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Calories Burned vs Calories Consumed: The Mathematics of Weight Loss

30 October 2018

For many people, losing weight is an emotional, challenging, and complex process, one that never seems to end. It's an array of new fitness regimens, new diets, new "superfoods" and supplements, and emotional investment. Many of us are confounded by our inability to lose weight despite the many different strategies and solutions we've tried over the years.

But for all that build-up and complication, the actual formula for weight loss is startlingly simple. Weight loss is ultimately a question of mathematics – calories consumed minus calories expended. Your body is an ever-changing balance between the energy you burn and the energy you consume.

Calories Consumed

When you've been on the ferris wheel of dieting, going off the diet, then starting a new diet for years, calories start to become loaded with emotional baggage and even moral implications. We attach so much significance to those little numbers on the nutrition labels of the food we eat that we forget what a calorie actually is: a measure of the energy contained in a serving of a particular type of food.

When you distance yourself from the emotional and psychological implications of calories and get back to the simplicity of thinking about them as measures of energy, the formula of calories in versus calories out becomes a lot less fraught and a lot easier to balance.

Calories Burned

On the other side of the equation from calories consumed, we have calories burned. All day long, your body burns calories just to keep you alive. That's right – you burn calories just by existing. Without ever stepping on a StairMaster, your body burns calories by maintaining your basic bodily functions, like breathing, pumping blood, and digesting.

The average man (5'10 tall, 150 pounds) will burn 68 calories per hour "doing nothing" like sitting and watching TV, or about 1600 calories per day. The average woman (5'5 tall, 130 pounds) will burn about 59 calories per hour, or around 1400 calories per day. If you do more than sit still all day long, you'll burn calories at a slightly faster rate. And if you exercise, you'll burn even more still. But your resting caloric rate gives you a baseline.

Using the Calorie Equation to Lose Weight

To maintain your current weight, all you would have to do is eat exactly as many calories as your body burns at rest. To lose weight, you would need to increase calories burned while maintaining calories consumed. The easiest way to tip that scale is with exercise. However, not everyone finds it easy to fit daily exercise into their schedule. If you work an office job that keeps you at your desk all day or have a family that keeps you busy after work, it can be very hard to make time to go to the gym or on a run.

For people who struggle to find time for exercise, a good solution is a desk bike. A desk bike like the V9 All-in-One Desk Bike allows you to increase your daily calorie expenditure with exercise without disrupting your normal routine. You can pedal and burn calories while watching TV, answering emails, reading reports, and more. Using the V9 desk bike takes no extra time out of your day, but you will notice the results from burning extra calories and tipping the calorie equation in your favor to lose weight.

Learn more about the V9 All-in-One Desk Bike.