What does losing 20 pounds mean to the average person?
Losing 20 pounds is harder than it seems. It means that one must solve a complicated mathematical problem of 70,000 calories.
Where does the 70,000 calorie figure come from?
Well, for every pound of fat we’d like to lose, science tells us we should burn 3,500 calories. From there, it’s simple math: 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 pounds per week Calorie value of 1 pound of fat: 3500 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 and diet!
The National Weight Control Registry found that 89% of people who lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off for at least a year achieved their goals through a combination of diet and exercise. Only 10% were successful using diet alone, and only 1% were successful using exercise alone.
Now, not knowing that a single burrito can have 2,500 to 3,000 calories explains why many fight a never-ending battle against being overweight. The margin of error is too small and the math is 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 you consume (calories in) and the calories your body burns (calories out).
Calories consumed from the foods you eat represent half of the equation. The amount your body burns at rest, combined with your daily activities and exercise program, accounts for the other half.
Until recently, fitness professionals had to make some guesses as to what was actually going on inside your body to achieve this balance.
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 carbohydrate) used efficiently at rest. The energy source used during exercise at any given intensity.
For example, the best equation used to predict RMR is wrong 70% of the time, and the results can vary by up to 20%!
What does this mean for the person looking to lose 20 pounds?
Example: If your predicted* (calculated) daily intake is 2,000 calories per day, 20% error equals 400 extra calories per day.
In just one week, adding 400 calories per day adds up to a total of 2,800 calories!
*The Harris-Benedict equation, known as the industry standard, has a +/- 15-20% margin of error in predicting (calculating) daily intake
Remember, one pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories.
IN CONCLUSION: If the RMR is reduced by just 20%, one could expect to gain 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 achieving 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 of testing your metabolism. With the right tests, you get two very important questions answered:
1. How many calories should I eat a day to reach my weight loss goal?
2. How hard and for how long should I exercise to reach my weight loss goal?
With this information, you will be armed with a precise plan to achieve your weight loss goals. No more guesswork.