If you’ve ever tried to start a weight loss journey, there’s a high chance you’ve heard the words “calorie deficit,” and through no fault of your own, there is also a high chance you don’t know what that means.
So what is it? First, we need to understand what a calorie is. Then we will go into creating a sustainable deficit and its influence on weight loss.
A calorie is a unit used to measure the energy we consume from food and track how much of that food energy we release throughout the day. In a calorie deficit, you have to be expending more calories than you consume.
Calories In < Calories Out
There are three ways you burn calories in a day:
Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) — the energy used to keep you alive for breathing and blood circulation
Thermic food effects — calories you burn from digesting food
Active Calories — this is probably what you think of when you hear the term “burning calories,” it includes and exercise and non-exercise related physical activity such as fidgeting
To sustain a healthy caloric deficit, you must consume fewer calories than it takes for your body to support these three components, and you must be consistent with the deficit to see results. Various factors play a role in how many calories you burn per day, including gender and height.
To achieve the deficit, you first find your maintenance calories (the number of calories needed to support energy expenditure) then subtract anywhere from 200-500 calories. This can be done by using an online calorie calculator that evaluates weight, age, height, and activity levels. To ensure overall health and avoid nutrient deficiencies, it is recommended not to eat fewer than 1800 calories daily.
Creating a calorie deficit can be done by decreasing food intake, or increasing physical activity, but the latter is more manageable.
Here are some tips to increase satiation which will make a caloric deficit more attainable
Limit liquid calories
Limit processed foods
Eat home cooked meals
Eat what you want + enjoy treats in moderation
The information provided on this website is purely for educational purposes only. FitBrain contains no medical advice. If you have any concerns or pre-existing medical conditions, please consult a physician or medical practitioner before attempting anything FitBrain recommends. FitBrain explicitly assumes no liability for any injury that may occur while performing any of the recommended exercises or consuming any recommended supplement.
Calorie Deficit Calculator. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fitwatch.com/calculator/calorie-deficit
Pathak, N. (2021, May 07). Caloric Deficit: What to Know. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/calorie-deficit#1