That's the magic number. But, that’s not how many pushups or burprees I want you to do. This is the number of calories that equal 1 pound. If you take in 3500 calories you just took on 1 pound. Of course, this means, if you put your body in a deficit of 3500 calories, that's 1 pound you’ve lost.

I know what you're thinking; 3500 calories are a lot. This can be very true, but let's try a bring a little perspective to these numbers. Yes, it's MATH time, but don't worry, I'll do all of the work for you.

The body expends energy to do things that we all take for granted; like digesting food, breathing, even blinking. Everyone has a certain rate at which they burn calories, even at rest. This is known as your Resting Metabolic Rate (different for everyone; to find yours out, see your nutritionist or certified dietician).

So, to make this a simple break down, let's take an average number of daily calories (kcals) some need to function (not including exercising). Let's say, 1500 calories a day. To make it even easier, let's go by a week's (7 days) time. 1500 calories x 7 (days a week) equals out to 10,500 Calories that your body is burning a week while you just lounge around the house. If 3500 calories equal 1 pound, that's 3 whole pounds that were burning just "slothing” around, doing nothing.

That means I should be losing weight just laying around the house, right? This would probably be true...if we didn't have to eat to live. So now, even though we're just burning calories while resting, we have to account for the calories from what we eat.

So, let's say you are like me and you love pastries (especially donuts). Just 3 Krispy Kreme original donuts (my favorite) add up to about 570cals. But again, for math's sake (and my feelings), let's round down to 500cals.

Here's where the perspective comes in. Say this is what I eat for breakfast every day for about a week. 500cals (a day) x 7 (days a week) equals 3500 calories—remember, that's 1 pound. And keep in mind, I haven't even factored in lunch and dinner, yet.

Now, let's say my lunch and dinner add another 500 calories each. That's 150 calories just for that one day (if you remember, this is what we said I was burning every day just at rest). Multiply that by one week (7 days), that's 10,500. So basically, you're burning that much at rest and taking the same amount in. That wouldn't be bad if we were trying to stay the same weight. But most of us are trying to LOSE weight.

So, the question is, how do we tip the scale so that we burn an extra 3500cals (1 pound)? Answer: EXERCISE! This is where your daily workout comes in. That would mean you would have to burn 500 calories a day, every day, for a week. That's roughly equivalent to running (the best form of cardio outside of swimming) about 5 miles a day. I can't see that happening.

I will maybe, do 3 miles. So now, how do I put my body in an extra 200 calorie deficit?

Answer number two: Eating better. Substituting my donuts for healthier alternatives will help alleviate most of those calories. Drinking water (0 calories) instead of sodas and sugary juices (150 kcals). Getting steamed broccoli (31 kcals) or carrots (45 calories) instead of fries (350 kcals) as a side. Choosing leaner meats like Tilapia (112 calories) as opposed to a hamburger (250-700 kcals).

I see those light bulbs going off. Now you’re starting to understand how “calories in vs. calories out” work. Now, understand that these are some pretty significant changes but keep in mind, if you’re trying to make health and wellness your lifestyle as opposed to just a “get your summer body” thing, it’s ok to take baby steps. Take one thing and change it. You don’t have to try and make all of these changes at one time. Just make a change. Then next week/month add another one. Then, next week/month. Another. Until one day you wake up and find your life…different.

I’m sure you felt like you were in math class, so let me give you some homework for this week. Your homework is to make one change in your health and wellness. Just one. There’s no “too small”. A change is a change. And have fun making your life different.

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