If one of your key goals this year is to lose weight, you have most likely come across many online tips on how to do it. But no matter which plans you choose, ensure you create a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit is created when you eat fewer calories than what your body requires. If you eat more calories than what your body needs, the extra calories are stored as fat.
To lose those extra fats, you need to create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories during the day.
Once you create a calorie deficit, your body will get energy from the stored fat, which will then cause you to lose weight.
According to this weight loss commentary, to lose one pound of fat, you need a calorie deficit of 3500 calories per week. That is 500 calorie-deficit per day.
HOW TO CREATE A CALORIE DEFICIT
1. CONSUME LESS FOOD
The first step on how to create a calorie deficit is consuming less food. Reduce your portions, lower your intake of snacks, and deliberately choose foods with fewer calories.
2. BE ACTIVE
The second step on how to create a calorie deficit is by remaining active. The number of calories that your body needs is dependent on your activity level.
Activity level entails the exercises and any other physical movements you make daily.
If you increase your activity level but maintain your calorie intake, you will attain a calorie deficit.
3. COMBINE DIET WITH EXERCISE
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2005, the perfect way on how you to create a calorie deficit is by maintaining high physical activity and consuming a low-calorie diet.
These 28 fat-blasting workouts will complement your diet greatly.
4. AVOID DRINKING CALORIES
Another effective way of how to create a calorie deficit is by cutting down the calories in your drinks.
Believe it or not, you can eliminate hundreds of calories simply by doing away with sugary beverages like soda, fruit juices, and specialty coffee drinks.
Alcoholic drinks also contain a high number of calories.
The above beverages do not make you full and when taken in large quantities, they can easily lead to weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes.
5. REDUCE YOUR INTAKE OF PROCESSED FOODS
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, the fat, sugar, and salt in processed foods make them highly palatable and encourages high consumption.
Therefore, consume a diet rich in minimally processed foods because they will prevent you from overeating and help your body gain the required nutrients.
To create a calorie deficit, eat more foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber such as lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
6. MAINLY EAT HOME-COOKED MEALS
Another effective way on how to create a calorie deficit is by regularly eating home-cooked meals.
This is because you have full control of the ingredients used, meal portions, and calorie intake.
To prove the above theory, a study was done in June 2015 to examine the national patterns in cooking frequency and diet quality among adults in the USA.
The study showed that households that cooked dinner six to seven times a week consumed 137 fewer calories in a day compared to those who cooked dinner zero to once a week.
Home-cooked meals consist of a better diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. The meals contain reduced fats and hence they help you stay away from heart diseases and diabetes.
7. GET A CALORIE DEFICIT CALCULATOR
Another method you can use to identify how to create a calorie deficit is by using a calculator.
This will help you know the number of calories your body needs to maintain your current weight
Also, calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) so you can know the number of calories your body burns in a day while at rest. You can know your BMR by using the formula provided here.
8. YOUR CALORIE DEFICIT SHOULD NOT GO BELOW YOUR RMR
Your calorie deficit should not go below your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).
If your calorie deficit goes below your RMR, your body will be unable to perform basic functions.
If the calorie deficit is extreme, then there is a high chance that in the future, you will regain any weight which is lost.
9. DRINK A LOT OF WATER
Drinking water not only speeds up your metabolism but also shields you from hunger.
Ensure you take water throughout the day and right before your meals so that you consume less food and fewer calories.
10. TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING
To help your body burn more calories, you can do intermittent fasting.
This is restricting all meals of the day to a 12 to 14-hour period during the day and abstaining from food for the rest of the day.
Before you embark on intermittent fasting, get the green light from your nutritionist.
HOW TO CALCULATE A CALORIE DEFICIT
To know your current calorie deficit, the first thing you need to do is to know your total daily calorie expenditure.
This will help you identify how many calories you need to take in to attain the calorie deficit that suits you.
There are three components of calorie expenditure which when combined will give you your total calorie expenditure in a day.
1.RESTING METABOLIC RATE (RMR)
Your Resting Metabolic Rate takes up the largest calorie expenditure.
The body uses these calories to perform basic actions such as breathing, blood circulation and brain function.
Your BMI will be determined using your height, age, sex, and weight. Here is an online calculator that can help you determine your RMR.
2. THE THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD
These are the calories used during the digestion, storage, and excretion of food. This is about 10% of your total daily calorie intake.
3. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CALORIE EXPENDITURE
These are the total number of calories you use while doing any activity or exercise like brushing your teeth, walking, running, or washing your hair.
It is calculated by multiplying your activity level with your RMR. Here is a quick guide on how to calculate it:
- Sedentary (e.g. office-based job with no exercise) = RMR x 1.2
- Lightly active (e.g. office-based job with light exercise 3-5 times per week) = RMR x 1.5
- Moderately active (e.g. moderately labor-intensive job with light exercise 3-5 times per week) = RMR x 1.8
- Vigorously active (e.g. very labor-intensive job with moderate to vigorous exercise 3-5 times per week) = RMR x 2.2
After calculating your total calorie-expenditure, tailor your dietary intake to create a calorie deficit.
DOES IT MATTER WHAT YOU EAT IN A CALORIE DEFICIT?
Not only does it matter, but it matters a lot. Eating foods high in calories, higher than what your body needs will cause the extra calories to be stored as fat.
You need to focus on foods that are rich in nutrients but low on calories such as vegetables, grains, fruits, proteins, low fat or fat-free dairy, and healthy oils.
Avoid taking sugary drinks and trans fats and drink lots of water to wash away any sweetened beverages and to stay hydrated.
Always make sure your calorie deficit is 500 calories a day and 3500 calories a week. However, do not exceed a calorie deficit of 7,000 calories in a week.
CALORIE DEFICIT SYMPTOMS
If your calorie deficit is too high, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:
- You will frequently get sick.
- Losing weight becomes impossible.
- You have difficulty sleeping.
- Have constipation.
- Negative changes in mood and behavior.
Therefore, before you cut any calories, consult a nutritionist.
If you are looking to lose weight, creating a calorie deficit is important. This is achieved by doing a lot of physical activities, drinking a lot of water, and consuming a diet that is rich in nutrients but low in calories.
To achieve a perfect calorie deficit, you must first determine how many calories you burn in a day so that you know how many calories you need to take in.