Weight-Loss in a Nutshell

- POSTED ON: May 04, 2012

Our bodies are not Bank Accounts.
Although using financial metaphors often helps describe the dieting process, we don't get immediate feedback for calories eaten or not eaten, except from the immediate and temporary water-waste-gain-or-loss equation which is due to an excessive change in our salt intake, or our food volume.

Each of our bodies assimilates what we eat, whether it is food or a food-like substance. It uses or stores what it can, and discards, or tries to discard, what it can't.

This is a process, and it takes time. The process is complicated, involving enzymes and hormones, some of which haven't even yet been discovered. Although the process is similar for all humans, there are genetic differences between people, and this affects the way that individual bodies function.

That said, here is weight loss in a nutshell:

Eat less.

Find a calorie range for you that you can eat daily that

1.) Does not make you want to die, and

2.) Allows for a reasonable energy deficit
(meaning, you will consume moderately less than you are burning just by living and exercising).

You can start by finding out how much an "average" body like yours burns in its normal everyday state without effort. Just google: BMR and punch in your stats to get this number.  HOWEVER, this number is ONLY an estimate, and due to your own personal genetic equation, your body could easily burn far less.

Work to eat 250 calories less than that number per day.  Eating 250 calories less than your body burns every day will lead to a one-half pound per week weight loss (meaning stored fat loss)… but for most people…the scale will not reflect this loss accurately on a day-to-day basis.. and sometimes..not even on a week-to-week basis.

Move more.

Which essentially means: move more.  By move I mean move, in any way your body likes.  And by more, I mean more, as in - more than you currently do.

If you try to burn an additional 250 calories through exercise each day,  you could lose an additional one-half pound weekly.  HOWEVER, extra exercise makes the body more hungry and more tired. So if you eat a little extra because you exercised, or you spend more time resting during the rest of the day because you exercised, then exercise will be ineffective for weight-loss which is due to a release of stored fat.

Theoretically, a 500 calorie deficit will lead to 1 pound of weight loss from fat storage over a one week period. This is based on the general rule used by science: 1 lb = 3500 calories, so 7 days of burning 500 calories less than your calorie intake creates 1 lb of stored fat loss.

But CAUTION. This is a "general" rule, and the calculation is far more complicated than it appears.

Even when we weigh and measure our food, and track it in a computer program, it is impossible to calculate with precision the exact amount of calories our individual body eats,
and even far less possible to precisely calculate the exact amount of calories that our individual body burns in exercise.. even when using computer exercise trackers such as a "Body Bug" etc.

Tracking food and exercise is valuable, but that information will never be precise, or totally accurate.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On May 05, 2012 kimberchick wrote:
As usual, I couldn't agree with you more about the impossiblity of being 100% accurate when it comes to knowing how many calories you've eaten or burned :-) And indeed every body is different so of course every "rule" is really "under normal circumstances" ... and some people just don't have a normal BMR :-o After so many years of eating frozen diet entrees ... and lots of pizza and fast food because that's what my DH likes ... I'm finding it just as difficult to lower my sodium intake as it is to control what and when I eat :-( I am not, however, one to quit and so I will soldier on until the (joyous) day when I realize that I have, miracle of miracles, stayed within my calorie and sodium budget for (gasp!) a whole week :-) which I will then strive to turn into 2 weeks lol

On May 05, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Kimberchick, Congratulations on your successful week. ♠

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