Caloric Deficit for Weight Loss


Losing weight can appear to be difficult, but when you understand what it takes to accomplish it, it may be a bit easier to accomplish it.

In order to lose weight, we must be in a caloric deficit – meaning that you are burning more calories than you are consuming. We all have our own basal metabolic rate – the amount of calories that we burn on a daily basis if we were to do nothing.

Let’s say, for example, that your BMR is 1,500 calories. Even if you were to do nothing but lay in your bed all day, you would burn a total of 1,500 calories. Now, if you also workout, the amount of calories you burn on a daily basis increases. So, if you burn 500 calories during your workout, you are burning a total of 2,000 calories per day (1,500 due to your BMR + 500 from your workout). In order for you to experience weight loss, you should be taking in less than 2,000 calories per day.

When you are in a caloric deficit, your body is forced “to use non-food sources of energy (typically body fat though the body can also burn muscle tissue for energy) to make up for the shortfall causing weight loss.” It is important to note that you cannot spot reduce fat, even if you are in a caloric deficit. Trust me, I wish this wasn’t the case!

Depending on your preferences, you may reach a caloric deficit in two ways: either burning more calories during your workouts or reducing the amount of calories you consume. My preference is burning more calories during my workouts by adding in a bit more cardio while not reducing my caloric intake as much. I prefer this because adding cardio into my routine benefits my health AND I don’t have to worry about cutting too many calories – I love food too much!

So, what can you do with this information? The first step is to find out what your BMR is. Step two: Determine how much you are burning during your workouts. You can accomplish this by purchasing a heart rate monitor and tracking the calories you burn in a session. Once you know how many calories you burn a day, this is considered your maintenance level. Meaning that if you were to burn and consume the same amount of calories per day, you wouldn’t gain or lose weight – hence, maintenance. Step three: Experiment with how low below maintenace level you want to be at. You may start with reducing your caloric intake by 10% and seeing if you make progress. If you don’t see progress, try 20% instead. Be sure to experiement to see what works for you and consult with a doctor before trying a new method of weight loss.

And remember – slow and steady wins the race.

Weight loss shouldn’t happen that quickly. To lose fat/weight the healthy way, take it slow and be patient. If you have any questions or comments about caloric deficits, please leave a comment below!

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Main Photo: InBody

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