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5 Tips for Staying in a Calorie Deficit

Struggling to stay in a calorie deficit for a period long enough to see sustainable results? Learn 5 tips that help you stay in a calorie deficit without stress.

By Max Freeman, Owner at Bondi Junction

5 Tips for staying in a calorie deficit 

Maintaining a calorie deficit is crucial to successful and sustainable weight loss. However, it can be challenging to sustain a calorie deficit long enough to achieve sustainable results if you’re not using the right strategies. In this article, we will explore effective tips for staying in a calorie deficit. By incorporating these calorie deficit tips you can lose weight and achieve your desired results. 

What is a calorie deficit? 

Let’s first understand what exactly a calorie deficit is. A calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body requires to maintain its current weight. This means, you will eat fewer calories than you burn.  By consuming fewer calories, your body will begin to utilise stored fat for energy, leading to weight loss. Alternatively you can look at increasing your physical activity to burn extra calories. A calorie deficit and the number of calories required in a day will differ depending on the individual and the desired result. 

The risks of going on a calorie deficit? 

While a calorie deficit is widely recognised as an effective weight loss strategy, it’s important to be aware of potential risks. Implementing a drastic calorie deficit, such as reducing it to 500 calories per day, can pose significant dangers to your health and well-being. When embarking on a calorie deficit, it is highly advisable to seek the guidance of a qualified professional, such as our team of expert personal trainers. They have the knowledge and expertise necessary to provide personalised guidance and support throughout your journey. It’s important to approach a calorie deficit with moderation and prioritise overall health. Learn more about a calorie deficit here

5 tips to maintain a calorie deficit for long enough to see sustainable results

Let’s look at our favourite (and client tested) tips for a calorie deficit. 

  1. Set a Reasonable Calorie Deficit. A “reasonable” calorie deficit will look different for each individual. That’s why we work with your individual goals, body type and body weight to determine the safest and most effective deficit for you. We want to avoid drastic reductions in calorie intake as it can have adverse effects. When you cut calories, it’s essential to adopt a conservative approach. 
  2. Prioritise High-Protein Foods. Let’s talk about tips for eating in a calorie deficit, more specifically protein! Increasing your protein intake offers multiple benefits when it comes to fat loss. Protein helps stimulate neuropeptide Y (NPY) which inhibits appetite and reduces cravings. Adding protein into your meals has also been found to help you feel fuller for longer. Discover more effective strategies on how to feel fuller for longer here. Protein also supports lean muscle mass development, tissue repair and recovery. We recommend incorporating high-protein sources such as lean meats, legumes and protein shakes into your diet to aid in maintaining a calorie deficit and avoid reaching for any unhealthy high calorie food. 
  3. Time Your Meals. Opt for 5-6 small meals throughout the day. This will not only help to maximise calorie burn through the thermic effect of food metabolism, but regular meal intervals also prevent the release of ghrelin, a hormone responsible for triggering cravings for high-fat and high-sugar foods. Timing your meals correctly will ensure you feel full and avoid craving higher calorie foods. You can also use the personal trainer app MyVision from Vision PT to keep track of your diets. 
  4. Stay Hydrated. When it comes to the easiest tips for being in a calorie deficit, this one is it! Drink more water. Drinking enough water can initiate the stretch-reflex, signalling fullness to the brain and keeping your appetite at bay. If you frequently indulge in sugar-sweetened beverages, substituting this with water is one of our favourite tips to stay in a calorie deficit. Ensure you drink enough water, but avoid too much around mealtime to prevent digestive disruption. Some experts suggest drinking water 30 minutes before and after a meal to allow your body to properly absorb the nutrients from your meal.  
  5. Exercise to Support a Calorie Deficit. While resistance training and intense cardio are important, it’s important to include longer durations of low-to-moderate exercise where the body will have the ability to utilise fat stores. Don’t worry, we take the guesswork out of it! Your personal trainer will design a custom roadmap that gives you the right balance of strength training, hard cardio and low to moderate cardio to help you reach and maintain your goals. As you adjust, you can gradually increase exercise intensity. This progressive approach enhances your body’s ability to perform in a calorie-restricted state.


By implementing these five tips, including setting a reasonable calorie deficit, prioritising high-protein foods, timing your meals, staying hydrated and engaging in appropriate exercise you can maintain a calorie deficit to achieve sustainable results. Remember to approach weight loss holistically, focusing on long-term health and well-being. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is 1200 calories enough for a calorie deficit? Whether 1200 calories is enough for a calorie deficit depends on various factors including age, sex, weight, height and activity level. In some cases, a 1200 calorie intake may create a calorie deficit and lead to weight loss. Calories a day required will look different for each individual. This is where our expert personal trainers can help. We take your current condition, time frame, body shape, exercise preferences and general lifestyle to tailor to a calorie deficit and training program that is specific to you to achieve your individual weight loss goals. 
  2. How do I stay in a 1200 calorie deficit? Daily calorie requirements are specific to each individual. A 1200 calorie deficit will not be appropriate for everyone. Whether your calorie deficit is 1200 or 1600 our tips to be in a calorie deficit outlined in this article will be relevant for everyone! 
  3. How to speed up metabolism? A faster and more efficient metabolism, often referred to as a metabolic rate, results in more calories being burnt on a daily basis. There are numerous ways to speed up your metabolism, with one of the most effective approaches being increasing your lean muscle mass.

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