I'm not sure it's much more complex than that. I've lost weight on Slimfast, Atkins, and my "burn 500 calories working out, and cut 500 calories from the diet". All of them dropped weight for me, although only the latter lasted any period of time (and even that has been a bit of a struggle, as I've been back sliding in 2010, although not at anywhere near the rate I have coming off other diets).
Assuming the body fat percentages are accurate, he lost just over 3 pounds of muscle, along with nearly 24 pounds of fat. My current hypothesis is that the reason people regain weight after 'successful' dieting is because some of their weight loss is muscle. This reduces their ability to burn calories, making them more vulnerable to regaining the weight.
I'd like to see a weight loss study where some of the participants use appropriate exercise to increase lean body mass while reducing weight, and then compare weight trends for a substantial period of time after that.
I think most people think of diets as temporary things. They lose some amount of weight, and then go right back to the patterns that they'd established before dieting.
The problem is that those old patterns are broken-- that's how the extra weight showed up in the first place. It seems to me that real weight loss has to come from a fundamental change in the way you eat,coupled with temporary calorie restriction to get rid of the extra. Once the weight is gone, you need to find the eating patterns that allow you to maintain your new weight.
There are some temporary weight gains that come from something other than broken patterns-- those associated with certain drugs, medical conditions, etc. I suspect people who gain weight that way are more likely to keep it off after they lose it.
Of course there are large individual variations in metabolisms, and some people are more predisposed to retaining weight than others.
OK, there's something I don't get. If he lost 24 pounds of fat, and is adherent to the "calorie counting" philosophy, he consumed 24 * 3500 = 84,000 calories less than he burnt off over the course of the experiment. If he did so over ten weeks, that's 1,200 per day. If he targeted consumption of 1,800 calories per day, he's burning up 3,000 per day. This doesn't seem consistent with "moderate physical activity", as claimed. However, it's not that far off.
I dunno. I've dropped 50lbs in 7 months / 70lbs in a 2-year span through HUGE changes what I shove into my mouth and of course countless hours in the gym. I haven't counted calories too well but I have significantly reduced my carb intake eliminating bread and sugar to the point I only eat it once a week. Sure anyone can lose weight if they reduce their calorie intake, but since I now lift weights and do extensive strength training my physical appearance / body composition in terms of the weight loss this time around is COMPLETELY different.
I can't imagine stopping the physical activity once I reach my target weight, but at this point the modifications I have done to my way of eating has affected me to the point I will never go back to eating how I was earlier this year.
I do agree with you 200% that there large individual variations in metabolisms and given my family's history of women on my Mother's side that were pretty much all overweight/obese it's a given I have inherited some of those genes.
Agreed it is not the same effort for everyone, just as being a great athlete comes easier to some than others. But the basic equations of gain or loss remain. Serious congratulations on your progress. If it was easy everyone would do it. Your pic looks great, looking fit.