Despite the complicated diet plans and exercise programs, you come across on the internet and in magazines, the science of weight loss is quite simple.
Weight loss takes place when the body uses more calories than it takes in. This is the mechanism for losing unwanted fat.
It is also the foundation of the caloric deficit plan.
As the name suggests, caloric deficit aims to create a deficit in your daily calorie balance. In other words, the body’s demand for calories is higher than the actual supply of calories from food intake.
So what does the body do to fill that gap?
It turns to stored fat and burns it to create more energy. With time, fat deposits keep getting lower, resulting in sustained weight loss.
The opposite of caloric deficit is caloric surplus.
More calories are taken in than are expended, causing fat levels in the body to rise and resulting in weight gain. This is the situation you are most likely in if you struggle to get rid of those extra unwanted pounds.
To start losing weight, you just need to reverse the equation from a surplus to a deficit through two main strategies: diet and exercise.
Caloric Deficit Allows You To Monitor Your Food Intake (Leading To Better Weight Management)
One of the biggest factors causing weight gain is unconscious overeating.
Go to the grocery store, and almost every item on the shelf will have added sugar. Even the small snack you take during work break adds more calories to your daily diet than you would expect.
Without being aware, many people are overloading their bodies with calories.
When you switch to a caloric deficit, the plan forces you to watch what you eat and drink.
You have to calculate how many calories you take in and how many you expend.
The goal is to reduce calorie intake by around 20%.
There are many online calorie counters you can use to estimate your calorie input and expenditure. Various apps allow you to closely track your diet, add up calories through the day, and calculate how many you burn based on age, weight, and lifestyle.
For instance, if your estimated calorie intake is 3000 per day, reducing it by 20% would mean cutting around 600 calories from your diet.
Using a calorie tracker, you can easily monitor your input throughout the day, ensuring you do not go above the set goal.
You soon find yourself reconsidering those frequent snacks you mindlessly eat. Everything, even the morning cup of coffee, now matters whether you successfully lose weight or not.
This level of hyper-awareness can feel tedious and unnecessary at first. Still, it soon becomes a habit and, most importantly, a lifesaver.
Caloric Deficit Combined With Exercise Is A Sure Way To Lose Weight
When you are attempting to achieve a calorie deficit, diet should be the main focus.
Changing your diet, in terms of what you eat and in what portions, is the most effective way of creating a caloric deficit. However, diet is not the only thing you should work on.
Physical activity is important too.
Combining caloric deficit with exercise can help you burn more fat than you would with dietary changes alone.
Additionally, regular exercise boosts your metabolism and keeps you healthy all-round.
So as you create a caloric deficit diet plan, consider coming up with a sustainable workout routine too.
Target at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity for 5 days a week. Your routine should involve both cardio to burn fat and weight training to build up your muscles.
Never Follow A Crash Diet Just For The Sake Of Caloric Deficit
Going by the principle of caloric deficit, the bigger the deficit, the more fat you burn and the more weight you lose.
This is the basis of crash diets.
Some require you to take in as few as 700 calories to lose weight rapidly within a short amount of time.
Technically, a crash diet can cause rapid weight loss.
The problem is the danger you would be putting your body in. The body needs a minimum amount of calories to function.
Another problem with going too low is that you are unlikely to sustain it for a long time. Most people who follow crash diets tend to regain the lost weight soon after they no longer maintain the diet.
The best weight loss strategy is one that you can sustain for weeks, months, and years.
By creating a moderate caloric deficit of around 500 calories, you may not lose weight as quickly as you want, but you will likely lose it permanently. This is because the deficit becomes easy to maintain for many years, ensuring that fat buildup does not occur.
Never follow a crash diet simply because it has a higher caloric deficit. You are risking your health and might end up still struggling with weight gain.
Do It Slowly And Let Your Body Adapt
Even as you stick to a moderate caloric deficit plan that you can sustain, it is still not a good idea to rush into it.
You need to give your body time to adapt to the deficit.
With the help of a calorie counting app, start with a small deficit like 100 or 200 calories. Try it for a week before ramping up another 100 calories.
During this time, focus on eliminating or reducing high-calorie foods and adding healthy lower-calorie foods like veggies, fruits, and grains.
After a few weeks, you can ratchet up to the full 20% deficit. By now, your body will have adapted, and it becomes easier to turn the new diet into a lasting habit.
Also, do not forget to include regular workouts for faster weight loss.
There is no magic pill when it comes to weight loss.
Your discipline, determination, and patience greatly determine whether you succeed.
A caloric deficit is not a shortcut to weight loss. It is a strategy that requires absolute commitment and hard work.
If utilized correctly, it is a highly effective way to get fitter and healthier.