calorie deficit to lose weight

Calorie Deficit: All You Need to Know to Lose Weight

Have you ever tried to lose weight? More than half U.S population tried to lose weight over the last year... but only small fraction got to lose all the weight they wanted.

Calorie deficit is the first and most important requirement to lose weight. If you are in a calorie deficit, you lose weight.

What’s the Calorie Deficit?

Our food contains calories; and we burn calories as well.

You take calories, and you burn them. There’s a calorie balance being established during the day.

Calories is a measure of how much energy food provides to our organism (source), as well as an indicator of how much energy we are burning when practicing your favourite sport, or cleaning your room.

calorie balance

When you eat less calorie than you burn, you are in a calorie deficit. Your body needs more energy than that you are providing with, and it will take some of the molecules stored in your body, to produce energy.

Calorie deficit is the first and most important requirement to lose weight (source)

The CICO Model

There’s a calorie flow in your everyday life. You take calories, and you burn them.

Calories In = Calories Out

All the energy you take through food must be either burned or stored in our body. Burning more than you eat will make you lose weight.

Following the CICO Model, we can have different scenarios:

Calorie Balance for Weight Loss Diet

If you want to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit. But how much of a calorie deficit should you do?

How Much of a Calorie Deficit to Lose Weight?

If being in a calorie deficit helps you lose weight then... the more the better right?


The more calorie deficit, the more weight you’ll lost, and the faster you’ll get to your goals.

Well, bad news... it doesn’t work that way


Higher calorie deficit means faster weightloss, but there are some consequences attached to it. These include muscle loss (source), health issues (source), and disturbment of your metabolism (source)

The safe and recommended calorie deficit to lose weight is 500 calories per day (source)

Doing this calorie deficit will make sure you stay healthy, and you are optimizing fat loss while minimizing muscle loss as much as possible


How to Create a Calorie Deficit to Lose Weight

How do you create the calorie deficit?

If you go back to the CICO model, you’ll notice you have two possibilities to create a calorie deficit:

healhty eating

Lower Dietary Intake

The first way you can create a calorie deficit is by lowering the “Calories In” side of the equation. As simple as it sounds. Eat less than what you burn.

Start by planning your weight loss diet. Know how many calories you need to take, and plan your diet according to that.

Once you have the diet planned, you can use some tricks to create the calorie deficit while still enjoying your diet:

  • Choose low calorie foods
  • Less, but bigger meals
  • High-protein diet
  • Be flexible and eat following the 20/80 rule

Increase Physical Activity

Increasing physical activity makes you burn more calories. Calories out is formed by:

TDEE formula

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): calories we spend by simply living

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): calories used to perform non-exercise related conscious activities

Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT): calories burned when doing exercise or any other physical activity

Thermic Effect of Foods (TEF): calories used to absorb and digest the food

To increase physical activity and create a calorie deficit, you can:

  • Make longer workouts
  • Include cardio sessions
  • Increase your daily steps goal
  • Make small changes in your lifestyle to move more (take stairs, walk, take the bike,...)


Calorie deficit is the first and most important requirement to lose weight. If you are in a calorie deficit, you'll lose weight.

In this post we've seen what's calorie deficit and how much you need to lose weight safely and effectively.

If you have any questions, please leave it below in the comments section 🙂

1 thought on “Calorie Deficit: All You Need to Know to Lose Weight”

  1. Pingback: Step-By-Step to Plan the Perfect Weight Loss Diet » TrainingbyScience

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