• Lose Weight
    Lose fat while preserving muscles.
  • Get Sculpted
    Go for total body sculpting.
  • Gain Weight
    Build muscle and increase strength.
  • Maintain Weight
    Eat and train for optimal fitness.

What is a Calorie Deficit?

To lose weight, a person must burn off more energy than they consume. This creates a ‘negative energy balance,’ or calorie deficit.  At this point, the body begins to use stored energy (fat, glycogen, and sometimes muscle tissue). 

For example, if your energy needs are 2500 calories per day…. And you eat 2000 calories per day….. there is now a 500 calorie deficit.  Your body will then use the stored energy, eventually resulting in weight loss.  One pound = 3500 calories…. So, mathematically we can calculate that 7 days of a 500 calorie deficit will equal 3500 calories and one pound of weight loss. 

In reality, nutrition and metabolism is not an exact science, with variations occurring from person to person.  A calorie deficit is a great place to start, but may need some tweaking to match an individual’s needs.

Bottom Line: Losing weight is no rocket science. It is simple. You just need to create a calorie deficit every day. A caloric deficit is the #1 requirement to lose weight. You need to make sure that the amount of calories you burn should be more than the amount of calories you take on the same day.

How to Calculate Your Calorie Deficit

A small calorie deficit of 10-15% below maintenance calorie needs is the best first step. For example, if your body needs 2000 calories daily, a small calorie deficit would eliminate 200-300 calories each day. A moderate calorie deficit of 20-25% would eliminate 400-500 calories each day. A large calorie deficit of more than 25% reduction in calories is not recommended for the reasons outlined above.

To calculate your daily calorie needs, go to library (second icon) -> calculator (top right icon). 

Start at the small deficit level, and move on to the moderate level if you hit a plateau. Slow and steady are the best results for long term weight loss maintenance.

Bottom Line: Small: 10-15% below maintenance Moderate: 20-25% below maintenance Large: anything bigger than 25% below maintenance.

How Low Can You Go?

This is a very important question. From the examples above, you may think that if you deduct 1000 calories each day, or 1500 calories each day, your weight loss will speed up. Not so fast! Eliminating too many calories each day is not a healthy way to lose weight. 

Extreme calorie deficits will likely result in muscle loss, as your body uses those calories for energy. Extreme calorie deficits combined with extreme physical activity can actually hinder fat loss, due to some changes in hormone levels. Calorie deficits of 500 calories each day should result in 1-2 pounds lost each week, a healthier plan.

Bottom Line: It is not healthy to create more than 1000 cal deficit per day, loose more than 2 lbs per week.

What Much Calorie Deficit Do You Need to Lose 1 kg?

To lose 1 kg of your weight, you need to create calorie deficit of 7700.

How Can You Increase Your Calorie Deficit?

The best way is by increasing the energy you burn or use through physical activity.  Keeping your exercise level up through both cardio and strength training activities is key.  Vary your activities, workout on a regular basis, schedule your exercise time in your weekly calendar and make it a priority.

How Can You Increase The Calorie Deficit?

The best way is by increasing the energy you burn or use through physical activity. Keeping your exercise level up through both cardio and strength training activities is key. Vary your activities, workout on a regular basis, schedule your exercise time in your weekly calendar and make it a priority.

Conclusion

There will always be products claiming shortcuts to increasing your calorie deficit to speed up weight loss. Diet pills, supplements, food/nutrient combinations, or certain exercise routines are not the answer! It doesn’t sound super sexy, but the truth is – increased exercise calories burned and decreased food calories eaten are the answers to creating a safe calorie deficit, leading to slow, steady, and long-term weight loss.

Hold on tiger! I've got something to tell you.

There is an app that I want to recommend to you. StayWow is a social networking app for fitness enthusiasts just like you! It's a free app.
People use StayWow to share photographs, post comments, write blogposts, meet new people, chat live, play videos, view GIFs, read articles, ask questions, recommend products and even buy products.
People can also track steps, calories, distance and see where they rank in real-time as they walk.
Whether you're completely new to fitness or a seasoned pro, this app will help you reach the next level. Give it a try.

Written by Jennifer Bowers , Doctorate in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona
Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with over 25 years of experience in clinical nutrition.

Inspire, educate and empower the StayWow community. Become a StayWow Contributor!

Share it