The second news story that caught my attention recently is about a new study released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) . The study challenges conventional wisdom that eating 3,500 fewer calories — or burning them off exercising — will always result in a pound of weight loss. The researchers’ computer simulations indicate that this assumption (3,500 calories = a pound) overestimates weight loss because it fails to account for how metabolism changes.
At first glance, this may seem very discouraging, particularly to someone who has been faithfully counting calories for quite some time in an effort to lose weight. However, this does not really change anything. I have talked before about how I have had to adjust my exercise and my intake several times over the course of my weight loss - this study just affirms that to be the case. I still watch my calories because whether or not the 3500 calorie formula is correct, watching my calories helps me to keep my eating in check and ensure that I get enough exercise. It also helps me to monitor my body's patterns, and know where I may need to make any adjustments. What I have been doing has worked very well to this point, so I'm going to keep plugging along doing what I have been doing.
The study is quite interesting though, and there is a simulator on the website that helps to predict weight loss taking into consideration metabolism changes. It is fun to play with - but bear in mind that it does not take into consideration what is a healthy number of calories to eat each day - all it does it predict weight loss based on metabolism changes and physical activity.