there's much more room for failure - why it's easy to fail
First of all, let's get the facts out there on the table: Losing weight is all about the numbers - calories in vs calories out.*
Now let's look at an example: Assume a 45-year old man wants to lose weight. He's 5'10" tall and weighs 215 lbs, on a frame that's meant to carry 165.
We can see from the Calorie Calculator he needs 2,240 calories per day to maintain his weight.
Here's where we get to the numbers.
Let's assume our sample guy wants to lose 50 lbs this year. That works out to about 1 lb per week.
He'll need to run a calorie deficit of -3,500 calories to lose one pound. Since he wants to lose 1 lb per week, divide that 3,500 by 7 days (in a week), and he'll need to run a 500 calorie deficit per day. (which is exactly what the Results show in the screen clip above.)
This means he'll need to eat a maximum of 1,740 calories per day. (2,240 calories to maintain weight minus 500 calorie daily deficit.) 1,740 calories per day is very doable (I've written the Daily Diet series and have published real-world example diets he could use), but it will be difficult to get much lower than this. He might have a day where he only eats 1,600 calories, or maybe even 1,400. I doubt he'll get all the way down to 1,000 calories in a day.
The point is, he'll try hard to keep himself on pace: -500 calories per day. There may be days here and there where he'll eat even fewer calories, but not a significant amount. Heck, even if he fasts for a day, he'll only be putting 1,740 calories into his 'deficit bank.'
Over-eating, on the other hand, is almost unlimited. I've written recently about a poorly planned lunch at a restaurant where I ate 1,800 calories for lunch and was fortunate to keep my daily intake at 2,800. I've also written about how easy it would be to walk across the street and eat 3,010 calories for lunch! And the most extreme example: Michael Phelps eating 12,000 calories PER DAY while training for the Olympics.
Time to get to the point
1,740 calories per day is doable. However, it's far easier to over-eat than under-eat. And at the extremes, the most you can possibly under-eat is 1,740 calories, and that's if you fast for the entire day. While the most you can possibly over-eat is 10,260 calories (if you eat like Michael Phelps.) More realistically, though, it wouldn't be too hard to eat 5,000 calories in a day (3,260 extra.)
I talk about cheat days, getting back up after you fall down, being realistic with your goals, etc. And all that is true - after all, I don't want to see you quit just because you have a bad day. But realize that it isn't easy to make up for those bad days. 3,260 extra calories in one day? Our example-guy would need to reduce his already-low 1740 daily intake down to 1640, for an entire month, to get himself back on pace to losing 50 pounds in a year.
It would probably be better to write that bad day off as a loss, get back on the 1,740 wagon, and know it will take an extra week to reach his goal.
Success takes commitment and dedication, for the long term.
and, in reference to my first statement in the post..
* Yes, there are plenty of diet plans out there that try to move your focus to different sections of your food..
- "Don't eat any protein."
- "Eat vegetarian."
- "Don't eat any carbs."
- "Eat like a caveman would."
- And all the proprietary plans' (nutri-ultra-slim-systems) "Eat our name-branded pre-packaged foods."
The reason most of these will help you lose some weight is because they help you eat fewer calories. The reason most of these won't help you get all the way to your goal is because their systems don't focus on the actual number of calories.