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CALORIE DEFICIT

You may have heard me mention ''calorie deficit'' a few times on my


Instagram feed. So I thought doing this blog post would help me break down what a calorie deficit is, and how to work out your personal calorie deficit is, so you can use a calorie deficit as a tool to help you reach your fitness/health goals.


WHAT IS A CALORIE DEFICIT?

A calorie deficit happens when the number of calories you consume in food & drink is smaller than the calories you burn (by doing physical activity, general movement, breathing, sleeping).


Before you think 'oh thats fine, i'll just eat like 1000 cals per day' STOP!!


The body NEEDS a certain amount of calories to function each day! How many calories you need each day all depends on:

  • whether you're Male or Female

  • age

  • physical activity levels

  • height

  • weight

  • body composition

You can create a calorie deficit by reducing the amount of calories you eat daily, increasing your activity levels or even better BOTH!



HOW WILL A CALORIE DEFICIT BENEFIT ME?

Keeping within a calorie deficit is an important part of weight loss. HOWEVER, it is NOT the be all and end all of weight loss.

CALORIES ARE NOT THE ONLY THING THAT CAN HELP YOU WITH WEIGHT LOSS.



FOR EXAMPLE:

To lose 1-2 lbs per week, a person would need to eat 500–1,000 calories fewer than the number of calories their body needs per day. Now before you start to think 'WOW thats alot...'' this again is based on your personal activity levels and current calorie intake.



Someone who is very sedentary on a day to day basis, should start to decrease their calorie intake and increase their exercise, by working to get at least 30 mins of low to moderate exercise in each day.


A few tips when working towards a calorie deficit is to:


- Drink 2-3L of water each day

- Eat more fibre & Proteins as these foods are usually more filling and satisfying

- Work to get 8+ hours of sleep (as you can't eat when you're sleeping)



SO, HOW DO I CALCULATE ALL OF THIS THEN?

You can calculate your daily calorie intake needs & calorie deficit in a few ways.


Firstly, it's best to determine how many calories you burn each day. This can be done via an Online Calculator (here i have attached a link to a reliable calorie calculator to use).


You can also use your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and activity levels, to determine your current caloric needs.


You can use one of the following formulas to determine your BMR, according to your sex:

  • adult male: 66 + (6.3 x body weight in lb) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years) = BMR

  • adult female: 655 + (4.3 x weight in lb) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR

Once you have your BMR, you can use one of the following formulas, based on your activity levels, to determine your caloric need:

  • sedentary: little or no exercise = BMR x 1.2

  • lightly active: 1–3 days per week of exercise or activity = BMR x 1.375

  • moderately active: 3–5 days per week of moderate activity or sports = BMR x 1.55

  • very active: 6–7 days per week of hard exercise = BMR x 1.725

  • extra active: athletes who train twice per day, for example = BMR x 1.9


CREATING A CALORIE DEFICIT

Once you know how many calories you should be consuming each day, you can then work out YOUR calorie deficit. Emphasis on the YOUR because, your calorie deficit will be different to someone elses!


One lb of body fat contains about 3,500 calories. For a person to lose 1 lb of fat in a week, they would need a deficit of 3,500 calories, or 500 calories per day, over that time. To lose 2 lb, a person would need a deficit of about 7,000 calories. But it is NOT advised to have a deficit of more than 7,000 calories per week!


ALSO remember, it's not just about diet. You also have to factor in your exercise. When you eat, those calories go in the “plus” calories column for the day, while exercise is where you subtract your calories. For weight loss, we want your daily net calories to be about 500 calories lower than your BMR.

Food Calories – Exercise Calories = Net Calories

Calculating exactly how many calories your burn during exercise is tricky, because it is not an exact science. The best way to estimate calorie burn is with a device that measures your heart rate and adjusts for your age, weight, and activity level.


OKAY, I'M GETTING IT NOW. SO WHAT KIND OF EXERCISE SHOULD I DO TO WHEN IN A CALORIE DEFICIT?

Cardio gives the most effective calorie burn in a daily workout, but lifting weights & doing resistance training is what really changes your body over time.


Building mass by building muscle actually increases your BMR and burns more calories on a daily basis in the long term.


Strength training is doubly important during a calorie deficit, because it will help you maintain your muscle while targeting fat loss.


ALL IN ALL...

While calculating a calorie deficit might seem simple, it is not always straightforward. You have to take a look at your habits – both in the kitchen and when your exercising – and decide where you can make sustainable changes to have long term success for fat loss. Keep in mind that your goals should be realistic and recognise that weight loss takes time.


If you feel that you are struggling to reach your goals & are wanting that added support when it comes to your nutrition and exercise, then drop me a message on Instagram or click HERE and we can arrange a FREE 30 min call, so I can help you overcome any barriers & set you on your way to achieving your goals!