Reducing calories but still struggling with those “last few pounds?” Apparently, there’s a scientific reason behind your failed weight loss.Turns out, the well known dieting/weight loss rule: reduce 3,500 calories (or work off 3,500 calories) to lose a pound of body fat just isn’t true, according to Dr. Kevin D. Hall and others at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Recently, Hall and his colleagues created a more realistic model of how our bodies adapt to changes in calorie intake and exercise. Their work provided some pretty shocking (and disheartening) results.
Just 10 extra calories a day is all it takes to raise the body weight of the average person by 20 pounds in 30 years, the authors wrote.
Their research was aimed at finding an answer to why some people have body weight that can slowly rise even when they are eating the same and haven’t changed their exercise habits, and why other people lose weight faster than others.
The results: keeping the weight off takes a long time to achieve (not shocking) but the most effective weight loss programs are taken in two steps.
Step 1: A temporary agressive change in behavior (eating/exercising).
Step 2: A more relaxed but permanent change in behavior to prevent the weight from coming back.
The authors say instead of cutting out 3,500 calories in the hopes of losing one pound, cut out 250 calories per day (the amount in your after dinner ‘low-fat’ dessert) to lose about 25 pounds over three years—and about 12 pounds of that will occur in the first year.
Photo via Flickr: by Moyan_Brenn