of heavy, intelligent, strength-focused weight training needed to ensure this second goal is taken care of, too. (Superior Muscle Growth contains workouts that fit this description.)
If you care what I think, my default advice is to use your diet to cause fat loss (meaning set the deficit by eating a little less than you currently do), and use weight training to maintain (or increase) muscle and strength. Cardio and/or metabolic training are completely optional.
I prefer using them only if I ever reach a point where I’d rather start burning a little more rather than eating a little less. Which is rare as hell. But that’s just me. You should do whatever is best for you.
Step 3: The Approach
Okay, quick recap.
We know that losing weight requires a caloric deficit (the fact), and we know this deficit can come to exist via diet, exercise or a combination of both (the method).
The final part of this equation is the approach. As in, what type of diet and/or workout should you use to create this deficit?
Well, in terms of exercise, we kinda already just covered the majority of what you need to know. Additional details you might be seeking are covered here: What’s The Best Cardio Exercise?
What I really want to focus on now is how you should approach your diet. Because, in case you haven’t noticed, there are about 150 billion dietary methods out there aimed at allowing a person to lose weight. The only question is, which one is the best of them all?
In order to answer this, we need to come up with some kind of classification system to narrow things down a bit. And if you ask me, there’s really only one form of diet classification worth mentioning…
The Direct Deficit vs The Indirect Deficit
Basically, we can put every diet designed for weight loss into one of two groups:
- Diets built around directly creating a caloric deficit.
- Diets built around doing other things that indirectly cause you to create a calorie deficit (all typically while claiming/pretending/assuming it’s these other things that are making weight loss occur when in reality it’s still always the deficit these other things indirectly caused).
With all else being equal (e.g. adherence), every diet in the first group is guaranteed to work. Always. Every time.
The diets in the second group? With all else being equal, most of them CAN work. And many DO work. No doubt about that at all. The problem however is that in this case, it’s less of a guarantee and more of a lucky side effect.
What I mean is, the diets in Group 1 are all about figuring out how many calories you need to consume in order for your deficit to exist, and then simply putting everything else together with that calorie intake as the foundation of your diet.
The diets in Group 2 don’t do this. What they do instead is ignore calories while placing various rules and restrictions on the way that you eat (e.g. special foods/food groups you can eat, special foods/food groups you must avoid, special times you can eat, special times you must avoid eating, special combinations of foods must eat or avoid, and on and on and on), thus indirectly causing you to eat less… thus indirectly causing a deficit to exist.
So think of any form of low carb diet plan. Or low fat diet. Or a diet that eliminates all sugar, or wheat, or grains or gluten or whatever else. Or the paleo diet, or a vegan diet, or a raw food diet, or an organic diet. Or a diet built around only eating “clean” foods. Or any diet that puts some non-calorie-based limit on when, how or what you can eat. Or 800 other similar examples.
These are all Group 2 diets. Can they cause weight loss? Sure. It happens all the time. However, it’s never because of any of the specific rules and restrictions they entail (even though they will all claim that it is). It’s always because those rules and restrictions indirectly caused you to eat less total calories, which caused the required deficit to exist.
Or at least… HOPEFULLY caused that deficit to exist.
And therein lies the problem (well, one of the problems) with all Group 2 diets. You’re doing stuff you don’t truly NEED to be doing for the purpose of causing the one and only thing you NEED to be doing. And those non-essential things are not always guaranteed to be enough to make it happen.
Meaning, regardless of what kind of rules/restrictions a diet employs, it’s always going to be possible for a person to out-eat them. So while limiting this, this and that should hypothetically make it harder for someone to eat more calories than they should be, it certainly doesn’t make it impossible.
Which is a fact many people on these types of diets unintentionally prove on a regular basis.
And that, combined with the fact that these various unnecessary rules and restrictions often force you to eat in a manner that doesn’t fit your personal preferences or just flat out annoys the crap out of you (thus often leading to problems with adherence and long term sustainability… more about that later), is the main difference between Group 1 diets and Group 2 diets.
Let me make this extra clear:
- If you want to do a bunch of unproven, gimmicky, fad-ish, non-evidence-based, non-science-based, sometimes unhealthy, largely-if-not-entirely-unnecessary things with your dietary approach for the purpose of maybe indirectly causing the one proven, non-gimmicky, non-fad-ish, evidence-based, science-based, healthy and necessary thing (a caloric deficit) to happen… then a Group 2 diet is perfect for you.
- If however you’d rather just directly set your calorie intake to an amount that causes fat loss to occur, and then get all of those calories from a good balance of protein, fat and carbs, and then get those nutrients from a variety of foods you truly enjoy eating, and then put it all together in whatever the hell way best suits your personal preferences and is completely free from all of the stupid rules and restrictions that make weight loss a lot harder than it needs to be… then a Group 1 diet is perfect for you.
I don’t know about you, but my vote goes to Group 1.
For the full step-by-step details on exactly how to set up a diet fitting this description, check out my free guide to doing just that: The Best Diet Plan
What’s The Best Way To Lose Weight… FAST!!
Alright, so now we’ve fully answered the first of our three questions. We learned the required fact, figured out a method for implementing that fact, and came up with an approach for implementing that method.
Which brings us to question #2, which tends to be the one everyone cares about the most: how do we do it all as FAST as possible?!?!
As in, how do you lose weight fast?
Well, the way I see it, there are really only three “options” to consider:
1. Silly Temporary Water Loss
So what’s the fastest way to lose weight? Simple. By losing something that ISN’T body fat.
The most common example is water. To quote myself from the beginning of this article…
This would be stuff like cleanses, detoxes, fasts and other similarly pointless garbage marketed as miracles to people who don’t understand the difference between fat loss and weight loss… in the hope that they’ll be so easily fooled by the fast initial decrease in body weight that takes place that they won’t actually notice there was no body fat lost… or that any weight (water) they do lose is instantly regained right after.
So sure, if you wanna waste some time doing silly (often unhealthy) nonsense that will make it temporarily appear as though “fast weight loss” has taken place, this is how it is done (and no, I definitely don’t recommend it… at all… even a little). You’ll basically just lose a bunch of water weight and then regain it soon after all while having no effect whatsoever on the body fat you’re actually trying to lose.
Then again, you can also cut off one of your legs and achieve a similar “fast weight loss” effect. Although, in this case, the results will be waaaay less temporary.
(Disclaimer: please don’t cut your fucking leg off.)
2. Unrealistic Expectations
Then we have what can best be described as the insane, unrealistic expectations people have about weight loss that exist primarily as a result of being lied to by the weight loss industry for the purpose of getting you to buy a bunch of useless crap.
You know… magic pills, powders, equipment, diets, workouts, programs or whatever else that will supposedly allow you to “get the six pack of your dreams in just 4 weeks!” Or “torch 30lbs of belly fat in just 1 month!” Or “melt away 20lbs of fat every week!”
And so on.
It all sounds nice. And it all panders to our universal desire for getting the fastest results possible. And it all does a pretty good job of convincing millions of people to buy a lot of shit that does nothing.
But unfortunately, it’s just not how weight loss actually works in the really real world. Or how it could ever come close to working outside of our unrealistic hopes and dreams.
3. The Size Of The Deficit
Now for the big secret behind legitimate fast weight loss.
Although honestly, this “big secret” isn’t a secret at all. It’s just common sense. And math.
Basically, if a caloric deficit is the sole cause of fat loss, the sole determinant of what makes it happen slower or faster is the size of that deficit.
- A larger deficit (let’s say 30% or more below maintenance) will cause faster weight loss.
- A smaller deficit (let’s say 10% or less below maintenance) will cause slower weight loss.
- A moderate deficit (let’s say 20% below maintenance) will cause weight loss to occur at a rate somewhere in between.
So if you maintain your current weight eating 3000 calories per day (just an example), ending up some degree below 3000 calories would put you into a deficit. As I explained before, you can do this by either eating less, burning more, or some combination of both. For the purpose of showing examples, I’m going to pretend it’s done by eating less.
So, if 3000 calories is some example person’s maintenance level, they could eat 2100 calories per day, 2700 calories per day, or 2400 calories per day… respectively.
What would the difference be between these 3 scenarios? Well, in terms of the speed at which weight loss takes place, the bigger deficit will cause the fastest weight loss. And vice-versa.
Now if this was the only factor worth considering, aiming for the largest deficit possible (something even bigger than the 30% example) would make all of the sense in the world, right?
Unfortunately, speed is NOT the only factor to consider here.
Health (both physical and mental… my breakdown of “starvation mode” and eating “1200 calories day” covers some of the lovely effects of very low calorie diets), the potential for nutrient deficiencies, the potential for disordered eating habits to develop, the potential for food and body image issues to develop, strength, performance, recovery, muscle maintenance, hunger, mood, metabolic issues, etc. etc. etc. and just your overall ability to consistently stick to your diet in the short term and then sustain it in the long term are all factors that need to be taken into consideration as well.
And, generally speaking, while a larger deficit will always cause the fastest weight loss (good!), it’s also the most likely to be problematic in terms of these other factors (bad!). A smaller deficit is the opposite of this… the least problematic in this regard (yay!) but also the slowest rate of weight loss (boo!).
More about this here: Why Very Low Calorie Diets (500-1000 Calories A Day) Don’t Work
For this reason, a moderate deficit tends to be the sweet spot for most of the people, most of the time. You’ll get a lot of the good while avoiding a lot of the bad.
An additional factor that should also be taken into consideration is the amount of weight that needs to be lost. For example, someone with 100lbs to lose will be able to use a larger deficit with a much lower risk of any potential downsides (and the more fat you have to lose… the faster you can and arguably should lose it), whereas someone who is already lean and looking to get REALLY lean will often do best with a smaller deficit (and thus a slower rate of progress).
So exactly how realistically fast should you expect things to go? Typically between 0.5-2lbs lost per week in most cases (or potentially more in the case of someone with a very significant amount of fat to lose).
…And Keep It Off?
Okay, so by now you know how to lose weight, and you know the most relevant aspects of the “losing it fast” part.
Which brings us to the third and final question: what’s the best way to keep the weight off (permanently) after you lose it?
Ready to have your mind blown?
I’ve already answered this question throughout this article.
Almost… kinda… subliminally.
You know the answer to this question right now.
Think about it.
See it yet?
How about now?
Just in case you don’t, I’ll lay it out for you.
The best way to keep the weight off after you lose it is by losing it in a manner that is sustainable in the long term.
- No quick fixes.
- No silly gimmicks.
- No stupid fads.
- No bullshit products.
- No unrealistic expectations.
- No unnecessary rules.
- No annoying restrictions.
- No unhealthy methods.
- No excessively large deficits.
- No very low calorie diets.
- No extreme amounts of exercise.
- No forcing yourself to eat in a manner that goes against your personal dietary needs and preferences.
- Just… no.
Because while all of this sort of stuff certainly has the potential to cause weight loss to occur, research, common sense and an infinite amount of real world experience shows us that people are much more likely to regain the weight when it is initially lost in a manner fitting any or all of this description.
Why? Because THIS is the type of stuff that is LEAST sustainable in the long term.
Which means at best, trying to do so will make your life miserable while simultaneously making it much harder than it needs to be to keep the weight off after you have lost it. And at worst (and more commonly), you’ll just fail and eventually gain the weight back.
That’s a losing scenario either way.
So how do you avoid it? Simple. You avoid all of the unsustainable stuff in favor of things that make your results as sustainable as possible.
Because let’s face it, losing fat sucks. It’s not fun. Most of us would love to just sit around and eat whatever the hell we want whenever the hell we want with no regard for calories, macronutrients or the quality of that food. For proof of this, look no further than the fact that this is what most people actually do (and of course why most people are fatter than they want to be).
Which means, by default, doing anything besides this is always going to suck to some extent. To make it work, your goal is to make it suck the least amount possible. How do you do that? By approaching weight loss in a manner that is as efficient, convenient, preferable, enjoyable and sustainable for you as realistically possible.
Not only will this greatly increase the potential of your weight loss progress remaining permanent in the long term, but it will also greatly increase the potential of you successfully losing that weight in the first place.
And that, right there, is the winning scenario you want.
NEW: My brand new fat loss program, Superior Fat Loss, is now available. It’s completely designed to allow you to lose fat as quickly and effectively as realistically possible… WITHOUT losing muscle, or feeling hungry all the time, or giving up the foods you love, or doing tons of cardio, or following annoying diet rules, or experiencing excessive metabolic slowdown and plateaus, or regaining the fat after you lose it. You can learn all about it right here: Superior Fat Loss
126 thoughts on “What Is The Best Way To Lose Weight Fast And Keep It Off?”
As always, a really good article!
I’m so happy to be a subscriber of yours…. you give such in dept and detailed information. Awesome , awesome article man.. Thanks again so much for you true knowledgeable facts. I still love and follow the muscle building workout.. such a great workout.
Glad to hear it dude.
Great article! Waiting for a whole fatloss book!
The fat loss book is coming. Not quite yet… but it’s coming.
Great article once again!
I”ve been doing your beginner workout for about 5 months and progressing nicely.
I’m a skinny guy at 6″4 and always had problems “looking bigger”
I combined the beginner workout with a HIIT tabata style bike exercise at the end of each workout for about 9 minutes to get rid of my beer gut but after reading this i’m thinking its cost me recovery and muscle loss.
Is the beginner workout enough cardio to get rid of excess fat like beer guts and i can ditch the HIIT cardio stuff?
I think you might have missed one of the main points of this article. 🙂
i’m guessing my diet should dictate my beer gut not using the HIIT cardio to cut into my muscle stuff? 🙂
Create a deficit. That’s it. Want to do it by eating less? Do it. Want to do it by doing HIIT? Do that. Want to do both? Go for it. As long as a deficit is created, you win.
Combine that with a sufficient protein intake and strength-based training program, and you’ll maintain muscle, too.
Some people are just too lazy. “Nah, who has the time and effort to count calories for every single thing?”.
Who? Well, apprarently those who don’t have the time and effort to do all the useless things that don’t really cause a caloric deficit.
Love your articles always and this is no exception! Well done and thanks for taking the time out to do this, noone else does it better!!!
Thanks Gary, definitely appreciate it.
I keep getting impressed about the quality content and information you are providing. As a manner fact believe it or not, I’ve been into body-building for less than 6 months and my friends are surprised how I got to the level of awareness. All I’ve ever done is reading your articles and understand them.
Thank you very much Jay, I really highly appreciate the awesomeness you are giving us.
Q\ Is this the ultimate solution for burning fat and maintaining muscle that you’ve talked about earlier in this article ?
You’re welcome dude, glad everything is going well.
As for your question, are you asking if a combination of strength work and metabolic work (as mentioned in that other article) is the best way to burn fat and maintain muscle? If so, there’s no real answer to that. You could just as easily skip the metabolic work and achieve the same results if your diet is adjusted correctly. Basically, it depends on the needs and preferences of the person.
About a year ago, I googled “density of fat vs. muscle” and landed on your site. After a couple of hours of reading all the articles, I snagged a calorie counting app and started implementing the stuff I read about.
Since then, I’ve lost about 105 pounds and gone from Obese, Class 2 to Normal BMI (yeah, I get the flaws in BMI, but still…)
So, yeah, thanks.
Amazing effing progress right there man! Glad if the site helped in any way with making it happen.
Always on point! So glad you are back.
A point to note- there are cases where a food group (carbs/sugar) has to be monitored and/or restricted to a certain degree, like in the case of a diabetic diet
Well yeah, but if I was writing weight loss articles for the potential specific needs of every person who might one day read them and every potential health/medical condition they may have or might potentially be genetically at a higher risk for, each article would turn into a 20 page disclaimer that would be irrelevant to the other 95% of the population. 🙂
By far this is THE MOST INTELLIGENT Article I have ever read on the all important subject of FAT LOSS!
Great read, Jay! There is no escaping the FACTS and I so appreciate the time, passion, research, etc., that was put into writing this! Thank you so much for sharing with us who struggle with being ‘over fat’ (we women REALLY have a hard time with this one…oh, and being over muscled, which doesn’t happen very often either….LOL!) with the FACTS and nothing but the FACTS! With Ivory Soul, May Palmer, The Queen of Ivory Soul
Ha, thanks May! Always love your feedback.
Great article as always.
I’m a little confused about heavy, strength focused workout with caloric deficit. I was thinking that anaerobic exercises such as heavy workouts or HIIT would make your body use carbs as the first choice energy source, which may cause the glycogen inside the muscles to be used next as you are already low on carbs because of the diet. Should we go heavier on carbs on workout days?
I do….I eat around 1400 calories just from Carbs. But I’m on a bulk right now. Your macros will have to be tailored TO YOU based on your goal (I’m assuming FAT LOSS at this time)..
But you still need the carbs on workout days..
Forget about trying to “make your body use carbs.”
Just combine a moderate deficit with an intelligent strength-focused training program and a sufficient macronutrient intake and everything will go just fine.
B R A V O!!!
Long time reader using SMG + 3DM workout routine. Got it dialed in to 2 – 2.5lbs “weight gain” a month ;)…
Glad to hear it dude!
My comment will be so offtopic, it can’t get more offtopic than this without actually talking about something else than working out.
I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and never really had any comments or complaints.
However, now I need an advice.
I consider asking this in a comment to be better than in an e-mail, because other readers can see it this way.
I’m really skinny (60 kg – after actually gaining some weight – and 1,75 m) so I started working out mostly to build a decent appetite. Of course, this plan has the great advantage of keeping me from turning into a fat slob in the (veeery) long run.
I do dumbell (17kg each) presses (so I don’t end up strangled by the barbell like many fools do on youtube), barbell (26kg) curls (because I can use the barbell for the squats as well), dumbbell one arm rows (because I have scoliosis and the doctor’s recommendation of swimming to strengthen my back muscles is not an option at the moment) and front barbell squats (just so my legs don’t fall behind – in the veeery long run; also, I switched from dumbbell squats to barbell squats because the dumbbell ones were constantly injuring my left shoulder).
The “main” exercises (presses and curls) are the ones that dictate the evolution of the weight of the dumbbells and barbell. I aim for a maximum set of 10 and when this is reached, I increase the weight on the corresponding gear (the dumbbells or the barbell). I just limit my squats and my rows at 10 as well, although, I could go further with those, but I don’t want to waste the time adding and removing weights before an exercise; even if I had the time, I hate doing it anyway.
Due to space and time constraints, I work out at home, on the floor, which pretty much messes up my presses since, most times, I don’t quite reach parallel, then again break it… I’ve got my eye on a small, foldable bench to fix this.
However, my biggest problem is the weight of the dumbbells I use for presses.
My chest is evolving much faster than my biceps so I cannot lift them in a decent fashion anymore. When starting the presses, I sit on the floor, leaned back, and I have to put my elbows on the floor to lift the dumbbells. That causes all sorts of pain (most times after I finish the set). Even so, I can barely lift them.
As you saw, my barbell, which is used for curls, is 4kg lighter per arm than my dumbbells.
Even if I get the foldable bench to fix my presses form, I’m afraid soon I won’t be able to lift my dumbbells anymore and my chest will be held back by this problem.
What do you suggest I do?
May your workouts always be productive,
Already got you covered. See #2 in this one.
Thank you! I will test the tips as soon as I get the chance.
I was wondering how come I didn’t know that article, then I say it’s from 2012. I didn’t know about your awesome blog back then. Hell, I wasn’t even thinking about working out back then. :))
Thank you very much for all your work you put into this blog!
I just watched the videos and I remembered I had seen them before but forgot about them; dunno if from the blog or somewhere else.
Anyway, I can’t use that method, unfortunately, because I use this type of dumbbells.
I’m curious if it will work if I rest them sideways on my knees.
Never really trained much with dumbbells like that, so I’m not really sure how it would go. But, I’m thinking some similar type of movement can be used.
I have a similar set, and I manage to make it work with 18kgs a side using the technique in the video. Getting back up is a bit of an issue if your abs aren’t up to the mark.
P.S. swinging them up and dropping back on to the bench also works if you keep the dumbbells close to your body.
Hi, great article that cover 95% of the fat loss topic.. But what about going down under the 10% bodyfat while maintaining muscle mass? I’ve read about leptine and other things that make going down (and maintain) to the single digit bodyfat very very hard… (Without drugs). Sorry for the bad english. I’m a big fan!!
That’s something that will take a full article to explain. Or perhaps a chapter in an upcoming book. 🙂
I second this. An article on this would be very nice and helpful.
Love your no bullshit, say it how it is approach.
Everyone wanting to lose weight (fat) should read this.
Great article.. I found your site about a month and a half ago and I wish I would have found it earlier. I’ve already lost about 6 pounds it’ll be a month at the end of this week since I’ve started. Thanks for all the info your AWESOME!!!
Awesome! Keep up the good work.
Oh how I love thee!! Spamming (not really…but really) everyone I know who wants to lose weight with it.
Finally… useful spam.
Always spot on Jay. I know it might have made the article lengthy but would have loved to hear what you had to say on the impact of age on maintaining muscle mass.
Thanks dude. The age/maintaining muscle thing would need its own article. One day.
Bless you for your forthrightness.
Out of the tens of thousands of comments/emails/messages I’ve gotten, that may be the very first instance of “forthrightness.”
Nice article, should get a lot of mileage from it. Only thing I would add is a “Where do I go from here” section at the end that provides links to your programs where folks can implement a fat loss protocol. I often send people who are new to training and nutrition to your site so they can learn how to set up their diet and follow a training program that complements it.
BTW, I posted a link to your article at the top of our Start Here topic.
Thanks dude, definitely appreciate it.
I have a few tricky questions to make, but first a disclaimer of sorts: I am 5’10” and weigh 138 pounds, which means: I’m slim, verging on skinny. I have no interest whatsoever in losing weight. I only read article this because I find your articles funny, clear, and informative. And I’ve always thought that the best way to lose wait is simply eat less. (That’s what I did the only time in my life I was slightly overweight, ten years ago.) That being said…
1) I have read or heard that cardio induces our body to start burning fat after a few minutes of activity, around 20 minutes I think. I have always assumed it meant that even if a person ate something during that time, his body would still consume calories off the body fat, leaving for later the nutrients he ingested. Is this right?
2) I also understand that, unlike carbs, protein can’t be stored as fat. I have always inferred it means that if a person needs 2000 calories a day and eats 2500 calories of protein only, he will defecate the excess of protein (and its calories) and not become fatter. Is this right?
All this leads me to my real question: if a person needs 2000 calories a day, eats 2000 calories of protein and protein only, but induces his body to burn, say, 200 calories off his body fat, won’t that person defecate the protein he doesn’t need (because the body can’t turn into fat) and still lose weight — still lose body fat?
I am guessing there must be something very wrong in my premisses, but I don’t know what.
1. A chronic net deficit is what’s going to cause fat to be burned. Cardio is just a means of burning calories to create that deficit.
2. Great article by Lyle McDonald will answer this. Right here.
I just want to say something about cardio for the few female readers. I think for smaller women, sometimes it’s really necessary, and not just 20 minutes twice a week. Not that anything you said is wrong, but if you’re a small woman, you might literally starve if the deficit comes from the diet entirely… I am just saying that because I see so many women “bragging” about not doing any cardio, and losing fat at a normal pace while eating a decent amount of food, which usually sets unrealistic expectations…
I don’t disagree with this. In fact, you’re making a slightly different version of the same point I make in the article…
“I prefer using them (referring to cardio) only if I ever reach a point where I’d rather start burning a little more rather than eating a little less. Which is rare as hell. But that’s just me. You should do whatever is best for you.”
This is the best fitness article that I have EVER read in my life. (And i have read alot from Bodybuilding.com, Men’s fitness, Beachbody, Men’s Health and just about every website and youtube “fitness guru” around). I love the No-BS approach that you take here getting straight to the truth with enough detail to really take action. Keep up the GREAT work man!
Thanks man, definitely appreciate it!
Thank you for taking your time to post stuff like this. If I’d found this website (or any other website stating the truths instead of marketed bullshit) a lot of years of confusion regarding my food and training would have been spent alot better. That being said, for the six past months that I’ve been reading this blog I’ve lost over 20 lbs of excessive fat and gotten into the best shape of my life since I was 15 or so. And I keep getting leaner and stronger still.
So once again, a huge THANK YOU!
Awesome, awesome and awesome! You are quite welcome… glad the site has helped in any way!
I’m a new reader of your website and just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying all the articles, your straightforward approach no BS attitude. Its frustrating that people around me who want the same things as me – drop fat and look better seem- to be ignoring my passion for your articles, I keep hearing ‘I’ll read that sometime’ or ‘haven’t got time to read’- it’s too much effort for them to sit and read! However the important thing is that I listen to you – create a calorie deficit and train intelligently – I’m only 1 week in and am hopeful of success – thanks for sharing your great work.
Ha… yeah… I know that feeling.
But don’t worry. When you hit your goals, you’ll get a lot of “hey… can you link me to those articles again? I suddenly have time to read them now.”
Happens every time.
I’ll let you know if that does happen
Another great article Jay. God bless you. Somehow I got the feeling you are writing this article because of the influx of various diet programs that are flooding the market now.
Thanks dude! Unfortunately that influx has been here for decades. 🙂
Great article, very informative.
I have been counting calories using a fitness app for almost 4 months with great success. It’s nice to get confirmation, especially since there are many people who tell me counting calories is no way to live. I am a detailed person so this approach works great for me.
I have lost 42 lbs in just under 4 months. I gained a bunch of weight after back surgery left me not so mobile and I still have a ways to go but I am optimistic. I am combining weight training, swimming/cardio with healthy eating in a way that I can live with daily.
Your articles have been helpful to me and this one was especially on point for me.
Thank you sincerely,
Fantastic progress Steve… congrats!
I feel so bad for people I see eating cottage cheese and chicken breast every day and I’m having delicious health conscious foods and even a homemade cheeseburger every week and still lose weight because I stay within my limits. Even more messed up is they payed someone a few hundred dollars to eat like that. The knowledge I’ve gotten from this site has allowed me to customize a dietary plan that is easy, tasty and most importantly sustainable, which has been my issue many times before. Kudos for all the help.
This brings me great joy. 🙂
Can you clarify about how much protein we should aim for? Should we be using total body weight llb x 1g or target total weight llb x 1g or lbm x 1g. I’ve seen all calculations mentioned over the net. I do apologise for questioning your advice it’s just that I’ve seen different advice on articles that you have recommended or referenced. Thanks.
1g being an example amount – naturally I’m more interested in the body weight multiplier.
1g per pound of body weight is a good place to start in most cases, with the main exception being people who are significantly overweight… they should use 1g per pound of target body weight.
Just wanted to say Great Article! I love reading all your articles. Even when it may be about things that I already know from reading previous articles. It just helps keep me encouraged that I’m doing things the right way. I love how you explain everything so well, yet simplify what needs to be done. It really helps me to not stress out when I hear about a new diet and wonder if that’s what I should be doing. I already know what the best way is, thanks to all the info you’ve given. I’ve lost 24lbs in 15 weeks! I still have about 85 more to go, but I’ve got a great start and the confindence to reach my goal. Thanks for all you do!!
Glad to hear it Rochelle! And congrats on the 24lbs… awesome progress!
Be sure to update again and let me know how things are going.
Thanks for the great resources man! Discovered your site a few months ago and immediately appreciated the no nonsense approach. After reading a bunch, started tracking my calories and following the IIFYM guidelines while working out and I’m very happy with the results and how “easy” it became.
Lost approx 8% BF and increased muscle mass by 5% while slowly but steadily losing weight (got to love beginner’s gains I guess), but I now reached a point around approx 10% BF (~accuracy warning: biometric impedance) but my BMI is also reaching low levels at around 18.5ish…
Does this mean I’ve reached my “genetic” limit for BF/weight loss without going into sickly thin/underweight territory? Is there a way to still reduce my BF% further without losing more weight -would it work to gain weight while working out, and then to lose weight again? Or should I just be pleased with a 4 instead of 6pack) Thanks for any advice.
Glad to hear it dude!
As for your question, this depends mostly on you. If you’re happy with your current level of BF and would rather focus strictly on building muscle for a while… then by all means do it. If however you want to get even leaner first, you can do that… although you will have to accept that fact that you’re not going to get leaner without losing more weight overall (details here).
“there’s a reason it’s called the law of thermodynamics and not the opinion of thermodynamics” that seriously cracked me up. Great blog – an oasis of sanity. Thank you!
Thanks dude, glad you liked it!
You TOTALLY need to do a podcast!! I absolutely love reading your articles, Jay! The people who are the best at what they do and get the results they are looking for are masters of the basics! The basics aren’t usually ‘sexy’ or revolutionary pieces of information, but they seem to be the things people are lacking while they continue to be confused as to why they’re not making progress. You do an amazing job of providing ‘basic’ information in a way that puts things into perspective for the reader. I’ve really appreciated articles like yours during my fitness journey. When I’m not making progress, I know exactly why. It’s not because I ate too many ‘dirty’ carbs or didn’t maximize my metabolic window or some other bullshit dogmatic theory that other ‘gurus’ push, it’s because I was slacking ass and my caloric deficit was nonexistent. Yep…that’s it. So, thanks so much for the awesome content in your articles that bring me back down to reality! MUCH appreciated!!!
Ha, you are quite welcome! Definitely appreciate the compliments.
Hi Jay. I came across your site a few months ago and I have to say it’s one of the best I’ve seen. Straight to the point, informative, No BS and a bit of humour too. I love it.
This is were I take advantage of your knowledge though. I am new to weight training and for the last 3 month’s I’ve been cutting. This has been tough mainly because I was only 145 lbs when I started but had some belly fat and thought I should work on the theory to get lean first. I guess the cut has been going okay as I’ve dropped 11 lbs. My problem is in my damn head I keep telling myself I’m too small (because I am) and constantly feel the urge to bulk. I can’t see my abs yet and still have some belly fat…I hear it’s the last to go. If you were in my shoes would you continue the cut until the abs show or would you switch it up and start a bulk? The other thing is I don’t know how long it’s gonna take to see my abs.
Look forward to your reply.
Try this one and this one.
Great article and love the information you provide here on your website. Thanks for sharing.
Ok I’ve been on a calorie deficit for about 3 weeks and it appears I am not losing any body fat. I use a tape measure to track results as well as doing body weight weekly averages on the scale. My calorie intake it at 2,050 calories a day. 1 gram of protein per body weight 188. My body fat is around 19%. My TDEE 2,800. I lift 4 days a week 1.5 hours and 20-30 minute cardio sessions after lifing.
My question is… How long should I stay in this deficit before making changes to my calorie intake or routine? Do you have any guides written around making changes if you aren’t seeing results? How long does it take before the body starts making changes. I worked out for 6 months and gained muscle and lost fat. Then took off 2 weeks and came into a calorie deficit to start cutting BF. My strength has come back from being off for two weeks but that fat doesn’t seem to be moving! My weekly average on the scale is about the same.
I would say that if 3-4 consecutive weeks have passed with no change in weekly body weight averages or measurements, it’s time to adjust your calorie intake down (or calorie output up… or both).
Fantastic article! I know a lot of supplement companies won’t like you though for sharing what really works!
I don’t exactly have many fitness industry friends. 😉
I love your posts and I loved Superior Muscle Growth!!! You are so educated when it comes to fitness. I can’t wait for the Fat Loss Book. Keep up the good work. 🙂
Thanks! Will do.
You are the most honest dude that covered this topic, although i think calories out could affect weight loss too. So many people just sit around and play games the whole day, they probably burn only 500 cals a day maybe ?
Of course… it’s referred to as ‘calories in vs calories out’ because both matter equally. 🙂
Great article and thanks for sharing. So if my RMR is 1850 and I burn between 800 -1,000 calories per workout a day 5 times a week according to my heart rate monitor. My maintenance then would be 2,650 – 2,850. So I should eat between 2,120, 2,280 to cut on my workout days. Then on my rest days, should I eat 20% below my RMR which would be 1,480 calories? I am currently at 18% body fat and trying to get to 10-12 % then bulking.
I love your website and your articles. I struggle just to maintain my weight let alone lose weight. I am currently between 60kg -62kg (132-136pounds) and 160cm tall. I am not overweight but I am not at a great weight. As I am trying to lose weight I know the only way is to create a deficit. I am eating at around 1300kcal a day and I am hungry most of the time, if I am miscalculating and in fact am more like eating around 1600kcal a day, then 1. why am I putting on weight? Shouldnt I just be maintaining? And 2. how the hell do people get by on less than 1300kcal a day, when I do that strictly I feel sick and hangry all the time.
Assuming you’re healthy (no undiagnosed thyroid issues, etc.), you’re eating more than you think you are and no deficit is present. Or, option #2 here.
I’m so confused…you mean math? More calorie deficit to lose weight???
Anyway, hilarious post. It was interesting to read 🙂
Math = the key to everything. 😉
Hi there I am currently reading about calories in vs out and I wanted to ask,
When deciding my daily calorie intake what activity level should I Base it on. For example on sedentary my maintenance level is 2700cal and on moderately active it is 3481cal.
The overall problem is that I weigh around 250lb.
This article is the best answer to any sort of question like this.
Thanks for the great article. I would love to hear your thought on Lyle’s Rapid Fat Loss Diet. I know after all it is just a huge deficit but is the best way to create a large deficit while preserving muscle mass is to consume mostly protein like his approach? If we create the same deficit e.g. Eating 800 kcal/day but having carbs and fat will we lose more muscle mass than just getting those calories from protein only?
I’m a fan of all of Lyle’s books. He’s one of the guys I’ve personally learned significant amounts from over the last 10+ years.
So I just began my training again after constantly training and taking a break for different periods of time because of school. So after a 6 month break I got really fat. Gained like 7-8 KGS, and I am wondering what I should do to get lean again. Have my calorie intake low, or make it stable so I burn fat and keep my muscle? I am following your muscle building workout routine with the upper and lower body split.
A moderate caloric deficit, sufficient protein, intelligent weight training.
Hello. I’m new here and I just wanted to tell you that the way you explain things (in everyday english) is what made reading all the stuff in here much more fun. For example:
Because let’s face it, losing fat sucks. It’s not fun. Most of us would love to just sit around and eat whatever the hell we want whenever the hell we want with no regard for calories, macronutrients or the quality of that food. For proof of this, look no further than the fact that this is what most people actually do (and of course why most people are fatter than they want to be).
LOL. Thanks for every bit of information while making it fun to read at the same time.
Ha, thanks… glad you liked it! 😉
This is hands down the most HONEST, no nonsense information that I’ve ever read about weight loss. WOW! Thank you for such a well written, yet entertaining, valuable article.
You are quite welcome.
You surely have talent for explaining things in a very clear and no-bullshit way. I discovered your site a couple of days ago, and it’s already my Bible. You cleared up a lot of doubts. Thank you very much!
Your site is amazing. You say a lot of things I keep saying to others (and myself) with regard to thermodynamics and some simple rules that have become so twisted with the food/diet industry.
And I actually laughed out loud often.
I just finished a week of sport holidays, ended up in losing 3kg of fat and gaining 1kg of muscle. I came back to my room feeling – oh well, I expected more than 2kg weight loss with so much sport and perfect nutrition. Then I stumbled upon your writings and feel really reassured.
keep up the good job, and some great energy to you from Malaga in Spain!
Exactly what I like to hear! Thanks for the feedback.
Love this article straight talking truth common sense thank you very much.
Glad you liked it!
I absolutely love your site. I am 51 years old and have spent years following the bull-shit fad diets, gimmicks, quick-fixes, etc to weight loss. I have always lost weight then just re-gained it plus some. I have been following your advice for the last 10 weeks and have lost 20 pounds by creating a calorie deficit like you have explained. I set a goal on how much I need to lose and it really has been easy sticking to it. I have cut out a lot of the high-fat/caloric foods that I used to eat and eat healthier because that is my preference, but it is foods that I love to eat and can live with eating the rest of my life. I have not began the cardio exercising yet, but do plan on it in a couple more months. I have some problems with plantar faciitis and some back problems that make weight bearing exercises painful. I believe losing weight will also help with these problems so right now my goal is to lose fat (I still have about 90 pounds to go to reach my goal). My husband decided to make some changes also, but he has also incorporated strength training in his daily routines and has already seen a huge difference in the way he feels, the way his body looks and the rise in his energy level. He is only 10 pounds away from his goal and doing great. Again, thank you so much for your publications. We think it is awesome and have recommended it to anyone who has commented our weight loss.
Extremely happy to hear it, Susan! Congrats on the progress you’ve made so far.
Feel free to update again in a few months and let me know how you (and your husband) are doing.
After reading some article on diet in your blog. I wanted to know that as i am following the beginner routine and if my target is losing Fat (not being worried about muscle gain/loss temporarily). What is best approach?
1. Should i optimize your routine to suit metabolic training method. For example lower the rest time.
2. If i wish to create calorie deficit using exercise. Will increasing the workout days work? Current workout day is 3 in a week. It will lead to over training i think. Can i risk over training if my immediate target is losing fat only.
3. Should i keep on strictly following your routine?
Note : I know the best way to create calorie deficit is by dieting. But due to some issue with routine i wanted to use exercise to create deficit. Also, i am not obese or overweight but i would like to get rid of belly fat for health purpose.
Also, if you have these answers in your book then please do share a link. I was interested in purchasing one of your book specially for push-pull training but i am still on beginner level.
1. This one.
2. It would need to be cardio, not additional weight training. Read this one.
Thank you for the response. I have used the calorie counter and i am very much surprised about the fact that i have been taking in way more calorie than expected. This is one mistake i guess is quite common.
Another question that i had in mind. If it all boils down to calorie intake. For example calorie deficit for fat loss and calorie increase (certain amount) for muscle gain. Then does it really matter if i take the standard amount of protein for muscle building (1g or more according to bodyweight).
What if i just get my calories from carbs and fat and decent amount of protein not accurate? But lets say my calorie amount is not more than what you recommend for muscle gain.
I asked you this because i have read in quite a few article on the internet. Yes, i know from the various internet gurus but most of the guru suggest a certain amount of protein but these people said it doesn’t matter for example even half of what you recommend is enough. They gave their scientific reason which i didn’t understood much as i am not specialized in that field. There was a even a heated argument on bodybuilding forum about this.
Thank you again for the answer.
I do know its kind of a silly question but it popped in my head.
Depends what you mean by “decent amount of protein.” 0.8-1g per pound or more? You’ll be fine. Less than that and muscle growth will likely be sub-optimal in a surplus and muscle loss will be greater in a deficit.
Your articles are very easy to understand and I love that you provide evidence for all of your opinions. Great work!
I wanted to ask a question regarding weight loss and creating a caloric deficiency. I am a 16 year old girl, 5’3″ and 211 lb. I am aware that I am very overweight, and I am trying to change that. In the past 3 weeks or so, I have managed to lose about 13 lbs. However, my weight loss has slowed down significantly over the past few days. In fact, my weight has gone up by 1 lb in the past few days. However, this may just be due to bloating.
I am using an app called ‘MyFitnessPal’ to count my caloric intake. Over the past week (or longer) I have consistently been eating less than 1,000 calories. I do have a few tiny nibbles throughout the day (that I don’t account for), however I don’t think they would add much more than 200 calories to my overall caloric intake.
Is there something I should change in my diet to continue losing weight, or should I continue as I am?
(I also apologise if this is irrelevant to the article or if you have answered this in another article)
First, if you’re eating less than 1000 calories per day… you’re doing this wrong. Very wrong.
Second, what your weight does over the span of a few days is completely meaningless. Here’s how to properly track your weight. And also read #2 and #3 in this one.
This one has been bugging me for a long time. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of Ketogenic eating. Do you think that is another way of eating? Because of how the diet works there really isnt a calorie deficit. I’d really appreciate your answer because I’m torn between that, and calorie deficits.
The extreme reduction in carbs that ketogenic diets entail lead to a caloric deficit being created, even while the person “thinks” they’re eating tons of calories from fat and/or protein. They’re eating less than they think, and a deficit exists. Thus, fat loss happens.
If a deficit didn’t exist, fat would not be lost on this type of diet. Or any type of diet.
If I were to eat 1000 calories/per day (monitored by a doctor) and were to lose my weight quickly. Can I maintain my weight by eating for the new weight that I will be? For example, I am 250 and I want to lose 100 lbs. At 150 lbs I will need about 2045* calories for maintenance. IF I eat 18-1900 calories a day for the rest of my life after the “fad/VLCD” diet, could I keep it off? I am prepared to calorie count for the rest of my life.
I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrom and nothing is working. I have discussed this with my doctor and she would be monitoring me every few weeks.
Let me know what you think.
On paper, if you eat the amount of calories that is your maintenance level once you get down to your goal weight, then yes… you’d maintain it. Whether that actually happens in terms of compliance, adherence, etc. will depend on many other factors.
Apart from potential eating disorders, what exactly is so bad about eating very few calories a day? Since according to your article (and science) starvation mode doesn’t kick in until you’re super skinny I don’t really understand what bad can come from it (expect said potential eating disorders). I’m not planning on severely reducing my caloric intake, I was just wondering.
Thanks in advance!
The creation of nutrient deficiencies, which, depending on the degree of deficiency and which nutrients are deficient, can cause a wide variety of serious health problems. In addition, there will be problems with muscle loss, mood, sleep, libido, sexual function, hormones, metabolic slowdown, lethargy and on and on and on.
Plus, the high likelihood of disordered eating habits developing.
I want to thank you for your site, and this post in particular. A new mom looking to lose the baby weight “ASAP” I see now how silly and counterintuitive this approach will be in the long term. Slow and steady wins the race. THANK YOU.
You are quite welcome! Congrats on the baby.
I really appreciate the information on your site. It is very clear and leaves very little to be desired as far as sensible explanation. Thanks to your info I realized I have not been eating enough protein and that I have been “spinning my wheels ” (pun intended….not a big fan of cycling for cardio) performing senseless resistance exercises without much result. And although I have been losing 1 pound a week, your explanation of calorie deficit is well explained and achievable. Your site breathed new life into my attempts at losing weight and developing a lifelong discipline I can live with. I am looking forward to starting a beginners workout routine that makes sense!
Very happy to hear it, Teresa! Thanks for the awesome feedback.
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