How To Lose Weight: The Real Math Behind Weight Loss
OK, so imagine one pound of your own fatty
flesh. So if you burn that amount of flesh, and that
sounds kind of, you know, weird, but if you were to convert that into energy, you would
get about 3500 Calories, which is quite a lot of energy. That is me talking with Dr. Carson Chow, an
M.I.T. trained physicist and mathematician and he
is explaining to me why we should care how much energy fat has. In order for you to live and function, you
need to burn energy to, like, keep your heart beating, all your organs going and just to
move around. But energy doesn’t come for free. So if you aren't consuming enough calories
you are going to burn that energy with your own fat. So a lot of diet books like to teach this
rule, but the problem is its wrong. Here is why. Let's say I eat 500 calories less a day. So after 1 week it would be 3,500 calories,
and I would lose a pound, right? Because I'd have to burn it.
Yeah, and if I stayed on this diet for a year
I’d burn through 52 pounds. It'd be great! If you keep taking this thing, well, after
2 years I'd lose 104, and after 10 years I'd lose 500 pounds, you know? So obviously, at some point this rule is going
to break down. It will actually break down before you get
to a year. So to understand the real math behind losing
weight, Dr. Chow wanted me to imagine a leaky bucket. You have some water in the bucket and that's
the amount of body fat or tissue in your body. And the leak represents the rate at which
you are burning energy. In reality what you are doing is adding water
at the top, that's like eating food. And when you are in steady state the amount
of water you add at the top exactly balances the amount of water you lose at the bottom. If you are pouring in more water than it is
leaking then you are going to gain weight. Now if you think about the physics of a leaky
bucket, the more water you pour into the bucket the faster it's gonna leak.
So the leak rate scales with how big you are. And this is a well-known fact, that the larger
you are, the more energy you burn. You're going to burn more energy because it
takes more energy just to move a larger mass. You have more tissue and just to keep that
tissue going it takes more energy. Congratulations. You have a new steady state. But lets say you don't want to stay this large
person that you've become. Well, the opposite is true, as well. You can pour in a lot less water than you
are leaking. But… As you start to lose weight you start to get
smaller and you burn less energy and you start to metabolically adapt to your new diet. And so you are never going to lose weight
at one constant rate. It is always going to curve from one steady
state down to another.
Which means… When you go on a diet, the 3500 calorie rule
is the wrong rule. There is a new rule. Wait for it… The new rule is, for every ten calories you
eat less, you lose a pound. But it will take you about 3 years or more
to see the full affect of your diet, which is still pretty good. All you have to do is eat a hundred calories
less, you lose ten pounds. That's like a can of Coke. So you should expect the diet to be extremely
slow. Right, but nobody wants a slow diet. We all want to lose 20 pounds for this summer.
What's wrong with just focusing on losing
weight rapidly? But the problem is once you are at this new
weight they have to be vigilant for the rest of their life. Because losing weight is slow, gaining weight
is also slow. But it slowly creeps up, and then two or three
years later, bang, it hits them, and they're back up to where they were. So the mathematically approved rule for weight
loss: for every 10 calories I don't eat a day I'll eventually lose one full pound.
Which means changing your steady state is
a marathon and not a sprint. Hey guys, this is Todd. Thanks so much for watching! Uhh If you want to have life-changing epiphanies
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Plus, we ask you, "What would you advise people who are trying to take the slow path to losing
weight?" And here's what some of you said.
If you have any additional thoughts or comments,
make sure you leave them in the comments section below. And make sure you join us next week when we're
gonna talk about the differences between white bread and sugar. Or, are there actually any differences? We'll find out. See you next week!.