If you’ve been around the weight loss world as long as I have and tried so many diets you’ve lost count, you likely know the standard weight loss equation.
One pound equals roughly 3,500 calories. In order to lose weight, you need to create a calorie reduction of about 3,500 calories either through a reduction in calories you consume, exercising more to burn additional calories, or a combination of the two.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland are now saying that that standard equation for weight loss may be wrong after all. Why? Because as you lose weight, your metabolism naturally slows down, making it less likely that you would automatically lose 1 pound when cutting out 3,500 calories.
An article on FoxNews indicated that lead researcher Kevin Hall has a new rule of thumb for weight loss.
The new rule says you need to cut 10 calories per day from your diet for every pound you want to lose over a three-year period. So cutting 100 calories per day will lead to a 10-pound weight loss over three years, Hall said. Half of this weight loss would occur over the first year. To lose more weight after the three-year period, you’d have to cut more calories.
I did the math, and under the standard equation, cutting 100 calories from your diet each day would theoretically cause you to lose about one pound a month, or about 10 – 12 pounds a year. Under the newer formula, the researchers are indicating that an 100-calorie reduction would only lead to a 5 pound weight loss the first year, and about 2.5 pounds of weight loss each of the next two years.
Now, I’m not going to argue with a researcher who has much more education than I ever will, but I do question whether this newer rule of thumb will hold up over the long run. Under their assumptions, reducing your calories by 500 per day would not result in losing about 1 pound each week, but instead losing only .5 pounds a week. Instead of losing about 50 pounds in a year as was previously thought, you would only lose about 25 pounds in a year – or half of the weight loss expected under the old way of thinking.
I am the first to say that weight loss is very fluid and changes from month to month even with the same person. I also know that everyone is different in how their body responds to calorie reductions. I wanted to get your opinions about how cutting calories has affected your weight loss.
For me, although I didn’t count calories, I know that I reduced my calories by at least 1,000 a day (Remember I was eating well over 3,000 calories each day before I started losing.) I saw a much more rapid weight loss than this new research said I should have.
How about you? Even if you are not a calorie counter, what has your experience been, or do you think this new formula is more true for you? Diane