This first section can be skipped but is included so you know that I actually know what I am talking about. This is not some guy who lost a couple of pounds or read some fitness blogs about weight loss.
Everyone knows the BMI scale:
- <18.5 = Underweight
- 18.5 - 25 = Normal weight
- >25 = Overweight
What most people don't know is that there are further categories for being overweight
- 25 - 30 = Overweight
- 30 - 35 = Obese Class I (Moderately obese)
- 35 - 40 = Obese Class II (Severely obese)
- >40 = Obese Class III (Very severely obese)
I was at a BMI of 47. Following the logic of the system above, they would have to invent an additional 45-50 category to file me under. I was fucked far worse than 99 % of you people reading this. Ironically, I have a degree in food technology and should have put my knowledge to better use at the time. Hindsight is always 20:20.
It took me almost 2 years to lose approx. 200 lbs. I lost all that weight through discipline and self control. No gastric bypass, pills or "other remedies". Since then I've had 3 surgeries to remove excess skin. As a side gig I started coaching other "hopeless cases" how to lose weight.
If you feel like you need a coach after reading this post, hit me up via PM.
Invest the next 15 minutes into reading and understanding what I am writing here and you will be in control of your body weight for the rest of your entire life.
Weight loss is very much like TRP. The underlying mechanics are dead simple but often covered under layers of bullshit that society has taught you. Weight loss is all about understanding the rules of the system and then creating an approach suitable for your life that guarantees success without getting distracted by minor details.
In this post I will cover the following areas:
- Macro nutrients
- Micro nutrients
- The mechanics of weight loss
- How to create a deficit
- On exercising
- On plateaus
- Dietary restrictions
- Recommended macro splits
- Myths, broscience and snakeoil
- Final words of wisdom
A calorie is a measurement of energy. It is the amount of energy that is needed to heat up 1 g of water by 1 °C (from 19.5 to 20.5 °C). Almost all food will be labeled with kcal. 1 kcal = 1000 calories. It is basically an outdated unit for Joule. Just like degrees Fahrenheit or inches and feet, the unit is stubborn to replace.
For the sake of an easy approach we will do what society does and stick to calories in this post. We will also call 1 kcal a calorie.
Like a car, your body needs fuel. That fuel comes in the form of calories. Food = Fuel.
Calories can be consumed via the 3 sources:
- Protein = 4 kcal/g
- Carbohydrates = 4 kcal/g
- Fat = 9 kcal/g
There is also 1 additional source I like to label "moron calorie" as it is the most pointless of all:
This will be covered under the dietary restrictions section as well but I want to make sure that people understand that the 3 main sources (protein, carbohydrates, fat) are all relevant and trying to cut out any single one of those three is not a good long term strategy. If possible you should always aim for a balanced mix of the three. Alcohol is pretty much useless and should be avoided if possible.
This section will simply be ignored for the sake of complexity and usefulness. There are a million supplement companies out there trying to sell you snakeoil pills. They will claim to
- “raise your metabolism”
- “make your fat burn faster”
- “ keep you healthy” (whatever that is supposed to mean)
Our goal here is weightloss. Eat plenty of veggies and some fruits and you are good to go. Trying optimize micro nutrients during weight loss is like trying to paint the sails of a boat that is currently drowning. You are wasting time and energy on something that will not help you achieve your goal.
The mechanics of weight loss:
Society convinced you that you are some special snowflake but that is a lie. Your body is a stupid meat machine and it runs on fuel. People are not born with all sorts of different metabolisms (the shitty genetics died thousands of years ago, the human body is quite efficient).
Your body burns a certain amount of calories every day. And you are feeding it a certain amount of calories every day.
Picture it like a water reservoir with water coming in at the top and water flowing out at the bottom. The water flowing out at the bottom is the energy it takes you to be alive, walk around and breathe. The water coming in at the top represents what you are eating.
If there is more water coming in that flowing out – the reservoir get heavier (you gain weight)
If there is less water coming in that flowing out – the reservoir gets lighter (you lose weight)
If there is an equivalent amount of water coming in and flowing out – the reservoir stays the same (maintenance of weight)
This is basically it. That is the entire secret of weight loss: THE GOLDEN RULE
This is the one and only rule that has to be obeyed at all cost. You can do pretty much anything you want during weight loss except break the system described above.
If you keep track of everything (literally everything!) you eat it is pretty straight forward to know how much went in. Now comes the tricky part. How much went out and how much has to go out in order to lose how much weight?
In order to lose 1 kg of weight (water, fat and muscle) you will have to create a deficit of 7000 kcal. It does not matter how long it takes you to create this 7000 kcal deficit. If it takes you 2 weeks you will have lost 1 kg during those 2 weeks. If it takes you a year, you will have lost 1 kg durning that year. The speed if up to you.
To find out how much energy your body is burning you will use this calculator, enter your data, press the calculate button and note down your sedentary TDEE.
What does TDEE stand for? It means total daily energy expenditure and means the amount of energy it takes for you to be alive on a normal day (just walking around, standing, sitting, breathing and masturbating to transsexual midget porn).
How to create a deficit:
Summary of what we have learned so far in the previous section:
- 7000 kcal deficit = 1 kg of weight lost
- Counting your calories to know how much goes in
- Calculating your TDEE to know how much goes out
Putting it all together:
Lets say your TDEE is 2500 kcal/day and you are willing to eat 500 kcal less than that; you would lose 2 kg/month (28 days * 500 kcal = 14000 kcal deficit = 2 kg lost). This may not sound like a whole lot but do this for a year and you will lose 24 kg (thats 52.8 freedom units!).
Over time you will have to recalculate your TDEE (I recommend maybe one a month). Because you keep losing weight, you are carrying around less weight with you and in turn you need less energy to go through the day.
The best rule is to start cooking your own food so you have complete control over your caloric intake. Only put food in your mouth once you have logged it. If you haven’t logged it, don’t eat it. If you are not sure how many calories it has – don’t eat it.
Weigh yourself naked daily in the morning after hitting the toilet. Not your weight down in a excel sheet. Because your weight will always fluctuate it is better to see a long term trend than simply comparing your weight today, to the weight of yesterday. If you are losing 2 kg in a month, that means drinking 1 Liter of water before weighing yourself can make it look like there wasn't any progress for 2 weeks.
Rule of thumb:
Guys: do not eat less than 1600 kcal/day for extended periods of times
Girls: do not eat less than 1200 kcal/day for extended periods of times
Do not add the calories you’ve burnt while exercising to your TDEE. People heavily overestimate how much they exercise and underestimate how much they ate. Treat working out as a bonus and leave it at that.
Weight loss is about 90 % diet (if not more). You could literally sit around the house all day and lose weight. You will always lose weight in the form of water, fat and muscle. If you want to reduce the loss of muscle mass you should will have to start doing resistance training. Don’t expect to build amazing muscles during your weight loss. You might make some noob gains but that is about it. Your body is already in a deficit (crisis mode) so it won’t spend precious resources on building additional muscles, it is going to be busy as hell maintaining what few muscles you’ve got.
They happen for several reasons:
- you calculated your TDEE wrong - double check it
- you added exercise calories to your TDEE - I told you that you shouldn't
- you just guessed the calories of food or didn't log everything - obvious fix
Sometimes you hit a plateau despite doing everything right. It happened to me once for almost 3 weeks. Nothing happened on the scale. I double and triple checked everything - I did everything right. Then one night I have to get up 4 times to take a leak and the next day I am almost 3.5 kg lighter. Plateau shattered in one night.
I read a couple of studies on the phenomenon and they found that this regularly happens with people losing a lot of weight and then suddenly (often after a big meal) they drop a serious amount of water weight. The theory behind it was that the fat cells are emptied by the body and filled with water in case the body wants to quickly restock the fat cells. A big meal comes and the body thinks it has a caloric surplus, empties out the water but ends up in a caloric deficit again. The fat cells are not filled with water again and stay empty. Theory sounded nice but currently there is no confirmed explanation for these kinds of plateaus. This phenomenon later got hijacked by the HAES movement and fat activists to prove that if you eat to little you will stop losing weight. They obviously never read the study because it clearly contradicts everything they stand for.
Every couple of years we get a new dietary trend. For example: in the 90s everyone was afraid of fat because “fat makes you fat”. Then we found out that fat is actually very healthy and the body needs it for cell regeneration and hormone production. Currently carbohydrates are considered bad so people went from being afraid of fats to being afraid of carbohydrates. The following list contains the food trends that are (currently) all the rage:
- Keto (I will get a whole lot of shit from TRP for messing with our poster child diet system!)
- Low carb / No carb (these are closely tied to paleo)
- Eating clean (get someone to try and define what that is and see how it is a load of BS)
- Intermittent fasting (another TRP favourite!)
- Gluten free (pointless unless you are literally – diagnosed – to be allergic)
- No processed foods
- BARF (bones and raw flesh – just kidding, that is a dietary form for dogs. But you never know)
You will be able to lose weight with any of the above systems (even BARF!) but not because that system has any particular advantage over any of the others but because you accidentally followed the golden rule of weight loss. We think back to the section “ The mechanics of weight loss” further up this post. In order to lose weight you will have to consume fewer calories than you are burning. That is the one and only rule that you need to follow to lose weight.
You can practice any of the dietary restrictions above and not lose a single gram if you are breaking the golden rule. You can however ignore every single one of those dietary restrictions and lose weight with ease by following the golden rule.
Think of the caloric deficit that you need to create as a distance that you need to travel. Your daily deficit is your speed of motion. The dietary restrictions above are the brand of cars that you can use to get from point A to B. The kind of car does not matter to get from point A to B. You can stand still in a Porsche and be faster crawling backwards on your hands and feet.
If you find it easier to stay within your daily calories by following any of those dietary restrictions feel free to do so. Just know that cutting out carbs will not make you lose weight, creating a caloric deficit alone will do that.
Often times people crash their diets because the dietary restriction they picked is to restrictive. A person that loves dark chocolate and pasta dishes will be miserable on a keto diet. A baker trying to lose weight will be miserable on a gluten free diet. For most people, eating in moderation will not only be the system most easy to sustain. It will also be the system that teaches them the most about making their own food and utilizing that knowledge for the rest of their life.
Regardless of dietary system I stand by my advice to reduce alcohol at all costs. It is utterly pointless to say the least.
Recommended macro splits:
I recommend getting your calories in check as #1 priority. If you have successfully logged your calories for a month and feel comfortable taking the next step you can look into optimizing how you are dividing your daily calories into the three macro nutrients.
- Eat 1.6 g protein per kg body weight (any more than that is proven to be pointless)
- Go for at least 50 g of fats a day to be safe
- The remaining calories you can consume in the form of carbohydrates
It does not matter if you are just 80% right with this, the daily calories are more important. But don’t make the mistake of going extended periods of time without any fat or protein (I had a minor hair shedding crisis during my weight loss because of that!)
Myths, broscience and snakeoil:
This is the section where I bitch and moan about shit that people say
- starvation mode is a lie – you will not hold onto your calories more if you eat less
- metabolisms do not come in all shapes and sizes
- you are not big boned
- women do not like dad bods
- being under 20 % bodyfat is not risky
- eating windows are technically pointless but OK if it makes it easier for you
- eating clean is BS
- organic is BS
- non processed is BS
- raw is BS
- just about all supplements are BS if you eat veggies and fruits
- Omega 3 / Fish oil is an OK supplement if you don’t eat a lot of fish
- detox anything is BS
- cleansing products are BS
Also those zero drinks are fucking amazing, got me over a couple of bad craving periods for sugary bullshit. Inb4 aspartame is dangerous: source needed, I work in food tech and search far and wide without finding a single compelling health related argument. You literally do not digest it. It just passes through you (making the entire worlds water supply slightly sweeter over time).
Final words of wisdom:
It takes about 2 months of iron discipline to set up this system for yourself and force yourself to count all your calories. After it has become your routine, you will get bored a little because it literally becomes a waiting game. You are just getting thinner and thinner. People will lose their minds thinking that you are some insane genius and it is literally just Tuesday for you with nothing special happening.
Losing weight has been the single greatest decision of my life. It took me over 3 years and 3 surgeries to get where I am today. If I where to be send back in time to the day before I started this journey.
I’d do it all again in heartbeat – my life has never been better