Does 3500 Calories Really Equal 1 Pound Experiment Results for 1 Month

Alright, well the month of July is well and truly over! It’s time to post the results of my “Does 3500 Calories Really Equal 1 Pound”

During this experiment I tracked my food intake, my calories burned, my weight, and my body fat and muscle percentages. Unfortunately I lost it around day 22 and starting eating more than I should have, which is clearly reflected in my results.

I filled out the spreadsheet below for the month of July, and used it to calculate my theoretical weight.


Theoretically, a 3500 calorie defect should be equal to 1 pound. You can use this formula each day, or add up your total calorie deficit over a period of time.

form 2

form 1

The above formula is to be used when calculating your Theoretical Weight in pounds. Use the below formula if you use kilograms.

form 3

If anyone is ever using these formulas and needs some more explanation, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’m more than happy to help.

Now that you understand how this experiment was conducted, and results calculated, it’s time to see if 3500 calories is really equal to 1 pound!

Below is the graph of my actual weight for the month of July against my calculated theoretical weight.

chart 1

As you can see, up until about day 20, my actual weight and theoretical weight were pretty close. They were certainly following the same trend. After day 20 I starting eating way more than I should of, of all the wrong foods, and this is clearly reflected here in my actual weight, however, according to my theoretical weight, I should have just plateaued. So why did I put back on 2kg? I think this was due to my increased sodium intake. A higher sodium intake means higher water retention, this sky-rocket in weight could easily just be water weight, just a theory though.

And just for fun, I also tracked my Body Fat and Muscle Percentages which can be seen in the graph below.


As you can see, my muscle percentage increased slightly over the month, and my body fat percentage decreased until I started eating poorly and then increased. This goes against my theory that my spike in weight at the end of the month was due to water retention and suggests that this weight was actually put back on in fat.

So what conclusions can we draw? When losing weight, the concept that 3500 calories is equal to 1 pound is pretty actuate, however, when gaining weight, this is not reflected. A quick look at the numbers shows that in this situation, a calorie surplus of 3500 is closer to 1.5 pounds gained.

Moral of the story? It’s harder to lose weight than to gain it! But we all knew that anyway.

Please remember that this experiment was only run for the course of one month, which is not a very long time for this type of experiment. In the future I hope to conduct this same experiment over a few months to obtain more accurate results, so stay tuned!

Xx Laura

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