Saturday, April 7, 2012

Calories in versus calories out …

The old adage is that weight loss always comes down to this formula. If you eat more than you burn, you put on weight. If you eat less, then you lose weight. Easy peasy …

Of course, there are many considerations when you change your life style and lower your intake (regardless of the choice from low carb, low fat, vegetarian, vegan, etc) some of which include:

  • increasing protein intake to protect muscle tissue from too much loss
  • increasing supplement intake to compensate for much lower nutrition intake
  • increasing exercise to help boost energy and metabolism
  • ensuring that calorie count is not too low in order to ensure that your body does not enter starvation mode, where every ounce of extra weight is under a virtual lock and key

But … in the end, the issue is always about calorie deficit. And since 3500 calories equals one pound, it is rather easy to calculate how much weight one should lose each week given an averaging of the input versus the output.

Modern support web sites for fitness and weight management provide excellent logging and analysis services that take the complexity out of this equation. Still, I’ve never really felt that it was possible to accurately predict actual weight loss.

Until, that is, I went to a low carb low sodium (mostly) life style. The averages are now working out shockingly close to the observed changes. And here is what I mean. The averages for input and output over the last month and a bit are:


Now, a net difference of –1357 calories per day adds up to an average difference per week of:


Yup … I should be averaging 2.7 pounds lost per week. So what is the real number?


2.8 …. that seems rather close. In a graph:


So it took a while to stabilize this new lifestyle. But I am stable at 2.8 pounds lost per week. Which I know is too fast, but I am never hungry enough to eat enough to slow it down … and of course I hate to jinx what is obviously working :-)

Anyway … for those who have pondered a change like this … there is no time like the present. But do make the commitment to use these web sites to track what you are doing, else you will get lost in a sea of hidden cheats that will ruin your progress …