Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why You Can't Lose 30 Pounds in 30 days

I'm constantly amazed by the ads promising that you'll lose a pound or more a day. It's simply impossible. Let me explain.

If I want to lose one pound of actual fat I have to somehow burn off approximately 3,600 calories extra calories. In other words, using a combination of exercise and caloric consumption reduction, I have to burn off an additional 3,600 more than I need to simply maintain my weight.

Using the calculator found here: when I plug in the information regarding height, age etc., I can only consume approximately 1787 calories to maintain my current weight. So, if you think about it, to lose one pound in one day, I not only couldn't eat anything for the entire day, I'd have to exercise enough to burn off an additional 1,813 calories.

According to my caloric meter on my treadmill (which is probably inaccurate), when I walk at 3.3 miles an hour at a 7.5 incline I burn 425 calories in an hour. So to burn 1,813 calories I'd have to walk for 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Get it??? To lose a pound a day I couldn't eat anything and I'd have to work out (at a somewhat intense pace) for 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Alternatively, I could eat my 1,787 calories and just walk on the treadmill for 8 hours and 40 minutes to burn the additional 3,600.

Let me tell you up front, there's no way in hell I could ever not eat for 30 days and walk 4 hours and 15 minutes a day. Conversely, there's no way I could spend 8 hours and 40 minutes a day on the treadmill.

And no, no miracle pill or combination of foods is going to make you drop that pound a day.

What is realistic is planning on losing 2 to 3 pounds a week if you seriously commit exercising daily and cutting back on your calories. To lose two pounds a week you have to use some combination of caloric reduction/exercise to reduce your caloric intake below what you need to maintain your weight by 515 calories a day.

So for me to lose two pounds in a week, I would have to walk on the treadmill at 3.3. miles an hour at a 7.5 incline for an hour to burn 425 calories an hour every day. In addition, I'd have to hold my daily caloric consumption down to 1,697 calories.

That's a program I can stick with.

You won't lose 30 pounds in a month this way--but that was a fantasy in any event. If you stick with the program, however, you might lose 8 pounds in a month and 30 pounds over the course of three to four months.

And, remember, as I wrote here:, the more weight you lose, the fewer calories you can consume to maintain that new weight--so you have to cut back on calories even more to continue weight loss.

1 comment:

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