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How To Lose Weight Calorie Deficit

How A Calorie Deficit Leads To Weight Loss Plateaus

How To Calculate A Calorie Deficit For Weight Loss | Nutritionist Explains | Myprotein

Cool, cool, cool. Thats all well and good, but theres some bad news.

As you lose weight, your metabolism slows down.

Yep. For real.

Because when you weigh less, your body needs less energy to maintain its daily functions. So the less you weigh, the lower your BMR is, and the lower your TDEE is.

This means to keep losing weight, you have to keep eating less and less or exercise more and more.

Why is this? Well, our bodies are designed to hold on to fat in case of emergencies. Our bodies constantly worry we might be like our peasant ancestors and end up in a famine.

So it holds on to fat.

Thats why when you start on a diet, youll start to see results, but eventually plateau or even regain weight. Unless you keep eating in a calorie deficit, with fewer calories over time, you wont keep losing.

And the second you eat more, you start gaining it back.

Plus, dont expect more exercise to be the answer either.

Our bodies adapt to exercise as well. Besides that, too much exercise can cause you to eat more to sustain your energy and lead to burnout.

Other Effects Of Extreme Calorie Restriction

In addition to altering how your metabolism runs, severe calorie restriction often results in some degree of malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiency, explains Candace Pumper, a staff dietitian with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. Micronutrient deficiencies can lead to a range of symptoms including:

  • Impaired ability to manage your body temperature.
  • Muscle fatigue.

Calorie Deficit To Lose Weight

By maintaining a calorie deficit for the long term, you can lose weight. Now, you must be wondering how to be in a calorie deficit the answer is simple. There are only two ways to maintain a calorie deficit:

  • Eating fewer calories than what you burn and
  • Burning more calories than you eat.

It is always recommended that you combine both of the above for healthy weight loss. To calculate how much calories you burn in different activities, check out the calories burned calculator.

Remember that 1 pound of fat is about 3,500 calories. Hence, to lose 1 pound of fat, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories.

This means that to lose 1 pound per week, you should consume3500 / 7 = 500calories less than the number of calories your body needs per day.

To lose weight without significantly affecting your energy levels, you should aim for a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day.

In the next section, we will see how to calculate calorie deficit.

Recommended Reading: 1200 Calorie Bariatric Meal Plan

Calculate Daily Calorie Needs

To create a calorie deficit, you’ll need to know your daily calorie needs to maintain your weight. Maintaining your current weight means you are not eating more or fewer calories than your exact needs to not gain or lose weight. Your maintenance calories are the starting number you will use to determine a calorie count for creating a deficit.

You can use the below calculator to determine your daily calorie needs:

What Is A Calorie Deficit And How Do You Calculate It For Weight Loss

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Creating a calorie deficit â where you burn more calories than you eat â can help you lose weight. And calculating your calorie deficit can help you determine how many calories to eat and burn every day to accomplish your weight-loss goals.

A caloric deficit is created by eating less, moving more or a combination of both.

Also Check: How Many Carbs In Pinto Beans Cooked

What If Im Not Losing Weight In A Calorie Deficit

Sometimes the scale wont budge, even when youre in a calorie deficit.

Its common to hit a plateau in your weight loss journey. Most people who stick with a new eating plan experience a plateau around the six-month mark.

However, many also find that if they stick with a calorie deficit, they keep moving in the right direction.

Its normal to feel frustrated when you arent losing weight, especially if you saw fast results early on.

Still, plateaus are a great chance to try something new, like experimenting with different recipes or adding joyful movement to your day with a walk or yoga class.

Be patient with yourself and have a support system in place to help you. To learn more about what to do if you hit a plateau, check out our full article on what to do if youre not losing weight on a calorie deficit.

Your Hormone Levels Are Off

This is super common in women, especially under 2 years postpartum or on birth control.

High levels of estrogen have been found to cause weight gain, especially around the waist and hips. This can lead to a whole host of other problems, including stress on your liver and gut health, thyroid issues, and mental health struggles.

Talk to your doctor about testing your hormone levels if you think they may be off, and about steps you can take to bring them back into balance.

You can also learn about holistic ways to balance your hormones to help in the meantime .

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Why Eating Fewer Calories Won’t Help You Lose Weight

Conventional nutritional wisdom has always recommended eating less and exercising more if you want to lose weight. In theory, this makes sense burn more calories than you eat, and the pounds will come off.

But theres often a significant drawback that develops when you go too far with an extreme diet, says Dr. Danny Shouhed, a board-certified surgeon and founding medical director of the Bariatric Surgery and Metabolic Weight Loss Center at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

Patients go on these crash diets where theyre really depriving themselves of calories to the point at which your body goes into starvation mode, and thats the part that becomes counterproductive, he says.

To cope with this uncertainty of food availability, the human body adapted to decrease the basal metabolic rate during periods of fasting. The basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the amount of calories the body needs to keep life-sustaining functions such as breathing.

Its the same concept of how bears hibernate in winter or how a crocodile can go underwater for 60 minutes at a time without gills and requiring no oxygen, Shouhed explains. The crocodile has the ability to drop its heart rate from 60 to 5 beats per minute to conserve energy when underwater. When your body goes into starvation mode, its similarly trying to keep as much energy and calories as possible just to function daily.

Here Are 8 Things You Need To Consider If You Are Following A Calorie


Opt for organic foods instead of consuming small portions of junk foods

As most people know, the right way to lose weight is to keep your body in a calorie deficit state. Being calorie-deficit refers to being in a state where one burns more calories than one consumes. When our bodies are in a calorie-deficit state, it burns fat to retain energy.

Keeping a calorie-deficit state might seem easy. However, many people often make mistakes trying to follow this to lose weight. In this article, we discuss some mistakes and the correct way to lose weight.

Other things to consider when going on a calorie-deficit diet:

1. Watch what you eat

Being on calorie-deficit means consuming lesser calories than you are burning. However, consuming a burger worth 400 calories instead of a salad with the same amount of calories is not the answer. You must still consume foods that provide nutrition.

2. Don’t skip on fibre

When going on a calorie-deficit diet, many people consume foods rich in various nutrients but skip fibre. Fibre is often considered useless’ when trying to lose weight but it is essential to manage the healthy functioning of your digestive system.

3. Skipping meals isn’t healthy

A calorie-deficit state does not only mean sticking to a certain amount of calories for the day. You must correctly divide these calories into different meals. Consuming one unhealthy and high-calorie meal and skipping other meals is not the right way to manage your calorie-deficit diet.

7. Be consistent

Also Check: How Many Carbs In Gin

Ways To Eat Fewer Calories

Lower calorie intake does not always imply eating less food. For you to decrease calories without feeling deprived, substitute certain higher-calorie food items with lower-calorie ones that keep you satisfied. These foods are generally rich in fiber and water.

Here are some pointers to help reduce calorie intake:

  • Eat a protein-rich breakfast. It makes you feel fuller for longer. Numerous studies indicate that a high-protein diet can help with weight loss and metabolic health.³This is due in part to the fact that protein lowers your levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also raises peptide YY levels, a hormone that helps you feel full.

  • Stay away from condiments, sauces, and salad dressings. Condiments can add flavor to a meal, but they can also add extra calories, sugar, and salt to your diet.

  • Lay off the booze. Reducing your alcohol consumption is a simple method to lower your calorie intake.

  • How Much Of A Calorie Deficit Do You Need To Lose Weight

    Because our bodies and lives are different, we all have unique calorie ranges for maintaining our current weight. It depends on many factors like height, age, weight, metabolism, physical activity, and more.

    Youre within your maintenance calorie range when you burn and consume roughly the same amount of calories.

    According to Coach Kendra, the average calorie deficit for weight loss is about 500 calories lower than your maintenance calorie budget.

    With a sustainable 500-calorie deficit, the average person can expect to lose roughly one pound per week.

    However, keep in mind that everyone is different. For example, people at higher weights tend to lose pounds faster at first. When you increase your physical activity, your calorie deficit may also change.

    Also Check: How Many Calories In 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter

    How To Burn More Calories Than Youre Eating

    Burning more calories than you eat in a day is referred to as a Calorie Deficit and is the basis of many weight loss equations. The idea is daily calories in minus daily calories out = caloric deficit. The first thing you need to understand is that one pound of fat is made of about 3,500 of extra calories. Therefore in order to lose one pound of fat, you need to create a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. For example if you wanted to lose one pound a week ~3,500/7= 500. That means negative 500 calories a day overall.

    There are only 3 ways you can create a deficit of calories each day:

    1. Eat fewer calories than you burn each day. Keep in mind that your body burns calories all day long as part of your basal metabolic rate , because it takes energy for your body to perform basic functions that are necessary for lifebreathing, digesting, circulating, thinking and more. It’s important for you to know what your BMR is so you can estimate how many calories you burn in an average day. In addition to that, you also burn some calories with normal daily activities like bathing, cleaning, walking, typing and exercising . SO by simply taking in less calories each day, that means less excess calories you have to burn off. Easy ways to do this include: eat less fast food or junk food, eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, eat lean protein, reduce the amount of bad fats, and drink more water.

    Youve Eaten Too Little For Too Long

    WHAT IS A CALORIE DEFICIT by @bodysmartfitness ã»ã»ã» ð¨â?ð?« OK let me get my ...

    If youve eaten a low-calorie diet for a long time, your metabolism will slow to match your calorie needs.

    A slow metabolism and a bottomed-out calorie range leave you with little wiggle room to keep trying to lose weight.

    Instead, you need to start slowly increasing your calories and start weightlifting to build your metabolism back up.

    Recommended Reading: How Many Calories Are Sweet Potato Fries

    What Happens When I Reach My Ideal Weight

    This is the fun part! Once you reach your ideal weight you no longer need to stay in a calorie deficit.

    So instead of losing weight, your new goal becomes maintaining your existing weight. Which also means you get to add some calories back to your daily diet!

    But wait, why are you calling it a diet if my calorie deficit phase is over?

    Because it’s important to keep eating healthy and be disciplined about your calorie consumption if you want to lose weight and keep it off.

    You can’t fall back into your old eating habits or you will start putting on the weight that you worked so hard to lose.

    Which means you will need to keep monitoring your caloric intake. And this is especially important when you start adding calories back. Why? So that you can get accustomed to eating this higher amount of calories without going over.

    Whats A Calorie Deficit And How Does It Cause Weight Loss

    Put yourself into a calorie deficit by providing your body with fewer calories than it needs.

    Your body receives energy from what you eat and drink and spends this energy to perform every function essential to keep you alive, like breathing, digestion, and circulation.

    This can be achieved by:

    • Exercising more
    • A combination of both

    When you create a calorie deficit, your body is forced to burn stored energy, which results in fat loss.

    Read Also: How Many Carbs Are In Tomato

    What Role Does It Play In Weight Loss

    The body uses the calories it gets from food to fuel your metabolism, digestion and physical activity. When the number of calories youre eating equals the number of calories youre burning for energy, your weight will remain stable.

    Once your bodys energy needs are met, any extra calories get stored some in the muscles as glycogen , but most as fat. So, if you eat more calories than you burn known as a calorie surplus this will cause weight gain. By contrast, if you consume less food than you need for energy, you will lose weight.

    Parren says: There are several studies that prove being in a calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight. Any type of diet whether its the paleo diet , the DASH diet , or Keto rely on a calorie deficit to work. Its advisable not to exceed a deficit of 500 calories a day.

    However, I would advise people to achieve this deficit through burning more calories, rather than restricting food intake. That is to say, burn your 500 calories a day through cardiovascular exercise and resistance training, rather than reducing the amount you eat. The reason for this is that it is less likely to lead to cravings and disordered eating, she says.

    How Many Calories Do You Need To Eat Each Day

    Daily and Weekly Calorie Deficit Goal Planning For Weight Loss

    Before you can create a calorie deficit in your diet, youll need to figure out how many calories your body needs each day to maintain your current weight.

    According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average sedentary man between ages 21 and 50 needs between 2,200 and 2,400 calories per day. The average sedentary woman in the same age range needs between 1,800 and 2,000 calories per day.

    However, the exact number of calories needed to lose or maintain weight is individual to you. It can be influenced by several factors, including muscle mass, fat mass, nutrition and dieting history, and overall health history, Tills says.

    You dont have to figure out all of those things alone. There are predictive equations that can be used to approximate how many calories we need in a day, Hunnes explains.

    One good example is the National Institute of Healths Body Weight Planner, which factors in your sex, height, current weight, and activity level. But while this can be a useful tool, your best bet is to consult with a registered dietitian who can give you their professional opinion and a personalized plan.

    Once you have this number, figure out how close to or far from it you are by tracking what youre eating and drinking for a week. From there, you can calculate how many calories youll need to cut from your typical eating plan each day to run a calorie deficit.

    Read Also: How Many Calories In One Slice American Cheese

    How To Maintain A Calorie Deficit

    Once you have determined your daily calorie intake to achieve your weight loss goals, it’s time to get started.

    But for most people, getting starting isn’t the hard part. Maintaining a calorie deficit is the biggest challenge and the hardest part of dieting.

    Fortunately there are several things you can do to maintain a calorie deficit and avoid breaking your diet:

    • Keep focusing on your primary reason for wanting to lose weight. Your ‘big why’ is what should motivate you to stay the course.
    • Use an app to track your calories, what you eat, and to plan your meals.
    • Take photos so that you can track your progress over time. When you start seeing the difference in your photo log, you will be more likely to continue.
    • Eat healthy, high-volume foods that make you feel full .
    • View weight loss as a journey. Yes your ideal weight is the destination you want to reach. But there are many exciting milestones along the way!

    Something you may have noticed from the items listed above is that some are mental, while others are physical.

    In fact, we talk a lot on this site about developing the proper mindset for losing weight. That’s because much of the battle to lose weight is fought in your mind!

    One last thing. As you might imagine, maintaining a calorie deficit can be stressful. So we highly recommend you check out our article on stress and weight loss.

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