Calories are the units of energy you get from foods and beverages, and when you consume fewer calories than you burn, you achieve a calorie deficit. The calories you burn or expend each day, also known as calorie expenditure, include the following 3 components:
Resting energy expenditure (REE)- REE refers to the calories your body uses at rest for functions that keep you alive, such as breathing and blood circulation.
Thermic effect of food- This involves the calories you body expends digesting, absorbing and metabolizing food.
Activity energy expenditure- This refers to the calories you burn during physical activity including sports, gym-like activity, household chores etc.
If you provide your body fewer calories than it needs to support these three components of calorie expenditure, you put your body in a calorie deficit. Doing so consistently for long periods of time, results in weight loss. You can achieve a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories or increasing your physical activity, or both!
One pound of fat is around 3,500 calories, and safe fat loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week. To lose 1 pound of fat per week, you’d need a 500- calorie deficit each day. Instead of creating that deficit solely by eating less, we recommend mixing in exercise as well.
You can workout your own calorie deficit by entering your details into online calorie deficit calculators, which will give you a rough guideline of the amount if calories you need in order to be in a calorie deficit. However, it is recommended that women have no less than 1,200 calories a day and men 1,500 a day. A gradual calorie deficit is the most efficient way of losing weight gradually, safely and will help keep the weight off.
Once you have worked out your calorie deficit you should track your calories each day, so you know how many calories you have consumed. This can be done by various apps online, manually (by looking on the back of the packets), or by our very own online nutrition portal!
Some simple tips to help maintain your calories deficit:
Don’t drink your calories- you may be able to eliminate several hundred calories by cutting out sugary drinks, alcohol, sugar in your tea, speciality coffee’s.
Limit highly processed foods- The sugar, fat and salt in highly processed foods including sugary beverages, fast food, ready meals, desserts, make these high calorie foods and encourage excess consumption.
Eat primarily home cooked meals- This way you know what exactly is in your foods, helps you track your ingredients and allows you to portion control.
In summary a calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body expends.
A calorie deficit of 500 is effective for healthy and sustainable weight loss.
Elimination of sugary drinks, consuming less processed foods, and eating home cooked meals can help you reach a calorie deficit without calorie counting.