I read today that in order to lose 10 pounds of fat per year, you need to eat 100 calories less per day. This is a nice, simple way of reinforcing a methodical and rational method of weight loss. However, there are a few assumptions/issues/problems that must be addressed:
- It means 100 calories less than you NEED to eat every day. If you are eating 300 calories too much per day, it will just slow the rate of fat gain. This could be called the government budget model.
- It means EVERY DAY. Don’t forget that holiday called Thanksgiving where most Americans overeat by as much as 2000 calories in one meal. That is three weeks of “just eat 100 calories less per day”.
- See above and make sure you do not forget to count the Super Bowl party you attend, Christmas, Halloween candy, anniversary dinner with your sweetiepie, and so on…
- It assumes you know how many calories are in what you are eating (portions, hidden ingredients, etc.).
I could go on, but I think you get the general drift. A 100 calorie per day goal on a 1800-2500 calorie diet is a very small margin of error. It may end up what you averaged for the year, but I do not think it is a realistic way of planning to lose weight. I would argue that 100 calories is a rounding error on a daily basis.
The answer is to engage in vigorous exercise a minimum of 4 times per week as well as banish junk from your eating habits. The average person should strive to cut 3500 calories per week through diet modifications and burn 3500 calories per week through exercise. This will result in two pounds of fat loss per week.
Make goals and plans on a weekly calendar. Measure results on an annual calendar. Do the work daily.