Weight loss is easy. Fat loss—without losing too much muscle—isn’t so easy. This article will help expose some myths surrounding fat loss while helping to explain why the weight can come back on easily if you aren't vigilant.

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about fat loss is that it shouldn’t be hard. This thought is induced and perpetuated from a number of different factors—the media telling us how to lose 10 lbs in 10 days, infomercials selling exercise machines that end with the catch phrase “it was so easy,” and genetically skinny individuals plastered everywhere who don’t have to work out or think about what they’re eating.

If you were to combine those reasons along with the media portrayal of “the perfect woman”—who are models on the covers of magazines—you’re caught subconsciously believing that weight loss is easy and “I’m so lazy and such a fat a$$ because I’m not that skinny.” In other words, for the majority of people, weight loss is not easy. This is especially true for obese individuals who lose weight.

James Kreiger has some great research on this on his weightology website. The research he presents in his article was the most eye-opening information I read all last year. The article states that if you’ve lost weight, you will spontaneously move and burn less calories naturally than if you're “naturally skinny.” This comes out to about 400 calories a day if you’ve lost over 10 percent of your body weight. What this means is that not only is weight loss in and of itself not the easiest thing to do, but it’s an uphill battle to maintain that weight loss in the long run.

This fact isn’t meant to be disheartening (although it is). It’s meant to show two things—sometimes reality sucks and there is something you can do about it. Here’s a hint—it starts with the letter 'E' and ends with the letter 'e.' Did you guess what it is? Hopefully (and I’m not joking) your answer was exercise. Yes, if you’ve ever lost over 10 percent of your body weight, you’re going to have to work harder than those “skinny bastards” who don’t have to worry about it. Why? Because they naturally burn more calories than you every single day. So you have to make up those calories through a modified eating plan and exercise. Exercise is the more important of the two to actually keep the weight off. So what’s the point to all this?


1. Losing weight for most people is not easy. In fact, it’s pretty damn hard. Are there ways to adjust your eating habits to make it easier? Sure. Here’s my favorite method—intermittent fasting.

2. If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re going to be hungry sometimes. You know what though? Hunger doesn't mean that you’re going to starve to death and die. It just means that you’re in control of your body. Now don’t get me wrong—everyone has a breaking point with their diet. But if you can’t move past the initial hunger pangs of a diet, don’t complain that you “eat all the right foods and can’t lose weight.”


3. You need to work out if you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off long term. You see, many people spread so much crap by simply dieting and then telling all their friends what they did to lose the weight. These are the people who will lose weight from Weight Watcher’s or any other diet while doing almost no exercise. What happens is that you see this person and you’re like, “Wow! You look amazing. What did you do?” They then tell you, “Oh, I joined Weight Watcher’s.” In your head, you have all the social proof you need to be forever confused about weight loss. In your head, you say, “Well, Jenny did Weight Watcher’s (or Atkins, vegetarianism, etc.) and lost weight, so it must be good.”

What you failed to notice is that a year later and still following the same diet, Jenny regained all the weight. Why? Because your body isn't stupid (insert Carlos Mencia voice – de de de). In other words, your body will start to adjust its metabolism to conserve more energy. Your body will start to down-regulate your thyroid hormones. Your leptin levels will drop, making you hungrier, and growth hormone levels will fall. Therefore, it should be evident that it takes both a modified diet and exercise to keep the weight off. Oh, if you didn’t read the article about why it’s so easy to regain your weight, here’s it is again.

4. You should feel tired from working out if you’re trying to lose fat. This doesn’t mean that you can’t move afterward, but it does mean that you shouldn’t be ready to do it all again 15 minutes later.

5. Are there people who don’t necessarily follow all these patterns? Yes. Typically, they’re the people who lose weight from changing one habit. These are the guys who just get rid of sugar from their diet or the people who don’t do any movement all day and then take up walking an hour a day. You hear about these stories all the time. Although they can be somewhat commendable, they aren't the norm. Also, the people who are able to achieve weight loss relatively easily with relatively benign changes are typically men. This is because they either start with higher overall metabolisms or are highly obese to begin with.

6. Achieving weight loss is not the same as achieving the body you want or your individual best. The people in number five may make it on to the cover of People magazine about “Amazing Weight Loss Transformations,” but typically they won’t make it on to a men’s or women’s health magazine. Don’t get me wrong—not everyone aspires toward these ends. But if you’re somewhat skinny to begin with, don’t use the same random advice from the person who was 100 lbs overweight about how to lose those last couple of pounds.

The key is knowing that the closer you get to your genetic potential, the harder it gets to hit that potential. At that point, it comes down to persistence, smarter methods, and the knowledge that you’re going to have to do things “outside the norm.” But seriously, have you seen “the norm?” Do you really want to be the ‘norm?’ I sure as hell hope not.

7. Just because someone who was already skinny to begin with likes a certain method of exercise doesn’t mean it’s the best type of exercise. If you see a skinny woman doing Pilates and touting its benefits, ask her what she looked like before she started doing Pilates. Seriously, please ask her. I can almost undoubtedly bet that she says, “I look so much better.” But ask her if her weight has changed or if she has dropped any pant sizes or lost any body fat and her answer is most likely, “I don’t know.” Which means, no.

This means she was already naturally skinny to begin with and didn’t exercise at all before Pilates. She starts doing Pilates and you automatically assume that she looks the way she does because “Pilates is so great.” No, it isn't. Pilates didn’t “lengthen her muscles” or help her lose weight. It may have helped her ‘tone up’ by actually activating her musculature as opposed to letting it completely atrophy, but it didn’t help her build or “lengthen” any of her muscles. In other words, if you need to lose fat, do the important things to lose that fat—heavy strength training, a modified eating plan, and more overall movement. Now stop being suckered into the fat loss myths and do the work!