I have subscriptions to Fitness and Shape magazines and after reading several articles, the consensus seems to be that weight loss is as simple as, for every 3500 more calories burned than calories consumed, you will lose a pound of fat. This sounded kind of dubious to me. How accurately can you really measure calories burned by a person? And aren't there other factors, like a genetic pre-disposition to being a certain weight? Does resting metabolic rate vary a lot between people? Does the amount burned for a certain activity vary a lot between people even if they're the same height, sex and weight? Etc, etc.
Anyway, my skepticism is partly why I've never really committed to any kind of weight loss program. So I decided to eat and exercise amounts that should equate to losing two pounds in one week. (Two pounds because there are normal variations in weight that can be attributed to water weight, so a larger number would make the water effect less significant. No higher than that because two pounds/week is the max recommended safe weight loss rate)
One thing that surprised me was that I didn't feel hungry at any point during the week. I stayed above the 1200 calorie/day guideline for minimum consumption rate (lower than that is supposedly unhealthy), and exercised to get to the 1000 calorie defiict. I went with smaller portions of stuff but pretty much ate the same things I'd already been eating. And I had ice cream almost every night! :P
I did feel tired, but that was because I was sleep deprived, not because of the exercise, which was an hour on the elliptical trainer at an easy rate. I basically spent an hour reading magazines every day.
So that was actually pretty comfortable, but I'm not going to keep going at the same rate. I don't want to go to the gym every day, and I like to eat out. :) And also with my calorie intake that low, I was getting less vitamins and minerals, which I tried to counteract by taking a multi-vitamin, but I think it's better to get vitamins and minerals from food. *shrugs*
Anyway, I'm going to aim for a one pound loss per week, which would only involve hitting the gym three times a week, and upping my food intake by 200 calories per day or so--more if I'm more active.
An interesting side effect of the experiment was that because it was an experiment and I wanted to make sure the results were as accurate *snicker* as possible, I made sure to hit the gym every day without fail. Even when I would have normally thought it was too late to go and put it off to the next day, or if I was too sleep deprived. Simple thing: there was a goal, so that motivated me to stick with it.
Obviously, I don't claim this to be scientific proof or anything, just that my weight loss was consistent with what was expected for my calorie consumption/burn for the week. I'll see whether the one pound per week rate also works.
I took really