The Actual Amount of Weight You Could Possibly Gain in a Week

“Today is the day I stop ordering takeout and eat some kale for dinner,” says everyone constantly. We hear you: Our lives are basically an endless string of happy hours, snap-judgment fatty food choices, and stress eating. (What, sometimes a Snickers bar after a 12-hour workday is THE ONLY THING WE WANT.) But we know you’ve wondered, because we’ve wondered: On a particularly indulgent week, how much weight are you actually packing on?

It’s long been believed that approximately 3,500 calories is what a person would need to consume to gain a pound of weight—but that’s not necessarily true. A “calorie” doesn’t mean the same thing across all types of food. Sugar-loaded candies have empty calories, which get stored immediately as fat, whereas natural foods (vegetables, fruits, lean meats) have essential vitamins and nutrients that are burned and used throughout your body, says Keri Glassman, R.D., founder of Nutritious Life. Plus, everybody digests and metabolizes foods differently—which is why there’s always that one friend who can eat an entire shepherd’s pie solo and be like “what?”

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