# How long does it take: extra calories ---> fat?

1. Hi there! I've been overeating a lot over the past 2 months. I've gained 5 pounds in that time. Not a humongous amount, I know, but I'm 5'2" and every extra pound is VERY obvious.

I'm just wondering: how long does it take for the human body to convert extra, unneeded calories to fat?

2. From a mathmatical standpoint, you need to consume 3,500 excess calories to gain one pound of fat. In order to lose one pound, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 either by consuming less or burning it off through exercise.

However, with that being said, calories are not all created equal. If the majority of the calories you consume are from refined food sources (refined white sugar, high starch carbs, processed foods), your body is more likely to store them as fat. High carb foods as listed above are quickly digested and used by your body a fuel and, if you don't do something to burn up what you consumed, your body will immediately store that as fat. Food sources high in protein and fiber take longer to digest and thus, aren't as easily or immediately stored as fat.

Hope that helps a little!

3. Wow, Mokoni, you know your stuff, thanks!!

Let me see if I understand this correctly: If I consume 3500 excess calories *in one day* and I don't burn it off -- and let's say it was mostly refined white sugar and high starch carbs -- that means I'll be one pound heavier the very next day?

4. You're welcome!

To answer your question: It doesn't have to be in one day, but it could be. It can be over one day, one week or one year - a pound is gained once your body has accumulated the excess 3,500 calories. However, if you were to consume 3,500 excess calories in one day you would surely gain that pound in one day and, more than likely, you'd gain some extra water weight as well.

Another way to look at it: let's say you want to lose weight. You decide that you are going to cut 500 calories per day from your diet. 500 calories x 7 days in a week = a 3,500 calorie deficit and one pound lost over a week. The process is reversed for gaining weight. If you consumed 500 extra calories every day over a week you'd gain one pound in one week.

And, even if you aren't eating highly processed refined foods and you eat mostly high fiber/high protein foods, you can still gain weight if you consume too many calories. The refined/high sugar/high carb foods are just stored as fat quicker than anything else. However, that doesn't mean that all carbs are bad (but that's a whole different topic).

Confusing, isn't it?

ETA: The only reason I know so much about all of this is because I have declared war on my body. My goal is to become a fat burning machine by modifying my diet and building muscle.

5. You rock, girl! I was just going to ask you if you are a nutritionist...you speak so articulately on this topic. I like your mentality of "declaring war" on your body. It IS a battle! My metabolism has slowed down tremendously since having 2 kids, and if I indulge for even just one meal, I pay for it for weeks/months. It all goes directly to my inner tube, back, and upper arms. (yes, I am an apple shape)

Best of luck to you on your "battle" and thanks again SO much for all this great info! It really helps to understand how metabolism works.

6. My indulgences go straight to my rear (or tummy). :shame: And, I can so relate to the problems of being a short woman - I am only 5' 1" so I feel your pain. I am painfully short waisted and so there just isn't any room for excess around my midsection. Really, there is no room for excess anywhere. A five pound gain or loss makes such a difference when you are short.

I just started reading an excellent book called the Abs Diet for Women and it's awesome! My husband has the Abs Diet book that I had skimmed through about six months ago but this is fine-tuned for women. I've been doing the Abs full body circuit weight training routine for a few months but I hadn't incorporated the "diet" aspect of it. I started that this weekend and I am really excited!

Here's a link to the book on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Abs-Diet-Women-Six-Week-Flatten/dp/1594866244/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-0482115-0533465?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182118338&sr=8-1

Also, here is a link to a great article that I posted in another thread. This is a VERY smart article - lots of great information.

http://health.msn.com/dietfitness/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100163558