The Law of Averages in Fat Loss

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The success of our weight loss effort is measured by an average across time, and not by day-to-day.

This means that we should look at weight-loss trend across several days, or even across weeks.

There are too many physiological dynamics occurring constantly in the body — hormonal fluctuation, variable salt intake, electrolyte imbalances, and water mobility. (Even stress can trigger excess cortisol, which causes water retention.)

Fat loss is just one of the many variables in a complex equation. What’s going on with the other variables — like water retention — can mask fat loss, making it appear that the diet you’re on is failing.

If you’re eating whole, real food while avoiding processed foods, and you’re eating less than before through intermittent fasting, then your body will eventually metabolize stored fat.

When the other variables “align” just right, the fat loss will then be very apparent.

In other words, keep pressing forward.

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6 Responses to The Law of Averages in Fat Loss

  1. Jake says:

    I am eating paleo and trying to loose fat. The measurements around my belly can vary as much as an inch from day to day. What is going on?

    • Johnny says:

      If it is varying an inch from day to day, then it is most likely water fluctuation, or even the varying content in your stomach. Are you measuring your waist at the same time of day every time, and for over a period of weeks and taking note of the long-term trend?

  2. Jake says:

    I take my measurements every Sunday. But when I go up an inch, I take my measurements the next day and I normally I loose that inch.

    I use Fitday to record my measurements. I have lost 5 inches on my belly in the past year.

    • Johnny says:

      5 inches in one year? That’s impressive!

      • Tommy says:

        Just a quick question, I started to eat paleo 6 months ago, and will stay it forever. I plan to do my first natural bodybuilding contest in 5 months, I think I got my diet in check (paleo anf if), but do you have some suggestions for weight training and “cardio”, I mean how would you to do it (I got time tio train only about 3 times a week with weights) ?
        thanks if you had time to answer


      • Johnny says:


        Here’s a start, should you decide to give it a try. You do not have to do it exactly as written, but it works well for someone’s first experience training for a bodybuilding competition while using Paleo and IF.


        Try to exercise toward the end of your fasting.

        Do split: Alternate legs + arms + abs one day, then upper body the next.

        Make sure to include squats, deadlift, and pull-ups.

        But make sure to target all muscles you want to make bigger (you need direct stimulus and mechanical loading, contrary to popular belief that the “big lifts” will make all body parts big).

        Mix it up:
        Go heavy for 1 to 5 reps.
        Go medium for 6 to 8 reps.
        Go light for 9 to 15 reps or more.

        Change your exercises every 4 to 6 weeks to introduce new stimulus.

        For now, “cardio” should be mostly long walks or “lazy” cycling — to increase cellular metabolism and mitochondrial activity. Your fat loss should mostly be through diet.

        As you get closer to competition (2 weeks), start lowering salt intake. Check your water retention (fat-loss edema), which can often “hide” your fat loss progress. Eliminate salt completely about 1 or 2 days out.

        If you want, give it a try as written, or modify it, or keep searching. Almost any exercise routine will work, as long as you keep to the simple principles of making the muscle stronger, and fatiguing the muscle. And lift with intensity.

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