Losing 3500 Calories Does Not Equal 1 Pound

food pyramid

Just like one calorie does not equal another calorie, losing 3,500 calories does not equal to losing a pound.

A calorie of broccoli is not the same as a calorie of potato chips. The calorie of broccoli is more nutritious; it has more vitamins and minerals and nutrients than the calorie of potato chips.

You can survive longer on broccoli than you can on potato chips.

It used to be thought that in order to lose a pound of fat, all you had to do was to cut out 3,500 calories from your diet. Conventional wisdom was that if you cut back 500 calories per day for 1 week you would lose a pound.

Turns out that is an extreme simplification of weight loss.

Medical researcher Max Wishnofsky originally measured that 3,500 calories equals a pound of fat; back in the 1950’s.

From this number it has been deduced by many nutritionists that if you were to cut out 3,500 calories from your diet, you would lose a pound of fat.

Unfortunately it wasn’t taken into account that when you lose weight, you don’t lose just fat. You lose weight from water retention. You also can lose weight from other tissues such as muscle.

Actually, most of the time when people start working out, they usually don’t lose weight or can even put on a pound or 2. But their clothes fit differently. This is because it muscle weighs more than fat does. If you lose fat but put on muscle, the extra weight from the muscle can make it seem like you’re not losing any weight.

Fact is, it doesn’t matter that it’s heavier. You are much better off having more muscle than fat, obviously.

I digress though. The main reason why losing 3,500 calories does not equate to losing a pound of fat, is that as you lose weight, your body compensates metabolically, hormonally, and neurologically. This results in making it harder to keep the weight off.

According to Kevin Hall, a researcher at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the number of calories our body use during the day (our resting metabolic rate) falls soon after we start cutting calories, according to CNN.

“It literally starts happening on the first day, and it continues to mount as you lose weight”, Hall said.

Another researcher from the Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, John Peters, echoed Hall’s sentiment.

“Over time, the more weight you lose, the more your metabolic rate drops,” said Peters. “In order to keep losing weight at the rate you started losing weight, you’re going to have to eat even fewer calories. A month in, you might have to eat another hundred fewer; a month after that you might have to drop it another hundred.”

Unfortunately, this common misconception leads many people to believe that it is easier to lose weight than what it actually is. This can lead the failed dieter to feel depressed and bad about themselves. This is because the dieter will work extremely hard at cutting calories and dieting, and not see any results. This can make someone feel like a failure or a loser.

This is just part of the reason why I don’t like the term “diet” or “dieting”. How you eat should be sustainable, and easy to stick with. If you “diet” right, then you will not feel deprived, and you will be able to eat that way for the rest of your life.

Your “diet” should be a lifestyle choice, meaning it should be just how you eat regularly. Not a special way of eating that you are going to abandon after you reach some unattainable or unrealistic weight loss goal. You want to be able to eat healthy, but in a sustainable way, for the rest of your life.

What is sustainable? That is a personal question. For me, I sustain a mostly plant based view on eating. This means that I mostly eat plant based foods (fruits, vegetables, beans, etc). On the weekends or special occasions I will eat fish and or cheese.

That is sustainable for me. But I worked up to eating that way. You can’t go from eating all junk food and processed and fast foods to eating only fruits and vegetables. You would only be setting yourself up for failure. You have to ease your way into eating healthy.

I designed the eating program of Pain Free Lifestyle to be easy to follow, and easy to fit into your lifestyle. It is designed to slowly take you from eating unhealthy to eating healthy. It slowly eliminates the bad foods. But it does not totally get rid of them. You can still eat the foods that you love, but you just can’t eat them every day.

Pain Free Lifestyle also incorporates easy on your body exercises that you can do from home with little equipment.

Pain Free Lifestyle is not a get thin quick scheme. It slowly takes you from being out of shape, in pain, and eating badly, to eating healthy and exercising.

Pain Free Lifestyle does not focus on getting 6 packs. It focuses on getting you moving in a way that is easy on your body, not painful, and easy to sustain. It also focuses on getting you to eat more healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oils, and nuts; while reducing the processed and fast foods in your diet.

Because in the end, it doesn’t matter how skinny you are, or how ripped you are. It matters how you feel, and how long you can live while feeling good.

Don’t eat less, it doesn’t work. Eat smarter, exercise intelligently. This is the Pain Free Way.



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