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Weekend Reading: Calories and Weight Loss – they’re not adding up

A new study reveals why reducing calories by the magic number of 3,500 does not always produce a pound of wt loss.  Why? Because it’s not just about eating less. Your body size and exercise also play an important role. Profiled in this article, which has an interview with the head researcher, a new study in The Lancet discusses that gaining weight with small increases in intake is easy (ok, we knew that already), but losing the weight is much harder than simply eating less. This phenomenon occurs because more of the calories you are taking in each day are used to support the extra weight you’re carrying around.  Furthermore, if an overweight and lean person overeat the same number of calories per day, the overweight individual is more likely to gain a greater amount of weight as fat because fat is less metabolically active than the same weight of lean tissue (muscles and organs). The researchers also claim that exercise plays a big role in both burning calories and helping to maintain a new, healthier lifestyle.

How can you reduce your calorie intake and increase expenditure?

  • Add in an additional 15 minutes of walking each day. It’s easy to walk an extra block or two for lunch or a coffee break. As an added benefit you may find some favorite new haunts. Don’t go out to lunch? Use the stairs in your building to go to the next meeting and as an easy energy pick-me-up.
  • Watch your condiments. Mayo isn’t the only option for your sandwich. Try mustard, salsa or two slices of avocado – you’ll lose calories and increase healthy nutrients at the same time.
  • Don’t treat yourself to a high fat snack after a workout. Most snacks will be packed with more calories than you burned off. If you can’t wait until your next meal, have a piece of fruit with almond butter or a few nuts to hold you over.
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