Easy Weight-Loss Math = Recipe for Success!

As a part of this month’s Give A Care About Home series, today’s blog focuses on some simple weight-loss calculations to help you and your family eat healthier and stay fit!

Post by Rick Reifenberg, MD

The generally accepted conversion is that one pound of stored fat is equal to about 3,500 calories

This could be thought of as an extra 500 calories per day for one week (7 x 500 calories is 3,500 calories) would be one pound of weight gain.  This is a formula that can be used to estimate either gain or loss of weight.

What this means is that a 500 calorie per day deficit could be created by cutting 250 calories from one’s diet along with an additional 250 calories “burned” while doing exercise.  If you could create this 500 calorie per day deficit then you could expect to lose one pound per week.  Let’s get some examples of each:

To cut 250 Calories from your diet each day you could ELIMINATE:

  • One and a half regular 12oz sodas (Mountain Dew 170 calories per 12 oz, Pepsi 150 per 12 oz)
  • One 20 oz regular soda is about 250 calories
  • One medium order of McDonald’s French fries is 380 calories
  • 26 Pringle’s potato chips are about 250 calories
  • 4 slices of Wonder bread are 262 calories
  • Doritos chips snack bag (46 gm 1 1/2oz) is 250 calories
  • 3 Oreo cookies are about 240 calories
  • 24 Tostitos nacho chips are about 250 calories  

To burn an additional 250 calories though exercise, a 200 lb person could:

  • Walk for 35 minutes at a brisk (4 mph) pace
  • Walk at a slow (2 mph) pace for about 60 minutes
  • Do low impact aerobics (like an exercise video) for 30 minutes
  • Swim laps for 30 minutes
  • Do yard work (vigorous things like cutting grass with push mower) for 30-40 minutes
  • Mop floors/clean and vacuum the house for 45 minutes

The general idea is that by making small changes to the amount of calories we take in and ALSO increasing our daily activity level, we can make gradual and long-lasting changes to our weight. 

Look for ways to eliminate unnecessary calories while at the same time find ways to get more active and burn calories.  Put together, this can be a simple yet effective recipe for success.  Give it a try!


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