Caloric Deficit is King

Many methods of weight loss can be disputed, but the necessity of a caloric deficit is NOT one of them.

When it comes to weight loss, caloric deficit is king.

There is a lot of hype over “special” diets (keto, paleo, intermittent fasting, etc) or specific exercise modalities that “burn the most fat”, but that is ALL it is, hype.

Creating a caloric deficit (eating below your total daily energy expenditure) is what each and every person looking to lose weight should primarily focus on.

Why? Because without a caloric deficit, you are not going to lose weight. Plain and simple.

There is always a new diet that pops up and catches people’s attention with its promises of quick, effortless results.

The diets may very well cause an individual to lose weight in the short-term.

However, it is not the diet that works per se, it is the caloric deficit the particular diet creates that causes the weight loss.

Every diet out there WILL work as long as it creates a caloric deficit (causing you to take in less energy than is required to maintain your weight).

What needs to be focused on is adopting a diet that:

a) puts you in a caloric deficit and

b) is sustainable for you long-term

Without a caloric deficit, you will not lose weight. And without sustainability of the strategies used, you will not keep the weight off.

For this reason, these 2 strategies are crucial for successful long-term weight loss.

Many fail to lose weight for many reasons but the key issue is… they are not truly in a caloric deficit.

Often times, we misjudge the caloric content of the food we eat and overall our daily intake.

We believe that we’re in a caloric deficit so when we do not lose weight, we gravitate towards the false belief (of some “fitness gurus”) that energy balance is irrelevant.

By definition, however, if you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight.

If we’re not giving our body the energy it needs to sustain itself and its processes from external sources it will begin to take from internal sources (e.g, fat, glycogen, and body proteins).

So, again, if you are not losing weight, it is because you are taking in more calories than you are expending.


Tips/Advice Regarding Creating a Deficit:

  • Drop calories slowly. 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.
  • Focus first on making healthy substitutes rather than just “eating less”. Healthier foods are usually 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.
  • Never drop calories below your Resting Metabolic Rate (roughly 11×body weight).


Some crucial additional facts and further reading:
There are three key aspects of weight loss that should NOT be overlooked if you wish to lose weight effectively AND successfully.

Though caloric deficit alone (without these) would cause an individual to lose weight, these key aspects will ensure that you retain as much lean mass as possible (while losing weight) and that you keep the weight off long-term.

-Protein Intake: Key Benefits of Protein for Fat Loss

-Resistance Exercise: Benefits of Resistance Exercise for Weight Loss

-And lastly, but arguably most important, making sure whatever method/methods that are used to lose fat are sustainable: Diet sustainability and Sustainable Exercise.



Caloric deficit is the key ingredient of weight loss.

Many methods of losing weight can be disputed, but the effectiveness 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 used 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.

If you liked the article and/or believe someone you know may benefit from it, please like and share.

Best of luck in all your fitness endeavors! Keep pushing forward towards that leaner, stronger, healthier version of yourself!

Michael Cruz