The New Weight Loss Calculator
Between lean body mass, body fat percentage, water weight, metabolism, and prior diet and exercise, losing pounds has many variables, and caloric deficit is only one piece of the equation. To get a more accurate picture of weight loss over time, researchers at The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently created a mathematical model and online simulation tool that accounts for these variables.
The Body Weight Simulator
The baseline information the tool uses includes the usual: age, sex, physical activity level, and initial weight. The results corroborate what calorie counters already know: an active 50-year old woman at 150 pounds and a sedentary 17-year old boy at 300 pounds will lose weight differently. Developed at the Lab of Biological Modeling of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the Body Weight Simulator may offer new information many weight loss hopefuls may have yet to consider.
Once you input the baseline information the simulator gives you baseline diet information in the form of a current caloric intake per day. Seeing this number could give you an ‘I didn’t know’ moment. Because so many people starting a diet have little to no clue how many calories they're consuming daily, seeing this estimate could be a much needed reality check. What’s more, examining approximately how much food you eat now can help you find a middle ground between an extreme reduction in calories and one that is more realistic.
Goal Weight vs. Lifestyle Change
As available on most sites, inputting a goal weight and a certain amount of days will return a change in physical activity and daily calories to stick in order to reach your goal by a certain date. But it doesn’t stop there. The results are charted by day, giving a representation of how weight loss progresses, not only in pounds, but also in body fat, and more importantly energy expenditure. The chart exposes something most people may not think about while dieting: as you lose weight you burn calories differently. The same concept is true for the lifestyle change option. Comparing the two options’ results can reveal how either diet and exercise alone or both can affect your weight loss over time.
Weight Change vs. Goal Maintenance
Another facet of the simulator is the consideration of two phases of weight loss. Many people have all the numbers lined up of how to lose weight, but may not know how to maintain their weight loss. How many more calories and how much exercise will help you stay at your goal weight is important to determine at the beginning of your weight loss program. The simulator answers these questions through the tabulated data that shows your caloric intake and expenditure after you reach your goal weight.
Researchers are hoping to use clinical trials to improve it. For now, use the simulator wisely as it may give information for daily caloric intake and physical activity that may be outside the healthy range of weight loss of up to two pounds a week.
DISCLAIMER: The information from The Body Weight Simulator is for general research use only and is not intended to provide personal medical advice or substitute for the advice of a physician or weight management professional. If you have specific questions about the information presented, concerns about individual health matters or body weight management, please consult your physician.
What results from the Body Weight Simulator are you interested in seeing?