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505: 5 Harsh Truths About Fat Loss (That No One Is Telling You)

Many health influencers and diet gurus start pointing fingers when they try to figure out why you are losing the battle against weight. “It’s the carbs! or the seed oils!” they claim.

Even if you follow the guidelines, weigh your food, and keep committed to your workout routine, the last layers of fat seem to be stuck there, or you see the weight you lost in several months come back in weeks with some extra pounds!

So why is this happening?

In this episode, Ted reveals 5 harsh truths about fat loss that are as real and to-the-bone as accurate, explaining exactly why you are losing the battle against those extra pounds you are trying to get rid of, and what you should do instead. Listen now!


You’ll learn:

  • The biggest challenge in losing fat is not to lose weight
  • Why we must be mentally prepared to fail several times
  • What does it mean when our progress in the fat loss journey stagnates
  • What’s the role our emotions play in the fat loss process
  • What is the most crucial part of the weight loss journey
  • And much more…


Related Episodes:  

RTF 134: Help! I’m Doing Everything Right, But I’m Still Not Losing Weight

502: Why You Keep Gaining Back The Weight You Lost (And How To Stop) with Ted Ryce

RTF 132: Why Do I Find It So Hard To Lose Weight? (And How To Fix It)


Links Mentioned:  

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Podcast Transcription: 5 Harsh Truths About Fat Loss (That No One Is Telling You) 

Ted Ryce: I’ve been coaching entrepreneurs and other high-performing professionals in health and fitness for over 23 years. I’ve helped hundreds of clients lose weight and keep it off. Now this might seem like I’m flexing, like I’m showing off. But the reality is, I was very frustrated for the majority of my career. Because what I noticed is that some clients would get amazing results; they would change not only their body, but change their life. And then other clients, they would lose weight, then gain it back, lose weight, then gain it back.

And after being in this business for over 23 years now, there are some things that I’ve learned—some harsh truths, if you will, about fat loss that no one else is telling you. So that’s what we’re going to get into today. What is up, my friend? Welcome back to the show. And today, we’re going to get into these harsh truths. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Number one, keeping the fat off of your body is harder than losing it. Everyone’s so focused on fat loss, everyone’s just, “Hey, what can I do to lose fat?” The big fight is this fat loss. The big fight is losing the weight. The big fight is going on this diet and working out and losing the weight. But the reality is, we don’t have a fat loss problem, we have a regain problem or regain the fat problem, a sliding backwards problem.

And we even have statistics that show this is the case. In a meta-analysis of 29 long term weight loss studies, more than half of the lost weight was regained within two years. Okay, so let’s say that you go on a diet, you lose 20 pounds, in two years, you gained 10 pounds back. And of course, this is on average, and by five years, more than 80% of the weight you lost was regained. So, in five years, 16 pounds of those 20 pounds was regained.

Now, I want to be clear here, this is 29 weight loss studies, probably the majority of these people, if not all of them were obese. And the more obese you are, the more challenges you’re going to have, not just psychologically, but also physiologically to lose the weight and keep it off. That could be another harsh truth in itself that I’m not going to go into on this episode. But what I’m trying to tell you here is you’re too concerned about fat loss.

But the reality is, you’re going to spend the least amount of time in the fat loss phase. So you’re thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to lose 20 pounds, 30 pounds, 50 pounds,” maybe even 100 pounds. Even if you’ve got 100 pounds to lose, that’s going to take you about a year. But what about the year after that? What about the five years after that, where 80% of people will regain the weight? What about 10 years? We don’t even have studies that long, that show what happens after that. What about 20 years?

The majority of your time is going to be spent in maintenance. And why is this important for you? Why is this important for you to keep in your mind? Well, one is that you have to be aware of the real challenge. Forewarned is forearmed. So in other words, stop thinking that the big battle is about losing weight. It’s not. It’s about keeping it off. Now you might say, “Well, Ted, I’m really struggling to lose the weight.” Well, your strategies aren’t good. Or maybe your stress is too high. Those are really the two problems with people’s weight loss attempts.

So, if you’ve never lost weight, or struggling to lose weight, those are your big issues. We’re not going to get into that today because I want to keep focused here. But keep that in mind. So first of all, you have to understand the big battle is keeping the weight off. So, the next harsh truth that I want to share with you is that it’s going to take more than once, most likely. Most people think, Oh, I’m going to do this diet, or do this coaching program or do Jenny Craig or go to the one of the… oh, I forget the name, like Canyon Ranch and do that weight loss program there, and I’ll be done.

The reality is, it’s going to take you more than once to get this right. If this is a problem for you… Now, I have clients who I don’t think they’ll ever have a problem again. They came to me, they worked with me once, and it probably won’t ever be an issue for them ever again. And while I’d like to say, well, it was all my coaching. Well, part of it definitely was, I’m freaking amazing at what I do. But it’s not just me. It’s how people show up.

And if people show up, and they don’t know the right strategies, then I give them the right strategies, magic happens. Some people really just don’t know what to do. And if you’re one of those people, please go book a call with me, because I, oh, man, I can help you. If you’re just like, “Hey, my life is amazing. I’m making money. My relationships are great, I just don’t get this fat loss thing,” go book a call with me right away, I can help you crush this in so little time, you’re gone be amazed.

But let’s talk about the other folks, the other folks who are struggling with the stress part. And let’s quantify that, let’s say you’re in a relationship—I hit hesitate to use the word toxic. But let’s say you’re in a toxic relationship, you guys are fighting, maybe the other person, they’re not a bad person, or maybe they are a bad person, I don’t know. But let’s say you’re fighting a lot. Let’s say that you have a lot of stress in your business or your career. Let’s say that, you know, that’s this situation, it’s going to take you more than once to figure it out, especially if you’re doing it on your own.

In fact, I found a Gallup poll, and these statistics are from 2005. And there was 23% of men said they tried one to two times to lose weight. 24% of men said they’ve tried three to 10 times to lose weight, and 7% said more than 10 times. And of course, if you’re wondering where the other 45% is, well, they never tried. When it comes to women, 23% never tried, 25% have tried one to two times, 31% have tried three to 10 times, and 15% have tried more than 10 times.

And what I want to tell you is this, what I’m trying to share with you convey to you right now is this: the shittier your strategies are and the more stress you have in your life, the more times you can expect to lose weight, gain it back, lose weight again, and keep trying. But I will tell you, do not give up. If you are one of these people who’ve tried one to two times or three to 10 times or even more than 10 times, don’t give up, look for better strategies.

But understand, it’s normal, it’s normal to try more than once, very normal. 55% of men have tried to lose weight, at least more than one time. No, I’m sorry, getting that messed up. 31% of men have tried three or more times to lose weight. And 46% of women have tried three or more times to lose weight. I know that might have been – wasn’t the most clear way. It’s a little bit tricky to describe statistics sometimes on podcast because I’m looking at a graph right now. But keep that in mind.

The point is this: it’s not about the percentages. It’s normal to try more than once. So if you find yourself doing that, and you’re feeling, “Man, you know, I thought I had it.” No, again, the worse your strategies are. And the more stress you have in your life, the more times it’s going to take you to get it handled. So let’s move on to the next harsh truth. The more fat you lose, the harder it gets.

What do you mean by that? I got something to share with you. People share with me their fat loss results, or weight loss results, however you want to think about it, all the time on social media. They’re like, “I’ve lost 40 pounds.” It’s like, “Yeah, but you’re still obese.” Losing 40 pounds when you’re obese and you’re still obese because you’ve got another 40, 50, 60 pounds to lose, it’s an accomplishment. But it’s more of like, hey, I was making minimum wage, and I finally got a two-year degree and now I’m making $15 an hour.

I applaud you, but it is what it is. And I don’t want to take away if that sounds condescending, if that sounds like I’m not appreciating your effort, it’s not. It’s that’s not true. I’m happy for you. I’m just asking to put it into context. Put it into context. It’s an incredible accomplishment for you. But in the grand scheme of what there is to accomplish, not just to make it all about the numbers but to improve your health, and to get to what we would consider a normal weight.

You’ve got a long, long way to go. And it’s easy to lose fat fast. If you’re 100 pounds overweight, it’s not always easy. Let me say that I’ve worked with clients for multiple years, who struggle a lot with this. But it’s mostly an emotional challenge. If you’re 280 pounds… I have a client who is 300 pounds when he started working with me, and he’s down to 270 right now. The reality is, if you’re that big, you’re eating so much food, you’re eating so many calories, you’re working hard to maintain that weight. That’s the reality. You’re working hard to maintain that weight.

And so if it’s just, you just cut back on eating half of a pizza instead of the entire pizza, or eating one pint of ice cream instead of three, you’re going to get fast progress. Again, I’m not trying to take away from your accomplishment if you happen to be that big. Most of the people who I work with are more on the leaner side, more in the 25% body fat range—take a little sip of miso soup there. So it’s easier to lose fat when you have a lot of fat to lose.

But here’s what happens; there’s a couple things that happened here that are important, and I want you to pay attention. First of all, smaller bodies, use less energy, just kind of how I said, if you’re 250 pounds, 260 pounds, and six feet tall, you’re eating a lot, you’re working hard to keep that weight. That’s expensive. How many ribeye steaks, how many, you know, you’re eating a lot of food, there’s no other way to do it.

So, let’s say if you’re 250 pounds and go down to 200 pounds, let’s say you’re six feet tall and you drop 50 pounds, incredible. I’m six feet tall. When I got out my leanest, I was 180 pounds. I was 210 pounds, and I dropped 30 pounds to get down to 180. And the reality is, you use less calories when you’re smaller, just like a truck at a stoplight idling uses more gas than a sedan at the same stoplight idling, and driving that truck down to the next block, down to the next intersection, takes more energy than this sedan driving the same distance. It’s bigger, it takes more energy to move, and that’s the situation.

And so when you start out as a truck, and then lose weight, and now your body is more like a sedan, you use less energy. So you have to dial things in more. But that’s not all. Here’s another thing that’s important. There’s something that happens around when you lose  around 10 to 15% of your body weight. So let’s say you’re 250 pounds, let’s say you lose 25 pounds, that’s 10% of your body weight. Sometimes people have something called metabolic adaptation.

What is metabolic adaptation? Well, it means this; let’s take that example that I just use, let’s say you’re 250 pounds, and you lose 10% of your body weight, and now you’re 225. And let’s also say you’re an identical twin, right? You’re one of identical twins, you have a twin, and your twin weighs 225 pounds, he never gained weight. He was never at 250. He’s been at 225 the entire time.

So let’s say we measure both your resting metabolic rate and your twins resting metabolic rate. What we learn with metabolic adaptation is that you’re burning less calories at rest than your twin who’s never lost weight. There’s something about weight loss when it gets to a certain point—that 10 to 15% range, is when it starts—where some people, again, some people can have a slowing of their metabolism.

Now I want to be clear here. This is just when you’re losing fat, it comes back up for a lot of people, and also a lot of it comes from the fact that you stop moving so much. I don’t want to get too deep into the metabolic adaptation, but just understand there is some slowing of the resting metabolic rate or basal metabolic rate when you lose around 10 to 15% of your body weight.

So, let’s move on to the next harsh truth. And this is, you’re going to have to change more than your diet and exercise routine, you’re going to have to overcome the reasons why you eat, the deeper reasons why you overeat. If you have excess body fat on you, it’s not normal. I’ve travelled around the world…Actually, obesity is becoming more normal, but it’s not normal everywhere. Where it is normal is rich, industrialized societies.

So, in Malaysia, which is the most industrialized country in Southeast Asia, they’ve got the highest obesity rate, but you go there and you’re like, “Wow, people are way thinner than the United States in Malaysia.’ Or Thailand has an obesity epidemic. But you go there, you’re like, “Everybody is so thin.” Our ideas of what is normal are totally skewed. And they’re coming even more skewed with body positivity movement.

I’m all for body positivity, your weight isn’t your worth. But if you’re trying to tell me that eating to the point where you’re 50, 100 pounds overweight, 30 pounds overweight, we know that your liver is probably accumulating fat in it, getting that non-alcoholic fatty liver deposits. It’s not healthy, folks. There’s so much research showing that.

And the reason why we eat so much— I mean, I want to do an entire episode on this. But just to keep it simple—it’s emotions. Let me know if this sounds familiar to you. Something happens that upsets you—now since you don’t do cocaine or smoke weed or drink alcohol, although some of you might, with alcohol thing, hopefully, not that cocaine, or the heroin or whatever—something bad happens to you, you feel an overwhelming urge to eat.

Then eat more than you know you should, and then you feel guilty because you ate so much. And you feel powerless over food, which continues to trigger you, which continues to cause an overwhelming urge to eat, which causes you to eat more than you should, which causes you to feel guilty and powerless over food, and this cycle continues.

Does that sound familiar to you? I think that sounds familiar to everyone. That sounds familiar to me. And we’re not going to get into motional eating today, although I will dive into it because it’s something that resonates with people, and people don’t talk about it. You know what the mainstream medical opinion is, or a definition of obesity is, it’s a chronic brain disease. So, it’s all brain, it’s all genes. They talk about how it’s highly genetic—all true, by the way.

And then what do internet influencers, internet diet influencers or health influencers? “Oh, it’s the carbs, it’s the seed oils, it’s the…” They blame… “It’s the food guidelines.” No! You can’t control your urge to eat, you’re in the checkout line, you stop at the convenience store, when you’re taking a drive somewhere for work, you’re surrounded by food, you grab something, you end up eating it, then you eat more than you should, then you feel guilty and powerless, then that triggers you and you feel overwhelmed. The cycle continues.

This, my friends, this is the thing that I help my clients with the most. But boy, is it the hardest thing to break? That’s why I’m not cheap, because I get to the root. It takes a lot of work, both on my part and a client’s part, but you can break it. But first, you have to be aware, it’s really the issue. It’s really the issue. You’re using food to medicate yourself. And until you change and dig a bit deeper while you’re doing that, and start to diversify how you’re dealing with your emotions, you’re going to be stuck in the weight that you’re at, or stuck losing weight and gaining it back because diets don’t help you with that.

They can help a little bit, but if you’ve got a lot of stress going on, if you’ve got a lot of emotional challenges going on, and food is your drug. It’s not porn or gambling or alcohol…It could be alcohol. A lot more guys, when they’re stressed, they drink than women, according to, at least some research, unless you deal with that, you’re going to be stuck.

So, let’s get to our final harsh truth here. You might need help to do this, especially if you’re not getting results at all, you’re just not using the right strategies, because even the most emotionally challenged people, the most stressed out people, they can figure out—they can do intermittent fasting, they can follow some strict diet, the whole 30, keto, whatever, and get some results.

So, if you’re not getting results at all, your strategies aren’t good. But if you’re the person, you’ve been on every diet, you’ve tried Jenny Craig, and you’ve tried going to—we’re going to call them the fat camps, that’s what people call them. I can’t think of any of the specific names, then it’s going to be more of a challenge for you, and you’re not going to be able to do it on your own. You may need professional help, not just to lose the weight. Again, that part is e, as we talked about, that’s the first harsh truth. Losing weight is the easiest part. Keeping it off is the hardest part. You may need professional help to make that permanent.

So, let’s review what we talked about. The first harsh truth is keeping the fat off. Losing fat is hard, but keeping it off is harder. And most people—and more specifically, the data shows, in five years, most people regain 80% of the fat they lost. Again, those are obese people. All you’ve got to do is think about your situation, what’s happened with you.

The second harsh truth is, it’s going to take more than once. So, if you tried a bunch of diets, you’ve tried a bunch of different approaches, they’ve worked a little bit, but then you slid back, that’s normal, don’t let it stop you from trying, again, if this is something you want to get handled in your life.

Three, the more you lose, the harder it gets. It’s easy to get some quick results when you have a lot of fat to lose, that’s going from zero to one. But taking it to the next level, it gets harder. Smaller bodies need less energy. And there’s that metabolic adaptation that also happens when you lose about 10 to 15% of your body weight. That’s when it starts—not for everyone, but for some.

Number four is you must change at the deepest level, you must deal with the deeper reasons why you overeat to begin with and that usually has to do with the emotional eating cycle. And number five is it’s really hard to do it on your own. And these truths, they shouldn’t discourage you. This is just the truth. But just like there’s no get-rich-quick scheme, you know that right? There’s no get-rich-quick scheme. There’s no build-your-business-overnight scheme. There’s also no lose-fat-fast-forever scheme. It just doesn’t exist.

The closest thing to it are coaching programs, like the one I have, but it still takes work. That’s why you’ve got to hop on a call. You can’t just sign up. “Hey, I signed up, I’m ready for the coaching.” “Okay, here, you’ve got to do this, this, and that.” “Oh, man, that sounds like a lot of work.” All right, yeah, okay, that’s not going to happen. You’ve got to be committed. And it takes the right strategies done consistently for years.

And I’ll share this one more idea; what happens in my coaching program, and people in general, okay, I just do it a lot better. Because I mean, you know, I’ve been doing this for 23 years, of course, I’m going to be better at it than someone who’s kind of half hearted, you know, read a few blog posts and done a few diets, of course, I’m going to be better at it. But it’s all the same when it comes to this.

At first, you have to learn the strategies until you get them right, because you’re not going to get them right when you first start. The second stage is you have to keep doing them until you can’t get them wrong. And then the third stage is you keep going until it’s just who you are. And you can’t rush that process, and there’s no telling exactly how long that will be for you.

If we look at the time that it takes to create a habit, we’re talking about the neighborhood of… if we’re talking about how to build a habit, we’re talking about a range from 18 days to 254 days for a person to form a new habit, based on a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

But here’s the thing. It depends on the habit. It depends on your emotional challenges around that habit. How easy is it to get into a habit of binge watching Netflix at night? For me, it was super easy, so it depends on the habit. Versus I’ve been working on content and publishing more writing online, oh man, that’s been… it’s taken me a long time. It’s taken me years to get into a consistent routine.

And those of you who’ve been listening for a long time might even remember, in the very beginning and maybe the first couple of years, we’ve been doing this podcast for seven years and we wouldn’t even publish the episodes on the right days. Now we’re like clockwork, we release Monday episode and a Friday episode, Monday episode, Friday episode. We’ve been doing that for years. But at the beginning, we weren’t doing that, and it took a while.

So when you start understanding that, and understanding your own personal challenges with something, then you start to wrap your head around, you start to develop awareness around, oh, this is going to take a long time for me. And that’s when you’ve got to dig deep, that’s when you have to understand why am I really doing this? How important is this for me? And even though I’m using the example of writing content online, and you’re thinking, “What the hell does that have to do with weight loss?”

The habits are all the same. They’re a program that we run in our mind, it’s only the obstacles that we have around a particular habit that make it into an issue or not, like it’s harder for me to skip workouts than it is to work out, because I start feeling bad. Or not feeling bad, but feeling like, ooh. It’s like losing money. It’s like losing net worth. That’s what your losing health is like, you’re losing net worth. And you’re like feeling on top of the world, and then you’re like, “Oh, I’m starting to lose it. I got to go back to work to keep my net worth of health as high as possible.’

So that is what I got to say about that. And I would ask you, what part of this resonated with you? What part was the part that really stood out to you? Because there are five harsh truths here, but maybe not all of them resonated with you at the same level. Which one resonated with you the most? And if this episode resonated with you a lot, what I’d love for you to do is to share it with someone who needs to hear this. Is there a person you know, who keeps falling into these traps and they’re not sure why they’re falling into it? Share this episode with someone who needs to hear it. That’s the biggest compliment you can give the show. That’s it for me. Have an amazing week, and I’ll speak to you on Friday.


Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

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