Did you know that creating a calorie deficit is the most crucial part of a diet promoting weight loss? It happens when you consume fewer calories than your body burns or burn more calories than you consume. What happens is that doing so puts your body in a state of negative energy balance in that it does not have the energy to undertake the regular operations of the day like breathing, moving, digesting, exercising, etc. As a result, your body naturally needs other means to be able to perform all these functions. Therefore, your body is compelled to burn your own stored fat in the body instead of energy. This leads to loss of weight owing to fat loss. This is why a calorie deficit is a perfect solution to weight loss.
Sometimes, a calorie deficit is termed as an energy deficit because calories are basically a unit of heat or energy.
The Ideal Calorie Deficit to Lose Weight
It is important to not get disillusioned seeing the simple way to create a calorie deficit. For many people, especially the lot that diets, it is nothing less than a struggle. It is not as simple as it seems on the surface. You need to create this energy deficit in order for the weight loss to take place. Studies reveal that you need a calorie deficit of 3500 calories per week so as to shed one pound of fat. This inarguably seems a pretty high target to achieve. However, splitting it into daily deficits can be a viable option. If you create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day, you will reach the required total deficit of 3500 at the end of the week.
How to Create a Calorie Deficit
Now the task ahead of us is how to create a deficit of 500 calories per day or 3500 calories per week. You do have a tough road ahead. But you don’t have to starve yourself with a fancy diet so as to accomplish your target.
Following are the three healthy ways to create a calorie deficit for weight loss:
Eat Less Food
If you cut down on your portion sizes, make it a point to cut back on snacking and choose lower-calorie foods at mealtime. By doing so, you’ll naturally take in fewer calories each day. If you reduce your calorie intake enough, you’ll create a calorie deficit large enough to propel weight loss.
Get More Active
The number of calories your body needs each day depends on how active or indolent you are. That takes into account the exercise you do every day and also your normal physical movement. If you increase the number of calories your body requires, but still consume the same number of calories from food, you’ll attain a calorie deficit.
Combine Diet and Exercise
Mostly, people are recommended to combine diet and exercise to lose weight. That means that they might consume 250 fewer calories each day and then go for a 60-minute brisk walk to burn an additional 250 calories. The calorie deficit would sum up to be 500 calories. If you follow a similar plan each day of the week, you’d reach the 3500 calorie deficit necessary for weight loss.
It doesn’t really matter which option you choose to create an energy deficit. Different plans work differently for different people. The key is to understand the science and create a calorie deficit on a regular basis. Only then will you be able to lose weight using this technique.
Planning the Size of your Calorie Deficit
While planning how big or small a calorie deficit should be, these three things have to be kept in mind:
- Maximizing fat loss
- Minimizing muscle loss
- Doing it in a feasible and sustainable manner
Thus, there can be three different categories of sizes of the deficit- small, moderate or large.
Small Caloric Deficit
Naturally, with a smaller sized deficit, it is most convenient to do it and more importantly, sustain it. Since the number of calories being reduced is low, only a few dietary changes can be enough. This means no problem with hunger and mood, less metabolic problems, and little to no impact on training and recovery. Also, the potential for muscle loss is minimum. On the downside, however, the rate of weight loss will be at its lowest as well, and that’s a huge disadvantage for most people, mainly who want to lose weight as fast as possible.
Large Caloric Deficit
With a larger sized deficit, the rate of weight loss will be at its highest, and that’s something that probably pulls everyone who’s looking to lose weight. However, the fact that it requires such a big calorie reduction makes it the hardest to do and sustain. A large deficit will also have a more negative effect on training and recovery, and that increases the potential for muscle loss. Therefore, by reducing your daily calorie intake by a larger degree, you end up putting yourself in the most difficult position to achieve successful long term weight loss.
Moderate Caloric Deficit
With a moderately sized deficit in between the two extremes, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds while reducing many of the potential drawbacks. And, while each of the 3 different size deficits can indeed have a place in certain situations, it is believed that a moderately sized caloric deficit is the best option if you want to lose weight. This is because you’ll end up maximizing fat loss, minimizing muscle loss, and doing it in a way that is the perfect blend of easy, fast, sustainable, and enjoyable, that is, accomplish everything aforementioned.
Creating a calorie deficit is the first step for weight loss. You don’t necessarily need to count calories in order to do this, but you do need to find your own way of controlling what you eat and how you eat. Even if you do all the things that you are supposed to like lift heavy, eat adequate protein, choose mostly whole foods and add strategic cardio, your body is still going to adapt as you lose weight. So to lose weight, you’ll need to adjust what you eat, or how much exercise you do. Thus, creating a calorie deficit becomes critical.