April 22, 2012
One pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories, so to lose one pound a week, a person should consume approximately 3,500 fewer calories per week. This can be done by reducing the daily intake by 500 calories per day (500 x 7 days will provide a deficit of 3,500 calories per week). To lose 2 pounds per week, a deficit of 1,000 calories per day is required. If this seems impossible, physical activity also contributes significantly to weight loss. The deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories can come from a combination of increased physical activity and reduced intake on a daily basis. Drop 250 calories from your daily caloric intake and burn 250 and there’s 500. So, as an endurance athlete, if you go out and burn 3,000, and take in 2,000 – 2,500, there you go, you’re on your way towards a healthy 1-2 pounds per week. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 1-2 pounds per week as a healthy level of loss, and I concur wholeheartedly with this amount. The keys are to establish your lifestyle changing habits that are healthy and nutritionally appropriate, set realistic goals, and place visual reminders of these goals and where you headed. For me, I have found it very effective to make a PowerPoint Slide with a few large bullet comments summarizing the goal(s) and a few pictures of yourself racing or some of you and your sport idle(s) who you’d like to emulate. Post it in a few places that you’re sure to see it every day. Stay focused on smaller “stepping stone” goals that’ll help you succeed your long-term goal, and reward yourself now and then, because you have to live and enjoy life. Good Luck!