What is a Calorie Deficit Diet?
If you are overweight, then your doctor must have advised you to adopt a calorie deficit diet. It is believed that this diet helps to shed excess pounds of weight from your body.
You can create a calorie deficit in two ways:
- either by consuming fewer calories than what you burn in a day or
- to increase physical activity during the day to burn more calories and create a calorie deficit.
Both these ways will help to maintain the right balance of calories in the body. A combination of eating slightly fewer calories than your daily requirement and regular exercise is the best formula to manage body weight.
Basics of a Calorie Deficit Diet
Let us look at how you can eat a calorie-restricted diet to promote weight loss. To start this diet, it is important to learn whether you are eating lesser calories compared to what your body burns? The first step to a calorie-restricted diet is to determine its size and how to design it to accomplish your weight loss goals.
You should not consume too few calories as it can leave you undernourished, and miserable with hunger and fatigue. The optimal calorie shortage in the body has to be large enough to boost continuous fat reduction, but not very large, that keeps you lethargic and hungry all the time.
If you are an athlete/ or your job involves intense physical activity, it is very important to avoid too large calorie debit as it can prevent you from keeping your muscles powered for training. You need to take a diet that is only 300 to 500 calories less than their daily consumption. A 1,500-calorie diet plan is an ideal way to kick-start weight reduction and regulate food intake in the body. You will learn what foods you should eat and avoid on this diet. (1)
How to Calculate Calorie Deficit Diet?
The number of calories you accumulate in your body is proportional to your body weight. Excess calories in the body cause an increase in weight and vice versa. This implies that calorie management promotes a healthy weight.
When you design a calorie deficit diet, the objective is to figure out how many calories you need to eat daily to reduce weight without feeling lethargic, hungry, and damaging your training. Start by finding out how many calories you will need to burn daily. Now deduct your target calorie deficit of 300-500 calories from it. The resultant number will be the calorie that you need to consume on a calorie deficit diet.
Calories to Consume = Calories Burned During Workout (A) + Calories Burn While Resting State (B) – 300-500 Calories
A: Find Out Calories Burned While Workout
Start with calculating how many calories do you burn daily through your workout. For this, calculate the number of days you work out in a week. Now multiply it with the number of calories that you burn in one day of workout.
Here, is how you can calculate the number of calories burnt during workout:
Your body burns calories in two ways: during the workout and at resting state (absence of any activity). The number of calories you burn while exercise depends on the type of your workout. High-speed workouts cause faster calorie burn than those performed at a slow training speed.
This can be understood in the following ways:
• Running at a slower pace will burn four calories per pound per hour
• Average speed will help you burn five calories per pound per hour
• If you run at a fast speed that it can help burn around six to eight calories per pound per hour
So, if you have a bodyweight of 150 pounds and run one hour every day at a slow speed, then the number of calories you burn in a day is 1 (hour) x 150 (pounds) x 4 (calories per hour) = 600 calories per day via exercise. This implies that in your one-hour workout, you will burn 600 calories in a day on an average. (2)
B: Find Out Calories Burn While Resting State
Get a caloric needs calculator. Enter the activity information in this tool, as requested. If you have an inactive or sedentary lifestyle, then choose the “Sedentary” level in the “Activity Level.” If you do some kind of physical activity during the day, then select “Lightly Active”. If you are a workout junkie and perform a lot of physical activity in a day, then select the “Active” level.
The calculator will help you know the number of calories that you burn round the clock a day based on your lifestyle. It does not take into consideration the calories you burn during your workout.
Now add the number of calories burnt during the workout and in resting state. This will give you the total number of calories burnt in a day. This is the actual number of calories that you need to consume every day to maintain the current weight. Now when you deduct 300-500 calories daily from this number, then it will give you the total number of calories that you need to consume on a calorie-deficit diet. This will help reduce weight in the body. (3)
Foods to Avoid in Calorie Deficit Diet
If you are on a calorie-deficit diet, you need to abstain from high-calorie foods in the diet. Some of the foods that are high in calories are sweet foods, junk foods, fast foods, fried foods, processed foods, refined foods, unhealthy fats, etc. These items have to be completely avoided by the diet.
If you can’t do it completely, then reduce its intake. Eat it once in a while. Below is the list of foods that do not support your weight loss initiative. Due to which, you need to either cut them out completely or limit their intake in your diet. It will help enhance your overall health.
- Fast food that includes fries, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, pizza, and more
- Refined carbohydrates: White bread, crackers, sugary cereals, white pasta, white sugar, corn chips, white rice, bagels, tortillas, and more.
- Added sugars in the form of sugary snack bars, baked food items, candies, table sugar, and more.
- Processed foods: processed meats like bacon and deli meats, cereal bars, packaged foods, boxed pasta dishes, etc.
- Deep-fried foods: Potato chips, mozzarella sticks, doughnuts, etc.
- Diet foods: Diet bars, diet frozen meals, diet soda, diet/low-fat chips, etc.
- Sugary drinks and sweetened beverages: sweetened fruit juice, sweetened coffee drinks, flavored milk, carbonated drinks, energy drinks, etc.
You can eat them occasionally once or twice a week. It would not hurt your weight reduction objectives.
Foods to take in Calorie Deficit Diet
The selection of the right food is very important when you are on a weight loss diet. The foods you need to choose should have low to moderate amounts of calories and have healthy fats in it. Unprocessed and whole foods are the best inclusions in your diet. Fiber and protein are the two very important nutrients that have an important role to play in weight loss. According to the research, high-protein and high-fiber diets are influential at promoting weight loss in a person. (4)
Ensure that every meal contains high-quality protein foods in it. Combine it with non-starchy vegetables, berries, or beans to prevent overeating. It is better to start your meals with fiber-rich foods like fresh salads and soups. Some of the best inclusions in your diet are:
- Non-starchy vegetables: Brocolli, arugula, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, etc.
- Fruits: Berries, melon, citrus fruits, apples, grapes, pears, bananas, etc.
- Starchy vegetables: Sweet potatoes, peas, plantains, potatoes, butternut squash, etc.
- Types of fishes: Sea Bass, sardines, cod, salmon, trout, shrimp, sardines, clams, oysters, etc.
- Eggs: Looking at the nutrient level, consider whole eggs as they are high in nutrition level as compared to egg whites.
- Meat: Turkey, lamb, bison, chicken, beef, lamb, etc.
- Sources of plant-based protein: Tofu, plant-derived protein powders, and tempeh.
- Whole grains: Quinoa, oats, brown rice, millet, barley, etc.
- Legumes: Kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and more.
- Healthy fats: Olive oil, Avocados avocado oil, unsweetened coconut, etc.
- Dairy products: low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, and kefir.
- Seeds, nuts, and nut butter: Almond and Almond butter, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter, and tahini.
- Unsweetened plant-derived milk: Coconut milk, almond milk, hemp milk, and cashew nuts.
- Seasonings: Rosemary, turmeric, oregano, garlic, black pepper, chili pepper, salt, etc.
- Condiments: Lemon juice, garlic powder, Apple cider vinegar, salsa, etc.
- Calorie-free beverages: Water, coffee, sparkling water, green tea, etc. (5)
No Weight Loss Despite on Calorie Deficit Diet ?
The main objective of going on a calorie-deficit diet is to shed excess weight from the body. The principle of this diet is to eat slightly fewer calories than what you require on a daily basis. When done in conjunction with a regular diet, it leads to weight loss in the body. When you do not give surplus calories to your body, it won’t get to store any calories as fat.
In the case of a calorie deficit diet, your body would not get adequate calories from your daily intake and so it will look for existing fat reserves. It will utilize it to generate adequate energy in the body. By reducing fat stores, a calorie deficit diet helps you bring down the excess weight from the body.
However, even after following a calorie deficit diet, some people do not notice any reduction in their body weight. It leaves them confused as to why their efforts are not producing results. They think that either they are not implementing the diet properly or a calorie deficit diet is ineffective on body weight.
There is no doubt in the efficacy of the calorie-restricted diet as it is based on the direct relation between excess calories and weight gain. Some of the cases wherein the diet may not seem to show results are:
- You do not have any fat storage in the body.
- Your body is highly dehydrated. There is no scope for further water loss from the body.
- You have not calculated the calorie intake number correctly.
- You may be suffering from an imbalance of thyroid hormone in the body that restricts your body to lose excess weight from the body.
These can be the only possibilities for not noticing weight loss from a calorie-restricted diet. (6)
Frequently Asked Questions about Calorie Deficit Diet
Here are some of the commonly asked questions on a calorie-deficit diet.
How much of a calorie deficit should I have?
The amount of calorie deficit determines the effectiveness of the results you achieve from it. It should be too little that it fails to give you any results and should not be too large that it makes you tired and undernourished. It should be somewhere in between.
A calorie deficit of around five-hundred calories in a day is ideal for weight loss without causing you any weakness or increasing your appetite. You can use the steps mentioned in the article to determine your maintenance calories.
Does it matter what you eat if you are in a calorie deficit?
Yes. The food you eat in this diet has a lot of importance. The type of foods that you are going to include in this diet has to be more in protein and fiber as these two nutrients keep your stomach fuller and reduce untimely hunger pangs.
It saves from consuming more calories in a day. Also, you need to limit your consumption of unhealthy foods, processed, packaged, sugary, and junk foods as it prevents excess calorie intake in the body. By doing this, you can ensure a calorie deficit that will help you lose weight.
Is a 1000 calorie deficit healthy?
Reducing your calorie intake to a large extent, is also not beneficial. It can have a negative impact on your body. A 1000 calorie diet a day is very less and can cause muscle loss and slower metabolism in the body. Also, consuming excess amounts of calories can even prevent you from losing bodyweight.
How much weight will I lose if I eat 1200 calories a day?
If you follow a 1,200 to 1,500-calorie-diet daily, then you can experience an average weight reduction of fifteen pounds in a year. This is equivalent to a 6.8 kg weight reduction in a year.