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Want to lose weight? You need a calorie deficit

Want to lose weight? You need a calorie deficit

Biology – just can’t escape it. Losing weight means achieving calorie deficit, which is simply taking in fewer calories than you burn off. Whatever the diet, recipe, eating pattern, that’s it. They are all variations on the same theme. We just need to choose the plan that works for each of us, while still keeping us healthy.

So what calorie deficit do we need, and is there any way of making it less hard work?


Exercise or not, we all use calories every day for breathing, blood flow, digestion, healing and thinking.

Most adult females need around 2000 calories a day just to exist, while males need 2200. Not fair, but that’s life. These figures vary quite a lot between individuals – sadly they aren’t always as high as we’d like!


The usual estimate is that it takes 3500 calories to fuel half a kilo of body fat. Which means that if you ate almost nothing for nearly two days, you’d still only lose a little. And that kind of fad dieting is neither healthy nor sustainable.

A better target is to try to lose that half kilo over a week. That takes the deficit down to around 500 calories a day.

Being active demands extra calories. The human body is extremely efficient at using energy, so it takes much more exercise than you think to burn a noticeable number of calories. But exercise builds muscle, and that has a higher calorie demand than body fat. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

More Hussle = more muscle.


Calorie reduction that makes you miserable is indeed unsustainable. Look instead to nice easy snack and meal swaps. Fresh food with plenty of good carbs and protein is more filling than junk. Eat properly and you may actually be eating less while feeling fuller!

Rather than fight the science, go with it by eating right and taking exercise. It works!

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

the author

Patrick Law

Patrick is a keen touch rugby and football player and regular gym goer. He also enjoys long-distance running.