Nutrition

How to Lose 20 Lbs – The 70,000 Calorie Math Problem

What does it mean to lose 20 pounds for the average person?

Losing 20 pounds is harder than it looks. This means solving a complicated 70,000 calorie math problem.

Where does the figure of 70,000 calories come from?

Well, for every pound of fat we would like to lose, science tells us we need to burn 3,500 calories. From there, it’s simple: 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: 0.5 to 0.9 kg per week. Caloric value of 0.5 kg of fat: 3,500 calories.

Weight loss of 1 pound per week equals: a deficit of 3,500 calories per week -or- a deficit of 500 calories 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 is why many are fighting a never-ending battle with bulges. The margin of error is too small and the calculations are against us.

One meal can literally cost you an entire week!

Weight loss can be thought of as a delicate balance between the calories you consume (calories in) and the calories your body burns (calories out).

The calories consumed by the foods you eat are half of the equation. The amount your body burns at rest, combined with your daily activities and exercise routine, accounts for the other half.

Until recently, fitness professionals had to make some estimations of what was actually going on in your body to establish this balance.

Estimates included:

The number of calories the body burns at rest (resting metabolic rate) The number of calories the body burns during exercise. The source of energy (fats or carbohydrates) mainly used at rest. The source of energy used during exercise at a given intensity.

For instance, the best equation used to predict RMR is wrong 70% of the time, and results can vary by up to 20%!

What does this mean for the person looking to lose 20 pounds?

Example: If their predicted daily intake* (calculated) is 2,000 calories per day, a 20% error equals an additional 400 calories per day.

In just one week, adding 400 calories a day totals 2,800 calories!

* The Harris-Benedict equation, considered the industry standard, has a margin of error of +/- 15-20% in predicting (calculating) daily intake

Remember that one pound of fat equals approximately 3,500 calories.

SUMMARY: If the RMR is only 20%, one can expect a weight gain of around 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 hitting that target deficit of 500 calories a day can be nearly impossible.

Luckily, we now have the tools to help you achieve your weight loss goal with astonishing precision.

Many major health clubs now offer specific ways to test your metabolism. With the proper tests, you get answers to two very important questions:

1. How many calories should I eat per day to reach my weight loss goal?

2. What intensity and how long should I do to reach my weight loss goal?

With this information, you will be armed with a definite plan to achieve your weight loss goals. No more guesswork.

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