How Many Calories Do You Actually Have to Burn to Lose One Pound?

By K. Aleisha Fetters for GQ.

(Getty Images)

Years ago, scientists played around with a pound of squishy, slimy human fat and found that it contained 3,500 calories of energy.
But–sorry to break it to you–burning a pound of fat isn’t as simple as burning through 3,500 calories.

Consider the following and infuriating (at least for thin guys) scenario: Two men go on an exercise and eating plan so that they consume 3,500 fewer calories per week than they burn. One man has five pounds to lose; the other has 50. At the end of one week, the leaner guy might lose about half a pound–and a third of the weight will be from muscle. Meanwhile, the obese guy will have lost more than three pounds, mostly from fat and water.
From the Editors of Details

“There’s tremendous variability in how a 3,500 caloric deficit affects different people,” says Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.P.H., senior science adviser at Elements Behavioral Health and author of The Hunger Fix.

Why’s that? Well, one huge factor determining the results of our dieters is body composition. “The more fat a person has to give, the quicker he will lose weight and weight from fat,” Peeke explains. Meanwhile, when you get closer to your body weight, your body holds on to fat stores for dear life and sacrifices muscle over fat, she says. The body is perpetually afraid that it will starve; it’s perhaps biology’s least-sexy-ever survival mechanism.

Meanwhile, how you try to hit your caloric deficit (which is a necessity to lose weight) has a huge impact on whether you lose weight from muscle, fat, or just water.

Read more: How to Get Six Pack Abs (Without a Single Sit-Up)

The faster you try to achieve a deficit, the more weight you will lose from muscle as opposed to fat. As will be the case if you diet alone, she says. However, exercise–and most markedly, strength training–and protein consumption promote muscle growth so that you will not lose as much muscle. In fact, if you consume an adequate amount of protein (the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends getting 20 to 30 grams, four times a day and after exercise), you could potentially increase your lean-muscle mass while reducing your body-fat percentage.
What’s more, if you are cutting calories from carbs, you will also lose water weight. In the body, every gram of glycogen (carbohydrates) in your body is stored with a few grams of water. So when you go low-carb, your metabolism breaks down those glycogen reserves for energy, and you end up peeing out the accompanying water. That’s another reason why, calorie per calorie, obese people tend to drop weight drastically: They have a lot of water to lose.

You also need to realize that your calorie-cutting strategy does alter your metabolism–and what it takes to take in fewer calories than you’re consuming over the long haul. Contrary to popular opinion, people’s metabolic rates slightly decrease as they lose weight. That’s because it takes more energy (a.k.a. calories) to fuel a 280-pound human than a 180-pound one, she says. And if you lose most of your weight from muscle, your metabolism will plummet–which is one more reason why extreme diets suck.

Now that all that’s settled, if you want to determine roughly how many calories your body burns a day, check out the Mayo Clinic’s calorie calculator. Aim to take in 300 to 500 fewer calories per day to lose weight.

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7 Things Parents Can Say and Do at the End of a Sports Season


The conclusion of a sports season can be a time of excitement, relief, and suffering for parents of athletes. The excitement comes when your young athletes have just concluded a season that exceeded their (and your) expectations. The sense of pride and satisfaction can be palatable and reinforces why you have your children involved in sports.

The relief is in simply having the long season finally over with. For many parents, this means no more schlepping to practice and competitions, sitting in interminable traffic, staying in cheap hotels, or separating from your spouse (and maybe your other children) on Fridays. It now means having some time to just hang around the house after school and on weekends and pursue your other interests.

The suffering comes if your children didn’t have as successful a season as they (or you) had hoped. They may be frustrated, discouraged, and sad. As their parents, you, at best, feel their disappointment acutely and want to alleviate their pain (and your own). At worst, your disappointment and frustration is palatable and only adds to your children’s misery (not a healthy thing, by the way).

Here are seven things you can say and do that will help your children through this difficult period and actually enable them to emerge more inspired and motivated than ever to pursue their sport dreams.

#1: Don’t Express Your Disappointment to Them

Perhaps the best thing you can do is actually something you don’t do, namely, show your own disappointment. Your young competitor is feeling bad enough coming to grips with their own disheartening season. You add insult to injury when they feel your disappointment in their season. That burden will not only place an even heavier weight on their shoulders, but may also have a long-term and more damaging impact on their self-esteem, their motivation to continue sport, and their feelings toward you.

#2: Allow Them to Feel Bad

As parents, you hate to see your children suffering, so it’s natural for you to want to ease their ill feelings after a poor performance or a disappointing season by assuaging, placating, or distracting them from their decidedly unpleasant emotions. But, though offering short-term benefit, namely, your kids don’t feel so bad for very long (which means you don’t feel so bad), such efforts undermine their long-term emotional development and achievement efforts.

My advice to you is: Let your children feel bad. Though far from a pleasant experience for either them or you, giving them the time and space for them to grapple with their own emotions can teach them many important lessons including how to understand and react to their unpleasant emotions, how to respond to and overcome failure, and how maintain a positive attitude and motivation in the face of setbacks.

#3: Offer Perspective

One of the challenges of being young is that children lack the wherewithal to see their lives beyond their immediate experiences. A difficult loss or a disappointing season can loom so large in their young psyches. This is where you can lighten their emotional load in a healthy way. Where they see only the bad of their just-concluded competition season, you can help them see their season in a more nuanced and, as a result, less awful way. In other words, you can provide your young competitors with perspective in which you offer a more balanced view of their season.

Definitely acknowledge the bad parts of the season; the poor results, the lost chances, the frustrations and disappointments. At the same time, help them recognize the good that came from the season. If their season was really bad, you may need to stretch quite a bit to find the silver lining, but I’m sure it is there. Help them to see the improvements they made, the small though infrequent successes, the fun they had, the friends they made, the places they went, the crazy adventures you shared as a family.

Finally, help them view the season from a long-term perspective. An analogy will help here. If you look at a bad year in the stock market, such as during the Great Recession, you would see a steady and steep downward trend line in stock valuations. It would be pretty darned discouraging if you invested in the stock market and you’d probably never want to invest in stocks again. That is what your young athlete may be seeing and feeling about their own disappointing season. But, if you look at the stock market over the last 60 years, you will see a jagged line that climbs steadily higher. This is the perspective you want your children to have about their sport: if they continue to invest in themselves and are patient, they can expect a very good return on investment in the future.

#4: Identify Lessons

After a few weeks with their sports gear stored away, as the disappointing season fades into memory and your children focus their attention on other pursuits (e.g., school), you can expect that their anguish will slowly recede as well. With the benefit of some emotional distance from the unsatisfying season, they may now be receptive to a gradual shift from the past to the future.

A key part of this transition is to help them analyze last season and gain valuable lessons that they can use to plan for next season. Questions to ask include:

  • What did I do well?
  • What areas held me back?
  • What do I need to work on to achieve my goals next season?

These lessons are important because they ensure that your children understand what caused their season to go as it did, whether good, bad, or really ugly, and give them guidance on how to learn from them and do better next season.

#5 Guide Them in Setting New Goals

With a clear understanding of what prevented your young athletes from having a successful season or knowing what worked really well this past season, you can now help them redirect their focus from the past to the future. They can use the information gained from their examination of the lessons learned to set new goals for next season.

These goals can begin with realistic outcome goals to strive for, in terms of results, rankings, or new levels of competition. They should then make an immediate shift to process goals that will alleviate the obstacles that resulted in their disappointing season or build on the benefits they gained from their outstanding season. These process goals should include any areas of their sport that they need to improve on to ensure that next season is better than their last, for example, physical conditioning, technique and tactics, and, of course, mental preparation.

This goal setting will, hopefully, close the door completely on the last season and provide them with the inspiration and incentive to begin working hard toward next season.

#6: Help Them Make a Plan

The final step in supporting your young athletes after the competition season is to help them develop a plan that will put their goals into action. This detailed plan, in collaboration with their coaches, should include a comprehensive physical conditioning program, ongoing practice opportunities to continue their technical and tactical development in their sport, and a comprehensive mental training program.

With clear goals to work toward and a plan for achieving them, your young athletes are now in a position to put last season in its entirely behind them and to direct their gaze toward a successful next season.

Bonus #7: Love Them and Support Their Dreams

Perhaps the most important thing you can do at the end of the season is to not make too big a deal about it, regardless of whether it was a breakthrough season, a stuck-in-neutral season, or a full-reverse season. If you keep your kids’ sport in perspective and focus on all of the wonderful things they get out of our crazy sport, they are more likely to as well.

Then, tell them you will continue to support them as long as they have dreams in their sport they want to pursue.

Next, send them the most powerful message of all, that will make them feel good whether their season was worthy of celebration or mourning. Give them a big hug and say “I love you.” When you’ve done that you know you’ve done your job as sport parents.

Finally, ask your children where they want to eat!

Note: To learn more about how you can be the best sport parent you can be, get my FREE Prime Sport Parenting: Raising Successful and Happy Athletes e-book.

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Ex-Vanderbilt Football Player Convicted Of Raping Unconscious Student

NASHVILLE (Reuters) – A former Vanderbilt University football player was found guilty on Friday of raping an unconscious female student in a dorm room three years ago.

Cory Batey is one of four former Vanderbilt football players charged with aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery stemming from the June 2013 incident. It took jurors just over two hours to reach the verdict.

This was the second trial and conviction for Batey. He and a fellow former Vanderbilt football player, Brandon Vandenburg, were found guilty in January 2015 of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery but the judge declared a mistrial because one of the jurors had failed to disclose that he himself was a victim of rape.

The victim in the Vanderbilt case, which drew national attention to sexual assaults on college campuses, had attended a party and was unconscious during the attack, which occurred in a dorm room on campus, prosecutors said.

She testified as the final witness on Friday. The prosecution said it was pleased with the outcome. “Justice has been done,” said prosecutor Tom Thurman.

Batey’s attorneys said they planned to appeal. During the trial, lawyer Courtney Teasley placed the blame on Vandenburg, who she said used Batey, who was blacked out on alcohol, as his “puppet” during the incident.

The two had been scheduled to be retried together, but one of Vandenburg’s attorney’s had medical issues, causing the cases to be severed and his retrial set for June.

The trials of the last two accused former players, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Banks, are expected to take place after Vandenburg’s retrial.

Aggravated rape carries a sentence of 15-25 years in prison. Sentencing is set for May 20.

(Editing by Victoria Cavaliere and Catherine Evans)

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