Revive Healthy Nutritional and Social Health Ministry of Virginia

Research and Education



The Dark Side of Fat Loss: Author, Sean Croxton - Posted by Dana L. Horne, EdS

Posted on May 19, 2015 at 6:05 PM

The Dark Side of Fat Loss 

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From: Sean Croxton

Author, The Dark Side of Fat Loss


Dear Friend,


Let’s solve this once and for all right now.


If you’re anything like my clients, at some time or another, you’ve wondered to yourself, “Why don’t diets work?”.


Maybe you’ve seen it in your friends – they will try the latest diet craze – low carb, low fat, low calorie, whatever it may be – and it seems like no matter what they do, as soon as they finish the diet they gain all of their weight back?



SOURCE: Sturm, R., J. Ringel, and T. Andreyeva, “Increasing Obesity Rates and Disability Trends,” Health Affairs, Vol. 23, No. 2, March/April 2004, pp. 1–7

Or worse, end up heavier than when they started?


Why is this?


I mean, it’s well documented in government literature what the best guidelines for healthy eating and living are…it’s not like people don’t know what to eat and how to live to be healthy…right?


And yet, more people than ever before in human history are obese, and not only that, the GROWTH rate for obesity is continuing to increase. So not only are we getting fatter, but the RATE at which we are getting fatter is increasing as well.


It seems to me like the current “mainstream” nutritional and health guidelines are…well, misguided. I mean, if they were correct, wouldn’t we all be a healthy, happy population? Wouldn’t this obesity epidemic not even exist?


Albert Einstein (a very smart man, I might add) once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.


And yet here we are, doing exactly just that – following guidelines that continue to only produce an unhealthy, obese population, expecting them to provide us with a different result.


When it comes to fat loss and healthcare, I’d say we’re downright certifiable.


How many calories do we count (with no results?)


How many miles do we run (only to find ourselves exhausted and in physical pain, rather than with less of a gut?)


How many “burn fat in just 5 minutes a day” infomercials can we watch? How many fat loss pills, gimmicks, and gizmos can we buy?


It’s madness. And it’s time for it to end.


If I were a cynic, I would just chalk up our losing obesity battle as a hopeless state of affairs and move on with my life. Fortunately, I’m not a cynic. Instead of just accepting things as they are, that fat loss is just a matter of counting calories, hours and hours of cardio, and eating whole grains, I spent the last 10 years learning the real truth about fat loss. I’ve worked with over 750 clients, read over 600 books, research papers and scientific journals, and spent over 10,000 hours working, learning, and researching how to become as healthy as possible, in the trenches.


And I’ve discovered that the majority of weight loss information that is out there isn’t just making you fat – it’s KILLING you.


And I’d like to share all of my learnings with you – but only if you agree to one condition.


You need to forget everything that you think you know about diet, health, fitness, and fat loss and have an open mind to what you are about to read.


Because if you’re attached to the idea that fat loss is simply a matter of calories in vs. calories out, or that saturated fat is going to give you a heart attack, then you may be surprised by what I have to say.


If you’re skeptical, I understand. I was too when I first started my research into true health. I walked across the stage at my University graduation thinking that I knew everything there was to know about fitness, nutrition, and health. Of course – I didn’t know anything. I was just a representative of the processed food industry. If you wanted my diet and nutrition recommendations, I’d just point you to the USDA’s website to get you familiar with their food guide pyramid. I’d tell you that eating according to that guide would take you on the path to better health.


Boy was I wrong.


And, as horrendous as my dietary recommendations were, my approach to personal training may have been worse. I promised to give my clients speedy fat loss, and instead gave them, well, cardio. Each week, clients were commanded to come in and burn as many as 7,000 calories on their cardio machine of choice.


Not only was all of that cardio brutal and inhumane, it was just plain stupid and a remarkable waste of time. It simply didn’t work. After all the treadmill mileage and prolonged semi starvation, my clients weight seldom budged. Sometimes their weight even went up. But that was because they put on muscle, right? (wink, wink!) and when the scale moved in the right direction, the results never lasted for more than a few months. The pounds ALWAYS came back, and then some.


Like a typical trainer, I got on the defensive. They must have cheated on their diets. Whatever was going on here had nothing to do with my ingenious scientifically proven program. Calories in, calories out. It’s the law of thermodynamics! How hard could it be? Instead of questioning it, I would just increase their workout intensity and length.


Except that didn’t work either.


Along with all of that, I had plenty of health issues myself. I was an exhausted, depressed, anxious individual who never left the house. I had digestive issues and my temper was out of control. I was supposed to be this healthy personal trainer, and yet my mood got so bad that I had to turn to prescription antidepressants.


I was a FRAUD.


Apparently, my brilliant, “scientifically proven” health program wasn’t working for me either. I found zero satisfaction in knowing that I spent tens of thousands of dollars and six years on a university education – studying health so I could be sick and get paid to make people fatter.


This couldn’t be how health worked. This wasn’t even supposed to be how LIFE worked. Human’s aren’t supposed to be doomed to obesity, depression, anxiety, and temper issues, right? there were tons of healthy, fit people out there — what was I doing wrong to myself? And even more importantly, what was I doing wrong to my clients?


So I hit the books. And after a ton of research, I stumbled across the truth – why most common fat loss strategies DON’T WORK. The real issue behind it all…




The Problem: Calories In – Calories Out DOESN’T WORK.


You see, as I did my research, I quickly realized how silly the concept of “Calories in, Calories Out” was. It simply does not work.


Basically, Calories in, Calories Out is the claim that if you simply take in less calories than you expend for energy, you will lose weight over time. It’s based on a law of physics called the Law Of Thermodynamics.


But let’s set aside the physics for a second and consider common sense in REAL LIFE. How many people do you know that have cut their calories while exercising more and been able to lose fat long term?


And by long term — I don’t mean 2 weeks. I mean after 6 months, were they able to keep the weight off?


Probably not.


And it doesn’t just stop with your friend. When I was a newbie personal trainer, my “calories in, calories out” based workouts and diet plans didn’t work either.


Clients would start with me, ready to take their fat loss to the next level — and things would go well for about a week or two. Then they would hit a wall. I would try to help them push through that wall by having them do unending cardio sessions and eating less calories — but inevitably, they would burn themselves out.


I mean, imagine how you would feel eating only 1,000 calories and doing 2 hours of cardio every day!


Eventually, my clients would end up right back where they started, or even worse, put on a few pounds.


Remember what Einstein said?


It’s time for something new. We need a new fat loss paradigm.



The Truth: Fat Loss is NOT a Math Problem


You see, this calories in, calories out concept tries to simplify fat loss into a math problem. This “math problem” implies that someone who knows basic math and has a little willpower can peel their fat off like an extra layer of clothing simply by eating less and moving more.


Now, I make my living simplifying complex health topics for my audience. It’s what I do. But to take fat loss and simplify it down to just “Calories in, Calories Out” is like saying “The Sun is just a big ball of fire.”


It’s a little bit more complicated than that.


But if that isn’t enough to convince you, let me tell you my personal story with calories in, calories out.


Try this on for size.


When I graduated from college 10 years ago, I weighed 171 pounds. Pretty solid.


Now, I don’t make it a habit to use the scale, but on a whim I saw today that my body weight is still 171 pounds.


According to the calories in, calories out proponents, in order to keep my weight the same over the last 10 years, I would have had to eat EXACTLY the same amount of calories as I was expending for energy.


For 10 years. That means if I had even just TEN calories over my limit per day then I would have 10.4 extra pounds of fat on my body right now. And my credibility would be shattered.


To clarify what 10 calories actually IS – it’s 1.5 almonds.


So if I just had 1 and a half almonds more than I was supposed to, I’d be 10.4 pounds fatter right now.


And yet, here I am, standing before you at only 171 pounds.


Am I the only one who finds this incredible?


If this isn’t enough to prove that calories in, calories out doesn’t work, then I don’t know what is.


The fact is, when you restrict your calories to try to balance the calories in, calories out equation, all you get is ravenous hunger and a slower metabolism.


Let me give you a real life example. When your vehicle is running low on fuel, you act accordingly. You might take it easier on the gas pedal, you coast down hills, and you keep your eyes peeled for the nearest gas station. You do this to conserve gas so that you’re not stuck on the side of the road with your thumb out begging for a ride.


When your body is low in fuel, it does the same thing that you do to your car. When less calories are coming in because you’re dieting, your body sees no reason to keep firing on all cylinders. Like you, it acts accordingly by slowing things down – it will tell your thyroid gland to slow down your metabolism (not what you want when you’re trying to lose fat!).


This is why your friend who is only eating 900 calories a day can’t lose a pound. Her metabolism has made the proper survival driven adjustments, slowing so considerably from such prolonged energy deprivation, that anything beyond her rice cakes and hour long cardio sessions will make her weight balloon right back up. And when she does break and find herself at a buffet gorging herself, she’ll pack the pounds back on faster than ever before.


And that’s before we even bring nutrients into the picture. If you start to eat half as much food, you get half as much nutrients. When you get half as much nutrients, your body goes haywire. Your hormones get out of whack, you can’t sleep at night, you have no libido, you get depressed, and you can’t think properly. Your brain NEEDS nutrients to survive – and when you deprive it of them, you’re in trouble.


So, how do we quit this insanity and get real results? How do we lose fat PERMANENTLY? The answer is actually quite simple…


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