Everything About Calorie Deficit for Weight Loss

Everything About Calorie Deficit for Weight Loss

When we think of ways to reduce weight, the first thing that springs to mind is exercise! Physical activities are typically recommended to people who want to initiate their weight loss journey or lose weight quickly, but new research has revealed that your food is more crucial in your weight loss journey than how much exercise you do each day. Working out hard in the gym is certainly beneficial to your health and also accelerates weight loss, but one should also keep a close eye on their diet and daily food!

The first and most important guideline of any weight loss plan is to set reasonable objectives for yourself. For example, you should not expect yourself to lose 10 kilograms in a week because that is simply not achievable with food and exercise alone! As a result, always begin your weight loss journey with achievable goals. Next, create a schedule for your daily activities, including eating, workout, and sleep schedules. In this blog, we will learn how a calorie-deficit diet can help you lose weight in a safe and effective way.  

What is a Calorie Deficit?

Are you curious to know what is a calorie deficit? What are the benefits of a calorie deficit diet? Effects of calorie deficit on the body? And majorly, how to calculate calories when on a calorie-deficit diet? So let’s understand this one by one. 

How Does a Calorie Deficit Diet Work?

A calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than you burn over time. If you expend 2000 calories per day but only consume 1500, you will be in a 500-calorie deficit. You can also do it by ingesting 2000 calories per day but burning 2500. 

You can achieve a it through food and exercise in two ways: eating less or exercising more, or a combination of the two. 

Caloric deficits are the most essential element in weight loss. Whatever the latest diet craze is, the common factor with successful weight loss strategies is a calorie deficit. Whether you cut carbs, and fat, or fast intermittently, they all require a calorie deficit to observe weight loss.  

A kilo of body fat contains around 7,700 calories, and reducing weight at a rate of 0.5-1 kilo per week has been found to be healthy and sustainable.

How to Calculate Calories to attain calorie deficit?

Calculating a calorie deficit involves determining how many calories you need to consume daily to achieve your weight loss goals. Here's a step-by-step guide to calculate it:

To calculate a calorie deficit for weight loss in an Indian context, you can follow these steps: 

  • Determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): The first step to Calculate your Calorie deficit, calculate your BMR using the appropriate formula.


Age (Years)

Prediction equation

proposed by FAO/WHO/UNU

(Consultation (2004)



15.1 * B.W. (Kg) + 692.2



11.5 * B.W. (Kg) + 873



11.7 * B.W. (Kg) + 587.7



14.8 * B.W. (Kg) + 486.6



8.1 * B.W. (Kg) + 845.6



  • 9.1 * B.W. (Kg) + 685.5

BMR of Indians is 10% and 9% lower for males and females respectively than the international values (FAO/WHO/UNU, 2004).

Factor in your activity level:

Once you have your BMR, multiply by your activity level to calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) or Total Energy Requirement. Multiply your BMR by an activity factor that corresponds to your level of physical activity. For example:

Sedentary (little or no exercise):

BMR x 1.40

  • Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.80
    Heavy work (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/week): BMR x 2.30
  • Set your weight loss goal: Set your goals, when on a calorie deficit diet. Decide how many kilograms you want to lose per week. A safe and easy-to-maintain rate of weight loss is typically 0.5 to 1 kg per week.
  • Calculate and set a safe calorie deficit: To calculate the calorie deficit, subtract the desired calorie intake for weight loss from your TDEE. For example, if your TDEE is 2,000 calories per day, and you want to lose 0.5 kg (1 pound) per week, you would aim for a calorie deficit of approximately 500 calories per day (3,500 calories per week).
  • Plan your diet: Focus on a balanced and nutritious diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid excessive intake of sugary and high-calorie foods.
  • Monitor and adjust: Keep track of your daily calorie intake and make adjustments to your diet and exercise as needed to stay on track with your calorie deficit and weight loss goals.

Let’s understand with an example: If you are Male, sedentary active with Bodyweight-80kg, Height-165.09cm, Age-20 years), Your BMR will be 2394.2 Using the formula, you can calculate TDEE(Total Daily energy expenditure)

Now, TDEE- 2394.2, on subtracting from 500 calories(safe calorie deficit limit), your daily calorie intake will be 1894.2 Calories for a calorie deficit, leading to weight loss. 

Benefits of a Calorie Deficit Diet 

When a person consumes fewer calories than their body expends, they have a calorie deficit. While it can help with weight loss, it is also necessary to follow the diet safely. Not following calorie deficit in a safe way can lead to several side effects on the human body. Initially, stored fat is burned for energy, resulting in progressive weight loss. To make your calorie deficit healthy and avoid unwanted effects, proper hydration, and adequate eating are required. Always aim for a moderate and safe calorie deficit under supervision to achieve long-term weight loss and general health. Below are the benefits of a calorie-deficit diet:

Weight Loss:

The main advantage of following a calorie-deficit diet is shedding weight. When you consistently eat fewer calories than your body needs, it triggers your body to use stored fat for energy. This results in gradual and sustainable weight loss over time.

Increased Energy Expenditure:

By creating a calorie deficit, your body is encouraged to burn more calories through increased energy expenditure. This can boost your metabolism, leading to a higher resting metabolic rate and more calorie burn during physical activities.

Metabolic Health Benefits:

Achieving weight loss through a calorie-deficit diet has been linked to several metabolic health improvements, including lower blood pressure, enhanced insulin sensitivity, improved blood lipid profiles, and a reduced risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Improved Physical Performance:

As excess body weight decreases, physical performance often improves. With less weight to carry, activities may feel easier, endurance can increase, and athletic performance can be enhanced. 

Improved Blood Sugar Levels:

When you're in a calorie deficit, the first step is often to reduce sugary and high-carbohydrate foods. By cutting back on these foods, your insulin levels decrease, helping to stabilise your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels are balanced, your risk of developing heart disease also decreases.

Ways to Achieve A Calorie Deficit

To reach a calorie deficit, you need to either eat fewer calories or move more (or both).


    Eating a balanced diet is important for reaching a calorie deficit. This means eating foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and nuts.

    Here are some easy tips to eat fewer calories:

    • Drink less sugary drinks and alcohol because they have lots of calories but don't make you feel full.
    • Avoid eating too many processed foods (like fast food) because they're high in sugar, fat, and salt, which can make you eat more.
    • Try swapping unhealthy snacks for healthier ones.
    • Cook meals at home more often because it's usually healthier than eating out.


    Exercise is also helpful for losing weight and staying healthy. It's recommended that adults do about 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate exercise or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of intense exercise every week. Also, it's good to do activities that make your muscles stronger, like lifting weights, at least two days a week. This helps your body burn fat instead of losing muscle.


    How does Calorie deficit help in weight loss? 

    A calorie deficit is crucial for weight loss as it creates an energy imbalance where the body burns more calories than it consumes. This forces the body to utilise stored fat for energy, leading to gradual weight reduction. By consistently maintaining a calorie deficit, individuals can lose excess body weight over time. However, it is essential to create a moderate calorie deficit and focus on nutrient-dense foods to support overall health and well-being. Combining a calorie deficit with regular physical activity can further enhance weight loss results and promote a sustainable and healthier lifestyle. 

    Why are you not losing weight on a calorie deficit?

    Not losing weight on a calorie deficit could be due to several reasons. It's possible that your calorie intake is high and calorie expenditure is low, leading to metabolic slowdown. Nutrient deficiencies or excessive stress may hinder progress. Reevaluate your diet, exercise, and seek professional advice for effective weight loss while being on a calorie deficit. 

    Best ways to lose weight by staying in a calorie deficit 

    To lose weight effectively in a calorie deficit, follow these steps. First, determine your daily calorie needs and create a moderate deficit (500 calories/day, a safe limit). For a calorie deficit, Focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. It is recommended to stay hydrated, avoid sugary drinks, and limit processed foods in a calorie-deficit diet. Incorporate regular exercise, combining cardio and strength training, to boost metabolism and preserve muscle while on a calorie deficit diet. Practice portion control and mindful eating. Keep a food journal and track progress to stay accountable. Get adequate sleep and manage stress to support weight loss.

    Remember this point when following a calorie-deficit diet, it's essential to approach weight loss in a healthy and sustainable way. Crash diets can be dangerous to your health. Consulting with a team of professional nutritionists like Nutrition Daily can help you create a personalised weight loss plan that suits your individual needs and preferences. 

    You may also like

    View all