How Much Weight Can I Lose in a Year?

Aug 23, 2011 by

Over the years, you may have gained weight so gradually that you can’t figure out how it happened. You definitely don’t remember changing your eating or exercise habits. What you do know, however, is that a few years ago, you used to buy smaller sizes when shopping for clothes.

This common scenario usually happens because on most days of the week you have no idea whether you have eaten 100 calories too much or 100 calories too little when considering your overall diet. In fact, most of us don’t know if we ate 200 or 300 calories more or less than the day before.

There is a margin or zone in which we can either slightly overeat or undereat without being aware of it. There is a calorie range where we are unaware of small differences. Let us say you eat 2,000 calories a day. If one day you eat 1,900 calories or 2,100 calories, this is not a difference you can detect. But this difference of 100 calories a day we’ll cause you to gain or lose 10 pounds a year.


How does this happen?

It takes 3,500 calories to equal one pound. If every day you add 100 calories to your diet, you will have ingested 36,500 more in a year. 36,500 calories ÷ 3,500 = amounts to about 10 pounds a year. This may not sound too much to you, but if every year you gain 10 pounds, in five years you will weigh 50 more pounds than you used to weigh 5 years ago. And the sad part is that you don’t even know how that happened.


The danger of sneaking calories

Calories can be very sneaky. They can pile up in our body cells and before we realize it, the damage is done: too many unwanted calories have positioned them in our belly. Don’t worry; there is also a sneaky way to get rid of them, without them realizing it.

Here is a simple and sneaky way to get rid of unwanted pounds and lose weight. In their study “Environmental Contributions to the Obesity Epidemic”, Science, 280, Doctors James O. Hill and John C. Peters, suggested that cutting only 100 calories a day from our diets would prevent weight gain in most of the US population. We can accomplish this by eating 100 less calories every day or by walking about one extra mile (2,000 steps) each day.

The best way to cut 100 or 200 calories a day is to do it in a way you don’t feel deprived. Making one single change in your meals, maybe one less slice of bread at lunch time, can pay off in 10 or 12 months. Of course, if you make a couple of small changes, the reward will be even greater.

With this system, you will not lose 10 pounds in 10 days as promised by many infomercials, but you will lose weight in a much more healthy way and the weight loss will stay there unless you add extra calories in other areas of your diet.


How many pounds can you lose in a year?

If you make a little change, you can estimate how many pounds you can lose in a year. There is a simple formula to roughly estimate the number of pounds you can lose if you make one change and leave the rest of your diet unchanged:

  1. One less 260 calorie Milky Way bar each day = 27 fewer pounds a year. (The mathematical formula behind it: 260 x 365 days = 94,900 calories ÷ 3,500 = 27 pounds)
  2. One less 140 calorie soft drink each day = 14 fewer pounds a year
  3. One less 420 calorie bagel or donut each day =  42 fewer pounds a year

The same thing works with calories. Walking an extra mile a day uses 100 calories which translates into 10 pounds a year.


Final word

If you have tried different diets to lose weight but you have felt deprived along the way and have abandoned the project, this new way can be for you. Check carefully in your daily diet what item or items you can live without and remove them from your meals or snacks. Before you make the decision to remove them, check the calories of the food in question; it will tell you the amount of calories you can lose in a year.

To your success in losing weight!

Emilia Klapp, R.D., B.S.

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