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  • Mitchell Rothbardt

IFLM: Too Much Or Too Little

OK. I didn’t declare International Fat Loss month only to come at you with a bunch of flowery platitudes. Let’s face facts. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

If you don’t change your diet you won’t lose fat.

One more time:

If you don’t change your diet you won’t lose fat.

There’s no two ways about it. I don’t want to get into all the reasons why but I’ve seen it many times and that’s the way it is.

What I want to talk about today is the one of the biggest nutritional issues people face with fat loss.


When I talk with people about their diet it’s very common that they’ll say something to the effect of, “I eat really well but I still have trouble losing weight.”

One possibility in this case is simply that the person isn’t eating the right amount of food. There can be many variables when someone is having trouble losing fat but, as overly simplistic as this is, at the end of the day it’s about calories in vs. calories out. Meaning that you need to take in fewer calories then you burn to lose fat. To put it another way, even if you’re only eating dry salad, you won’t lose weight if it’s not the right amount.

The really crazy thing is that this applies if you’re both eating too much and too little! It’s easy to see how eating too much would effect fat loss but having trouble when eating too little is kind of counter-intuitive. Here’s how that works. If we don’t eat enough, we send a signal to our body that it needs to hold on to everything due to a lack of sustenance coming in. This is commonly referred to as “starvation mode”. In a nutshell your metabolism slows to a crawl so nothing gets burned off.

The trick is to eat slightly less than what you normally burn in a day. It may not be “sexy” to lose 1-2 pounds a week but that’s what you are looking for.

Here are some quick numbers. They’re not 100% perfect but it’ll give you a starting point. Take your weight and multiply it by 10. If you’re very active (be honest here) multiply that number by 1.3, if not multiply it by 1.1. That should be about how many calories you take in each day to lose fat. Again, these numbers aren’t perfect and will vary person to person but it will give you a starting point. As always, make adjustments as needed.

Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be back with more later this week.

P.S. Thursday night I’m giving a talk about Training for Cyclists at Endless Cycles at 3300 E. Castro Valley Blvd. in Castro Valley. It’s at 7:45 and it’s free. Come on by and say hello!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Lean Eating Coach, FMS

2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley


I Help People Discover Their Strength!

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