Weight loss is tough, especially when your sole love is food. Exercise, aerobics, Zumba, and other such energetic ways seem to be very helpful in losing weight and getting fit. But laziness is the main antagonist in our stories, and we absolutely cannot blame it. However, the lack of interest in exercising is one of the opposing roles of junk food. Junk food not just makes you fat and disturbs your immune system, but it also mentally slows you down and hardly promotes any motivation to the body. So, right there comes our savior- a calorie deficit. Now, you may ask, what is a calorie deficit? When there is a shortage of calories consumed compared to the number of calories required to maintain the current weight, it is called a calorie deficit.
There is so much more about losing weight with the help of a calorie deficit. Keep reading to know more.
What Is A Calorie Deficit?
Before we begin with a calorie deficit, let us take a look at the basics- calories. A calorie is the unit of energy you get when you eat any food. It is the amount of heat necessary to raise a gram of water temperature by 1 degree Celsius. Calories from food are the primary source of energy produced by heat. This allows our body to function normally, even when sleeping or resting. The number of calories a person needs each day depends on their sex, age, height, weight, and physical activity levels.
The total number of calories you burn in one day is Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE. The TDEE calculation includes the number of calories you have burned during an exercise, during any other movement other than exercise, during digestion, and the amount your body naturally uses to keep the body functioning. For example, suppose you wish to find out how many calories your body needs to perform its basic functions. In that case, you can estimate your metabolic rate during breaks and use a calculator to estimate your total daily energy expenditure.
Now, what is the deal with calorie deficit? Let’s say, when you do not add extra calories to your body by any means, your body automatically starts using the stored calories. It provides energy to your body to process perfectly. Unfortunately, the stored calories are also the reason why you may gain weight. So, by deficiting calories, you are not letting your body store fat and utilize it to function normally.
Is a Calorie Deficit Enough to Lose Weight?
It is essential to understand that calories single-handedly are not the only reason you may gain or lose weight. Calories provide your body the energy it needs and use the stored calories in your body. Expecting weight loss with a calorie deficit may disappoint you. However, it depends on how many calories you consume in a day. If you wish to lose up to 1-2 pounds in a week, you must cut at least 500-1000 calories off your total number of required calories in a day. Other than that, try to keep yourself engaged in exercises, aerobics, walks, and other physical activities, even if for 30 minutes. It will help you lose weight quickly.
How to Calculate Calorie Needs?
The following are the three different ways of calculating calories needs:
1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Activity Level
One way to calculate your current caloric needs is to use one of the following formulas based on your gender:
- Adult Female: 655 + (4.3 x bodyweight in-lb) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR
- Adult Male: 66 + (6.3 x bodyweight in-lb) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years) = BMR
Once you have your BMR, you can use one of the following formulas based on your activity levels. This will help you to determine your caloric need:
- Sedentary (little or no exercise) = BMR x 1.2
- Minimally 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 (people who train twice every day) = BMR x 1.9
2. Perform a Manual Test
You can use an online calculator to calculate your daily calorie needs. However, for manual calculations, if you are moderately active, you can multiply your current weight by 15 to estimate how many calories you need each day. After doing this, to determine how many calories to burn, subtract 500 calories from that number.
3. Visit an Expert
You may also visit a dietician or a nutritionist to calculate your calorie deficit. The experts will ask you about your age, eating habits, body weight, and more about your lifestyle to determine your calorie deficit.
How to Create a Calorie Deficit?
If you want information about what is a calorie deficit diet? Start with knowing how to create a calorie deficit. There are three different ways to create a calorie deficit:
1. Consume Fewer Calories
As part of your basal metabolic rate (BMR), your body burns calories throughout the day. It consumes energy for your body and performs the basic functions necessary for a person, such as walking, breathing, thinking, etc. However, it is essential to calculate your BMR so that you can estimate how many calories you burn on average each day. Based on your calculations, try to avoid exceeding the limit. This can help you maintain the correct amount of energy while making sure you don’t gain weight. Make sure you don’t cut your calorie intake excessively. You may get brownie points from your calorie deficit if you avoid chips, cake, cookies, and other junk food.
2. Burn More Calorie
Try to burn calories as much as you can be performing any physical activities. You can also enjoy your food peacefully without worrying about the number of calories you consumed. Physical activities that include exercising, typing, walking helps you not to set any calorie boundaries for yourself and avoid the storage of calories in the body.
3. Control Your Calorie Intake and Perform Physical Activities
You can not just create a calorie deficit but also lose weight quickly if you control your calorie intake and perform physical activities. This will keep your body process fine and help you lose weight in no time. For example, if you cut 300 calories a day from your diet and burn 400 calories a day by exercising, you will lose more or less one pound in one week. So, next time someone asks you what is a healthy calorie deficit? You know it is the mixture of both some calories and some exercise.
Risk of Eating too Few Calories
If you wonder what is a good calorie deficit for weight loss, then cutting off calories is not the right choice. Instead, if you continue to eat fewer calories than your required calorie intake, you may have to deal with the following conditions.
1. It May Cause Nutrition Deficiency and Fatigue in Your Body
If you continue to take fewer calories, your body may have to deal with fatigue and nutrition deficiency. If you do not consume enough vitamins, iron, and folate, you may suffer from fatigue and anemia. Very few amounts of carbs in your body may also lead to serious fatigue.
Here is a list of nutrients and items that may cause problems if not consumed in the proper amount:
- The lack of Protein-rich food such as meat, fish, beans, peas, dairy products, lentils, nuts, and seeds may cause brittle nails, muscle loss, thinning hair.
- The lack of Whole grains, beans, eggs, dairy products, nuts, and seeds can limit your intake of vitamins. This can later lead to muscle weakness, hair loss, and peeling skin.
- The lack of Vitamins such as fish, dairy products, offal, green leafy vegetables, or orange fruit can weaken the immune system and cause permanent eye damage.
- The lack of Magnesium-rich whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables can cause fatigue, migraines, abnormal heart rhythms, and muscle cramps.
- The lack of Calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, green leafy vegetables, calcium tofu, and milk can reduce bone strength and increase the risk of fractures.
2. It Can Lower Your Metabolism
Strictly restricting calories will cause you to lose muscle mass. In addition, it will make you lose weight in the future a difficult job. If you continue to consume a lowered amount of calories, your body metabolism may slow down. Expert research shows that a regular low-calorie diet can reduce the number of calories your body burns by as much as 23%. Even if you stop dieting, your metabolism may remain at a low level. According to more studies, you can gain weight quickly after stopping a low-calorie diet. To prevent your weight loss diet from affecting your metabolism, please make sure that your calories are never less than the calories needed to maintain the BMR.
3. It Can Weaken Your Bones
Calorie restriction can lower estrogen and testosterone levels, and low levels of these two reproductive hormones can reduce bone formation and increase bone breakdown. This can eventually lead to the weakening of the bones. If you continue to engage in high-intensity physical activity and consume fewer calories, you may face serious bone problems that are difficult to cure. Bone loss is a problem—the further away from it, the better.
4. It Can Harm Your Immune System
Cutting calories can increase your risk of infection and illness. If you also do intensive exercise sessions, the situation may get worse. In one study, athletes who emphasized weight loss (such as gymnastics or strenuous exercise) were compared to athletes who did not emphasize weight. The study states that athletes who need to lose weight try to lose weight more often and are twice as likely to get sick in the first few months.
5. It Can Cause Infertility
Restricting calories can negatively impact fertility because the ability to ovulate depends on hormone levels. When ovulation occurs, the increased estrogen and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels are essential, and the level of LH depends in part on the number of calories you consume. Not only that, but insufficient calorie intake can also lower estrogen levels. This can have long-term negative effects on the bone and heart health of women. Menstrual disorders may not have any broad symptoms, but some signs of being affected by infertility can include irregular or absent menstrual cycles. However, studies based on men are yet to be disclosed.
Now, if you wonder what is a calorie deficit, you will know that your body stores energy which is basically used to help your body process usually. However, if your motivation is to lose weight by reducing calories, make sure that the reduced calories are only 500- 1,000 calories less than your BMR result. Of course, insufficient calories are not the only way, but it is also important to increase physical activity in daily life and avoid junk food to lose weight.
Remember, dedication and consistency are essential when it comes to weight loss. After a while, your calorie deficit will increase, and you will lose extra weight. The most important thing is to control calorie intake very precisely and then lose weight with the help of extra calories present in the body. It is always wise to consult an expert before reducing calorie intake or creating a calorie deficit.