How to lose 10 pounds

I believe in the calorie deficit approach to weight loss. I have had great success with it in the past and plan to leverage it again now as I start my new weight loss journey. I believe in tracking metrics and I am going to show you my past results and continue to post updates to this blog with current progress.

Calorie deficit

I am an engineer by training and very early on in physics and engineering curriculum you will learn the first law of thermodynamics. It states:”The total energy of an isolated system is constant; energy can be transformed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed.” First Law Wikipedia — BOOOORIIIIINNNG, I know…

This does, however, apply directly to the human body. The human body is the isolated system where we take in energy in the form of food and drink and our body processes that food to produce energy we use to do everything. This energy we use to breathe, pump blood, maintain body temperature, walk, run, and even chew the food that we then turn into more energy. Based on the first law of thermo we know that whatever we consume will need to be expelled in the form of released energy in one way or another otherwise it will need to be stored in the isolated system… our body. Our bodies have a great energy storage system. Any excess calories we consume will be stored and we can use it at any time we aren’t taking in enough calories. Cool right..very cool, and essential for human survival early on. We wouldn’t be the species we are today if we didn’t have this storage system and instead let extra calories leave the body without being stored. The problem is that of course we all know this energy is stored as FAT and these days nobody wants that!

So, to get rid of this excess energy (fat) that we all hate, we then have to release more energy from our bodies than we consume. Calorie counting and tracking to deficit goals are THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN PURE WEIGHT LOSS because of this. Period. Now after that bold statement I will say that there are many other factors to your overall health and you should consider those for your specific situation. It is important to eat healthy food choices drink tons of water, exercise, the whole bit. The simple fact remains, to see the number on the scale go down it doesn’t matter what you are eating as long as you keep track of the calories in and out and the calories out are greater than calories in, you will loose weight. Its Science!

How to loose 10 pounds

When tracking to a calorie deficit this question becomes how many calories are in 10 pounds of fat.

Google told me:

So to lose 10 pounds we have to burn 3,500 x 10= 35,000 calories more than we consume. Boom! Job done, that’s how you do it! I can hear you now, “Wait, Hold on Choncho… That is like running 291 miles or biking or riding 578 miles on my bike!” Yup, it sure is. Sorry, didn’t say it was easy. But now that we know what we are up against we can make a plan.

Weight and Calorie Glides

Just as google suggested above, they key is the long game. Make a plan for a certain deficit each day and over time you will glide to your goal. I am typically overly aggressive at the start of my plans and set a goal of 2 lbs per week or a 1000 calorie deficit per day. I can hit that at the start largely because I can be pretty active when I want to. I play a few sports and really enjoy cycling. (Given enough time in your day you can burn some serious calories on a bike, it is good.) And then as I go along it slows to a 750 or 500 deficit goal per week, it just depends on how it is going.

I have set up spreadsheets in the past and tracked using this method many times. What is great about this is you can see not only where you are but where your goals will take you. When I get cravings or the plan wears on me I look at where I will be in 1 month, in 2, in 3 and see some really nice numbers. After a while you get in the groove and the path you are on is second nature.

I’ll show you where I had some great success with this at the end of 2012:

I put this plan to use and saw results at one of the hardest times of the year. I very nearly hit my goal of 185 lbs but admittedly got complacent at the end and stopped tracking regularly. (185 is a solid weight for me. I am 5’9″ and was pretty into body building in college. I have some good muscle mass left over from then and liked 185. 175 is the new target for this year and closer to my high school graduating weight)

The other great part about these tracking sheets is that you can see your weight trend line. How many of you have started a weight loss plan and seen the number go down and down only to step on the next day to see you weight the same as when you started?

That is what I thought. The thing is, our weight can fluctuate greatly day to day and it is key not to get discouraged by one number one day but to track every day and notice the trend. The trend will show you the results of your hard work. For example look at just these 2 small snippets from my progress in 2012.

If you took either of these 2 small windows by themselves it would be easy to get discouraged. Heck the first one shows you went right back to the same or higher weight than when I started! Sad day! But when they become a part of the bigger picture you can see the progress and you can see exactly when you will hit your goal.

The next image is probably relateable:

I have had years like 2013 more often than not. Kick start some tracking, get derailed by one thing or another and try again. Again, I never said it was easy. These tracking sheets are helpful for me though as I said before and I will share the google sheet I used above for those interested. With all the wearable fitness trackers and tracking apps available today those are probably your best bet though for ease of use, which is key to keeping on top of it.

There you have it, How to lose 10 lbs. I will check in soon with my progress on this current journey.

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Originally published at on January 28, 2017.