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What is a Calorie Deficit?

In this article, we explain the concept of a calorie deficit, how to calculate it and address frequently asked questions about calorie deficit.

By Vision Personal Training

What is a calorie deficit & how to calculate it?

If you’ve ever tried losing weight, you’ve likely heard of a calorie deficit. Before we answer what is a calorie deficit, let’s step back even further. What is a calorie? A calorie is a unit of energy, which comes from the foods and drinks we consume. In order for us to function and live a healthy life we need to ensure we’re consuming the right amount of energy through our calorie intake. With a clear understanding of what a calorie is, we can now shift our focus to the concept of what is a calorie deficit and its role in achieving healthy weight loss

Calorie deficit meaning?

In simple terms, to create a calorie deficit, you will need to consume fewer calories than your body burns. The gap in energy is then regulated by your body by utilising stored energy (fat) for energy, and in turn, lowering your body fat stores

What is a calorie deficit?

The calorie deficit meaning primarily comes back to creating a negative energy balance between calories in vs. calories out. To effectively reduce body weight, and more specifically fat, you want to be burning more calories than you consume. This will require a reduction in food intake to a specific daily calorie goal tailored to you and your goals and/or increased activity level. Maintaining a calorie deficit can oftentimes be challenge, so we’ve strategised the best ways to ensure you can stay in a calorie deficit for sustainable weight loss. 

Why is it important for weight loss?

A calorie deficit is crucial for weight loss due to its fundamental principle of energy balance and thermodynamics. When you consume fewer calories than you burn, it creates an energy deficit. This then prompts your body to utilise stored fat as an energy source. By consistently burning more calories than you consume, you create an environment conducive to fat loss

How to calculate calorie deficit? 

Nowadays, there are numerous reputable and reliable resources that offer a calorie deficit calculator, making it easier to determine your deficit requirements. With your expert personal trainers here at Vision, we will not only determine your calorie deficit but also your tailored macronutrients for your specific goal. 

At a basic level, calculating your calorie deficit requires you to determine the number of calories you consume and compare it to the number of calories you burn. 

  1. First, start by estimating your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). Estimate the number of calories your body needs to maintain its current weight. This includes your basal metabolic rate, bmr, which represents the calories needed for basic bodily functions, and the calories burned through physical activity. 
  2. Next, decide on the amount of a calorie deficit you want to create. A common approach is to aim for a deficit of 500 calories per day for gradual and sustainable weight loss. 
  3. Calculate your daily calorie intake by subtracting the calorie deficit from your TDEE to determine your target daily calorie intake. This means reducing your calorie intake by the chosen deficit amount. 

It’s important to note that individual variations also exist, it is recommended you consult with a healthcare professional like our expert personal trainers who can offer guidance and support in calculating your specific needs. Other factors like body composition, health conditions and dietary preferences can also be considered to provide a more accurate assessment. 

How to calculate calories I need in a day?

If you’re looking to figure out how many calories you should be having on a daily basis to achieve a set goal, a calorie deficit calculator is the easiest way to achieve this. It will calculate calorie deficit, specific to your body and your goals. 

How much of a calorie deficit do I need for weight loss?

The extent of a calorie deficit required for weight loss can vary depending on several factors such as your current weight, height, age, gender, activity level and overall health. As a general guideline, a moderate calorie deficit of 500 to 1000 calories per day is often recommended for gradual and sustainable weight loss. We recommend consulting with a healthcare professional to personalise your calorie deficit based on your specific circumstances and goals. 

Things to keep in mind when being in a calorie deficit

While a calorie deficit is a powerful tool for weight loss, it’s crucial to approach it in moderation. Consider the following tips to maximise your results. 

  1. Focus on balanced nutrition. Ensure that your calorie intake still provides you with adequate nutrition. Although you will be eating fewer calories, place an emphasis on whole, nutrient dense foods to support your overall health and well-being. With our expert personal trainers, your nutrition plan focuses not only on creating a calorie deficit, but providing you with macronutrient targets to ensure you’re getting the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  
  2. Monitor portion sizes. Keep an eye on portion sizes to avoid inadvertently overeating and consuming excess calories. Measuring and tracking your food intake can help you stay within your desired deficit range. With the use of the MyVision app you can accurately track your meals and visualise how you are tracking towards your daily goals. 
  3. Gradual progression. Start with a moderate calorie deficit and gradually adjust as you monitor your progress. Our personal trainers will guide you through both achievable and sustainable calorie deficits to ensure long-term sustainability. 

 FAQs around calorie deficit 

  1. Can you gain muscle in a calorie deficit? Gaining muscle in a calorie deficit is generally challenging. However, with a tailored training plan that incorporates resistance training and prioritises adequate protein intake it is possible to maintain and in some cases gain muscle mass. With the Vision Body Composition Scan, we can accurately measure and analyse your body composition, giving valuable insights into your muscle mass and developing a tailored plan specific to muscle building. 
  2. Why am I not losing weight in a calorie deficit? Several factors can contribute to a lack of weight loss in a calorie deficit, these include, but are not limited to: inaccurate calorie tracking, metabolic adjustments, water retention or medical conditions. Remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so even if the scale doesn’t show significant weight loss, you may still be losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously. A pound of fat takes up more space in the body than a pound of muscle, so as you build lean muscle mass, you may notice improvements in your physique, strength  and overall fitness level. Our goal is to help you achieve a healthy and balanced body composition by maximising muscle mass and reducing excess body fat. 
  3. How much calorie deficit to lose 1 kg per week? This will vary from person to person. Generally speaking, reducing your calories by 500 a day is a safe and modest approach that will assist with weight loss. However, for specific and tailored advice, it is recommended you seek guidance from a professional. 

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