Many weight loss methods can be disputed, but the necessity of a caloric deficit ISN’T one of them.
When it comes to weight loss, caloric deficit is king.
Why? Why is a caloric deficit so important?
Well, because without a caloric deficit, you’re not going to lose weight.
No deficit = no weight loss, regardless of the diet and its claims.
You see, once you understand what is happening with a caloric deficit you can begin to understand many common questions.
Caloric Deficit & Weight Loss
Our bodies need energy to survive and function.
Whether you’re sitting in bed all day or extremely active you’re using up energy.
Even laying in bed, your heart still needs to pump, your eyes still blink, your respiratory system still needs to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide, etc.
You see where I’m going? Even when you’re “not doing anything”, you’re body is still using energy.
Put another way, if you’re alive you’re using energy.
Now, what happens when you don’t give your body the energy it needs to survive and function properly?
Well, it has to go to internal stores (e.g, fat, glycogen, and body proteins) to make up for the deficit you’ve created.
Now, when these internal stores are not replenished to at least the same extent in which they were taken from you end up with less storage.
Done continually you will end up with less “storage” and therefore a lesser overall body weight.
I hope that makes sense.
If so, you can see how any diet that puts your body in this state of deficit will produce the same result; weight loss.
Now, the composition of that weight loss is dependent on other crucial factors which we will discuss later.
The bottom line is this;
As long as you are not giving your body sufficient energy (creating a caloric deficit) it will have to take from internal storage and overtime you will therefore lose weight.
Creating a caloric deficit, no matter the diet, is the cause of weight loss.
Creating A Caloric Deficit for Effective Weight Loss
So, by now I’m sure that you can see the necessity of a caloric deficit for losing weight.
The key now is figuring out the best way for YOU to do so and therefore lose weight.
That’s what we’ll go over now.
We know that every diet out there WILL work as long as it creates a caloric deficit, right.
But creating a caloric deficit isn’t the whole picture.
Right now you may be thinking….
you just spent the last half of this article speaking about how a calorie deficit is ALL you need to lose weight.
Now you’re saying it isn’t everything?
Well, to lose weight, yes.
A calorie deficit is ALL you need to lose weight.
It doesn’t matter how you create it, as long as you are in a deficit.
However, to lose weight effectively is something very different than just losing weight.
Losing weight effectively means; to lose fat, preserve muscle, and keep the weight off.
This is what will get us lean and keep us that way.
You can see the links provided to go further into those topics.
For the purposes of this article let’s focus on creating a caloric deficit in a sustainable manner.
3 General Tips for Creating a Deficit for Weight Loss:
Drop calories slowly and focus on small, gradual changes. Drastically dropping your calories will 9 times out of 10 lead you everywhere but long-term weight loss. Quickly jumping into a caloric deficit (especially a large one) will not be beneficial for you mentally nor physically. The slower you go, the more likely it is that you will succeed in the long-term. If I could give someone one tip for losing weight it would be to be patient and focus on making small, gradual improvements to your diet and activity levels. Too many take large drastic leaps and end up right back where they started. Fads and gimmicks don’t last, habits do. And habits are built through repetition. The more simple, enjoyable, and convenient a behavior is, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to continually do it. The more you repeat it the greater the chance you’ll be building habits. Change your habits and you’ll change your outcome!
Focus on making healthy substitutes rather than “cutting calories”. Healthier (whole) foods are usually lower calorie and more satiating (causing you to feel full quicker and therefore eat less). This is not to imply that you cannot overeat healthy foods. But rather that most people find themselves eating much less when they cut out higher calorie processed foods. One of my best weight loss tips is to eat a serving of your favorite fruit/vegetable with a glass of water prior to every meal. This one simple habit can work wonders in helping you eat less. Understand, however, that you still need to set proper portions, make your environment positively influence your goals, etc. STOP ELIMINATING, START SUBSTITUTING!
Never drop calories too low, i.e, below your Resting Metabolic Rate (roughly 11×body weight). This creates nutritional deficiencies, greater than normal muscle loss, and is not sustainable in the long-term. Such low calorie diets are unhealthy and a complete waste of your time and effort. Long-term weight loss is NOT achieved through fad diets, gimmicks, nor pills. It is achieved through building a lifestyle that builds the body you want.
A caloric deficit is the key ingredient of weight loss.
Many methods of losing weight can be disputed, but the effectiveness and necessity of a caloric deficit is not one of them.
When we take in less than we expend our bodies need to get the energy from somewhere (hopefully fat).
And when that stored energy is taken from and not replenished to the same degree we end up “lighter” than before.
Key Take Away Points:
Do NOT believe all the hype about special diets and the promises that come with them (claiming they will provide quick results). Many of these diets are not sustainable, create huge deficits, and mess up your metabolism.
Most of these diets may very well work in the short-term because they put the individual in a caloric deficit. However, because they are so unsustainable, they are not a good long-term solution (i.e, you may lose weight but you will gain it right back once you stop the “diet”).
In order to lose weight you NEED to be in a caloric deficit (taking in fewer calories than you expend). So skip the fancy, “special”, and/or cutting edge diets and focus on creating a caloric deficit (through lowering calorie intake and increasing physical activity) in a way that you can continue and live with long-term.
I hope that you have found this article helpful in increasing your knowledge on honest and practical weight loss strategies.
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Best of luck in all your fitness endeavors!
Keep pushing forward towards that leaner, stronger, healthier version of yourself!
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