All You Need to Know About Calorie Deficit Diet

Summary

In India’s ever-growing fitness industry, most young adults are looking for ways to lose weight. With many opinions regarding various weight loss methods, a calorie deficit diet has been a commonly suggested method by a majority of experts. 

In this article, we will talk about what a calorie deficit diet is? How does it work? And how to calculate it? To help you understand better, we will also include a sample calorie deficit diet to kick-start your journey!

Introduction

With the ‘fitness boom’ in the country, more and more people are growing conscious about their health. The term ‘calorie deficit’ has gained immense popularity in India in the recent past. A calorie deficit diet has been the center of the weight loss process, especially amongst young adults who wish to start their weight loss journey. 

However, a calorie deficit diet must be planned and must include all the required vitamins, nutrients, fats, and carbohydrates needed by your body. With many fitness enthusiasts and practitioners offering a wide range of tips, suggestions, and more, it may get confusing what exactly is a calorie deficit diet, how it works, and how do you calculate calorie deficit.

What Is a Calorie Deficit Diet?

To understand what a calorie deficit diet is, we must get down to the basics. A calorie is a unit of energy that you get when you consume any food. When the total calories consumed are less than what you burn, you achieve a calorie deficit. 

But before understanding the calorie deficit, it is essential to know how many calories you require in a day. 

Three major factors determine the number of calories you require in a day. 

  • Basal Metabolic Rate: The Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to function. The BMR of a person depends on various factors such as age, gender, weight, height. 
  • Physical Activity: Any physical activity accounts for up to 40% of your daily calorie requirements. This also includes workouts.
  • Thermic Effect of Food: The thermic effect of food is the energy needed to digest and absorb the food you consume.

Hence, if your total food consumption does not match the calorie requirements to do the tasks mentioned above, you put your body in a calorie deficit state. 

Calculating Calorie Deficit

To calculate daily calorie requirements and deficits, various dieticians and nutritionists use different formulas and equations. However, the most commonly used equation is the Harris-Benedict equation.

In this, you will need to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate with the help of your age, weight, and height. Once done, your BMR will be multiplied by an activity factor which is determined by how much you move in a day. For example, if you rarely exercise in a month, you can multiply your BMR by 1.12. However, if you exercise 3 to 5 days a week, your calorie requirement will be your BMR x 1.55.

To maintain a calorie deficit, you must consume lesser calories than your body requires or burns in a day. Ideally, most dieticians and fitness trainers suggest a deficit of 500 calories. For example, if your daily calorie intake is 3,000 calories, you need to consume 2,500 calories. 

According to studies, it has been calculated that 1 pound of fat stores up to 3,500 calories. Hence if your calorie intake is reduced by 500 calories per day, by the end of 1 week, you may lose up to 1 pound of weight. But this differs from person to person as different bodies respond differently.

How Does a Calorie Deficit Diet Work?

How Does a Calorie Deficit Diet Work?

Studies suggest that for the calorie deficit diet to work and for you to lose weight, you must maintain it for an extended period. If you are on a calorie deficit diet on a long-term basis, the total energy your body needs to survive daily is lesser, and hence your body is deprived of that energy. 

To perform all its functions, the body will use the stored energy to make up for the deficit, thus triggering the loss of existing calories. This, ultimately, results in the loss of overall weight. 

However, since every person’s body functioning and metabolism are different from one another, only a calorie deficit diet may not result in weight loss. To achieve weight loss efficiently, a calorie deficit diet along with daily physical activity is the best way. 

As mentioned before, it may take you 7 days to lose up to 1 pound of fat with a calorie deficit of 3,500 in a week. Keeping the calculation in mind, you would need a deficit of 7,000 calories to lose 2 pounds of fat which could prove harmful to your body. Due to this, physical exercise or maintaining a workout routine and a calorie deficit diet would be an efficient way to lose weight. 

It is important to understand that you must have a minimum threshold of calorie consumption for your body. According to the National Institutes of Health, you must not eat less than 1,000 calories in a day. Having very few calories can delay the process of weight loss and can harm your health.

4-day sample meal plan

This sample meal plan does offer you 1,200 calories in a day and offers a calorie deficit of 300 calories if your total daily calorie requirement is 1,500 calories. 

Day 1

Time Diet
Early Morning Cucumber Water – 1 glass
Breakfast 1 small bowl of Oats/Porridge + Nuts
Afternoon (12 pm) Skimmed milk Paneer (1 small bowl)
Lunch (2 pm) Dal – 1 small bowl + Vegetable salad – 1 small bowl + Roti – 1
Snacks (4 pm) Apple – 1 + Buttermilk – 1 glass
Evening (5:30 pm) Tea with minimal sugar and milk – 1 tea cup 
Dinner (9 pm) Dal – 1 small bowl + Vegetable salad – 1 bowl + Roti – 1

Day 2

Time Diet
Early Morning Cucumber Water – 1 glass
Breakfast Smoothie with fruits and nuts – 1 glass + Omelette – 1 egg
Afternoon (12 pm) Skimmed milk paneer (1 small bowl)
Lunch (2 pm) Dal – 1 small bowl + Bhindi curry – 1 small bowl + Vegetable salad – 1 bowl + Roti – 1
Snacks (4 pm) Orange – 1 + Buttermilk – 1 glass
Evening (5:30 pm) Coffee with minimal sugar and milk – 1 cup 
Dinner (9 pm) Dal – 1 small bowl + Mixed Vegetable salad – 1 cup + Rice – 1 small bowl 

Day 3

Time Diet
Early Morning Luke warm lemon/turmeric water- 1 glass
Breakfast Idli – 2 + Sambar – 1 small bowl
Afternoon (12 pm) Skimmed milk paneer (one small bowl)
Lunch (2 pm) Potato and Brinjal curry – 1 small bowl + Mixed Vegetable salad – 1 cup + Roti – 1 + Curd – 1 small bowl 
Snacks (4 pm) Banana – 1 + Buttermilk – 1 glass
Evening (5:30 pm) Tea with minimal sugar and milk – 1 tea cup
Dinner (9 pm) Dal – 1 small bowl  + Mixed Vegetable salad – 1 cup + Roti – 1

Day 4

Time Diet
Early Morning Luke warm lemon/turmeric water – 1 glass
Breakfast Gram flour pancakes – 2 + Green garlic chutney 
Afternoon (12 pm) Skimmed milk paneer (one small bowl)
Lunch (2 pm) Sauteed paneer and vegetable curry – 1 small bowl + Vegetable salad – 1 bowl + Roti – 1
Snacks (4 pm) Banana – 1 + Buttermilk – 1 glass
Evening (5:30 pm) Tea with minimal sugar and milk – 1 tea cup 
Dinner (9 pm) Paneer curry – 1 small bowl + Mixed Vegetable salad – 1 cup + Roti – 1

This is a 4-day sample meal plan of 1,200 calories. The dishes you wish to have for lunch and dinner can be changed according to your likes and dislikes. However, the quantity must remain the same. 

To conclude, a calorie deficit diet is one of the most efficient ways to lose weight if done under the consultation of a dietician or a nutritionist. Through this method, your body receives the required calories to perform its daily functions. At the same time, the deficit helps your body in utilizing existing energy deposits to carry out additional functions and facilitates weight loss.

Are you looking to lose weight? Our coaches can help you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can a calorie deficit diet harm my body?

A. It is advised that you consult a doctor before you frame a calorie deficit diet for your body. If you devise a calorie deficit diet that is less than 1,000 calories, it can harm your body as your body will not receive the base amount of calories, nutrients and the energy to perform basic functions.

Q. Will a calorie deficit diet help me lose weight immediately?

A. No, structuring a calorie deficit meal plan, following it, and then seeing its effect is a process that takes time. For a calorie deficit diet to work, one must follow it for a long period. Following it for a week or two weeks may not yield the results you may desire.

Q. What foods should I avoid during a calorie deficit diet?

A. To make the most of your calorie deficit diet, you must avoid carbonated beverages or any beverage with high sugar content, such as processed juices, canned coffee or tea. Apart from this, you must limit your intake of processed foods, ready to cook instant foods, fried foods, and your consumption of alcohol.

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