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get lean | how many calories are in a pound of fat?


Most of us remember this moment on the Oprah show in 1988.

HA! I was tired when I wrote this post and the first time I did the title I called it…”How much does a pound of fat weigh?”  — Hopefully a pound, dummy!  I changed it to “How many calories are in a pound of fat?” but some of your RSS Feed Readers may not have caught up!!

Most of you probably know this, or at least I thought you did until someone asked me this the other day b/c they were just learning about it. I assume often that what I read about every day, over and over is common knowledge to everyone, but sometimes it’s not. So, if this is redundant….check back later! If not, read on (and comment to let me know I’m not wasting my time!)

There are 3500 calories that make up a pound of fat.  So, in theory, in order to gain or burn a pound  from your body weight you’ll need to add or reduce your daily calories by 3500 total for each pound.  Gaining and losing weight is MUCH more complex than that with other things factoring in such as insulin, metabolism and thyroid for instance. But, some of those things we cannot measure every day but we CAN measure how many calories we eat and burn!

The easiest way to do this is cut out 500 calories from your day, either through exercise or diet or better yet, BOTH! A deficit of 500 calories a day, 7 days a week = 3500 calories!

So, some of you are thinking, great!  I can cut out 100o calories a day and I can lose 2 pounds a week!  It doesn’t work that way, all the time. There is a point where your body decides that you’re working it too hard and it starts to rebel…think plateau or competitors who can’t seem to lose weight anymore.

My advice? Moderate!  Don’t kill yourself. Don’t obsess.  The best way to lose weight is to give it time so you can lose it slowly and keep it off.  Find exercise you enjoy and don’t overdo it. Find somewhere you can cut out some extra calories and do that. Can you cut out your desserts? Can you cut out sodas? Can you start keeping a food diary and pay attention to your calories? Can you stop eating out?  Listen to your body. Your body will guide you.

Jen - I am currently doing ww after gaining a lot of weight during my pregnancy and being unable to take it off my self! I have currently lost 37lbs and I am about 11 lbs away from my goal. I work out every day, I usually walk for an hour in the morning and then try to do some weight type exercises later in the day. It’s been hard for me to be in a plan where I am aware of how much weight I am loosing. LIke you I struggled with an eating disorder in HS. And have had issues with my weight my entire life! But I am inspired by you and enjoy reading your posts. I know that I can reach my goal and keep my self there.

tori - Jen, Great to meet you! I know you can reach your goal and stay there as well! You rock for doing as well as you have so far!! I’d love to see your before and afters. I think it’s easy for us to get obsessed but if you focus on “health” versus “vanity” or “weight” then it’s easier. I try to use a pair of pants as my gage if I find myself getting obsessed over the scale. After all, we only care what we look like and what we fit into not the number on the scale, right?

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