One pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories of energy. The amount of fat stored in the body is the cumulative difference between energy input (food) and energy expenditure (physical activity and resting metabolism). The body is finely tuned to try and keep things in balance–to avoid losing or gaining too much weight. In fact, there are thousands of research studies looking at exactly how your body does this. This research has discovered a few things that may help you in your quest to burn off the pound of fat you mentioned.
First, all exercise is not created equal when it comes to burning fat. When you exercise, you can burn calories in the form of carbohydrate or fat (although if you’re starving yourself, you start to burn protein from muscles). Most of the calories burned during exercise are actually from carbohydrate; only a small percentage is from fat. One thing you can do to increase the amount of fat calories you burn during exercise is by exercising for a longer time. For example, 60 minutes at once is better than 20 minutes 3 times per day. In addition, recent research shows that intermittent exercise (high intensity followed by low intensity) results in a greater reduction in weight and fat than continuous exercise that involves burning the same number of calories. Therefore, you might try the following aerobic exercise plan: Exercise for 60 minutes, mostly at low to moderate intensity, but mix in intervals of high intensity every 5 or 10 minutes.
Next, you should know that your body will do everything in its power to keep your weight constant. Research has shown that your body will make hundreds of chemical signals aimed at everything from changing the resting metabolic rate to increasing your hunger. So, it is possible that if this week you were to burn 3,500 extra calories in exercise, next week and next month your body will do everything in it’s power to restore the weight that was lost. Therefore, you must recognize that weight loss is a lifetime decision and sustained efforts are required.
If you want to lose weight, it is helpful to know that one pound of fat holds about 3,500 calories in energy. This gives you an idea of what kind of sustained effort is required. From then on, planning a lifestyle change involving a healthier diet and a tailored exercise program will give you the best chance of losing weight and keeping it off.