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Dr. McCarty on the Perils of Rapid Weight Loss

Dr. McCarty on the Perils of Rapid Weight Loss

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A common concern expressed to me by our patients after weight loss surgery is the fear of losing weight too slowly. To address these concerns requires a little understanding of math — and a little insight.

First, every 1 pound of weight loss requires a 3,500-calorie deficit. Since the average total calorie expenditure per day is approximately 2,400 for women and approximately 3,000 for men, losing 1 pound per day would require an exercise regimen consuming the additional 500 to 1,000 calories. The average exercise regimen expends approximately 400 calories per hour, so that equates to one to two hours of exercise per day. In addition, NO calories can be consumed and the amount of muscle loss during exercise would not be replaced. Each and every day muscle loss would occur without replacement.

Losing 4 to 7 pounds per week (approximately 24,500 calories), as commonly advertised, is unrealistic, unhealthy and temporary. A weight gain rebound is inevitable, unavoidable and defeating. Instead, employing a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet combined with a meaningful exercise regimen will produce the desired long-lasting results. A weekly 3,500 to 7,000-calorie deficit is more realistic, will result in a 1 to 2 pound weight loss per week and maintain muscle mass. The weight loss is the result of fat metabolism and will result in meaningful long-term weight loss.

Seductive ideas aren’t always healthy. Insight 101.