In order to lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories than your body needs. But how many should you actually be eating?
The degree of calorie restriction necessary for weight loss varies from person to person and depends on a number of factors.
If you want to know how much you should cut back on your food intake in order to shed those excess pounds, then keep reading.
Calorie Requirements For Weight Loss
Your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE, is the amount of calories you need to eat each day for weight maintenance.
It also includes the number of calories burned through physical activity. This number can be estimated based on your sex, age, height and weight, as well as your level of physical fitness.
Your TDEE can be adjusted as needed, such as when you want to lose weight or gain muscle.
The best way to determine how many calories you should eat each day for weight loss is by first calculating your TDEE and then subtracting a certain amount, depending on how fast you want to lose your excess weight.
A faster weight loss usually means a larger calorie deficit, while a more conservative approach might include cutting back by just 500 calories each day.
You should also be aware that the quality of the food you eat is just as important as the quantity, so don't rely on simply eating less to achieve your desired results .
Finding The Right Calorie Deficit For You
Now that you know how to calculate your ideal calorie deficit, you need to decide what's right for you.
If your weight loss isn't coming along quickly enough, you can increase the size of your calorie deficit by 250 calories per day until you reach a point of diminishing returns.
Keep in mind that this might not be the best approach for your body, so try to aim for a moderate calorie reduction instead.
Calorie deficits above 500 per day are considered low-calorie diets, or LCDs.
While effective for weight loss, they may cause undesirable side effects such as fatigue and irritability.
In general, a calorie deficit between 500 and 750 per day is considered moderate, while anything above 750 should only be used when losing weight becomes a priority, as advised by your doctor.
It's best not to exceed a 1,000-calorie deficit each day if your goal is to lose weight safely.
In addition, it's important to remember that eating too few calories can negatively affect your health and slow down your metabolism.
Fast vs Slow Weight Loss
In order of preference, there are three ideal ways of losing weight fast: through dietary changes, physical activity and a combination of the two.
Many people begin by making dietary changes.
This is why we recommend starting with a moderate calorie deficit and increasing it as needed.
Physical activity can be great for weight loss because the more you move, the more calories you burn throughout the day.
One way to lose weight fast through increased physical activity is by doing high-intensity interval training, or HIIT.
This type of workout involves intervals of intense activity followed by short periods of rest. This has been shown to speed up weight loss and improve cardiovascular health.
While doing cardio is good for burning calories, weight training is even better at building lean muscle mass, which also helps burn more calories throughout the day.
And remember: the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be and the easier it will be to lose weight.
In many cases, combining various weight loss methods is the best way to go.
For example, you might start by following a low-calorie diet combined with cardio and strength training for at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.
Calorie deficit to lose 2 pounds per week:
First, find your TDEE (Estimated Total Daily Energy Expenditure).
If you want to lose around 2 pounds per week, you should aim for a daily calorie deficit of about 500 calories.
This can be achieved by eating around 500 less each day or burning an extra 500 calories through physical activity.
How fast should I lose weight?
The speed of your weight loss depends on many factors, including your starting weight and the amount of weight you have to lose.
If you weigh more or have a lot of excess fat, you will lose weight faster in the beginning.
This is a perfectly normal part of losing weight, but keep in mind that it might be best to lose weight gradually to avoid any unpleasant side effects.
If you're already lean and very active, losing weight quickly might be more difficult. In this case, a larger calorie deficit of around 1,000 calories per day is recommended.
Please note that if you experience significant initial weight loss (around 2 pounds or more per week), you are most likely losing water weight and precious muscle mass, not fat.
You might also be losing some of your metabolic rate which is absolutely not what you want to happen! This is why it's important to keep your calorie deficit moderate, rather than large.