Dieting is hard. Anyone who has tried to lose weight will tell you that. And it seems to be harder to shed the pounds the further into the diet you are.
Through the basic laws of thermodynamics and energy (which is what a calorie is) we know that a decrease of 3500 calories will result in a one pound weight loss. If we eat 500 calories less per day, over the course of seven days we will lose 1 lb. of body weight.
But does this hold true even after we have lost 10 pounds? Or 20?
According to research by Kevin Hall, PhD, from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), weight loss does not continue down a linear path. The reason is that our body metabolism changes as we lose weight. The body becomes more effective at utilizing the lower calorie diet and thus expends less energy the skinnier we get. These interesting findings were published in the Lancet last week.
Dr. Hall and his colleagues suggest an alternative model for forecasting weight reduction in dieters:
It predicts that for a typical overweight adult, every reduction of 10 calories per day will lead to a weight loss not of about a pound a year, but only about half a pound. The next half-pound will take about two more years to lose. Cutting 250 calories a day produces a weight loss of about 25 pounds in three years. (Exact weight loss will vary by individual, depending on age, sex, weight and other factors.) Read more from WSJ…
What are the implications for million of dieters?
Mostly this explains why it gets harder and harder to lose weight as your diet progresses, and why many people hit a frustrating plateau from which large percentages rebound to weight gain. By knowing what to expect, perhaps more dieters will be able to create more realistic expectations and emotionally prepare for the challenges of much slower weight loss progress.
And for those of us who are seeing the pounds slowly creep on year over year, this is yet another reminder that the best way to lose weight is to never put it on in the first place.