Calorie Deficit: This Is How You Take In Fewer Calories Than Your Body Uses

In order to reduce body fat and lose weight, you should create a calorie deficit. This means taking in fewer calories than your body uses so that it can tap into existing fat reserves. But how do you ensure that you are in a calorie deficit?

No matter which diet you are currently going through, whether low carb, keto or intermittent fasting: In order to lose weight successfully, you should have a moderate calorie deficit.

However, the perfect and most optimal calorie deficit does not exist, since each body reacts differently due to its metabolism.

But there are a few tricks to calculate a calorie deficit individually to know whether you are really in deficit for the day or not.

If you want to lose fat and lose weight with the help of a calorie deficit, you should follow the tips below – then there is a good chance that you will lose weight sustainably and in the long term.

What is a calorie deficit?

First, it’s important to understand what a calorie deficit really is.

When it comes to losing weight, a moderate calorie deficit is key: the number of calories you take in daily must be high enough for you to be able to tolerate the deficit – and still lose weight.

This is because if you don’t eat enough calories, you’ll be too tired for workouts, feel hungry all the time, have trouble sleeping, have digestive problems, and actually not lose weight at the end of the day.

A moderate calorie deficit is between 300 and 700 calories per day.

Calculate your individual calorie deficit

You can calculate your calorie deficit by multiplying your body weight by 10, 11, and 12. The calorie deficit should ideally fall between the results of these three calculations.

Another and more accurate way to calculate calorie deficit is to predetermine total energy expenditure – the number of calories your body burns each day.

This total turnover is made up of basal turnover and performance turnover.

In addition, the training units for the corresponding day should also be taken into account – that’s how much the body burns off in the respective sports.

The total turnover (plus sports unit) is determined. Then the selected calorie deficit is subtracted from it. The result is the number of calories you can consume during the diet.

In any case, you should make sure that you always eat more than 1,200 calories per day – especially if you exercise regularly.

Experience optimal fat loss

How long does it take to lose a pound of fat mass using a calorie deficit?

One thing can already be said in advance: in one week it is hardly possible to lose a kilo of pure fat mass. Because of that, you would have to aim for a high, unhealthy calorie deficit.

You can calculate the required healthy period like this:

7,000 calories must be saved for 1 kilogram of pure fat mass. The size of the calorie deficit is crucial

  • Example 1: With a daily deficit of 200 calories, it takes about 35 days.
  • Example 2: With a daily deficit of 500 calories, it takes about 14 days.

Take healthy eating seriously

It’s important to eat a balanced diet and get enough complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein. All dishes should also provide plenty of vitamins and fiber.

Above all, an increased protein requirement of 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is highly recommended for weight loss success.

Why is sufficient protein so important? It fills you up for longer and protects you from cravings, and in a calorie deficit, this strategy also means you consume fewer carbohydrates.

In addition, increased protein intake promotes muscle growth. And the more muscle you have, the more energy your body burns at rest.

Once you’ve adjusted your calorie and protein counts, here’s a tip to follow: weigh, measure, and plan your meals.

It’s hard to tell if you’re in a calorie deficit if you only have a rough idea of how many calories certain foods provide. You misjudge it very quickly.

So that you don’t lose track of things, tracking apps that you can use to count calories can be useful.

Be consistent but not too strict

What is the best time to be in a calorie deficit? It is difficult to give a general answer. It depends on how much fat and weight you want to lose.

It is advisable to be in a moderate calorie deficit for between two and a maximum of six months so that the metabolism can still function well and normally.

Don’t be too harsh on your body: If you’re not in deficit one or two days a week, it’s no big deal. Because it really depends on the weekly balance sheet.

If you ever fail to work out or eat one too many brownies, it’s not a broken leg. Better get yourself back on track the next day with a workout or a healthy meal.

Keep a positive mindset.

Log progress

Weighing yourself can be helpful, bearing in mind that this numerical scale isn’t the only way to track your progress.

If only because the number on the scale can sometimes be deceptive, other methods should also be used.

Taking regular photos of yourself, and tracking your energy levels, mood, and overall health are all good things to do.

No weight loss despite calorie deficit?

Actually, that is not possible. If you’ve been in a consistent calorie deficit for weeks, then you’re definitely losing weight.

  • This may be the reason why the scales are standing still
  • Fat loss does not always mean weight loss: there are phases in which the body retains more water. Women in particular are more affected due to the menstrual cycle. Although your weight doesn’t change, you may still have lost fat.
  • You’re too impatient: Don’t expect to lose weight in a few days.
  • After two months of dieting, there is suddenly a standstill. Attention! Total sales were often not recalculated. Due to the previous weight loss, the basal and total metabolic rate has decreased, and consequently, the daily calorie intake has also decreased.
  • You have been in deficit for too long or are pursuing a deficit that is too high: the result: the body defends itself.

It’s worth sticking with

Everyone holds the strings to success in their own hands: The best thing is that you can decide for yourself whether you are making the progress you really want.

If so, stay the course. If not, adjust the number of calories consumed very slightly and move on.

In order to find out your individually suitable calorie deficit, you will most likely have to try something around first.

However, it is worth persevering until you have found the optimal calorie deficit for you and you see success in losing weight: If you demonstrate discipline and consistency here, you will not only lose fat and weight but also benefit from it in other areas of life.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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