February 19th, 2009

The 2 Pounds Per Week Rule And How to Burn Fat Faster

Why do you always hear that 2 pounds per week is the maximum amount of fat you should safely lose? If you train really hard while watching calories closely shouldn’t you be able to lose more fat without losing muscle or damaging your health? What if you want to lose fat faster? How do you explain the fast weight losses on The Biggest Loser? These are all good questions that I’ve been asked many times. With the diet marketplace being flooded every day with rapid weight loss claims, these questions desperately need and deserve some honest answers. Want to know where that 2 pounds per week rule comes from and what it really takes to burn more than 2 pounds of fat per week? Read on.

burn fatWhy Only 2 Pounds Per Week?

The truth is, two pounds is not the maximum amount you can safely lose in a week. That’s only a general recommendation and a good benchmark for setting weekly goals. It’s also sensible and realistic because it’s based on average or typical results.

The actual amount of fat you can lose depends on many factors. For example, weight losses tend to be relative to body size. The more body fat you carry, the more likely you’ll be to safely lose more than two pounds per week. Therefore, we could individualize our weekly guideline a bit by recommending a goal of 1-2 lbs of fat per week or up to 1% of your total weight. If you weighed 300 that would be 3 lbs per week.

Body Weight Vs Body Composition

Weight loss is somewhat meaningless unless you also talk about body composition; the fat to muscle ratio, as well as water weight. Ask any wrestler about fast weight loss and he’ll tell you things like, “I cut 10 lbs overnight to make a weight class. It was easy – I just sweated it off.”

You’ve also probably seen people that went on some extreme induction program or a lemon juice and water fast for the first week and dropped an enormous amount of weight. But once again, you can bet that a lot of that weight was water and lean tissue and in both cases, you can bet that those people put the weight right back on.

The main potential advantage of any type of induction period for rapid weight loss in the first week is that a large drop on the scale is a motivational boost for many people (even if it is mostly water weight).

Why do you hear so many diet and fitness professionals insist on 2 lbs a week max? Where does that number come from? Well, aside from the fact that it’s a recommendation in government health guidelines and in position statements of most nutrition and exercise organizations, it’s just math. The math is based on what’s practical given the number of calories an average person burns in a day and how much food someone can reasonably cut in a day.

How Do You Lose More Than 2 Pounds Per Week?

Can you lose more than 2 lbs of pure fat in a week? Yes, although it’s easier in the beginning. It gets harder as your diet progresses. How do you do it? My rule is, extraordinary results require extraordinary efforts. An extraordinary effort means a particularly strict diet, as well as burning more calories through training because you can only cut your calories so far from food before you’re starving and suffering from severe hunger.

Simply put, you need a bigger calorie deficit.

If you have a 2500 calorie daily maintenance level, and you want to drop 3 lbs of fat per week with diet alone, you’d need a huge daily deficit of 1500 calories, which would equate to eating 1000 calories per day. You would lose weight rapidly for as long as you could maintain that deficit (although it would slow down over time). Most people aren’t going to last long on so little food and they often end with a period of binge eating. It’s not practical (or fun) to cut calories so much and in some cases it could be unhealthy.

The other alternative is to train for hours and hours a day, literally. People ask me all the time, “Tom, how is it possible for the Biggest Loser contestants to lose so much weight? Well first of all they’re not measuring success by body fat, only body weight. Then you have the high starting body weights and the large water weight loss in the beginning. After that, just do the math – they’re training hours a day so they’re creating a huge calorie deficit.

But without that team of trainers, dieticians, teammates, a national audience and all that prize money, do you think they’d be motivated and accountable enough to do anywhere near that amount and intensity of exercise in the real world? Would it even be possible if they had a job and family? Not likely is it? It’s not practical to do that much exercise, and it’s not practical to cut your calories below a 1000 a day and remain compliant. If you manage to achieve the latter, it’s very difficult not to rebound and regain the weight afterwards for a variety of physiological and psychological reasons.

For Fast Fat Loss: Less Food Or Harder Training?

Trainers are becoming more inventive these days in coming up with high intensity workouts that burn a large amount of calories and really give the metabolism a boost. This can help speed up the fat loss within a given amount of time. But as you begin to utilize higher intensity workouts, you have to start being on guard for overtraining or overuse injuries.That’s why strict nutrition with an aggressive calorie deficit is going to have to be a major part of any fast fat loss strategy. Unfortunately, very low calorie dieting has its own risks in the way of lean tissue loss, slower metabolism, extreme hunger, and greater chance of weight re-gain.

My approach to long term weight control is to lose weight slowly and patiently and follow a nutrition plan that is well balanced between lean protein, healthy fats and natural carbs and doesn’t demonize any entire food group. To lose fat, you simply create a caloric deficit by burning more and eating less (keeping the nutrient density of those calories as high as possible, of course).

But to achieve the extraordinary goals such as photo-shoot-ready, super-low body fat or simply faster than average fat loss, while minimizing the risks, I often turn to a stricter cyclical low carb diet for brief “peaking” programs. I explain this method in chapter 12 of my e-book Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (it’s my “competition” diet).

The cyclical aspect of the diet means that after three to six days of an aggressive calorie deficit and strict diet, you take a high calorie / high carb day to re-feed the body and re-stimulate the metabolism. Essentially, this helps reduce the starvation signals your body is receiving. It’s also psychological break from the deprivation which helps improve compliance and prevent relapse.

The higher protein intake can help prevent lean tissue loss and curb the hunger. A high protein diet also helps by ramping up dietary thermogenesis. A high intake of greens, fibrous vegetables and low calorie fruits can help tip the energy balance equation in your favor as fibrous veggies are very low in calorie density and some of the calories in the fiber are not metabolizable. Healthy fats are added in adequate quantities, while the calorie-dense simple sugars and starchy carbs are kept to a minimum except on reefed days and after (or around) intense workouts.

There’s No Magic, Just Math

In my experience, a high protein, reduced carb approach in conjunction with weights and cardio can help maximize fat loss – both in terms of increasing speed of fat loss and particularly for getting rid of the last of the stubborn fat. Helps with appetite control too. But always bear in mind that the faster fat loss occurs primarily as a result of the larger calorie deficit (which is easily achieved with sugars and starches minimized), not some type of “low carb magic.” If your diet were high in natural carbs but you were able to diligently maintain the same large calorie deficit, the results would be similar.

I’m seeing more and more advertisements that not only promise rapid weight loss, but go so far as saying that you’re doing it wrong if you’re losing “only” two pounds per week. “Why settle” for slow weight loss, they insist. Well, it’s certainly possible to lose more than two pounds per week, but it’s critically important to understand that there’s a world of difference between rapid weight loss and permanent fat loss.

It’s also vital to know that there’s no magic in faster fat loss, just math. All the new-fangled dietary manipulations and high intensity training programs that really do help increase the speed of fat loss all come full circle to the calorie balance equation in the end, even if they claim their method works for other reasons and they don’t mention calories burned or consumed at all.

Beware of The Quick Fix

Faster fat loss IS possible. My question is, are you willing to tolerate the hunger, low calories and high exercise for that kind of deficit? Do you have the work ethic? Do you have the supreme level of dietary restraint necessary to stop yourself from binging and putting the weight right back on when that aggressive diet is over? Or would you rather do it in a more moderate way where you’re not killing yourself, but instead are making slow and steady lifestyle changes and taking off 1-2 lbs of pure fat per week, while keeping all your hard-earned muscle?

Remember, 1-2 pounds per week is 50-100 pounds in a year. Is that really so slow or is that an astounding transformation? You don’t gain 50-100 pounds over night, so why should anyone expect to take it off overnight? Personally, I think short-term thinking and the pursuit of quick fixes are the worst diseases of our generation.

If you want to be one of those “results not typical” fat loss transformations, it can be done and it may be a perfectly appropriate short-term goal for the savvy and sophisticated fitness enthusiast. It’s your call. But when you set your goals, it might be wise to remember that old fable of the tortoise and the hare, and buyer beware if you go shopping for a fast weight loss program in today’s shady marketplace.

Train hard and expect success,

Tom Venuto, author of

Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle


About Tom Venuto

tom-venuto-author - CopyTom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, fat loss coach, fitness writer and author of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle. Tom’s articles are published on hundreds of websites worldwide and he has been featured in Muscle and Fitness, Men’s Fitness, Oprah magazine, Library Journal, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He has appeared on dozens of podcasts and radio shows including Martha Stewart healthy living (Sirius XM), ESPN-1250 and WCBS. Tom is also the founder and CEO of the premier fat loss support community, the Burn The Fat Inner Circle

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62 Responses to “The 2 Pounds Per Week Rule And How to Burn Fat Faster”

  • Tom,While I like using the 1 lb per week as a standard, you’ve explained how rate of weight loss can differ from person to person. Very complete post as usual.Your detailed explanation is the sort of stuff that adds value. Not the millions of parrots preaching 1 g of protein or 1 lb of fat a week without knowing WHY they are saying it.Nice post and I will be sure to give it a Stumble.What’s Stumble? You don’t know that term? Sheesh.. never mind. I’ll give it a thumbs up and hopefully others will find it as valuable as I have.

  • Deb A

    Thanks Tom for the great post.I was beginning to feel like a failure as I am not losing weight as quickly as I had hoped but after reading this I realize that I am doing it the correct and sensible way, and after all, patience is a vitrue.

  • David

    I love your newsletter and try to share your wise words with everyone who can hear them. I’m currently an undergrad studying nutrition and kinesiology, and I’m working with my older sister daily to help her lose the 100 lbs of excess weight she’s put on over the last 10 years. With resources like your information, helping her regain her health and happiness is an easier task.Thank you.

  • Alan

    Misinformation is everywhere. Saw this on the net ,I used Cybergenics QuickTrim last Spring/Summer. I had fantastic results and lost 20 pounds in two weeks.BethI had tried a few times Cybergenics QuickTrim – which does work, each time I lost 10-15 pounds!!Toni B.StevenI’m using Cybergenics Quicktrim right now. In the past 3.5 weeks, I’ve lost 25 pounds. Now, I don’t expect my weight to continue to drop like that, but it is right now, since I’m well over my normal body weight.Alan.

  • good god, cybergenics is STILL around? i remember those muscle building kits from eons ago… and if i also recall correctly they had all kinds of lawsuits over the claims they made in their advertisements. The years go by, and the names may change, but some things – like bogus weight loss claims and false advertising – will always remain the same

  • James Murphy

    Hi Tom,Thanks once again for being the voice of reason and sanity in a world of weight loss craziness. I have tried very low calorie diets and it was not easy at all. I even fasted with water and juice, some vegatable soups for about 13 days. I lost about 13 lbs, but I ended up putting at least half of it back on. I just don’t see the point in trying to force my body into doing something that just does not seem natural. I don’t feel good doing it (meaning short term rapid weight loss attempts) and it really does not even seem like it is real. Meaning, that I know in my gut that rapid short term fat loss, will not last. I am grateful that you have helped reinforce a long term mindset in my mind. It feels much better to know I will reach my goal and be able to sustain it without putting myself through ………a very difficult experience.Slow and Steady is what is working for me.Thanks again for the intelligent post. I appreciate it.James Murphy

  • Claritza

    Hi Tom,This article striked many interests for me. I lack motiviation in losing wieght, but yet hate carrying all this extra body fat with me. Quick fixes usually do not last long….it is just like a broken pipe, you could only seal it for so long and then it bursts. However, even though I know the facts and you confirm it even more, I would love a magic pill to lose the wieght. Your article also targets reality for many people. As a mother, wife, work almost fulltime hours, and the responsibility of a student, it is not quite easy for me to get up and put excersising on my priority list. Thank you for your great knowledge and sensirity.Claritza

  • Tom,Thank you for this blog post! Almost every advertisement that shows a person losing more than 2 pounds a week in a 6-12 week period of time has to put the disclaimer, “Results not typical.”And on top of that, some companies advertise the same model before and after photos for YEARS because they couldn’t discover anyone else that would match or supercede that kind of radical weight/fat loss.How can we be so deceived into thinking, “Well if they can do it, so can I.”Thank you again for encouraging us to take the slow and gradual, yet long-term solution instead of the quick-fix failure method.Respecfully,Mark BojovicMissionary to Africa

  • Mark Smallwood

    Tom,Love your newsletter. You give information the regular joe can use and understand. When I started my weight loss and training, my hope was for 1 to 2 lbs per week. It took me 6 months to lose 40 lbs and attain my goal weight…a pace that allowed me to see the results but did not place in a position that I was always hungry. Of course, the training helps!

  • Mike

    If only more people would get the message that Mr Venuto constantly promulgates. There are no short cuts – no magic bullets. Induce a negative calorie balance and you will lose fat – but do it relatively slowly and by using a combination of moderate calorie reduction combined with regular exercise. And if more and more people got the message, the fraudsters who peddle “miracle” diets via books, magazines and other mass media would soon be out of business.

  • Raja

    hey tom, thx alot for the great advises which helped me alot!!keep it up!

  • Ildi

    You are the voice of reason in a world of confusing misinformation about fat loss. Just bought your new book and LOVE it!

  • Brian

    Hi Tom, thanks for the post. I find myself always going between the ‘slow and steady’ style and the ‘suck it up, pain=gain’ style.What would be your response to this type of article written by Mark Twight (guy who trained 300 actors)http://www.gymjones.com/knowledge.php?id=36Is the 2lb a week just for the masses and the ‘dedicated few’ can obtain more, or in your opinion is it just dangerous/damaging in the long run?Thanks again for the post. You are often the voice of sanity in an unsane world of fitness advice!

  • Connie Francis

    You know Tom, you’ve got it spot on! It’s tough for me to understand why a lot of people have difficulty understanding this simple “math” (as simple as ABC). You have been repeating yourself for ages and I congratulate you for never running out of gas saying the same thing over and over again.No explanation can be better.

  • Jan

    Hi Tom,I’m just wondering, what’s your opinion of working out with kettlebells for fat loss? I’ve read that the actors in the movie “300” became so lean and ripped because they worked out with kettlebells. I’ve also read that more and more mixed martial arts fighters use kettlebell workouts to improve their conditioning. I’ve picked up kettlebells in sporting goods stores and tried a few different exercises, but I don’t see how they would be much different than lifting weights as far as fat loss is concerned. The way I see it, it’s more of a personal preference. If you favor kettlebells, use them. If you favor barbells/dumbbells, use them. But what’s your experience with kettlebells and do you think they somehow improve fat loss over other methods of resistance training?

  • janelle

    Hi Tom,I have your BFFM e-book and every time I see these infomercials on tv I go back to the common sense, scientifically proven information in your book. I see these ridiculous claims and the part of me that wants a quick fix is tempted but the rational part of my brain remembers what i read in your book and says ,’that’s not fat, that’s water and lean muscle”. If one pound of fat is approximately 3,700 calories, how can they generate the calorie deficit necessary to lose 10 pounds in a week??? Perhaps that’s why a lot of the ‘succes’ stories have people whose eating was just as ludicrous in the first place…consuming excessive amounts of calories.I also scrutinise what they say…they almost never say that the weight the participants lost was all-fat and I’m wary of anything that says ‘results not typical.” At least with what your approach, hard work and real committment, fat loss results ARE typical!All in all Tom, thanks for being the voice of reason and truth and thanks for keeping it real….all the time.Janelle

  • Dr.Chandan Baruah

    Thanks a ton, Tom. People should understand that losing fat is purely mathematics. Losing 1 to 2 lb per week is perfect. Rapid fat lose is not permanent and very difficult to maintain over a long period of time.The person will definitely regain the weight very soon as it is almost impossible to maintain such a low calorie diet all your life. Besides you have to enjoy your life and must think about your family and friends.It is the quality of life which is important for which we need a vibrant health.

  • Sarah

    Tom,I am so grateful for your articles and the amount of FREE information you willingly give to the public. You are a hero.

  • teresa

    I already have extreme health issues that started before I was ever overweight.(RA at 21yrs) I have worked hard to try to regain a healthy body status. mostly trying to get off all those high dose medications for arthritis. The doctors treatments were making me sicker. and as the yrs went on the weight gain became an issue. those quick weight loss scemes complicated my situation. Good nutrition is essencial for a strong disease resistant body. thanks tom for the sound advise. now Im 47 years old. off all but the thyroid meds and hoping to get off those with in 2 more years.teresa

  • Connie

    Thanks for this reminder. I had been complaining to my trainer for weeks about my ‘lack of progress’ and how ‘slow’ the weight was coming off. Like you, he says ‘you didn’t put it on this quickly, why do you expect to lose it this quickly?’ I just finished BFFM and there will be no more complaining from me.

  • Brian

    Tom -As always, very informative. I have lost 122 lbs of fat following your adivce! At the same time I kept every ounce of LBM I started with. A few weeks I pushed for more than 2 lbs per week, but most weeks I kept it to about 2 lbs. I must say, the 1-2 lb per week is a much more sustainable pace. If someone has a lot of weight to lose (as I did), you have to keep the long term objective in mind. It is no use to lose 5 lbs a week for 3 weeks and then flame out. It is much better to lose 2 lbs a week for a year and achieve you 100 lb fat loss in the long term. Trust me, you will see enough results at a 2 lb per week rate to keep motivated. Fat loss is a journey. Enjoy the trip…

  • Eduardo Ortiz

    Hi all,Slowly but surely does work, great article. It forces better discipline and a lifestyle change that will have a great effect thru the rest of your life…I started on a July 1st at 200 lbs and it took me 6 months to get to 170 lbs, the results were amazing and now I have stayed like that for years because I learned the hard way how to do it, not overnight. The best result of all this: My whole family has changed their eating habits and we are all in our best health!!! Thanks Tom!

  • John

    This passes the common sense test. I’ve only been getting the newsletters for 6 weeks or so, but I have successfully dropped 30 lbs. in 30 months – yes, ONLY 1 lb per month. Some months much more, other months were flat. But I’ve increased my strength AND endurance, competing in 5K races, AND getting occasional compliments. My advice: if your over 50, EVERYTHING works a little slower, but you can get there if you are determined and persistent. The newsletters confirm what I’ve experienced the hard, slow way, and have shed light on how I might lose that last 10-12 lbs. There are no easy, magic, or quick fixes that won’t come back to hurt you. Thanks, Tom!

  • Jan wrote what’s your experience with kettlebells and do you think they somehow improve fat loss over other methods of resistance training?I dont use kettlebells myself but i think theyre a great training tool. this is a perfect example of what i was talking about in my post when i said trainers are becoming inventive and finding intense workouts that burn a lot of calories.Exercises like kettlebell swings can burn a lot of calories.BURN MORE CALORIES = LOSE MORE FATHowever, my caveat still stands regarding workouts as much as for diets: theres no magic in any particular training tool, just the hard work you invest in using it, and the calorie math.

  • Brian wroteI find myself always going between the ‘slow and steady’ style and the ‘suck it up, pain=gain’ style. What would be your response to this type of article written by Mark Twight (guy who trained 300 actors)http://www.gymjones.com/knowledge.php?id=36. Is the 2lb a week just for the masses and the ‘dedicated few’ can obtain more, or in your opinion is it just dangerous/damaging in the long run?Brian, mark twights article says it all:The typical interviewer wants to know about the “magic” workout the cast did to make them look so good. Some were disappointed to learn that hard work is magic, while others marveled – as did we some days – that the actors would work so hard. Rapid weight loss and dehydration can be unhealthful. Its hard to maintain such losses long term. However, I dont think there is anything inherently dangerous about losing more FAT than 2 lbs per week. Its simply not easy to achieve.2lb + per wek WEIGHT losses are very easy, especially when you first start your diet. 2lb + per week FAT losses , especially for extended periods, are not.Extraordinary results are not out of reach for anyone. The answer is how hard are you willing to work? if you worked as hard as those actors, i imagine you would get similar results yourself.

  • Helene

    excellent article and so refreshingly honest. You rock!

  • I think you pretty much covered all bases in that post man, great article.I heard Jon Benson say on an interview that one of the best things anyone can do for improved health and weight loss is to become media(ocre) free for as long as possible. How can we possibly expect people to succeed when they are constantly and very subtly being fed the same rubbish day in and day out without hardly noticing?Continued thanks for your content too… I am a better personal trainer from having “found” your site and excellent information.

  • Thanks Tom. I have 107 pounds of lean body mass and weigh about 132. I eat 2,500 calories daily and I am a 45 years young female. When I cut calories, and lose weight, even a slow loss, I quickly become emotionally hungry. My nervous system likes the 18% body fat that protects it and is not willingly letting that go.I think that if I were to get to my favorite yoga weight of 125 again that I would opt for losing 1/2 pound weekly. I am so glad to see that you are helping people to understand just how quickly weight loss can add up. We are so blessed to have you as a leading inspiration!

  • Pretty

    Tom you have done it again. This article is the timeless mother of all weight loss truths and is the bottom line. This article defines weightloss and, you have made it so easy for us average struggling people to understand.This puts us in control of our weightloss journey because we have the knowledge we need to carve our path to a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle we could only dream of!Thank you Tom, the journey has just begun!:)Pretty

  • Tracey

    Hi Tom,I really love this post because I find I (and other people) get caught up in the hype of fad diets and quick results. I’m a very blk or white person,so seeing shades of gray isn’t so easy. I tried cutting out carbs thinking that was the magic answer…coming to realize moderation works best for me. Now I enjoy natural starchy carbs and I am so much happier. This is not a diet,but a way of life. I like the simplicity of your articles,thank you!

  • Madhuri singh

    Hi Tom,Wonderful facts about protein, carbs and the myth of quick weight loss.I am in the process of writing a book on my experience on weight loss methods that I have experimanted upon.

  • Duncan

    This sounds sensesible and smart. I just bought TBFS today and have been reading all day. Its a great book and I hope to begin jumping in to the program in a few days. I currently weight well over 300lbs. I’m ready to work hard to change. While i’d be happy with 2lbs a week I would think a guy my size would loose more rapidly just based on my size. Assuming that 2lbs of fat is the most anyone should expect to loose than in the beginning If I eat clean, make the appropriate calorie deficite, and follow the workouts consistantly it would seem that loosing lean tissue is unavoidable at my size. It just seems natural that I would loose more than 2lbs a week. How do I find the balance between charging full spead ahead with a lifestyle change and loosing at an appropriate healthy rate?

  • John

    Tom,Your article on the Two Pounds per Week Rule was brilliant.So clear. So concise. So true.Finally, someone is giving us straight talk.Thank you so much.John

  • Regarding the binge rebound:I’ve lost about 85 lbs over the course of a year. Slow, steady, and I was doing a great job maintaining within 5 lbs.Then in January I decided to have a weight loss contest with my brother after gaining a few over the holidays. I lost a crazy 12 lbs in 4 weeks.What happened next was predictable and regrettable. I binged in reaction to such a ridiculously strict diet and gained most of it back over the course of a few weeks.Not that Im not an experienced and succesful dieter, but sometimes your bodys urges can be more than you can control. Slow and steady really is the only way…

  • Christine

    At long last someone who speaks common sense. It was an absolute joy to read this article.Thank youChristine

  • Arun Kumar

    Hi Tom,Why don’t you consider publishing a hardcover edition of BFFM?I am sure it will become a great collector’s item and will replace the printouts that we carry around in files/folders…You couldeven offer autographed copies, like Dave Draper does for his book.Fellow commentors, please add all your ‘weighty recommendations’ behind my suggestion so that Tom relents :)Arun

  • Tom, yet another excellent post. I captured a summary on my blog (in the URL http://myphysiquedelta.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/rtp-ts-m1-day-43-mentored-two-co-workers-shared/) and oh how timely your message was in my inbox. I spent a few minutes mentoring two co-workers yesterday, and then wow, I backed it up with this article you wrote. I’m on my second reading of The Body Fat Solution! If you ever get weary and tired, take a rest and a deep breath and know you are doing so excellent!Peace,Brian

  • Regina

    Funny how the “real” secret to permanent fat loss is to be diligent with your diet and exercise, but no one wants to hear it!Tom, thank you for a common sense approach to this whole thing. I have definitely been the “tortoise” in this race, but I have transformed my body just the same. I am fast approaching 2 years of sustaining a 30# loss (that part was quick), and 1 year of a 50# loss (not so quick). I currently stand at about 60# gone in the past 2 years.I enjoy all sorts of cardio activity, and cross-train regularly, but I took up running a little over a year ago and that definitely has become my exercise of choice. I am now training for a half marathon! What a difference a couple of years can make!

  • Hi Tom, I am really more comfortable with 1-2 lbs fat loss every week now. For me, it is the only way to go especially since I am so close to my % bf goal already.I read BFFM and it is by far the most comprehensive, introductory book I’ve read.Thanks for another great post!

  • michael moore

    “Personally, I think short-term thinking and the pursuit of quick fixes are the worst diseases of our generation.”Tom, you’re awesome. You’re smart, a storehouse of great information, a great role model, and very generous.

  • Laura

    I have always thought that the “Biggest Loser” contestants have lost far too much weight per week that is healthy.In my experience, losing 2lbs a week just doesn’t happen for me consistently. One week I’ll lose one, then 1/2, then 2 or nothing at all. I’m wondering if that is the “norm”?Your reasoning sounds more correct – never will I try to lose more than 2lbs a week (even if my body would cooperate – which it doesn’t).

  • Finally. Im pretty sick of so called “expert nutritionists” saying losing more than 2lbs a week is “unhealthy”. I have a name for such peeps… and that’s “unsmart”.

  • Jacquelynn

    Anyone that I have ever met that has dropped large quantities of weight at a drastic pace seem to be left with the issue of loose skin. A slower and steady rate of weight loss gives your skin more time to shrink down to your new size.

  • Jennifer Cleveland

    Tom, I am 41 and weigh 140 at 5’5″. I have a cheap scale that tells me my bodyfat is around 26 %. With three kids and a full time college schedule, I work out on campus (in my second week this time around) . I am struggling with eating enough to even hit the 1400 calories thats on the phase 111 competition diet.. where you head to 1800 calories on the fourth day.. because i’m so new to bodybuilding again, i spent the first week with a full body workout just to get a habit started and see how sore i would be. I have started slow on cardio too. I know I’m not going to lose much weight by increasing my eating (every three hours, starchy w protein for the first two meals and fibrous with protein on the last three)… and only being able to keep up for 20 mins or so on an elliptical… will this improve? i’m only 15 to 20 lbs overweight and feeling pretty patient, but i dont want to be wasting my time. I’m using the oldest version of your book and plan to split my workouts next week.Since i’m NOT that overweight, is it still exciting to only lose a pound or less weekly? Feeling discouraged and pretty motivated to do this the RIGHT way.

  • sandra

    I love this blog. I have recently lost 6lbs and 3 inches from the widest part of my waist and wondered how? I have lost fat and not water/muscle.I am taking my weight loss to the next level as I weigh 279lbs now and I am now sold on losing 2lbs a week from now on. Tom has clearly explain everything.I hope this wave hits the UK as I live just outside London.

  • Rabia

    I have been so inspired by your newsletters and programme, that I have seen a huge change in my body and energy levels after just 2 weeks. It’s pretty much melting off, and I am starting to feel like a junkie; I love the discipline of my daily excercise, although I keep hearing that I shouldn’t overdo it. I certainly don’t think I am, and my body isn’t complaining – after all, I do take rest for a day or two at the weekend and switch to walking.Thank you for your advice, the generosity of sharing your knowledge in the newsletters and this blog, and the simple truths that you put out there. If what you put in is what you get out, then I sincerely hope you get HUGE rewards for all the good you’ve done in so many lives!Still learning, there’s a lot to cover. But I’m determined. Kinda like a pit bull with a nice, juicy steak!

  • Linda

    I started the Full Body Attack about 6 weeks ago. I had just finished a routine the trainer in my gym gave me to get the year started out building muscle and my boss introduced me to Feed the Muscle Burn the Fat and it has been all I eat drink and live. I work a 12 1/2 hour day and get up at 1:30 in the morning to get to body fed and ready to workout and use the Full Body Attack from 2 to 4 in the morning. I get the right nutrition in right after and get ready for work. I love the changes. No one believes I have not lost weight. I tell them I have lost inches but I have not lost weight. I would like to loose 10 lbs but for the first time in years I have triceps!!! I have biceps and I feel strong and i am only half way through it. I can’t wait to start the 6x6x6 routine and am so thankful for all I have learned about nutrition and carbs and how important building muscle is particularly at my age of 53! Thank you for being such a blessing to us who are not looking for an easy way out.

  • Zee

    With PCOS, I have a very hard time losing weight. After cutting calories down to 1400, exercising 3x per week, I lost 1 lb after a month. Talk about discouraging. Last week, I reopened an old version of BFFM and decided to try again. This time, I kept my calories at a hefty 1800-2000 (TDEE is aroudn 2600) and instead, focused on exercising 3 times per day. I know that seems a lot to some–but I realized that 25 minutes on my Nordic Track wasn’t a waste of time compared to the time I was sitting around watching TV or on the Internet. I’m normally a huge water reserve and in the past could easily lose 11 lbs in a week on water alone. This time, after 3 days, I had only lost a little over a pound. But I’ve been keeping it up and now in 6 days, I have lost almost 4 lbs and that’s been by burning 900 calories rather than diet. Of course, I’m sure a lot is water–that’s expected. But if this loss keeps up, I’ll be happy because doctors have told me to lose weight but be prepared because losing weight with hormonal imbalances is extremely difficult. Thanks for your advice–and to people as advice–it IS better to burn it off rather than starve it off. If I can do it–anyone can. Two lbs seems like nothing–but look at what it looks like in pure fat–and you’ll see it quickly in your shape as well.

  • Mem

    Awesome explanation. The best I have read about dieting, the most sensible, the most inspiring. Just….. Wow.

  • Sher

    To lose weight is hard work, to lose fat is far beyond that; but with patience & your savvy knowledge, started reading BFFM all over again & voila, the fat is MELTING. Yeah! Slowly but surely. It is all about body composition, & if I only look at the scale, it would’ve been good to just lose the weight; but now, I am more knowledgeable & always check my weekly progress & adjust accordingly. And, btw, motivation is really key in this journey. Thanks Tom for your expertise.

  • Erin

    I have been eating 1,000 to 1,100 lean, low-carb, high protein calories a day and working out usually twice (2 30-minute sessions) including running, intervals and Insanity, a day. My weight loss has been very slow. My bridal shower was on Sunday and I drank alcohol and ate some high calorie foods. I gained 3 to 4 pounds that day! Why did this happen? Is this a result of eating too few calories on a regular basis? Please help me!

  • Burn Fat Fast

    Burning fat fast is now possible. In losing weight you have to work harder for you to burn more fat and also you have to keep yourself in a strict diet to be able to maintain the lean body. Losing weight is not hard at all its just takes a little effort and sacrifice for you to achieve it.

  • “extraordinary results require extraordinary efforts”

    I think that pretty much sums it up right there. This applies to anything in your life- business, weight loss, relationships, etc.

    The problem is most of us are searching for a push-button solution, which just doesn’t exist- especially when it comes to our health!

  • lee

    Really engoying the blog, some really good posts that ive been repsoting all over my facxebook for my own clients to read.

  • Helen Charbonneau

    I agree. I lost 28 lbs since Sept 1. I prefer to lose it slower and keep it off than lose it fast and gain it back. I am making changes I can live with. Thanks Helen

  • I really like reading a post that can make people think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

  • Meyer

    I droped 66 pounds within 6 month , i was 5”11.5 293 pounds box 5’11.5 227 , my maintenance was about 3500 cals i ate 2000 à day or 2400 with on hour exercise plus 4 Times 30 minutes cardio à week and droped 22 pounds thé first month then 13 pounds thé next then 2 pounds per week , thén i stoped dieting and stayed 227-232 for 7 month , just watching over m’y cals and exercising , 2 weeks ago i strated dieting àgain 232 i am now 225 hoping to go to 210

  • Reann De Lancy

    I ran across this article while searching for the best way to lose weight safely and permanently. It is astounding to note that this is one of the few that is not only reasonable, but lifestyle applicable as well. There are so many programs out there that promise “the quick fix,” when that is not what I want. I want to lose the fat and keep it off. The advice given here is simple, to the point, and I think effective in the long term.

    Thank you Mr. Venuto for the good sensible advice.

  • Tania S

    Thank you Tom for all your knowledge and honesty. You are truly an inspiration and a hero. You are a blessing….. One of the best things I did was get your book. I’m very thankful sir 🙂

  • anne

    Hi Tom
    I recently bought your book Burn the Fat, Feed the muscle. I have been reading the book, working out daily (which I have always done) and have lost 4 pounds in 3 wks, just by following your advice. My goal is to drop 12 pounds of fat over 15 wks. I do workout daily for 1 hour, cardio x 30 minutes and resistance training with weights, step, bosu, bands etc. I hope that I am not over training as I do this 6 days/wk but really I have always workout. Just need the your fine tuning advice.
    thank you very much. The book is awesome.


  • Good article Tom.

    I have been 20lbs over weight most of my life.

    Over the last couple of years I have been working on eliminating the simple carbs and eating just as you have prescribed. The challenge was not to cheat with simple carbs. For the last 2 months I have managed to do that, added a consistent amount of high intensity exercise for about 30 min a day and voila, the fast is nicely disappearing. The big key for has been eating small portions regularly and now I have noticed that I am not even hungry at snack times.

    This is an eating style that I know I can live with for the rest of my life. Loosing it is one challenge, keeping it off is another. Finding a way to eat properly is the life change challenge.


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