Weight is lost by a net loss over gain of fat, water, muscle or bone. Let that soak in a moment. Most people only think of weight loss as “fat” loss. That’s just not true.
Let’s consider a few facts. A pound of fat when burned equals 3,500 calories. In order to lose a pound of fat, you generally have to use 3,500 calories more than you consumed.
Most health professionals and athletic coaches agree that 2 pounds a week is safe weight loss. That would mean you burned 7,000 calories (3,500 x 2) more than you consumed in a week.
There are three categories of calorie consumption; resting energy expenditure*, normal daily activity and exercise. If your weekly total of these three were like mine you’d burn the following:
Resting energy expenditure 2,100
Normal daily activity 420
Exercise (2 hours aerobic) 1,600
Total daily calories burned 4,120
Times days per week x 7
Weekly calories burned 28,840
Less: calories of two pounds (7,000)
Calories to eat in a week 21,840
Divided by 7 days / 7
Equal calories to eat per day 3,120
In order for me to lose 2 pounds of fat in a week under the following example I’d need to eat about 3,120 calories per day. I could still train hard and not feel the effects of not having enough fuel to burn at a 1,000 calorie a day deficit.
The reason I ask women how many dress sizes they would like to lose instead of weight is because they tend to actually build lean muscle during exercise and that offsets the weight loss through fat burning. Let me give you a real life situation. I had a women who wanted to lose 12 pounds. She fixated on that number. I finally got her to tell me that in her mind losing 12 pounds would put her in a dress size 8 from a 10 (i.e., two dress sizes). I then said that what she was after was getting smaller. She finally agreed that the program would be successful if she got two dress sizes smaller.
Over the next thirty days with a lot of activity on her part (volleyball, cycling, hiking, gardening) she easily fit into her size 8 but she actually gained 1 pound. She was shocked to say the least. “What happened?” she asked. I told her that she had probably lost 4-9 pounds of fat and gained 5-10 pounds of muscle. Muscle of the same size is seven times heavier than fat.
Weight loss in the beginning of a program
In my experience most people actually lose more weight in the beginning of a program and generally a lot in the first few days. Why is that? According to Tony O’Donnell PhD the average American has 7-25 pounds of dried fecal matter in their bowels and colon because of their poor processed food diet. By changing to a better more fibrous diet (see my Twelve+One Food Rules), drinking adequate water and movement with exercise much of the dried fecal matter will release and thus the enormous weight loss in the beginning. (I know it’s gross but I felt you had to know.) I once had a man release 17 pounds in his first 4 days (2 shake days followed by 2 cellular cleanse days). He only released 6 more pounds that month for a total of 23 pounds in 30 days. All I heard was his whining in day 5 through 30 because he was expecting the same results he enjoyed in his first 4 days. Don’t be fooled by diet claims of a bunch of weight loss in just a few days. This is the reason; dried fecal matter.