A calorie deficit diet is one of the most reliable ways to lose weight and get in shape. It is a tried and tested way of methodically burning the fat in your body so you can bring yourself to your desired weight. It is also simple and requires very manageable changes to your diet and lifestyle in order for it to work. At its core, the concept of a calorie deficit is simple.
What You Need to Know about Calories
Our bodies operate on a fuel source known as calories. We get these calories from food, and a single calorie can be denoted as a single unit of energy. Different people have different calorie requirements based on how they are built and their levels of activity, among other things.
For instance, a 6 foot 5 inch athlete who has regular high-intensity activity has a very high calorie requirement in order for their body to operate. Similarly, a 5 foot 6 inch individual who works an office job and sits in a chair all day has a different calorie requirement.
There are three basic ways in which calories are used:
Resting Energy Expenditure
This refers to the calories that are used to keep us alive. This involves blood flow and breathing among other things.
Thermic Effect of Food
This refers to the calories that are used by the body to carry out functions such as digestion, absorption, and storing energy.
Activity Energy Expenditure
These are the calories that our body uses when we are doing intensive tasks such as sports or exercise. This also applies to other non-physical activities such as chores around the house.
What Is a Calorie Deficit?
Each of us has a certain amount of fat stored in our bodies. A percentage of it is good for you and can also be considered important. However, most people do not know what this percentage is, and at times, they accumulate more fat than they should.
This translates into them being out of shape, the risk of certain diseases, and also a reduction in their overall energy levels. In order for you to get into better shape and become more active, you need to bring this fat level down, and the safest way to do that is through a calorie deficit.
The premise of a calorie deficit is simple. For example, your body requires 2000 calories a day in order to function. You consume this through different means i.e. food and drink. A calorie deficit would involve eating 1500 calories and then allowing your body to make up for the remaining 500 calories by burning the fat in your body. Your body needs to get its daily requirement of energy, and if it doesn’t get that from the food you eat, it will use the next best source – the fat in your body. When this is done on a consistent basis, you will begin to see a reduction in your weight and fat levels.
Tracking Your Meals
This begs the question, how do you make sure your everyday meals are in a calorie deficit? In 2022, there are a plethora of different technologies that allow you to stay on top of your health. There are different ways to record your data, store it, read it, and even share it with your doctors.
In order for you to determine whether your meals are in a calorie deficit, you should do two things:
Doing Your Research
The simplest way to know what is in your food is by doing a quick search on Google to understand what goes into it.
Understanding Your Food
For example, if you are eating a steak dinner with veggies on the side, you can very easily find out the number of calories your food has. Furthermore, you need to understand that simply consuming calories is not enough, they need to be healthy calories in order for your calorie deficit to be effective.
Let’s say you’re operating on a 1500 calorie deficit down from your 2000 required calories. If you eat a cake with frosting that is 1400 calories, this doesn’t do the job for you. Along with those calories, you are also consuming abnormal amounts of sugar and other chemicals which are doing a lot more harm than good for you.
Out With The Bad, In With The Good
There are plenty of guides and instructions that one can find online that tell you what to eat and what not to eat when on a calorie deficit. For starters, you can cut out all sorts of food and drinks that don’t benefit your body in any way. This can include fizzy drinks, desserts, fried snacks, and processed foods.
All of these might have calories but they also contribute to different diseases, such as diabetes, heart conditions, and blood pressure issues. Also, these are all things that you can live without. None of these are requirements for you.
Instead of having food and drinks that are bad for you, satiate your cravings in other ways. Instead of ordering take out all the time, get the ingredients and make the food at home. This way, you are in more control of what you eat, the food is clean, and you save money.
When you feel snackish, instead of digging into a packet of chips, replace it with fruits or nuts. These not only fill you up but they also provide several health benefits. For example, pistachios are a great source of fiber, which makes you feel more full, putting an end to pointless cravings.
Recording Your Meals
Many people are unaware of the wonder that is food tracking. Applications such as MyFitnessPal allow you to record what you eat on a day-to-day basis. It allows you to record how much water you drink and also the exercises you do. If you stay consistent with this, over time, you will be given a detailed understanding of your progress.
You can put in your starting weight at the beginning of the journey, and over time, see how you are doing. It also allows you to set a target for yourself and then make a tentative plan for you to get there.
These applications also have millions of food items in their database, along with a full nutritional breakdown of what is in them. This makes it easier to know how many calories you have consumed daily. If you make a habit of tracking your daily meals, you will know how many calories you have consumed, allowing you to maintain a calorie deficit in your diet. Over time, you will begin to see this effort come to fruition only if you remain committed to it.
There are many different ways for you to design a diet that will facilitate a calorie deficit. There is no designated template that can be used by everyone. You need to do your research, see what foods are best for you, plan out how you are going to consume them, remove all unhealthy options that you can live without, and then begin with your calorie deficit.
If you want to make sure your everyday meals are in a calorie deficit, do your research. It will allow you to learn the calories in different foods and this will make it easier for you to design a meal plan for yourself. In the end, if all else fails, you can always consult a nutritionist who can give you all the help that you need with this.