Print Article

How Many Calories Does it Take to Lose Weight


One of the most common questions people ask when they start losing weight is how long it is going to take. This is not an easy to answer question. Because each person has a different metabolic rate and a different training program, not to mention motivation and time to work out, it can be impossible to come up with an answer that meets everyone's expectations. However, when you get into the math, it becomes easier to understand what you have to do to lose weight.

Understanding the Calories in Fat

One pound of fat in the human body equals about 3500 calories. No matter what type of weight loss method you are using to lose weight, you have to consider how many pounds of fat you want to lose. If you are going to lose about a pound per week, which is healthy, then you are going to have to find a way to eliminate 3500 calories.

The first thing that you have to do is figure out how many calories you are eating each day. Determine how many calories a day you need and then eliminate the additional calories from your diet. This is often as simple as not drinking a sweetened coffee drink in the morning or skipping a snack during the day. By eliminated about 500 calories each day, you will be able to hit that 3500 mark at the end of the week.

Of course, you don't have to eliminate all of the calories from the food that you are eating. Add exercise to your routine and keep track of the number of calories you burn in your exercise sessions. Factor these into the equation when you are trying to eliminate those 500 calories per day. If you are on the elliptical for half an hour and burn 250 calories, you will only have to drop another 250 calories from your daily intake to meet your goal.

Water Weight isn't Fat Loss

In the first few weeks of your training regimen, you will notice that you have more weight loss than you might expect. Instead of losing one pound per week, the number might be much higher, even up to 3 or 4 pounds per week. Much of this is water weight that you lose through sweating and exercising as well as eating better. This rapid loss of weight will taper off and then you will be to the average of a pound per week.

Always be Safe

It is tempting to increase the exercise level and lower the calorie level further to facilitate faster weight loss. However, this isn't a good idea. The body doesn't handle drastic changes like that very well, and it can be quite unhealthy. Make sure that you do everything in moderation. Even at a pound a week, it is possible to lose 52 pounds in a year! Once you lose the weight, make sure that you keep up with the healthy eating and the exercise to maintain that weight.