WTF is a Calorie Deficit and How Do I Create It?

If you have ever tried to lose weight or change your body composition, you probably (/hopefully) saw the words calorie deficit somewhere during your research.

Calorie deficit = burning more calories than you take in. 


As humans eating food, we have three options. Being in a calorie deficit, being in caloric maintenance and being in a calorie surplus. No matter what anyone tries to tell you, you must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. 

The weight loss industry is really a bunch of fancy & “new” ways to achieve a calorie deficit. This is most often done by eliminating or restricting food groups. This is not a bad thing. The two choices you have if you are looking to create a calorie deficit: restrict certain foods entirely or restrict everything slightly. It seems to me that restricting everything slightly is often forgot of or for some people, difficult to follow.

Even though your friend doing “keto” will tell you that carbs are the devil and you will feel so energetic on a high fat diet & your friend doing low-fat will tell that fat is fattening and you need to keep it as low a possible, all that really matters is how you feel on a low carb or low fat diet. 

Both low-carb and low-fat are ways of creating the ever-important calorie deficit for weight loss. However, remember that you could also restrict carbs slight and fats slight to lose weight as well (this just might take a bit more attention and likely macro tracking).

Now you might ask, if I can do a low carb and low fat diet why can’t I do a low protein diet? And you certainly could, but you know I won’t be advising that. Protein is key for making sure that you don’t lose muscle mass while in a calorie deficit. If you don’t get enough protein while in a calorie deficit, you could risk not really changing your body composition because your body may be losing muscle & fat, as opposed to just fat.

In summary, to create a calorie deficit you must:

  1. Restrict both carbs and fat
  2. Restrict carbs
  3. Restrict fat

The key takeaway to remember is that neither one of these options is better than the rest. Pick the one that you can stick to for the longest amount of time and you will be successful!


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