If we are speaking strictly about calories (ignoring all of the other factors that affect weight loss) it takes a deficit of 3500 calories in order to lose one pound of fat. What is a calorie deficit you ask? It’s when you take in fewer calories than is required for you to maintain your current body composition and energy function.
Kind of like when you overdraft your bank account (yikes) and you enter the red zone - that energy needs to be made up from somewhere and so it taps into your stored body fat to create energy. This is how fat loss works. If you are taking in less energy than you need to fuel your exercise and daily movement, then your body has this awe-some power to create that energy from those pesky love-handles you’re always complaining about.
Actually, when you stop to consider it, your body is pretty damned amazing.
Your body has a unique calorie...
In the fitness and health community I get really tired of people spouting “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” Losing weight can be that simple, but it can also be much more complicated. For example, how do we monitor those calories accurately? What do we do when it’s not safe to decrease calories any lower? And how do we steer people away from an obsessive, calorie-tracking lifestyle so as to avoid disordered eating?
While your body may treat most calories the same in terms of utilizing them for energy, there are many sensitive factors at play that can affect your weight loss that don’t have to do with calories. You do need to be in a caloric deficit to lose fat, but fewer calories does not always equate to more pounds lost due to factors like stress hormones, training intensity and more.
The truth is that there is still so much we don’t fully understand about the body’s biochemistry. To say that weight loss is as...