Everyone pretty much knows that one pound of body weight is equivalent
to 3500 calories. So a standard rule of thumb would be in order to lose one pound of weight, one would have to "burn" or use 3500 calories. This would be called a calorie deficit.
We can develop this calorie deficit by decreasing the amount of calories we take in or by a calorie expenditure (exercise of some sort). The best would be limiting our caloric intake and exercising to lose weight.
An example of each:
1) Suppose you need 2000 calories each day in order to maintain your present body weight. To lose one pound per week, you would need to have a deficit of 500 calories per day. Your calorie intake would have to be cut to 1500. Over a 7-day period you would have a negative caloric intake of 3500 calories,
thus losing one pound per week.
2) The same result can be achieved by increasing your physical activity to burn 500 calories per day with the same 2000 calorie intake. At the end of 7 days you would burn 3500 calories and lose one pound.
3) A combination would be with the same 2000 calorie intake. The difference is is that you adjust your calorie intake to 1700 calories per day and burn 200 calories (through exercise of some sort) per day. The ending result is a 3500 calorie deficit at the end of 7 days and you have lost one pound.
When you use a combination of reducing your calorie intake and exercising, you make it easier to sustain and maintain your weight loss.
So: Is "Calorie" a Dirty Word?
A calorie specifically means the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water 4 degrees F. Nutritionally, it refers to the units of heat, or energy the body gets from the food you consume.
Excessive calorie cutbacks cannot do anything but produce a hardship on your body. But, some people feel the prize of weight loss at the end is definitely worth the game.
When a person drastically cuts their calorie intake they may actually see the weight coming off over a period of time. Unfortunately, this cannot be sustained as a healthy way to lose weight. A person can cause themselves some serious internal damage if continued for very long. It is always wise to talk about different ways to lose weight over with your doctor.
After this crash in weight loss happens dieters feel they must return to a some-what normal calorie intake or a regular fuller diet. What generally happens, and we all know this, is that the person who had a very sharp decrease in calories start to stuff themselves and have less control over what they eat than before.
Before they know it, they have come full circle. They have gained back all the weight they lost and maybe more also. Then the search is on for a new way to lose the newly gained weight.
There are, of course, many people who do not get caught up in this type of frenzy dieting. They will cut a sensible amount of calories from their current intake and exercise at the same time. They will know what their best weight is by how they look and feel and then stabilize their calorie intake to maintain.
To recap: Most everyone knows you have to burn 3500 calories to lose one pound of weight. This can be accomplished by lowering the calorie intake alone, working out (exercising) without lowering the calorie intake, or a combination of each.
A combination of each, or not, can help you lose a pound or more per week. Cutting calories too deeply for an extended period of time can be hazardous to your health. Always talk to your doctor about your weight loss program.
Once a weight loss program has been established and you are losing weight by your chosen method, you can stabilize your calorie intake at the end and work to maintain your perfect body weight. Always remember to do this in a healthy way.