The Single Most Important Rule of Fat Loss

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*If you want to look as awesome as Joy Victoria from, you need to master the most important rule of fat loss.*

It’s all about calories.

You can stop reading now. But you shouldn’t, because…

You’re tired of false promises.

You’re tired of gimmicks.

You’re sick of fad diets.

You’re sick of falling off the wagon, yo-yo dieting, and slowly regaining all of the weight you’ve lost.

Your sick of being able to lose fat, but being confused and miserable in the process.

You’re sick of not knowing why you can’t lose weight — and keep it off.

You probably know in the back of your mind that cutting calories is important.

But you’re not comfortable with that fact.

“It’s too simplistic.”

“It can’t be the whole story.”

“It’s not always true for everyone.”

“I don’t want to eat less!”

You don’t think calories are the only thing that matters.

You’re right, but until you accept the fact that creating a caloric deficit is the most important rule of fat loss, you’ll struggle.

You may have heard there isn’t a simple formula for weight loss. You’re wrong — there is.

Implementing this formula is the hard part, but as you’ll see, it’s probably not as hard as you think.

Why You Need to Understand the Energy Balance Equation to Lose Fat

Energy In – Energy Out = Change in Body Stores (Weight)1,2

This is referred to as the “energy balance equation.” It’s the basic formula for how body weight is regulated in all living organisms — including humans.

According to the first law of thermodynamics, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only moved. Despite what you may have heard, this does apply to humans (more on that in later articles).3

Your “body stores” represents how much weight you’re carrying. This includes muscle, bone, connective tissue, brain matter, and of course, fat.

Your energy balance is the difference between how much energy you consume, and how much you expend. You get energy from food, and food energy is expressed as calories.

If you eat more calories than you expend, your body stores much of the extra energy — and you gain weight.

If you eat fewer calories than you expend, your body is forced to tap into its energy stores for fuel — and you lose weight.

If you eat the same number of calories you expend, your weight stays the same.

A large percentage of this extra energy is packaged into fat cells. Likewise, when you create an energy deficit, your body taps into its fat cells for fuel.

Until you manipulate the energy balance equation to create a caloric deficit — by eating less or expending more energy — you’ll never lose fat.

The Fundamental Goal of Fat Loss

The purpose of dieting is to lose fat and maintain muscle mass.

Let’s say you’ve created a caloric deficit. Your body is now breaking down your tissues for energy. In a sense, you’re cannibalizing yourself.

The majority of this energy comes from your fat tissue, but you also generally lose some muscle and connective tissue.4-8 Your body never starts breaking down vital organs until you’re dying.

Your job as a dieter is to make sure your body breaks down as little lean mass as possible — and as much fat as possible.

If you eat and train intelligently — which you’ll learn how to do in later articles —  you can lose almost no muscle mass while dieting.9-16

Technically, your goal is to create a “fat deficit” — where you body breaks down more fat than it stores. That will only happen once you’ve created a caloric deficit.

Why Your Last Diet Didn’t Work

You failed to create or maintain a caloric deficit.

Maybe you lost weight at first on your new diet.

You did everything by the book and followed all of the rules.

Then your progress slowed — and stalled.

You became even more strict about your diet. You avoided all of the “bad” foods and ate as much of the “good” foods as you wanted.

Yet you still didn’t lose weight.

Finally, after weeks or months of frustration you quit your diet. You go back to your old eating habits — often gaining back all of the weight you lost.

You end up frustrated, fat, and more confused than ever.

Here’s why.

At first your new diet was a novelty. Avoiding certain foods or sticking to a certain macronutrient ratio helped you eat fewer total calories.

Let’s say you’ve been restricting fat intake your entire life. You started a low-carb diet. Suddenly you were allowed to eat “truly luxurious foods without limit,” like “lobster with butter sauce, steak with béarnaise sauce . . . bacon cheeseburgers.”

Eating a large steak and eggs with butter seemed like a ton of fat and protein at first.

Then you got used to your new diet and started to eat more of the “safe” foods — and total calories. As you ate more calories (and expended less, for reasons you’ll learn later), your weight loss slowed and eventually stopped.

You ate less and lost weight. Then you ate more and gained weight.

The reason your diet failed was because you weren’t aware of this. You were focused on stuff that didn’t matter (avoiding certain foods or macronutrients), and lost sight of the essentials — eating less and moving more.

In fairness, some people are able to maintain weight loss without ever understanding that calories count. Most don’t, and you’re probably not one of them.

Even if you are, you’ll be better off understanding the real reason you lost weight. Ignorance is only bliss if you’re happy being ignorant. Knowledge is power.

Your body weight and fat stores are determined by how much energy you put into your body and how much energy you use. If you understand this simple concept, everything else about fat loss makes more sense.

You can also begin to manipulate this equation to maximize your fat loss.

You’ll learn how to do that in later articles.

There is No Other Way

There are exceptions and caveats to almost everything — that’s not the case with calories.

There is no other way to lose fat (except liposuction) besides creating a caloric deficit. It’s an inescapable reality.

It’s how every human has ever lost weight. It doesn’t matter what diet they used to do it. They didn’t lose weight without a caloric deficit — and they didn’t gain weight without a caloric surplus.

This is the only way to lose weight.

Remember this:

No calorie deficit = no fat loss.

In the next article, you’ll exactly why we know calories count, and we’ll address some of the claims to the contrary.

> Did you enjoy this article? [Click here to check out my book, *Flexible Dieting](*. Want an even more in-depth education on how to lose weight, build muscle, and get stronger and healthier? [Join Evidence Mag Elite]( and get member’s-only reports and interviews.

### References

1. Schoeller DA. The energy balance equation: looking back and looking forward are two very different views. Nutr Rev. 2009;67(5):249–254. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00197.x.

2. Hill JO, Peters JC, Wyatt HR. Using the energy gap to address obesity: a commentary. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(11):1848–1853. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2009.08.007.

3. Rampone AJ, Reynolds PJ. Obesity: thermodynamic principles in perspective. Life Sci. 1988;43(2):93–110.

4. Santarpia L, Contaldo F, Pasanisi F. Body composition changes after weight-loss interventions for overweight and obesity. Clin Nutr. 2013;32(2):157–161. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.016.

5. Chaston TB, Dixon JB, O’Brien PE. Changes in fat-free mass during significant weight loss: a systematic review. International Journal of Obesity (2005). 2007;31(5):743–750. Available at:

6. Parks EP, Zemel B, Moore RH, Berkowitz RI. Change in body composition during a weight loss trial in obese adolescents. Pediatr Obes. 2013. doi:10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00139.x.

7. Martin CK, Heilbronn LK, de Jonge L, et al. Effect of calorie restriction on resting metabolic rate and spontaneous physical activity. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007;15(12):2964–2973. doi:10.1038/oby.2007.354.

8. Martin CK, Das SK, Lindblad L, et al. Effect of calorie restriction on the free-living physical activity levels of nonobese humans: results of three randomized trials. J Appl Physiol. 2011;110(4):956–963. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00846.2009.

9. Bryner RW, Ullrich IH, Sauers J, et al. Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate. J Am Coll Nutr. 1999;18(2):115–121. Available at:

10. Geliebter A, Maher MM, Gerace L, Gutin B, Heymsfield SB, Hashim SA. Effects of strength or aerobic training on body composition, resting metabolic rate, and peak oxygen consumption in obese dieting subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;66(3):557–563. Available at:

11. Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, Clark KL, et al. Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31(9):1320–1329.

12. Svendsen OL, Hassager C, Christiansen C. Effect of an energy-restrictive diet, with or without exercise, on lean tissue mass, resting metabolic rate, cardiovascular risk factors, and bone in overweight postmenopausal women. Am J Med. 1993;95(2):131–140.

13. Layman DK, Evans E, Baum JI, Seyler J, Erickson DJ, Boileau RA. Dietary protein and exercise have additive effects on body composition during weight loss in adult women. J Nutr. 2005;135(8):1903–1910. Available at:

14. Wood RJ, Gregory SM, Sawyer J, Milch CM, Matthews TD, Headley SAE. Preservation of fat-free mass after two distinct weight loss diets with and without progressive resistance exercise. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2012;10(3):167–174. doi:10.1089/met.2011.0104.

15. Ballor DL, Poehlman ET. Exercise-training enhances fat-free mass preservation during diet-induced weight loss: a meta-analytical finding. International Journal of Obesity (2005). 1994;18(1):35–40.

16. Johannsen DL, Knuth ND, Huizenga R, Rood JC, Ravussin E, Hall KD. Metabolic slowing with massive weight loss despite preservation of fat-free mass. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;97(7):2489–2496. doi:10.1210/jc.2012-1444.


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