What is the weight-loss equation?

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

My weight loss equation is simple: MEAL

Move - You have to move to lose; my motto is a minimum of 10,000 steps/day

Eat - 5-6 small portion controlled meals/snacks a day

Avoid - Watch out for the five food felons and avoid them

Lose - Lose your misconceptions about diets and make a lifestyle change

Neal Spruce
Neal Spruce on behalf of dotFIT

Weight Loss = Calories Consumed < Calories Burned

That is, if you consume less than you burn over time you lose weight. The opposite is also true. If you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Consuming the same as you burn maintains your weight. Key factors to help you lose weight include paying attention regularly by tracking calories daily (or at least until you can do it “automatically”) and weigh or measure yourself at least once a week to make sure you are trending towards your goal.

A good weekly goal is to lose ½ to 2 pounds per week or approximately 1% body fat every two weeks. The number of calories you eat to accomplish this needs to be approximately 250 to 1000 calories less than your daily calorie burn. The more overweight the person, the greater the allowed weekly loss.

Be sure to weigh or measure yourself in the same clothing, at the same time and on the same scale. Take care to also use the same method or device if you’re having your body fat measured.

A measurable or visual reduction in body fat or weight should take place in a fairly consistent manner. This includes a decrease in circumference inches, pounds or clothing fit. If progress stops or slows dramatically, one or a mixture of the following adjustments will be necessary to re-start the process:

  • Increase daily activities with more daily steps or other non-exercise activities. Standing and pacing burns at least 2-3 times more calories than sitting for the same time period. There are approximately 2000-2500 steps (depending on stride length) in a mile. Walking 2000 steps will burn ~75-150 more calories (depending on individual size) than sitting for the same time and only takes 20-30 min. This can be done anywhere, even in the office, while on the phone or watching TV
  • Increase workout time or intensity
  • Decrease food intake approximately 200 to 300 calories per day or remove a small portion of your largest meal

Repeat the process any time weight or body fat is stable for two consecutive weeks. Always remember if you stop losing weight/fat you need to eat less, move more or a combination of the two regardless of what you read or hear from others. Once you have achieved your body composition goals, increase your calorie intake, decrease activities or a combination of the two in order to maintain desired weight.

Total energy or caloric needs per day to maintain body weight can be illustrated by the following equation:

Metabolism + Physical Activity + Digestion = Total calories needed per day

To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than your body needs per day or use more calories through physical activity and increased metabolism.

Weight Watchers offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss that can help you reach your goals.
Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics

Total Calories in < Total Calories burned/out = Weight Loss.  It takes ~3500 calories to add or lose 1 pound of fat!  Ideally, you want to do this gradually, start by creating a deficit of ~500calories/day x 7 days = ~1# weight loss.A registered dietitian can provide you with detailed and individualized guidelines to assist with your weight loss needs.

The weight loss equation IS: BURN MORE CALORIES THAN YOU EAT!! However, you also need to make sure that you are eating high volumes of nutrient dense foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, WATER, and vitamins and minerals. When your body is nutrient deprived, it can send the same signals as starvation to brain and your body will store energy in the form of fat. SOOOO… It is possible to eat less than you burn and still keep weight on if your body feels nutrient deprived. If it’s fatty, sugary, processed, or in a box, take caution, you may be sabotaging yourself.

To lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. Weight loss hinders on the scientific energy balance equation (Law of Thermodynamics): calories consumed versus calories burned in activity. If you have a calorie deficit, you will be losing weight, and you must burn an extra 3500 calories (in excess of what you eat) to lose a pound. Burning an extra 500 calories per day will enable you to lose 1 pound per week.


The basic weight loss equation is eat less, move more.  You have to burn more calories than you consume.  If you are sitting there wondering how many calories you need in a day, an easy trick would be to multiply your goal weight by 10.  If you want to weight 150 lbs, you would multiply that by 10 – and that would require you to eat 1500 calories a day.  Then you need to get moving.  It is recommended that you get in 10,000 steps per day.  Buy yourself a pedometer to help track your steps.  Next you need to get your mind right.  Every time you feel like eating something remind yourself “eat less.”  To help you do this, drink 16 oz of water instead of snacking.  When you find yourself sitting on the couch remind yourself “move more.”  Then get up and do some pushups on the coffee table, squats or lunges around the room.  If you learn to replace your unnecessary cravings with movement, then you will also be reminding yourself to eat less and move more.  It’s basic – start today!

The weight loss equation is simple. Burn more calories than you consume and you will lose weight. Burn less calories than you consume and you will gain weight. Burn the same amount of calories as you consume and you will maintain your weight.

One pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. Therefore if your goal is to lose weight you will want to create a daily negative calorie balance. Decreasing your caloric intake by 500-1000 calories per day, should result in an approximate 1-2 pound weight loss per week.
The weight loss equation is a very simple one.  Simply burn more calories than you take in.  However when you look at fat you need to burn 3500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat.  This seems high but it is not.  Your Basal Metabolic Rate(BMR) burns a certain amount of calories per day.  Plus add in what you do for exercise then substract total calories you have consumed for the day and you will have your deficit.  Depending on how big your deficit is will determine how quickly you will lose your weight.  So if your deficit is 500 calories per day times 7 days you will lose 1 pound of fat.  Remember you need to track this in order to stay on track with your goals.  Using the Dotfit meal tracking software will help along with the exerspy you will see great results.
Losing weight is one of the simplest concepts around, but sometimes difficult to implement and stick with. There are 3500 calories in one pound of body fat, which simply means if you want to lose weight you just have to burn through a bunch of those stored up calories. Say, for example, that you want to lose 10 pounds of body fat. This means that you will have to use up 35,000 calories, so you will need to create a negative calorie balance, or calorie deficit. You can create a calorie deficit through diet alone, exercise, or a combination of both. Simply put, you will need to eat less, move more, or do both. Doing a combination of both will most likely prove to be the easiest way to stick with your program and get your results as quickly as possible. You want to think about implementing small changes in many areas of your life.


With our 10 pound example, if you want to lose two pounds per week, then that means you will have to create a calorie deficit of 1,000 calories each day until you hit your goal (five weeks if you stay on track). You can start by eating 500 calories less per day and spreading that reduction out over multiple meals so it isn’t as noticeable. For example, eat 150 calories less at each major meal by cutting things like cheese, dressing, and butter. You should then try to burn an additional 500 calories each day. If you are just starting out, my best recommendation is to aim burning 300 calories in a workout session and 200 by increasing your activity level.  If you engage in moderately intense cardio for 30 minutes, you should be able to accomplish the 300 calorie burn. In order to burn the additional 200 calories, make efforts throughout the day to increase your activity level. You can do things like parking farther away, making multiple trips to accomplish the same task, standing and walking while talking on the phone, sitting upright at your desk, using a restroom farther away than the closest, and taking the stairs. Accomplishing these tasks will make your weight loss more manageable and easier to accomplish.

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine

In order to lose one pound of fat by diet alone in one week, an individual needs to have a negative calorie intake of 500 calories per day or 3,500 calories per week, since there are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat. To lose two pounds of fat each week, there must be a negative caloric balance of 1,000 calories a day. To reduce one&aposs caloric intake by 1,000 calories per day is often difficult and can even backfire. If you cut calories too severely, which for most people can occur when daily caloric intake is less than 1,000 calories per day, much of the weight you lose will be muscle. One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories, but one pound of muscle has only 600 calories. This means that during severe or very imbalanced diets, you can lose muscle very quickly because you have to burn almost six times as many calories to burn off a pound of fat than if you are burning muscle for calories.

To increase one&aposs caloric output by burning an additional 1,000 calories per day by exercise, a person would need to jog for 90 minutes, play tennis for 2 hours, or take a brisk two and a half hour walk.

As well, although moderate exercise tends to help normalize appetite, severe exercise can provoke a profound increase in appetite and can even promote binge eating in some people.

The most sensible approach to weight loss is to decrease caloric intake and increase moderate exercise simultaneously. Reading labels and paying close attention to the caloric content of foods can be very valuable. As well, making frequent use of Internet resources such as the USDAs National Nutrient Database or private nutrition services can help you develop even more calorie awareness. Consulting with a registered dietician can also be an invaluable way to become more intelligent about your food choices for weight loss.

Hunger Free Forever: The New Science of Appetite Control

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Hunger Free Forever: The New Science of Appetite Control

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.