Fitness Cheat Code - Calories in a Pound

Cheat Codes are fitness tips and facts that you may have heard about, but never fully understood. Like any good code, they are simple, quick, easy, and designed to make your life a little easier–and a lot healthier. (Extra lives and Godmode are not guaranteed.)

As an English teacher, I don’t have the greatest relationship with math. We used to be friends, but somewhere along the way, math and I grew apart. But over time, we made up, and now, we keep in touch.

Which is a good thing because without math, losing weight would be impossible. I mean, all the exercise and eating right in the world wouldn’t help me if I didn’t know how much good my diet and exercise was doing for me.

Thankfully, math gave me this simple equation to keep on the right track:

1 Pound = 3,500 Calories

That’s it. If you want to lose weight, that one fact is really all you need to know. All the running, lifting, pushing, pulling, Zumba-ing, and dieting in the world works out because 1 pound will always equal 3,500 calories.

Always. Always, always, always.

That means that for every pound of weight loss you want, you have to create a 3,500 calorie deficit in your body.

This deficit can be created through just diet (I lost 30 pounds by switching to low-glycemic foods), through exercise (I lost 50 pounds over last summer by running 20ish miles a week), or through a combination of the two.

For example, if you are a soda drinker, you can cut out a single soda each day (which is about 200 calories) and walk maybe 3 miles (which is under the doctor-recommended 10,000 steps a day, by the way). By just doing these two small, easy, and simple things, you will begin to create a 500 calorie deficit each day.

Which just happens to be 3,500 calories in 7 days. Which just happens to mean that you will lose 1 pound every week.

The Bright Side

Now, one pound a week might sound slow, but it’s healthy. (And over a year, it equates into 52 pounds, which is kind of a big deal, you know?)

Weight loss is just a numbers game. If you’re slow and do the math, you will win the game. Fad diets and get-skinny-fast programs try to cheat the system, and they don’t work. And if they do work, they are hard on your body (especially your heart), which means the weight loss is unhealthy.

If you keep in mind the simple formula that 1 Pound = 3,500 Calories, you will shed oodles of weight the right way. Guaranteed.

It might be slow, and it might not be fun. But it works. Which pretty much sums up this English teacher’s feeling on math in general, too.

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