We are taught, in school, during health class that 3,500 calories equals one pound. As adults, we use that as a dieting model to lose weight. Burn 3,500 calories, and you will lose a pound of fat. It unfortunately is not that easy. Even if you cut 500 calories a day (everyday of the week) from your meals, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose a pound every week. It is a good guideline to follow to start eating healthier and eating smaller portions however.
Diet and exercise help you to lose lean tissue, water, and fat. So, if you reduce your calories, you may still lose fat, but you may not lose the water and lean tissue, therefor your weight may not change and you won’t be any fitter. This formula also depends on a person’s metabolism. The heavier the person, the more they may lose due to the calorie loss.
The problem with eating less calories is that yes, you will lose weight, however you will also slow your metabolism down, which really hurts if you get off the bandwagon and start to eat normally again. A slow metabolism makes it harder to lose weight.
When you first start losing weight, it is often water weight. This is a good thing. When you eat less calories your body uses glycogen to compensate. Glycogen is a mix of carbohydrates and water. Both will help you to lose weight if they are burned.
Dr. Donald Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic recommends that when trying to lose weight, you will want to start with a small calorie balance per day, 1,200 for women and 1,400 for men. Of course this is different for everyone due to their body type, but this is a start.
To lose weight, reduced calorie intake is one of the best methods. However if you want to keep that weight off, you need to exercise. This also will help you to tone your muscles and keep your energy up through the day.