How Many Calories Are in a Pound of Fat?
Understanding how many calories it takes to lose one pound of body fat will help you reach your weight loss goal.
Weight loss is all about calories you take in and calories you burn. Fad diets claim you can lose weight by eating a super food—acai berries, grapefruit, or green tea—with all your meals or by eliminating some food groups—grains, starchy vegetables, or whole dairy products—from your diet, but the truth is: Weight loss comes down to calorie counting.
To lose a pound of body fat, you need to burn 3500 calories more than you take in. The current recommendation is cutting 500 calories a day to achieve a one-pound weight loss per week. This rate is considered healthy and sustainable in the long run.
Carbohydrates, fats and proteins—all these nutrients provide calories. Carbohydrates and proteins have 4 calories per gram; fats, 9 calories per gram. If you are active, your body converts calories to physical energy; if you are sedentary, it stores calories as body fat for future use. To lose weight, you need to use the stored calories. You can cut down your caloric intake to make your body use the fat stores for energy, or you can increase physical activity to burn these calories.
The best way to reduce your caloric intake is to skip sugar-loaded beverages and desserts. You can substitute water, tea or coffee—calorie-free beverages—for sodas; fruit salads, for desserts.
You do not have to be an athlete to increase your physical activity and burn calories. There’s a wealth of research to prove that regular walking provides a number of surprising benefits: improve your mood, lose weight, strengthen muscles, raise metabolism, and lower the risk of diabetes and other diseases. Walking is an easy and natural exercise that helped millions shed off unwanted pounds. Changing habits is always a challenge, but the result—better health—is so rewarding you will be glad you did it.