Calorie deficit: tips, features, calculations (the most detailed review!)

Many people mistakenly believe that only a select few manage to lose weight safely and for a long time. However, if you know the golden rule of losing weight, which consists in eating with a calorie deficit, then the process of losing weight is greatly facilitated.

So, let’s take a closer look at what a calorie deficit is, whether this weight loss system is right for you, and what you need to do to maintain a calorie deficit properly.

Calorie deficit


A calorie deficit is a difference between the calories ingested from food and those consumed during the day. In simplified terms, when eating a calorie deficit, you should consume less food than your body can use during the day.

For example, if 1800 kcal was consumed in the body during the day, and 2000 kcal was consumed, the deficit will be 200 kcal. Calories burned are not just those that you burned during exercise. This includes the number of calories from your basal metabolic rate and daily activity, as well as the energy expended during sleep.

There are two ways to create a calorie deficit:

  • by increasing physical activity
  • by reducing the diet

It is impossible to track the exact number of calories burned during daily activity, so we will consider the deficit created by cutting the diet by a certain number of calories.

By the way, a calorie deficit does not imply food restrictions. You can eat anything as long as it fits within the daily requirement. Even eating only one creamy ice cream, you will lose weight. Another question is what condition your hair, skin, and teeth will be in after such an experiment. Therefore, if you decide to lose weight on a calorie deficit, you should reduce the amount of food consumed and take a healthy diet and a balanced diet.


We have eight reasons why this system works for those who doubt the effectiveness of losing weight on a calorie deficit.

  1. A calorie deficit is a guaranteed way to lose weight, as the body will inevitably begin to take energy from fat stores, not getting enough of it from food.
  2. A calorie deficit is a very understandable and adaptable system. You can independently adjust the menu to suit your habits without being guided by any framework and restrictions usually assumed in other diets.
  3. To lose weight, you don’t have to cut calories too much. It is enough to reduce the daily calorie intake by 300-500 calories to get the weight off the ground.
  4. A calorie deficit is a flexible system that allows you to choose the optimal regimen for each person. For example, limiting calories on weekdays and increasing the amount of food on weekends, the principle of “zig-zag” calorie content, and other options that allow you to build the most convenient schedule.
  5. On a calorie deficit, you can not exclude certain foods from the diet. (even your favorite sweets!), Because the main thing is not to exceed the daily calorie content.
  6. Losing weight on a calorie deficit is perfectly safe, unlike many low-calorie diets and food-restrictive eating plans.
  7. By counting calories and making a menu, you will begin to analyze your diet and select more correct, nutritious, and low-calorie foods to fit them into your calorie intake. Thus, you will change your eating behavior, clearing your diet of garbage and unhealthy foods.
  8. Last but not least, a calorie deficit is not forever. When you reach your target weight, you can return to maintenance calories to maintain results.


Energy enters the body in the form of calories that we get from food. To maintain vital activity, a person needs a certain amount of energy to cover basic metabolism and daily activity needs.

  • If there are fewer calories in than those spent during the day, the body will begin to take energy from old reserves, namely glycogen, muscle, and adipose tissue. As a result, a person loses weight because nothing is stored in reserve, but, on the contrary, already existing energy is taken into work. Calories from glycogen are sent first to the furnace and then from fat (if you eat enough protein) or muscle (if your diet is too meager and not rich in nutrients).
  • If the incoming calories are more than spent during the day, the process will be the opposite. Excess calories go straight to fat stores if not used up during the day. The human body tends to store energy for the future, which echoes primitive times when food was scarce. Today there is no need to hunt for food, but the body stores energy for a rainy day.

Therefore, it is not recommended to follow strict diets, for example, mono-, drinking, buckwheat, fruit, and other hungry food systems, which imply a meager diet. Strict diets are effective only because they are built on excessive daily calorie intake or an artificial calorie deficit.

Why low-calorie diets don’t work:

  1. Unlike a moderate deficit, in all strict diets, the calorie deficit is too large and often even lower than the basal metabolism, and therefore, after exiting the diet, the body begins to store energy with renewed vigor. This can lead to rapid weight gain if you return to your previous diet.
  2. Fasting diets destroy your muscles, drain connective tissue, and make your bones brittle.
  3. On strict diets, weight goes well due to a decrease in muscle mass => the less muscle in the body, the worse the metabolism => deterioration in body quality, and rapid weight gain in the future.
  4. Such diets do not help change eating behavior. It is assumed that you sat on a low-calorie diet for 7-14-30 days, lost weight, and then returned to your previous diet. However, as soon as you start to eat during the period of excess weight, the history of weight gain will repeat itself.
  5. Low-calorie diets are much harder to tolerate than moderate deficits. For example, you physically will not be able to sit on a conditional buckwheat diet for more than ten days.

At the same time, a calorie deficit suggests cutting calories to an acceptable level, which is significantly higher than the basic needs of the metabolism. As a result, the metabolism does not slow down, and the body continues to lose weight.


According to this system, a moderate calorie deficit is suitable for every person; there are no contraindications for losing weight. If you are overweight, a small calorie deficit (within 20% of the daily value) will affect your health and appearance in the best way, especially if you cut calories from fast carbohydrates and fats, which are harmful to the body in large quantities.

But let’s take a closer look at who should still choose a calorie deficit for weight loss:

  • Those who dream of losing weight without harming their health.
  • People who are overweight.
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle.
  • For those who play sports, but the weight does not go away.

And also to everyone desperate to lose weight on diets and dreams of guaranteed weight loss and keeping it.


Depending on your goals, you can choose the calorie deficit for weight loss that’s right for you.

  1. A small deficit means cutting the daily calorie intake by 10-15% of the usual amount of calories, which will allow you to lose weight comfortably. Weight loss will be 0.5% of actual body weight. This option is suitable for people with a low percentage of body fat if necessary to improve their physical condition. This category includes women with 25% body fat and below, men with 16% body fat.
  2. An average weight loss deficit implies a 20-25% reduction in calories, which will allow you to lose weight more efficiently – up to 1% of your actual body weight per month. Suitable for people with average levels of fatty tissue in the body: women – 25-34%, men – 16-25%.
  3. A large deficit implies a 25-30% reduction in calorie intake, which will allow you to lose weight rapidly, dropping from 1% or more of your current body weight per month. This deficiency is suitable for people who are overweight.

If you decide to start losing weight, then we recommend using a 20% deficit. If you want to speed up the process of losing weight a little and you are a lot overweight, then take a calorie deficit of 25-30%, but we do not advise raising the deficit above this line. Once you are close to your desired weight, you can gradually increase your daily calorie intake, reducing the deficit.


We figured out the calorie deficit – this is, in fact, a lack of calories, which stimulates the body to take energy from fat reserves, which leads to weight loss.

A surplus is an opposite term, namely, an overkill of calories, due to which a person gains weight. Any weight gain occurs due to a surplus – artificially created or unconscious.

  • Athletes use an artificial surplus to gain muscle mass. For these purposes, a surplus is created with the help of protein foods and slow carbohydrates to gain muscle, not fat. This is a deliberate surplus that makes the human body more muscular, prominent, and strong.
  • An unconscious surplus is created if a person systematically consumes more calories than they spend during the day. As a result, excess weight appears, not due to muscle tissue, as in athletes, but due to fatty tissue, leading to cellulite and other manifestations of adipose tissue hypertrophy.

The weight support is the absence of fluctuations in body weight over time. The weight support is only possible if you consume exactly as many calories as you expend. In this case, you will not lose weight, but you will not gain weight either.

Calorie deficit diet plan


The calorie deficit for weight loss is calculated individually since this value depends on body weight and lifestyle. For example, people who work at a computer require fewer calories than those engaged in daily physical work. Let’s calculate how many calories you need to lose weight effectively. You will need a calculator, a notebook and a pen, or a smartphone.

Below is a ready-made calculator online if you do not want to understand the calculations.


Basal metabolism is the number of calories your body spends at rest. This individual value depends on the body’s age, height, weight, and biometrics.

For example, the more muscle mass, the faster the metabolism since muscles consume a lot of energy. At the same time, a large amount of fatty tissue, on the contrary, inhibits metabolism, slowing it down. You can find out the biometric body composition using smart scales. Well, the average value can be calculated independently using the Harris-Benedict formula:

  • Women: BMR = 9.99 * weight (in kg) + 6.25 * height (in cm) – 4.92 * age (number of years) – 161
  • Men: BMR = 9.99 * weight (in kg) + 6.25 * height (in cm) – 4.92 * age (number of years) + 5

Where BMR is the basal metabolic rate


To understand how many calories you burn daily, you need to multiply your basal metabolic rate (BMR) by your physical activity ratio.

  • 1.2 – minimal activity (sedentary lifestyle in the absence of training);
  • 1,375 – little activity (training several times a week, but a sedentary lifestyle);
  • 1.46 – average activity (active lifestyle with regular sports)
  • 1.55 – activity above average (intensive sports almost every day);
  • 1.64 – increased activity (daily training, physical labor);
  • 1.72 – high activity (daily intense training, physical labor, walking for several hours);
  • 1.9 – very high activity (training of professional athletes, hard daily physical labor).

In a sedentary lifestyle, it is not recommended to choose a coefficient greater than 1.375 since sitting for many hours does not compensate for 30-60 minutes of intense training. But if you exercise 5-6 times a week and walk for at least 2 hours daily (or you have physical work on your feet), then you can choose 1.46.

Keeping track of physical activity is important to determine the number of calories you burn during the day as accurately as possible. Based on this data, you can calculate the calorie deficit that is optimal for weight loss.


If you’ve already calculated your basal metabolic rate multiplied by your activity rate, then it’s time to calculate your calorie deficit for weight loss. To do this, you need to decide what kind of deficit you need.

Above, we have given examples of small, large, and medium deficits based on biometric indicators of body quality, namely, the amount of fatty tissue in the body. Indicators are given as a percentage, which must be converted to a prime number. To do this, divide the number in percentage by 100. For example, if you want a deficit of 20%, then divide this number by 100. You get 0.2, and this number must be multiplied by the number of calories burned during the day (base metabolism multiplied by activity coefficient) and then taken away from the daily calorie intake.

It turns out this formula:

  • BMR * Physical Activity Rate – (BMR * Physical Activity Rate * Percentage of Desired Calorie Deficit) = Deficit-adjusted daily calorie intake.

It looks complicated, but an example will make it easier.


Let’s calculate an example of calorie intake, considering a small deficit for a woman and a man.

Woman, 25 years old, weight 60 kg, height 160, sedentary work, 3 workouts per week:

  • Basic metabolism (BMR) = 9.99 * 60 + 6.25 * 160 – 4.92 * 25 – 161 = 1315.4 kcal
  • Calories based on daily activity = 1315 * 1.375 = 1809 kcal
  • Calorie norm with a 20% deficit = 1808.7 – (1808.7 * 0.2) = 1808.7 – 362 = 1447 kcal

Male, 25 years old, weight 90, height 180, work at the computer, 3 workouts per week:

  • Basic metabolism (BMR) = 9.99 * 90 + 6.25 * 180 – 4.92 * 25 + 5 = 1906.1 kcal
  • Calories based on daily activity = 1906.1 * 1.375 = 2621 kcal
  • Calories with a 10% deficit = 2620.9 – (2620.9 * 0.1) = 2620.9 – 262 = 2359 kcal

To effectively lose weight, you should not exceed the daily calorie intake based on the calorie deficit. It is also important not to lower your calorie intake below your base metabolic rate. Otherwise, your metabolism may slow down, leading to weight gain after the diet is over.


Now that you have calculated the calorie intake taking into account the deficit, and are ready to lose weight, the rules and life hacks will come in handy, following which losing weight will become more effective and safer. We tried to sort out the most important points on calorie deficit so that the result on the scale will truly delight you.


A calorie deficit isn’t just about cutting your daily calorie intake. This is a whole system with its own rules, following which you can lose weight much more efficiently and safely.

  1. You need to count all the calories that come in during the day. This means that you will have to write down the exact amount of sugar in your tea, every tomato you eat, or berries plucked from the bush.
  2. Calorie counting can be done manually or using the app on your phone. In the first case, you will have to keep a food diary and search for the calorie content of each product on the Internet. The option with the application is much easier since you will not need to waste time searching for the calorie content of foods and dishes on the web. In addition, any spreadsheet will not be as complete as a product database in an interactive application. See our selection of mobile calorie counting apps.
  3. Products for calculating KBZHU must be weighed raw and not after cooking. This makes the data as accurate as possible. For information on correctly counting calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat in food, read our article with a detailed guide on counting calories.
  4. The daily diet must be tailored to the individual calorie intake for weight loss. Moreover, it is advisable to do this in advance. Otherwise, there is a risk of consuming the daily calorie intake one or two times and be left without dinner.
  5. If you want to lose weight not due to muscle but fat, then include more protein in your diet. No less than 1 g per 1 kg of weight. It is also recommended to limit fats (especially from fatty meats, fast food, confectionery) because they go directly to fat depots, which will slow down the process of losing weight. However, in no case should you lower the amount of fat below 0.75 g per 1 kg of your normal weight (not current).
  6. There are no prohibitions in losing weight on a calorie deficit, but making a diet mainly from healthy products is still recommended. Of course, you will lose weight, even eating burgers, chocolate, and cookies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if all this fits into the daily calorie intake. But a lack of protein and an excess of fats and sugar will negatively affect health and appearance. Therefore, we advise you to focus on healthy foods, which will help you lose weight and have a beneficial effect on your health.
  7. Forming a menu of correct and healthy products is also important from the point of view of a future lifestyle. Remember that losing weight is a temporary process. And you need to not only achieve the desired weight but also maintain the result obtained. And it won’t be possible if you go back to messy eating after losing weight. That is why it is so important to lose weight and change your eating habits.
  8. The calorie content of some complex dishes is difficult to calculate, so it is first better to give preference to more banal dishes. It is quite simple to calculate the KBZHU of oatmeal with milk, rice with meat, curd casseroles, unlike, for example, soups. How to count KBZhU complex dishes. See this article.

With a properly formulated diet, taking into account the calorie deficit, you will not feel discomfort and can easily lose weight while continuing to live an ordinary life.


Macronutrients proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are biologically significant substances vital for humans. They participate in the metabolism and therefore support the health and normal functioning of the body.

  1. Proteins are composed of amino acids and perform many functions in the body, the most important of which is building or structural. It is from proteins of various types that cell membranes, connective tissue, and muscles are composed. Some amino acids are not synthesized in the body; they can only be obtained from food. Lack of protein in the diet can lead to autoimmune disorders, and therefore its norm must be monitored first. Recommended proteins on a calorie deficit: lean meats and poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, dairy products and cheeses, legumes, mushrooms.
  2. Fats are also essential for the body’s vital functions. Lack of fat can lead to hormonal imbalances, as they regulate hormone production. A person can get unsaturated (mainly vegetable), saturated (mainly animal) fats from food. For health, vegetable fats are considered more useful since they are not deposited on the walls of blood vessels by cholesterol plaques. In percentage terms, the body should receive 5-10% saturated fat and 15-20% unsaturated fat. Recommended fats on a calorie deficit: animal fats from dairy products, animal fats from meat products and fish, vegetable fats from nuts and seeds, vegetable fats from oils.
  3. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for humans. In the body, they also perform storage, support, protection, and many other functions. A complete rejection of carbohydrates threatens problems with the liver, kidneys, impaired brain function, and other problems. This is why protein or low-carb diets are considered some of the most harmful. A person can get simple and complex carbohydrates from food. Simple carbohydrates are instantly absorbed, increase blood sugar, and cause a quick feeling of hunger. Such foods include sugar, white flour, flour products, white rice, semolina, sweet fruits – their consumption should be reduced. Complex carbohydrates saturate for a long time, enrich the body with vitamins and minerals, relieve cravings for sweets. Complex carbohydrates include: cereals (oatmeal, buckwheat, barley), whole grain and rye bread, unpolished rice, non-starchy vegetables, unsweetened fruits – their consumption should be increased.

On a calorie deficit, it is unnecessary to take into account BJU (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) if you want to lose weight. However, taking into account BZHU will increase the quality of the diet. For weight loss, such a ratio of macronutrients is optimal: 30% proteins, 30% fats, 40% carbohydrates.


There are several types of a calorie deficit for weight loss. For example, you can take the daily calorie content into account or take the total for the whole week. Let’s analyze all the popular schemes.

  • Constant deficit. In this case, the optimal calorie deficit is observed daily, and the daily calorie content of the diet is considered. The scheme is suitable for people who prepare a diet in advance and are sure that they will not change it during the day.
  • “Zig-zag” calorie content. This implies the unevenness of the calorie intake during the week. For example, your calorie deficit is 1400 calories, but today you ate 1200 calories and the next day 1600 calories. The average value is just 1400 kcal, and therefore is suitable for losing weight. This approach is optimal for those who can’t plan their meals in advance or for those who dream of cheating days.
  • Weekend or cheating days. Here the scheme is as follows: 4-5 days a week reduced calorie content (1200-1300 kcal), and 2-3 days a week – cheating for 1800-1900 kcal. In general, how much you saved in a week, you can “eat up” so much in a weekend.

The above schemes are equally effective for losing weight since the weekly calorie intake remains within the deficit. However, we recommend sticking to the first option because the constant calorie swing is very dampening in practice. And in the matter of losing weight, discipline and consistency are very important.

If you have chosen a weekend regimen, then a very important point is not to eat too much salty or carbohydrates on cheating days. This will provoke water retention in the body, which will lead to a plateau effect at best, and at worst, to a couple of new extra pounds.


While keeping a calorie deficit is a guaranteed way to lose weight, there are several reasons why pounds won’t go away.

  1. You are consuming more calories than you burn. For example, you sometimes forget what you ate or write down the amount of food by eye. To avoid mistakes, we recommend using a kitchen scale, looking at the information on the labels, and taking the calculations seriously.
  2. You have a slow metabolism due to a large amount of adipose tissue. To find out the exact metabolism, you need to do a biometric body analysis, for example, in any fitness center or with smart scales, which, of course, you have to buy.
  3. You have a more sedentary lifestyle than you think. Try calculating the calories with your minimum activity rate. If there is no change after a week, try increasing your physical activity during the day.
  4. You eat a lot of carbohydrates and fat but little protein. If you do not exercise simultaneously, then the body takes energy from glycogen, and the fat remains in place. In this case, we recommend increasing your protein intake.
  5. The body retains water. This happens if you go through simple carbohydrates, salty foods, alcohol. In addition, fluid retention occurs on very hot days or if you drink too little water during the day. To reduce swelling, cut back on sweets, salty alcohol, drink plenty of clean water, and exercise.
  6. Another reason will be weight fluctuations depending on the monthly cycle in women. In this case, a week before the start of the cycle, weight can grow due to water, which is retained in the body due to hormonal changes. It is considered normal to gain weight in the range of 1-2 kg, which goes away with excess water when the cycle begins.

Calorie deficit for weight loss always works, but only with real, not imaginary, compliance. Stick to simple rules, fix mistakes, and you will see the result.


So that the calorie deficit does not seem like another unbearable restriction, we offer simple life hacks that will make calculations easier and make weight loss more effective and faster.

  1. Increase your physical activity. Interval or cardio workouts can help you with this, as they consume a lot of energy. Check out our ready-made 500 calories cardio workout plan.
  2. Choose the right foods to eat more. For example, a large portion of a salad of fresh vegetables and herbs with a spoonful of olive oil is only 150 kcal. Supplement the salad with a piece of fish or chicken and a serving of buckwheat to get a complete, balanced, and fairly large meal of only 300-400 kcal.
  3. Looking for the right substitute, for example, 100 g chicken breast = 30 g chocolate, one medium apple with honey and cinnamon = six small dryers, one large glass of kefir = 25 M & M’s; 14 almonds = four teaspoons of berry jam.
  4. Choose complex carbohydrates that really fill you up over sweets that make you hungry by raising your blood sugar.
  5. Be sure to have a full breakfast and dinner. This will help to avoid evening gaps or breakdowns on harmfulness before bedtime.
  6. Determine in advance the calorie intake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, not forgetting to include snacks. For example, breakfast – 300-400 kcal, lunch – 500-600 kcal, dinner – 300-400 kcal, two snacks for 200 kcal.
  7. For snacks, choose not chocolate, cookies, or other sweets, but bananas (100 kcal), nuts (30 g = 150 kcal), kefir, or natural yogurt (100 kcal per large glass).
  8. When planning your diet, keep yourself 100-200 kcal for unforeseen circumstances. Suddenly you want to eat ice cream in the park. Why not? The main thing is to write this into your calorie intake.
  9. If you can’t imagine life without sweets, allocate 100-150 kcal for dessert. That’s enough for a strip of chocolate, a small ice cream, a couple of filled candies or cookies, and a quarter of a cake.
  10. Drink plenty of water, maybe with a slice of lemon or lime, and a sprig of mint. And the good news is that you don’t need to take into account the calorie content of such a drink!

In this block, we tried to answer all the questions about losing weight on a calorie deficit, which is of interest to most losing weight.


1. What to choose: a calorie deficit or a diet?

Any diet involves creating a calorie deficit, as this is the only possible way to lose weight. But suppose the calorie deficit as a system reduces the daily calorie intake slightly. In that case, any diet implies cutting the diet by almost 50%, which will provoke a slowdown in metabolism and rapid weight gain in the future. Therefore, we recommend having a calorie deficit with a moderate reduction in calories, rather than dangerous and strict diets with many restrictions.

2. Why is a calorie deficit the best option for losing weight?

The effectiveness of a calorie deficit for weight loss is due to the biological characteristics of the human body. It’s very simple: if you spend more calories than you consume, you will inevitably lose weight. Since the body will pick up the necessary calories from the body’s energy reserves, forcing you to say goodbye to those extra pounds.

3. How much can you lose weight on a calorie deficit?

It all depends on how much you want to lose weight. You will lose weight as long as you remain in a calorie deficit. Therefore, if you want to lose weight by 10-20-30 kg, then this is possible! The main thing is to observe the deficit and correct it as you lose weight.
The rate of weight loss on a calorie deficit is from 0.5 kg to 1 kg per week (in the first month, it may be more due to a decrease in edema). There is no point in losing weight more rapidly. Firstly, you will lose muscle mass, which will then be very difficult to gain. Secondly, with a lot of excess weight, your skin will not tighten to reduce the volume.

4. What is the calorie deficit if I want to lose weight faster?

A 25-30% calorie deficit is suitable (but such a calorie deficit should be temporary!). Also, make sure that the calorie intake is higher than the basal metabolic rate. It is better to take a smaller deficit, 20-25%, but increase the daily calorie expenditure through physical activity. Engaging in intense workouts is unnecessary; just walking 1-2 hours a day regularly is enough.

5. Is it possible NOT to lose weight on a calorie deficit?

If the deficit is calculated correctly, then you will lose weight. The lack of results may be due to slow metabolism, incorrect calorie count, hormonal disorders. But if everything is in order with health and there are no errors in the calculations, then the result will certainly be. In addition, even with impaired metabolism, you will lose weight on a calorie deficit, although it is likely that the weight will go off more slowly than usual.

6. Are there any prohibited foods on a calorie deficit?

The scheme does not imply restrictions if the calorie content of the diet does not go beyond the calculated corridor. Numerous reviews of the calorie deficit confirm this. However, it is best to minimize your intake of fast carbohydrates, which cause constant hunger, cravings for sweets and snacks, and provoke breakdowns. You can leave them in a small amount, namely, no more than 10-15% of the total calorie intake. Read more about fast carbs.

7. Is it important to follow a proper diet on a calorie deficit?

Since a calorie deficit for weight loss does not imply restrictions, you can eat as you like. But proper nutrition is the key to health, so eating healthy foods and minimizing unhealthy foods with an abundance of fat and sugar is recommended.
Everything you need to know about GOOD FOOD
A complete list of foods on the right diet
It should be added that a balanced diet reduces the risk of breakdowns and excess calories. For example, a proper and complete breakfast and lunch reduce an evening gag’s likelihood to almost zero. The same goes for excessive consumption of fast carbs, which cause spikes in blood sugar and constant cravings for snacks.

8. Should I be in a calorie deficit every day?

If you are not sure that you can keep the deficit daily, you can choose a more flexible scheme, such as “zig-zag,” which alternates between high and low-calorie days. The main thing is that the average calorie content per week does not go beyond the deficit. Although your own discipline should accustom yourself to daily calorie intake.

9. What if I violated?

After this, fasting days or fasting should not be arranged. It is enough for the next day or two to slightly reduce the calorie content of the diet to compensate for overeating. You can also increase physical activity. According to reviews of calorie deficit, one violation will not affect the result.

10. Do I need to count BJU on a calorie deficit to lose weight?

For weight loss, calories are primarily important, not the ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. However, to lose weight from fatty tissue rather than muscle, eating more protein is recommended. Also, its amount should be monitored to avoid muscle loss, which goes away the fastest when losing weight. We draw your attention to proteins because they are usually not picked up by those who are losing weight.
However, suppose you are slightly overweight (<5 kg). In that case, we strongly recommend counting proteins, carbohydrates, and fat and monitoring food quality and the ratio of fast and complex carbohydrates. This will help you reach your goal faster.

11. Do I need to recalculate the calorie deficit after losing weight?

Since basal metabolism is dependent on body weight, it will also change with weight loss. Therefore, it is recommended to recalculate the calorie deficit after every 5-6 kilograms lost.
A little life: when calculating the daily calorie intake, you can enter data not according to your current weight but according to the desired one. For example, your weight is 70 kg, but you want to lose up to 60 kg. Accordingly, use 60 kg for the calculations in the table above to not recalculate the calorie intake in the future.
However, if you have a lot of excess weight, you should not take too far a goal: the difference between the desired and current weight should not be more than 15-20 kg. For example, if your weight is 120 kg, use 100 kg for calculations according to the above scheme. When you reach this value, recalculate with the new target value (e.g., 85 kg).

12. Do I need to recalculate calories when changing physical activity?

If your coefficient of physical activity changes, then the calorie deficit must be recalculated. Moreover, this works both in the direction of reducing the calorie norm and increasing it.
For example, let’s say you decide to take a break from your training. This should affect your diet due to lower energy expenditure – the calorie norm with a deficit will be lower. A similar principle works in the case of a lifestyle change. For example, if you change from sedentary work to physical work, the calorie rate will be higher.

13. Do I need somewhere to keep track of the calories burned during a workout?

Exercise needs to be considered when calculating your daily calorie intake when you enter your physical activity ratio. The harder and more often you exercise, the higher your activity rate and calorie intake.
However, we emphasize that you do not need to deduct the calories spent during the workout additionally. For example, your calorie intake, taking into account the deficit, is 1600 kcal. If you spent 500 kcal during the workout, you do not need to subtract them from your norm. The calorie rate remains the same. Consider sports only in the overall physical activity ratio.

14. If I exercise, is it necessary to observe a deficit for weight loss?

The process of losing weight occurs when you eat fewer calories than the body can spend. Intensive workouts provide additional calorie consumption, strengthen muscles, increase endurance, and accelerate fat-burning processes. But if there is a strong excess of calories in the diet, the fat mass will increase even with regular, intense training.
Check out our picks of intense workouts:
HIIT Ready Thigh Slimming Workout
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15. What if you stopped losing weight on a calorie deficit?

Most likely, there was a plateau effect, familiar to every person who has been on a diet at least once. In this case, no special measures are required. Especially, you should not reduce the calorie content of the diet so as not to slow down the metabolism. The best way to spur the body will be additional activity—for example, a half-hour run, light workouts at home, a daily walk before bed.
Check out our beginner workouts:
Easy cardio workout for beginners
Easy abs workout
Complete a 5-day plan for beginners

16. What to do if you have already lost weight? Do you need to continue to sit on a deficit?

You can switch to a maintenance calorie intake or a 0% deficit if the weight suits you. It consists of your basal metabolic rate multiplied by your activity quotient. See the ready-made calorie calculator above. Only you need to select the number in the line “weight support.”

17. Which calorie deficit should you choose to build muscle?

A calorie deficit is not suitable for muscle growth since it is designed for weight loss, not weight gain, albeit at the expense of muscles. The only thing you can do for your muscle deficit is reduce muscle loss by consuming enough protein (30% of your daily value).
And if you want to build muscle with a minimum set of fat mass, then a maintenance calorie content or a minimum surplus of 5-10% + a sufficient amount of protein + a decrease in fat and fast carbohydrates will suit you.

18. Which calorie deficit to choose in order not to lose much weight?

If you’re a little overweight (2-3 kg), you can take a 10-15% deficit to “finish off” the last kilograms.
If you are not overweight, only small fat folds on problem areas, you can take a 5-10% deficit to reduce body fat percentage, but not lose much weight.
If you’re asthenic and have a low body fat percentage, then choose a 0% deficit (weight support) to avoid gaining weight or a 5-10% surplus to gain some weight.
In these cases, we strongly recommend that you also monitor the ratio of BZHU and the quality of food. At the last stage of getting rid of fat, the body will resist the last not to give up strategic reserves. Therefore, it is very important to eat a healthy and balanced diet to help reduce fat mass. Also, the quality of nutrition is very important for weight gain, so that the gain is from muscle and not from fat.
Also, don’t forget about physical activity. It is a sport that allows you to polish the figure, making the body fit and elastic.
How to pump up the buttocks for girls: exercise plan
Workout for men: exercise plan

19. Can teens lose weight on a calorie deficit?

A moderate calorie deficit is suitable for losing weight during adolescence, especially if the decrease in daily calorie intake is due to junk food. More often than not, restricting sweet and fatty foods at a young age will be sufficient for safe weight loss. Teenagers usually have a high metabolism, so even a small dietary adjustment is enough to reduce weight. Therefore, if the excess weight is not very large, for example, 5-7 kg, it is recommended to create a calorie deficit by increasing physical activity and not cutting back on a diet.

20. What if I eat 1200 kcal, although according to the calorie calculator, my norm is 1600 kcal?

This is a very common question for those losing weight, as most people want to get quick results in a short time. Therefore, there is a temptation to take the maximum possible deficit or cut calories to the lowest possible values ​​(traditionally, this “ceiling” is 1200 kcal). In addition, there are people who, in principle, have enough food for the conditional 1000-1200 kcal, so they see no reason to increase the calorie intake. However, if we are talking about healthy weight loss, it is not worth constantly eating with a deficit of> 20%.
Firstly, with constant serious restrictions on food, the body does not receive enough nutrients and vitamins. This may not immediately affect health, but a fertile ground for the development of diseases will be laid.
Secondly, your body adjusts to the current state of affairs and lowers metabolism when there is a large calorie deficit. Therefore, you will not notice a strong difference in the rate of weight loss when eating with a calorie deficit of 20% and a calorie deficit of 30%. This means that with a 20% deficit, you can afford more food, with comparable results, but with less health risk.
Third, the risk of relapse increases when severe food restrictions subsequently translate into excessive food intake.
Fourth, with a high-calorie deficit, the body begins to burn more muscle tissue. In the process of losing weight, in addition to fat, you always lose muscle.
However, the greater the calorie deficit, the higher the likelihood that the body will begin to take energy from amino acids and destroy muscle tissue. It is not profitable for the body to maintain muscles with limited nutrition since they require more energy than fatty tissue. And the greater the calorie deficit, the higher the percentage of muscle in total weight loss. And the less muscle in the body, the slower the metabolism and the worse the quality of the body.

21. What if I eat 1200 kcal, although according to the calorie calculator, my norm is 1600 kcal?

We recommend increasing your calorie intake for the reasons described above. But there is one subtlety here. Imagine that you ate around 1200 kcal, recalculate your intake and decide to start eating 1600 kcal. The body has adjusted its metabolism to a diet of 1200 kcal, and with a sharp increase in calorie intake, all the excess will go into fat because your metabolism did not have time to reorganize. You will gain weight by eating even at a low 1,800 calories. Gradually, the body will rebuild, but you may already be overwhelmed by despair due to sudden weight gain by that time.
What to do? It is necessary to gradually increase the daily calorie content so that the body has time to adapt to new conditions. This is called the principle of accelerating metabolism. Its goal is to increase calorie intake while maintaining a weight loss trend.
Let’s give an example. You eat 1200 calories. But taking into account the calculated calorie deficit, your daily allowance could be 1600 kcal. To not provoke a sharp increase in weight, increase your calorie corridor by about 100 units per week. For example:
One week: 1300 kcal
Two weeks: 1400 kcal
Three weeks: 1500 kcal
Four weeks: 1600 kcal
Use the same principle as you transition from a calorie deficit to weight maintenance. Do not do it abruptly. Gradually return to your old diet.

22. I don’t like counting calories, is there an easier way to lose weight?

Nowadays, 16/8 intermittent fasting is gaining popularity, which many like the convenience and ease of compliance. This is also a fairly gentle option for losing weight. However, as we noted above, any diet or nutritional system is essentially the same calorie deficit, but in different forms. Read more about intermittent fasting.


Here are a few reviews on a calorie deficit for clarity and additional motivation.

Stasya, 28 years old

The calorie deficit was recommended to me by a nutritionist in a fitness club, and for two months now, I have been keeping a food diary in which I write down absolutely everything I ate during the day. The first results are very motivating! For the first month, it took 3 kg, for the second – 2 kg, and there was still 5 kg left to the ideal figure. Calorie counting takes half an hour a day, but the body improves before our eyes. I like everything. I recommend this approach, but in combination with training, in order not only to lose weight but also to tighten the body.

Evgeniya, 34 years old

With my 15 kg overweight, I was looking for a working diet for a long time until I came across reviews about a calorie deficit on the Internet. The idea seemed very logical, and I tried losing weight while reducing calories by 10%. Indeed, the weight slowly disappears even without regular sports, which I do not have enough time for because of the child and work. So far, I have managed to lose 2 kg, but I have only been in deficit for a week and a half, so I’m happy with that too!

Anya, 23 years old

A friend is losing weight on a calorie deficit, and I also decided to try. But counting calories turned out to be less fun. You have to constantly think about what you eat, remember to write down every little thing … In general, such a system does not suit me, because calorie counting requires at least half an hour of free time, which is not easy to find. Perhaps this way of losing weight is suitable for someone, but it turned out to be very inconvenient for me. I switched to intermittent fasting.

Egor, 24 years old

After I signed up for the gym, I noticed that I began to lose weight and gain weight. The trainer said that it is about overeating after exercise, which leads to a constant surplus of calories. I signed up to the gym to lose 10 kg of excess weight and not gain the same amount from above. So I obeyed the trainer and downloaded a calorie counting app. I have been using it for a month now, and so far, I have managed to lose 3 kg. I hope the weight will continue to decrease further.


Let’s summarize what a calorie deficit is and how to lose weight on it properly:

  1. A calorie deficit is a difference between calories consumed and calories burned during the day.
  2. The calorie deficit is determined for each person individually according to the formula, which includes calculating the base metabolism and the factor of physical activity.
  3. There are no restrictions on food intake and composition of foods on a calorie deficit. You can eat anything, just fit in the calculated calorie intake.
  4. If you want to lose weight and improve your health, change your eating habits, speed up your metabolism, then it is recommended to eat right.
  5. Calorie deficiency is not contraindicated as long as the diet is made up of healthy foods. But, of course, for people with chronic diseases and pregnant and lactating women, it is better to consult a doctor about the possibility of eating with a calorie deficit.
  6. The calorie deficit formula must be recalculated after every 5-6 kg lost.
  7. Exercise is unnecessary on a calorie deficit, although regular physical activity is beneficial regardless of age and goals.

Once again, we remind you that there are no magic remedies for losing weight. But the process of losing weight is not necessarily equal to a period of severe hardship and constant hunger. With a slight calorie deficit, you can lose weight comfortably and without health risks.