For the general population, losing weight is a numbers game. For some, what this post entails does not apply. This is geared toward the general population that has a little more than a few pounds to lose (over 30).

First and foremost, living healthy is more that losing weight. I need to make sure that this point is established first. This article is to show you the basics of losing weight, however most people get caught up in only losing weight, and not living a healthy life. Living a healthy life starts with being active, eating clean, and just living a content life. However, I know that sometimes, people need more information than that and just can’t get past “losing weight”. So I have decided to try and give some light on the simplicity and science behind losing weight.

When considering weight loss, it truly is a numbers game. Many fitness/health professionals will argue against calories in vs. calories out and I am in the middle of the argument. I don’t think people should worry about calories in and calories out and just eat real food. Eat healthy, stay active. That is health. However, some people can’t get over the “weight” and the “diet” and need to start somewhere. So for that reason, I believe that calories in and calories out is effective for weight loss. So if you are one of the millions of people in the world that are overweight or obese and you need to lose weight, play the numbers game.

1 pound is 3500 calories. If you eat 3500 calories, you gain a pound. If you burn 3500 calories, you will lose a pound (remember this is for the general population I am discuss so fitness “pros” don’t start diggin’ on me). Obviously, if you are reading this, you don’t want to gain weight. You want to lose some weight. Play the numbers game. How much weight do you want to lose? How are you going to do it?

Let’s look at a example. Let’s say that Mr. Smith wants to lose 40 lbs. 40 x 3500 is 140,000 calories. Now, Mr. Smith informs his trainer he wants to do this by losing 5 lbs a week. Well, let’s play the numbers game. 7 x 3500 calories is 24,500 calories a week. Typically, for the general population, a decent jogging pace will burn roughly 280 calories a mile. So basically, to just burn this amount, you will need to run 87.5 miles. In a week. Have fun.

Oh but wait, we have to take into account the diet. Let’s say mr. smith is currently eating an outrageous 4000 calories a day (this is huge, by the way). We cut his calories to a low 1800 calories. Well that is a 2200 swing a day! So over 7 days, that is 15400. Which means only 9100 calories now need to be burned! Which means we only need to run 32.5 miles a week or roughly 4.6 miles a day. Now, remember, Mr. Smith, you are 40 pounds over weight, so how likely is it that you will stick to a strict 1800 calorie diet when you are use to eating 4000. You maybe overly tired and be going through crazy hunger swings. Also, since you have 40 pounds to lose, how likely are you to run 5 miles 7 days a week? Even if you did, you probably are not a avid running and will probably develop shin or knee problems early in your regime.

The key to the numbers game is being realistic. Losing 1-2 lbs a week is normal and healthy. That is 3500-7000 calories a week to cut/burn. That is doable. Look at your normal routine. Start with your diet first. What can you clearly cut out? Snack foods? Desserts? Beer? Most people can hit their calorie deficit just by looking at those aspects. Dropping the burger and adding a fresh salad will throw you over the top. Now think about your schedule. Do you have time to hit cardio during the day? What about a brisk walk in the evening? Work it into your system. Find a way. Do the math. Play the numbers game.

If you want to lose 2 lbs a week, that is 7000 calories. Try to cut 500 calories a day from your diet. If you start reading nutrition labels, you would be surprised on how easy this can be. A regular fast food hamburger is well over 1200 calories. Then try to burn 500 calories a day. This is difficult to do, as this can be some intensive cardio, but try it. Go for a walk/job in the morning and another one in the evening. Take a class at your local gym. Do push ups/sit ups during the commercials of your favorite show instead of fast forwarding tivo.

The biggest thing to take away from this article is to be realistic with your goals. Remember, your goals need to push you, but also need to be attainable. Don’t create a goal that is unrealistic because you will just get frustrated not hitting your goals. If you need help playing the numbers game, drop me a line and I will help you set a realistic goal and get you to where you need to be.

To Your Health –

~Zach