Weight Loss Math That Will Blow Your Mind

Here’s some interesting math for those of you wanting to lose some weight…

We’ve all heard the energy content of one pound (450grams) of fat is about 3500 calories.

From this came the infamous idea: “just create a 500kcal deficit per day and you’ll lose a pound of fat per week (500×7=3500)”.

However, this assumes that the weight loss comes 100% from body fat.

This is rarely (if ever) the case.

Further, a pound of muscle is about 600kcal (most of muscle is water, small % is actual contractile tissue).

So let’s assume you create that 3500kcal deficit over one week.

And let’s assume you’re lifting weights and keeping your protein sufficiently high, so that 90% of weight loss is from fat, and only 10% of it is from muscle.

That would mean 10% from muscle is 350 calories which is about 0.5lb of muscle and the rest of 3150kcal is from fat which is about 0.9lb of fat.

Total weight loss in this case is 1.4lbs (0.5lb muscle + 0.9lbs fat).

This has two major implications:

1. The scale weight will do gown FASTER if muscle is lost due to the huge difference in how much energy a pound of muscle contains vs a pound of fat.

FUN FACT: weight loss centers recommend AGAINST exercise while on their idiotic diets.


Because exercise limits muscle loss and thus shows less “weight” lost. And since in their minds all that matters is scale weight going down, it will go down more – the more muscle you lose.

Yay for later yo-yo, guaranteed weight regain.

But it gets better: since 1gr of carbs retains 3-4grams of water, they put you on a low carb, starvation-level calories + no exercise… so you lose water and muscle.

Both irrelevant (h2o) or negative (muscle loss) when it comes to sustainable body re-composition (losing body fat while keeping muscle).

2. And the second implication is that in this scenario of 3500kcal defitic and 90% of it from fat and 10% from muscle, it will take MORE than 3500kcal deficit to lose that pound of fat.

In that case, it would take additional 10% deficit (350kcal) to lose one pound of fat. So the total deficit to lose 1lb of fat in this case would be 3850kcal.

And this is IF (and that’s a BIG IF) 90% of your weight loss comes from fat. As stated above, almost all diets out there have low protein and too-low calories which means majority of “weight loss” comes from either water loss or muscle loss.

Imagine if at the same 3500kcal deficit, 100% of it came from muscle…That would mean you’d lose 5-6lbs of total weight.

If 50% of that deficit is coming from muscle and 50% from fat, then you’re losing 3lbs of muscle and 0.5 of fat (3.5lbs total weight loss)…


1.The actual weight loss will always be SLOWER if you’re losing body fat, and faster if you’re losing muscle mass.

Put simply: if you’re losing more than a pound (or two if you’re very overweight/obese) per week – you’re likely losing water weight and/or muscle mass.

Water loss – you’ll just re-hydrate and the “weight” will be back.

Muscle loss – you’re screwed and will gain the weight back and then some as soon as you stop whatever retarded diet you’re on.

2. ALWAYS exercise while on a diet. Ideally- lift weights but if you can’t or don’t want to lift- then even cardio has been shown to save some muscle (for completely de-trained individuals).

Any exercise is better than none.

As usual, instant gratification and wanting “fast weight loss” will only come back to bite you in the ass. An ass that will inevitably be fat(er) the faster you “lose weight”.


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