I’ve always heard that if one person is asking a question, more are thinking it, so it’s always good to encourage questions. In Biggest Losers, we’ve been talking about creating a daily calorie deficit. This is where you burn more calories than you take in, so your body will start burning fat to make up the difference.
One of our Biggest Losers picked up a new wristband called the fitbit™. It’s one of several products like it that hook up to a smart phone and help you track your calories, even while you’re sleeping. They run around $100 and can really give you an edge if you’re trying to lose weight.
After using her fitbit™ for a day, Brooke found that she’d burned over 3,000 calories. I told her this was awesome, because now she could start predicting how much weight she’d lose.
She asked me through Facebook if I could explain how the daily calorie deficit works with losing weight. By the way, social media is another great tool that has made it very easy for people to communicate about anything, including workouts and weight loss. So I got back to her on Facebook, through my iphone, while I was riding the exercise bike. Here’s what I told her.
Ok, you asked for it! Here goes.
So you have your minimum calories you need to live (BMR). That was the number on your sheet. Anything you eat over that has to cover your daily activities plus exercise.
If you get moving enough, though, you’ll end up in a daily calorie deficit. This means you burned more than you took in. That energy has to come from somewhere so it comes from fat.
Say you need to take in 1,500 calories. But you burned 3,000 according to your fitbit. That means you had a calorie deficit of 1,500 calories. While the numbers don’t work exactly like this, it’s close enough.
Think of things in 500 calorie chunks. It takes 7 chunks to burn a pound of fat (3,500 calories). So if you have a 500 calorie deficit, it will take 7 days to burn that pound of fat (500 cal x 7 days = 3,500 cal).
In your case, the deficit was 1,500 cal (3 chunks). So you’ll burn that pound of fat much quicker, in just a little more than two days.
In fact, if you can keep that rate up, you’ll end up burning 3 lbs that week (1,500 cal x 7 days = 10,500 cal). Divide that weekly total by our 3,500 calorie magic number and you get 3 lbs of fat!
You may have seen that the number of 500 cal chunks burned each day corresponds to the number of pounds you’ll burn each week.
1 chunk/day = 1 lb/wk
2 chunks/day = 2 lbs/wk
3 chunks/day = 3 lbs/wk
4 chunks/day = 4 lbs/wk
5 chunks/day = 5 lbs/wk
This is why I like each workout to burn at least one chunk of at least 500 cal. Sometimes, monster workouts can be twice that, burning two chunks, or 1,000 cal.
But those are hard to do, much less keep up over time. This is why the second workout is so important each day.
Now your FitBit will tell you where you are, compared to where you want to be, based on how much you want to burn each day!
Our Biggest Loser this week was Cheryl Redman, who lost an amazing 7.0 lbs, and 3.0% of her body weight. Lori Newlin was second, losing 5.2 lbs and 2.2%. Penny Spinner placed third, losing 3.6 lbs and 2.1%.