Here's a link to an article in today's Toronto Globe and Mail about a new on-line tool called the Body Weigh Simulator which helps predict how people lose weight on a diet.
The standard weight-loss diet approach tells us: since there are 3,500 calories in a pound of body fat, to lose 1 pound you have to eat 3500 fewer calories or burn off 3,500 more calories with exercise. That's 500 calories a day for seven days to lose 1 pound a week.
But we know that weight loss doesn't happen consistently. Initial weight loss on a diet does tend to follow that pattern. But then weight loss tends to slow. Or plateau. Even if you keep up the 500 a day calorie "deficit".
And that's because metabolism slows with weight loss so that the body burns fewer calories "at rest".
This new Body Weight Simulator tool is pretty interesting because you input age, gender, body weight, height, activity level, weight goal and your time line for reaching that weight goal: and then the tool simulates what diet and exercise changes will be necessary to reach your goal weight. But even more important, what changes will be necessary to MAINTAIN that goal weight over time.
We know, maintenance is the tough part as metabolism slows.
I had lots of fun playing around with this tool. Here's the link to the Body Weight Simulator:
What do I think? The simulator seems to me to overestimate by quite a significant margin the number of calories I can eat a day while still maintaining my current weight. Spark People also overestimates the number of calories I can actually eat.
However, what this simulator makes absolutely clear . . . is that although losing weight requires significant calorie reduction during the "diet" phase, it also requires permanent calorie reduction during the "maintenance" phase.
If I want to weight less permanently, I have to eat less. Yeah. Permanently.
I'm thinking that eating less permanently is also going to mean I'll need to savour hunger. Permanently. Is that OK with me? Yes it is.
As Steve Siebold told me on day three of fatloser.com, "Fat people give in to cravings, fit people prepare for cravings".
Cravings can't be eliminated. Not if I want to be slim.
But if I cultivate an attitude of mental toughness about cravings, the cravings don't last long. Twenty minutes, tops.
The slimness, on the other hand, lasts: 24/7. And the slimness, increased energy, general feeling of alertness and self-control? No question. It's worth it.