If you’ve been trying to shed off some unwanted weight, you may have already heard of the 3,500-calorie threshold. That’s the number of calories that you should target in order to burn a pound of unwanted fat.

As you can guess, burning that much calories in a day take a lot of hard work and discipline. You can’t just rely on exercising alone; you also need to carefully watch your calorie intake. It can be done, however, if you really put your mind to it. Here’s how.

It’s A Numbers Game

Losing a pound a day requires careful balancing of numbers. On one hand, you need to be strict when counting how much calories you consume. On the other hand, you need to make sure that the calories you burn are actually more than what you consume.

Burning more than 3,000 calories in a week is actually very doable. But doing it in a day literally requires hours and hours of intense exercise plus strict dieting. Note that 3,500 calories represent the number of calories you need to burn in order to lose a pound of fat.

This means that if you consume 2,000 calories in a day, then you need to burn 2,000 calories plus 3,500 more calories in order to lose a pound. You probably won’t be able to do it just by exercising alone, so you really need to watch what you’re eating.

You also need to remember that your body needs fuel in order for you to be able to exercise and move about. That means you can’t skip eating altogether. You’re going to have to eat something to provide your body with the fuel you need.

Cutting Calories

Forgoing low-nutrition items that are high in calories is an excellent way to cut down on calories. This means avoiding ice cream, baked goods, candy, soda, and chips. As you may already be aware, these foods are so high in calories, but they don’t really give you energy.

healthy vs junk food

For foods that you absolutely need to eat, try replacing high-calorie items with those that have lower calorie counts. For instance, if you can’t start your day without coffee, instead of ordering a flavored latte, go for black coffee instead. A 16-ounce flavored latte can contain more than 200 calories while black coffee contains less than 10.

If you’re looking for something refreshing and craving for soda, try sparkling water instead. You’ll save yourself hundreds of calories. You’ll also save about 60 calories if you replace whole milk with skim milk.

Reducing portions is also another excellent way to cut down on your calorie intake. If you eat only half of your usual portion, that means the number of calories you need to burn will be greatly reduced.

Foods That Promote Weight Loss

When you need to shed pounds, there are certain foods you need to avoid like baked goods and chips. On the other hand, numerous foods have been scientifically proven to help support weight loss.

Eggs, for instance, are nutrient-dense and very filling. This means that if you restrict your calorie intake, you would still be able to get most of the nutrients that you need if you eat eggs. Plus, studies have also shown that eggs can increase feelings of fullness while suppressing your appetite.

Leafy greens like collards, spinach, and kale are also great for increasing your meal volume while keeping your calorie intake low. Plus, leafy greens also contain high concentrations of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  

Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are excellent sources of various nutrients, including protein and soluble fiber. Plus, they’re also excellent alternatives for those who prefer plant-based proteins.

On the one hand, if you’re looking for a high-protein diet, your best bet will be chicken breast and lean beef. You can actually lose around 100 calories more per day if you stick to a high-protein diet. On top of that, you can reduce your cravings for snacks by as much as 60% of you increase your protein intake.

Working Out

The number of calories you burn will actually depend on your weight, age, what kind of exercise you’re doing, as well as your exercise intensity levels. To give you an idea, a person weighing 160 pounds would burn 365 calories for every hour of low-impact aerobics. An hour of water aerobics, however, can help you burn around 402 calories.

fit female kettle bell exercise

To reach your goal of burning 3,500 calories in a day, you can try running at 5mph. Per hour, you’ll be able to burn approximately 606 calories. But that still means you’ll need to continue running for about 6 hours every day just to reach your daily goal of 3,500 calories.

You can also try bicycling at 12-13.9 mph which can help you burn 240-355 calories for every 30 minutes. That’s the same number of calories you can burn for each half hour of backstroke swimming or rock climbing.

Exercises that can help you burn 400 calories or more every 30 minutes include boxing, running cross-country, bicycling at 14-15.9 mph, running at 6 mph, and rope jumping. Vigorous swimming, especially when doing breaststroke, butterfly, or crawl, can also help you burn more than 800 calories per hour.

If you find competitive activities more motivating, karate, judo, and kickboxing are also excellent ways to burn close to 900 calories per hour. If you train for 4-5 hours every day, you can easily reach your goal of burning 3,500 calories. Handball, bicycling at more than 20 mph, and running at 10 mph or faster can help you burn more than a thousand calories per hour.

The Bottom Line

Burning 3,500 calories and losing a pound per day isn’t an easy thing to accomplish. But if you’ve set this as your goal, then you need to carefully plan your weight loss program. A combination of a low-calorie diet that’s high in nutrients and a well-designed workout program will help you achieve your goal.

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