Before the days of apps and algorithms, I learned simple mathematical principals that can be used to help people manage their weight. I have successfully used these principals for decades. After meeting with hundreds [more likely thousands] of clients, I have found these strategies so trustworthy that I teach them to clients to this day.
First, I read the daily log of the client’s food intake, estimating how many calories the person is consuming to maintain an unacceptable weight- whether it is too high or too low. If the client is sedentary, I multiply her/his weight by the number 10, and that number should reflect the number of calories consumed on the average day to maintain her/his weight.
If the person is moderately active, I multiply her/his weight by the number 13 to estimate the number of calories consumed on the average day. If the person is very physically active, I multiply her/his weight by the number 15 to estimate their daily caloric intake. Using the client’s daily diary of her/his food intake, I can then compare my estimates of daily caloric intake to the estimates of the formula.
Many scientists assert it takes 3,500 excess calories to gain a pound of fat, and it requires eliminating 3,500 calories to lose a pound. I can help an overweight client eliminate 500 calories per day from her/his usual intake of food for 7 days, knowing by the end of one week s/he will have burned 3,500 calories, and will have lost one pound. This approach works very successfully in most people.
The reverse is also true. If an underweight client wants to gain weight, I simply assist her/him to find comfortable ways to add 500 calories to her/his daily diet for 7 days. Most of the time, after one week, underweight clients have gained one pound.
In some cases, this pace is too rapid a change for comfort. Because my goal is for everyone to be healthy and happy, I simply slow the pace, making caloric increases or decreases in smaller increments. It is my job to make any dietary changes as simple, and enjoyable as possible so there is no reason to abandon a plan designed to promote good health.
I have also found, in most cases, perfection is not necessary. Mathematical close estimates are good enough, helping people achieve their health, and weight goals.
Dateline: Latham, Albany County, New York