Yes, but probably not as much as a straight numbers analysis would predict. The bottom line is that your body will go to great lengths to remain at a stable weight, regardless of your actual calorie intake. So what’s the take-home message?
If you want to change your weight and your life for good, focus on the habits, attitudes, and situations that influence the calories you consume and burn instead of on the calories themselves. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be aware of the calorie content of the foods you commonly eat, especially those you consume outside the home, but don’t get caught in a numbers game.
In theory, one pound of body fat contains approximately 3,500 calories of stored energy. Therefore, a 500-calorie deficit per day (500 calories × 7 days per week = 3,500 calories) will yield one pound of fat lossper week.
There are ways of measuring energy expenditure directly, but most are costly and time consuming. You can get a rough estimate of your daily calorie needs by walking through the following steps instead. The total calories you burn each day can be broken into three main compartments—basal calorie needs, calories for physical activity, and calories for the thermic effect of food. Basal calories cover your energy needs at rest and keep vital organs such as your brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver functioning. The majority (about 60%) of your total daily calorie needs fulfill your basal energy requirements.
You can estimate your basal calorie needs by multiplying your healthy body weight in pounds by 10:
Healthy body weight (lbs.) × 10 = Basal calorie needs
Sandra currently weighs 175 lbs. and has determined that her comfortable, healthy weight
is around 160 lbs. She walks for 30 minutes two to three times a week and has a
160 lbs × 10 = 1,600 calories for basal needs