Calorie Deficit Key To Weight Loss – Here’s Why

When it comes to losing weight, deciding which diet and exercise plan to follow can be overwhelming. While diets may differ in approach, the basic principle is the same for most: burn more calories than you consume.

Eating fewer calories than you expend through exercise and everyday living is called a calorie deficit. While the concept is simple, there are several factors that can affect whether or not to lose weight, and each person’s calorie deficit will be different.

What is a calorie deficit?

In basic terms, a calorie is a unit of energy. So if a milkshake has 250 calories, that means your body gets 250 units of energy from consuming it. To avoid gaining weight from drinking the milkshake, your body has to burn the same number of calories or more calories as the milkshake contains, creating a deficit.

But sometimes the math isn’t so simple. How your body burns or metabolizes calories differs based on several factors:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): This is the amount of energy your body needs to keep all of its basic systems – including breathing, heart rate, digestion, and cell growth – functioning correctly. Calculated from your height, weight, gender, and age, BMR accounts for 50 to 80 percent of your daily calorie expenditure. Several online tools exist to help you calculate your BMR, including this one.
  • Muscle to Fat Ratio: Determined by a person’s body mass index (BMI), those with higher muscle mass will burn calories faster.
  • Activity level: The more intense your activities, the more calories you burn
  • Hormone function: Endocrine problems such as menopause, diabetes and even stress can affect hormonal weight gain. Likewise, women during pregnancy and breastfeeding may need to consume extra calories to help their babies grow at a healthy rate.
  • General medical health: Certain diseases and medications, such as steroids, can cause you to gain weight, regardless of your diet and exercise.

Since each person has a different genetic makeup and medical health history to take into account, one-size-fits-all calorie deficits, like the ones you select in many fitness apps (usually 1,200 or 1,500 calories a day), won’t work. for everyone.

Tips to keep track of your calories

To determine your desired calorie deficit, you must first track your daily diet and activity level. There are many methods available for doing this, from phone apps and smart watches to wearable fitness trackers.

Or just write it all down in a food diary with nutrition information from labels or a web search. You should also keep a record of your daily activities, the duration and intensity of each, to determine the number of calories burned.

Track your calories for an entire week, then average each day’s calorie expenditure. Once you know how many calories you generally consume during the week, you can make changes toward a daily deficit.

Make these changes

To lose a pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you take in in a week.

In other words, to lose a pound a week, you need to be in a deficit of 500 calories a day. For two pounds you need a deficit of 1,000 calories per day. This calorie reduction can be achieved by increasing activity levels or by eating fewer calories, although a combination of both is ideal.

And remember that your body doesn’t treat all food calories equally. The source of the calories affects how your body metabolizes its energy. Stay full longer and maintain a calorie deficit by choosing these foods:

  • Whole grain
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Fish
  • nuts
  • Low-fat dairy products

Work with your doctor or a dietitian to create a deficit that will shave those extra calories — and pounds — without leaving you feeling hungry or deprived.

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Calorie Deficit Key To Weight Loss – Here’s Why

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