Basics of a calorie deficit

Basics of a Calorie Deficit


What is a Calorie Deficit?

A calorie deficit is when you eat fewer calories than you burn in a day. A consistent calorie deficit over time leads to weight/fat loss.

How to create a Calorie Deficit

First, you need to find your maintenance calories. Your maintenance calories are the number of calories your body takes in to maintain your current body composition. A simple way to determine your maintenance calories is by multiplying your body weight by 14–16. The more physical activity you do the higher you multiply your body weight. For example, a 180 lb male who does moderate physical activity, would multiply 180 x 15 = 2700 which would be roughly his maintenance calories. After you find your maintenance calories I would recommend sticking with this number of calories for 2 weeks until you find that your weight is maintaining. Once you have done that, you will subtract your maintenance calories by around 500 calories. This way you're in a moderate deficit and not on a crash diet approach. In other words, a male that has a moderate activity level will eat roughly 2200 calories a day if he wants to be in a moderate deficit.

Macronutrients with a Calorie Deficit 

I would personally recommend 1-1.2grams of protein per pound of body weight while on a deficit. By doing this, you are ensuring that you're preserving as much muscle as you can, as protein is the building block for muscle. The rest is up to you on how you want to split your carbohydrates and fats. I would recommend having about 20–35% of your calorie intake coming from fats and around 30–50% of your calories coming from carbs. I wouldn't recommend taking out a specific macronutrient, but rather having a moderate amount of both carbohydrates and fats. You can also use MyFitnessPal to plug in these numbers for an easy calculation. Let’s take an active male who is 175lbs and wants to be in a deficit. His maintenance calories are around 2600 calories so he eats 2200 calories for his deficit. His macronutrient distribution would be 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat (again, this is just an example to play around with different percentages that work for you).

Tips to make staying in a Calorie Deficit easier!

Fat Loss Tricks 1

🍗High protein: Keeps you full and satisfied. Also helps with recovery and keeping lean mass.

🥦Fiber supplement: Helps you stay full and helps keep insulin low. Can also help reduce cravings.

🔴Low cal jello: Super low calories for something sweet. Can add a ton of volume.

☕️Caffeine: Helps blunt appetite.

⏰Loosely fasting: Will fast a few hours to extend the time of eating. This allows for more food later in the day.

💦Carbonated water: Keeps you full/hydrated.

💪🏼BCAA's: Helps with sweet cravings.

🔋Energy drinks: Keeps me going and helps blunt appetite because of the caffeine and the carbonation.

Instagram: @upnorthathletics

Fat Loss Tricks 2

🍏Apple: Fiber, water, and micronutrients. Keeps you full.

⚪️Sugar-free gum: Decrease sweet cravings.

🍦Cool Way ice cream: Can save you from high-calorie options.

🌶Spicy Food: Can suppress appetite and cut cravings.

🏃🏼‍♂️Going for walks: Low intensity, won't spike hunger, will burn easy calories. (Have a step goal in a day)

🥦Add volume: Add low-calorie foods to meals (such as vegetables) to make them bigger.

📐Certain weight management supplements: can increase thermogenesis, can enhance exercise performance,  can crush appetite, and cravings, allows you to diet better.

🤸‍♂️Increasing NEAT: Things like walking to your job from your car, washing dishes, doing yard work, playing with your kids, these are all things that increase your NEAT.

Instagram: @upnorthathletics


Just remember that fat loss takes time. Be in a moderate deficit, eat healthy whole foods (80% whole foods, 20% of the foods you enjoy: this approach is personally my favorite and has helped me the most) and be consistent. This shouldn't feel like a job or a hassle to enjoy the process. Be mindful, don't overdo things and by the time you know it, you'll have reached your goal. Make sure to also move and lift some weights. Gaining muscle also makes it easier to obtain your goal. So technically, the more you move the more you get to eat ;).

Written By: Jereymi Longpre