What does losing 20 pounds mean to the average person?
To lose 20 pounds is more difficult than it sounds. It means one must solve a complicated, 70,000-calorie math problem.
Where does the figure of 70,000 calories come from?
Well, for every pound of fat that we would like to lose, science tells us that we must burn 3,500 calories. From there it’s simple mathematics: 20 pounds multiplied by 3,500 calories equals 70,000 calories. So now we know why that thirty-minute walk on the treadmill, which only burned 250 calories, didn’t seem to produce the results we were looking for!
SO LET’S DO THE MATH: Ideal range for optimal, long term weight-loss: 1-2 lbs per week Caloric value of 1 pound of fat: 3,500 calories
Weight-loss of 1 pound per week equals: 3,500-calorie deficit per week -or- 500-calorie deficit per day!
NOTE: This deficit can be achieved through exercise & diet!
The National Weight Control Registry found that 89% of people who lost 30 or more pounds and kept it off for at least one year accomplished their goals through a combination of diet and exercise. Only 10% succeeded using diet alone, and only 1% succeeded using exercise alone.
Now, not knowing that a single burrito can have 2500-3000 calories explains why many fight a never-ending battle of the bulge. The margin for error is too small and the math is stacked against us.
One meal can literally set you back an entire week!
Weight loss can be thought of as a delicate balancing act between the calories that you consume (calories in) and the calories that your body burns (calories out).
Calories consumed from the foods that you eat account for one-half of the equation. The amount that your body burns at rest, combined with your daily activities and your exercise program account for the other half.
Until recently, fitness professionals had to make a few estimations as to what was actually going on within your body to make this balance out.
The number of calories the body burns at rest (Resting Metabolic Rate) The number of calories the body burns during exercise. The energy source (fat or carbs) predominantly used at rest. The energy source used while exercising at any given intensity.
For example, the best equation used for predicting RMR is off 70% of the time, and the results can vary by as much as 20%!
What does this mean for the person looking to lose 20-pounds?
Example: If their predicted* (calculated) daily intake is 2000 calories per day, 20% error equates to an additional 400 calories per day.
In just one week, the addition of 400 calories per day adds up to a total of 2,800 calories!
*The Harris-Benedict equation, noted as the industry standard, has a margin for error of +/- 15-20% in prediction (calculate) of daily intake
Remember, one pound of fat is equal to approximately 3,500 calories.
THE BOTTOM-LINE: If RMR is off as little as 20%, one could anticipate weight gain of approximately 1 pound per week, 3.5 pounds per month, or 42 pounds per year!
Again, we have a wide margin of error, so you can see how attaining that target deficit of 500 calories per day can be next to impossible.
Fortunately, we now have the tools to help you reach your weight-loss goal with amazing precision.
Many major health clubs now offer accurate means to test your metabolism. With the proper testing you get two very important questions answered:
1. How many calories a day should I eat to achieve my weight loss goal?
2. How hard and how long should I exercise to achieve my weight loss goal?
With this information you will be armed with an accurate plan to achieve your weight loss goals. No more guesswork.