July 19th, 2004


Weight loss experiment

So for the past week from Monday to Sunday, I conducted an experiment of sorts.

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)

So I obsessively meticulously recorded all my physical activity and food intake for a week, making sure that my calorie deficit was about 1000 per day, and at the end of the week, I had lost 2 1/4 pounds, which is almost exactly the expected 2 pounds. (Weight measured at about the same time of day, with comparable hydration).


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