If you are not happy with your current weight and want to drop a dress size or two, then getting into a calorie deficit is probably something that you have come across. But what exactly is a calorie deficit, and how does it work for weight loss? And, how do you know how many calories you will need to eat in a day in order to get into the calorie deficit that you need for the results that you want? The good news is that while it all might sound a little bit complicated when you’re not sure how it works or where to start, you will find that as you begin to learn more about how it, being in a calorie deficit is actually quite a simple process.
What is a Calorie Deficit?
Every human burns a certain number of calories per day just by being alive. This is called your Basal Metabolic Rate and refers to the number of calories you use just by breathing and all the internal processes of your body that are keeping you alive. If you laid in your bed all day long and did absolutely nothing, your body would burn this number of calories. But most of us do things throughout the day and we burn even more calories from doing things like cleaning the house, walking in between rooms, going to work, going to the gym, walking the dog, shopping for groceries, gardening, and anything else that has us moving in any way. The more active you are, the more calories you will burn on top of your BMR.
Your BMR is calculated using factors such as your age, gender, weight, and height. There are several online calculators that you can use to do this easily. Once you consider your activity level, you will get a rough idea of how many calories you burn every day. Now you have this number, the trick is to eat less. As a result, your body will need to burn calories from the fat that you already have on your body, using up that rather than relying on the food you eat.
Meal Replacement Shakes and Calorie Deficit
Low calorie diet shakes like those from shakethatweight.co.uk are often designed to help you get into a calorie deficit in an easy and convenient way. This is because the low calorie shakes from Shake That Weight are designed to be consumed as a meal rather than eating food for breakfast or lunch, for example, which would typically contain more calories than the shake depending on your usual diet. As a result, you will naturally consume fewer calories throughout the day compared to eating your normal diet as the shakes are designed to keep you fuller for longer until your next meal.
How Much of a Deficit Should You Go For?
The trick to being in a calorie deficit is to eat fewer calories than your body burns per day, but how much less should you aim for? Diet and nutrition experts will agree that you only need to be in a small deficit to start losing weight. A relatively small deficit will be enough to kickstart your body into using your own fat stores for energy rather than relying on your diet, however, it won’t put you in a position where you are eating so little that you begin to feel tired and your health is affected. Remember that losing large amounts of weight in a short period of time is never going to be healthy no matter which way you do it, so a reasonable calorie deficit that allows you to lose weight slowly and steadily will be much more sustainable over the longterm. Along with this, with more calories for you to eat throughout the day, you’re more likely to stick at it.
How to Track Your Calories
Tracking your calories has become easier than ever these days with a range of apps that you can use to easily record everything that you eat or quickly find out the calories for something. Many of these apps allow you to use your smartphone camera to scan the barcode of any product, to find out how many calories you can expect to get from a portion, and make it really easy for you to meal plan and make sure that you are staying within your calorie deficit. It’s a good idea to use apps like these even if you’re planning on using meal replacement shakes with a set number of calories for certain meals since you can then determine easily how many calories you have left for the day to use on other meals and snacks.
Tips for Reducing Your Calorie Intake
At first, reducing your calorie intake while staying full and satisfied with your diet can be overwhelming, and you might find it difficult at first. Making the transition is not always easy and you won’t be the first person to go over your calories for the day or make a breakfast high in calories only to realise that you’re going to struggle to find something to eat for your other meals without going over.
If you’re in this position, the first thing to do is make sure that you are not in too much of a deficit. If you’re in a deficit of 500 calories, for example, then you could still go over your calories by 200-300 and still lose weight, so it might be worth adjusting your limit if that will be easier. However, if you’re in a reasonable deficit, some other tips to remember include:
Planning your meals for the week ahead will make it easier for you to figure out how many calories you’re going to consume and where you have room for anything extra.
Meal Replacement Shakes
Meal replacement shakes tend to be low-calorie while keeping you fuller for longer, which will leave you with more calories to play with when it comes to everything else you consume.
Watch Your Drinks
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is drinking their calories or forgetting to record their drinks when tracking how many calories they are consuming, which leads them to believe that they’ve been in a calorie deficit and still not lost weight – or worse, put it on! Drinks can be higher than you think when it comes to calories, so stick to water, or remember to record everything.
Bear in mind that while being in a calorie deficit will help you lose weight, it’s important to stay healthy too. You’ll need to make sure that you’re putting the right nutrients into your body to keep it strong and healthy, so consider this rather than going off the numbers only. You could stay in a calorie deficit and eat pizza every day, but you’re not going to feel great for it. Protein is a key nutrient to help you feel fuller for longer.
Don’t Eat Exercise Calories Back
With lots of smartwatches and other devices that can tell you how much you’ve ‘earned’ in calories from exercising, it can be tempting to eat them back. After all you burned three hundred calories on that walk! But the sad truth is that most gadgets aren’t very accurate. So don’t risk it!
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, working out the best calorie deficit for you is one of the best strategies to use.