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Body Weight Energy Equation - Calories In & Calories Out
Calorie Expenditure Minus Calorie Intake Causes Calorie-Deficit and Weight Loss
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Calorie Intake to Balance Calorie Expenditure for Optimum Weight Maintenance

The Energy Equation

Body Balances Energy Intake and Expenditure

The energy equation goes like this:

Change in stored energy = energy intake minus energy expenditure

In other words:

  • If energy intake equals energy expenditure, there will be no change in stored energy (body weight) and thus you will neither gain nor lose weight.
  • If energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, there will be an increase in stored energy (body weight) and thus you will gain weight. (Positive energy balance)
  • If energy intake is less than energy expenditure, there will be a decrease in stored energy (body weight) and thus you will lose weight. (Negative energy balance)

Amount of Energy (Calories) Per Pound of Body Weight

As a general rule, if we take in 3500 calories of energy more than we burn, we gain one pound of weight. Conversely, if we burn 3500 calories more than we take in, we lose one pound of body weight.

Energy Equation and Water Weight Loss

Water contains no energy (calories) and therefore is not counted as stored energy in the energy equation. Although we always lose some water whenever we lose weight, it is usually replaced immediately whenever we eat or drink again.

Energy Equation and Muscle or Lean Tissue Loss

Weight loss studies have shown that when we diet, the weight we lose is on average 75 percent fat and 25 percent muscle. This is bad news, because the less muscle we have on our body the fewer calories we need and the easier it is to gain weight! The good news is, you can reduce this muscle loss by adding resistance or strength training to your regular exercise routine.


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