What does it mean to lose 20 pounds for the average person?
Losing 20 pounds is harder than it sounds. It means that one must solve a complicated 70,000 calorie math problem.
Where does the 70,000 calorie figure come from?
Well, for every pound of fat we’d like to lose, science tells us that 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 Long-Term Optimal Weight Loss: 1-2 Pounds Per Week Caloric Value of 1 Pound of Fat: 3,500 Calories
A weight loss of 1 pound per week equates to: 3,500 calorie deficit per week or 500 calorie deficit per day.
NOTE: This deficit can be achieved with exercise and diet!
The National Weight Management Registry found that 89% of people who lost 30 pounds or more and kept them off for at least a year achieved their goals through a combination of diet and exercise. Only 10% were successful with diet alone and only 1% were successful with exercise alone.
Now, not knowing that a single burrito can have 2,500-3,000 calories explains why many fight a never-ending battle against the bulge. 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 eat (calories you go in) and the calories your body burns (calories you go out).
The calories consumed from the food 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 estimates about what was actually going on inside your body to balance this balance.
The 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 (fat or carbohydrates) is used predominantly at rest. The source of energy used during exercise at a given intensity.
For example, The best equation used to predict RMR is off 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 your predicted daily intake * (calculated) is 2,000 calories per day, the 20% error equals an additional 400 calories per day.
In just one week, adding 400 calories per day adds up to 2,800 calories!
* The Harris-Benedict equation, noted as the industry standard, has a margin of error of +/- 15-20% in predicting (calculating) daily intake.
Remember, one pound of fat equals approximately 3,500 calories.
IN BRIEF: If RMR is down by just 20%, one could anticipate a weight gain of about 1 pound per week, 3.5 pounds per month, or 42 pounds per year!
Again, we have a wide margin for error, so you can see how reaching 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 astonishing precision.
Many major health clubs now offer accurate means of assessing your metabolism. With the right tests, you will get answers to two very important questions:
1. How many calories should I eat per day to achieve my weight loss goal?
2. How hard and how long do I need to exercise to achieve my weight loss goal?
With this information, you will be armed with a precise plan to achieve your weight loss goals. No more guesswork.