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Calorie Deficit- The secret behind all diet plans for weight loss

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

From keto and low carb diets to intermittent fasting and paleo plans, most people have tried a nutrition regime of some kind. However, the critical factor to note is that all these diets require you to essentially be in a "calorie deficit." For instance, many have claimed to shed significant kilos by restricting themselves to metabolism-boosting foods like green tea and kale. While eating less is the most popular advice from most dieticians for those on a weight loss journey, let's see why by diving deep into the subject to understand the fundamental building block of metabolism in general- calories!

What is a calorie?

Simply put, a calorie is a unit of energy. We can use it to measure how much food we eat and the amount of exercise we do. Every time you walk, jog or run, your muscles burn up calories, which generates heat that makes us sweat- this process is called thermogenesis. The more intense the workout, the higher number of calories burnt.

The more calories you burn, the higher number of calories your body needs to replace them and maintain its balance; this is called energy expenditure which depends on various factors such as age, gender, height. Now, for example, a 30-year-old male of height five feet eight inches tall burns 2000 kcals (1 kcal=1000 calories. Most times when you hear the word calorie, it refers to kilocalorie) per day at the expenditure of energy. This would translate to burning 100 kcals every hour while sitting around and sleeping, but if he runs on a treadmill for an hour, it may change drastically- 400 calories! There are various calorie deficit calculator tools available online for free (just google) to help you get this data for yourself.

What is Calorie Deficit?

Calculating whether you're in a calorie deficit is hardly difficult - it's just about finding out how many calories you are burning and how many you are consuming. There are enough (and more) tools and apps available for this. The energy expenditure depends on various factors such as age, gender etc.

The key part begins with tracking the number of calories you eat on a daily basis. This can get a little tricky as it entails learning what you eat each day and ensuring you count every morsel you consume. (Yes, even that sneaky little chocolate bar or an extra spoon of peanut butter).

As per our earlier example, if our subject eats 2000 kcal for a few days and burns approximately 2500 kcal, he is in a "deficit" of 500 kcal. As a result, the weight loss will start showing in his waistline. In this case, calorie tracking is just about managing how much energy you want your body to use- over and above what it would if you were sitting around all day long!

And don't forget that calorie deficit can be created by combining two things- eating less and exercising more. A calorie deficit is not just a diet or meal plan for weight loss but an approach to losing weight through caloric restriction and exercise!

How do I be on a calorie deficit diet?

Tracking your food is indeed the hard part. No, not the counting but counting everything you eat on a daily basis. The word here is consistency- the most important thing while doing anything in life (including weight loss).

There are tools which can help you track it by keying in the entire recipe with exact measurements. You can try apps like MyFitnessPal (app store will auto recommend a ton of others). These have an approximate calorie count of most food items and helps you track it if you key in your intake diligently.

Another vital tool is to start reading food labels where you can get to know the calories and macros and realise how every bit matters.

The Role of Diet on a Calorie Deficit

As mentioned, a calorie deficit is an approach and not a diet itself. The diet is a layer over the math that defines the type of food you want to fuel your body.

Fundamentally, if you see a nutrition expert, they will guide you on which diet to opt for based on your body type, need, underlying condition, etc. Over time you will also understand your body better and get to know what works best for you.

We at Baésic Fit analyze your body, preferences and goal to help customize the ideal nutrition roadmap. Even the calorie deficit is done mindfully to ensure efficacy without letting you compromise on taste at all.


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