Ask the Expert: Dilip Patel, MD, Sports Medicine, WMED

We are rounding off our interviews with a physician’s perspective. Dilip Patel MD is a member of the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at WMU’s School of Medicine and a sports medicine specialist.

If you are expecting any weight gain or loss, what increments of change do you consider healthy?

“Many young athletes at- tempt to either gain or lose weight for sports requirements or with the belief that it will improve sports performance. Athletes should do so with proper professional advice and supervision. Any such weight loss as well as weight gain should be gradual. A given change should not exceed 1.5% of the total body weight, or 1 to 2 lb. each week. To lose 1 lb. of body weight in 1 week, one must expend 3500 kcal more than one consumes. The preferred way to do this is to consume 1750 kcal fewer per week and expend 1750 kcal more per week by exercising.

“Once the desired weight is attained, an athlete should maintain that weight, rather than going through cycles of weight gain and loss. Studies have shown that athletes who maintain their desired weight tend to burn more calories as a result of relatively higher resting metabolic rates than do athletes who go through cycles of loss and gain. Therefore, athletes who maintain a constant weight can consume more calories than those who go through ‘cyclic’ weight loss.”

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