Weight Loss and Exercise Myths

Weight Loss and Exercise Myths

There are so many myths regarding weight loss, exercise, and nutrition. We bet you’ve heard that 3500 calories equal a pound of weight loss. Everyone knows stretching before exercising prevents soreness and injuries. And, a popular one, there’s no way to keep the weight off.

Myths abound about nutrition and exercise, weight loss and weight gain. Age-old knowledge changes with information, science, and research, but it’s hard to let go of those old ideas. Through myth-busting, as board-certified weight loss experts, our goal is to help our patients understand weight loss and their bodies better.


Weight management and health aren’t one-size-fits-all. For years, we’ve been trained to think about weight loss as a balance between calories ingested and calories burned – specifically 3500.  In a simple equation of subtracting 3500 calories from our diets or by burning 3500 calories, we’d lose a pound of weight.  This is called energy balance. Bodies, though, don’t work like a battery.

Certainly, there is a direct relationship between energy balance and weight loss, but to put a “golden number” for people to shoot for, without taking into account that the human body is much more complex and interesting than that, we’ve oversimplified an incredibly intricate process.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published findings by an expert panel that studied the 3500 calorie-per-pound adage, and they tested it.  Read about their findings in  Energy balance and its components: implications for body weight and regulation. 

Basically, they found what we in our Florida weight loss clinic have practiced — every body is unique, and every body’s needs differ. There’s no magic 3500 calories to a pound because shifts in body weight are not linear. For example, the more weight we lose, the less energy we need when we’re at rest, so our resting energy drops. This isn’t because we have slow metabolisms. It’s simply because our bodies are efficient. Why use the energy we don’t need?

This study was exciting, as it takes into account the seemingly infinite variables and has come up with an equation that can be used as a weight loss predictor. That said, medical weight loss experts and physicians are more conservative in weight loss prediction when working with clients. Metabolism changes in the human body are incredibly complex and nuanced. There’s a mystery element in weight loss that even the best dieticians, doctors, and personal trainers can’t predict.

For now, experts are stepping back from the predicted 52 pounds of loss per year to 25 and then an estimated 22 in the following three years, when calculating metabolism changes. Health is a lifetime goal. Find out more about clinical solutions to obesity and how to develop habits to last a lifetime.