Calorie Deficit Equation
Losing weight doesn’t have to be hard. That’s why I want to share two simple strategies you can use to lose weight if that is what you need to do to take care of your health. These strategies are based on a very simple formula called the “calorie deficit equation.”
Once you understand this basic way to balance your weight, you will be able to put it into practice every day to reach the longer and healthier life you desire.
Calorie Deficit Equation
Be a master of your weight by understanding this basic formula of simple math:
WEIGHT = WHAT YOU EAT – WHAT YOU BURN
This means that your weight increases if you eat more calories than you burn.
You have two ways to use this formula to lose pounds. To lose weight you can either:
eat fewer calories than you burn, or
burn more calories than you eat.
When you do either of these you create a “calorie deficit” that can help you lose weight. This is why this is called the “calorie deficit equation.”
You can now see how simple it is to adjust your weight by reducing the number of calories you eat or increasing the number of calories you burn.
Calorie Deficit to Lose One Pound
One pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories. So, to lose one pound of fat you need to reduce your calorie intake by 3,500 calories.
This is too much to do in one day. The average woman needs between 1,600-2,400 calories each day to get the nutrients needed to live a healthy life.
Plus, if you think about it, weight gain does not happen overnight. It probably took you years to get where you are today, so we shouldn’t be too impatient to lose weight too quickly.
This is why I recommend aiming for a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day if you’re trying to lose weight. At that rate it will take seven days to have a deficit of 3,500 calories which is equal to one pound.
Overall this means you can lose one pound each week by having a deficit of 500 calories each day.
Now that you understand this simple calorie deficit equation, let’s talk about the two ways you can reach a deficit of 500 calories a day.
Eat Less and Continue to Burn What You Normally Burn
This is the easiest way to lose weight: limiting the amount of fuel that you add to your body. Reducing what you consume by 500 calories a day is not as hard as you think. Here are some things to try:
- Track your calories with an app like MyFitnessPal (be sure to log everything you eat to get the most accurate measure)
- Start your day with an easy healthy breakfast
- Drink more water (aim for 0.5 ounces per pound per day)
- Enjoy a fruit (like an apple) before meals
- If you have the urge to snack before bed, have a cup of your favorite tea
Eat the Same Amount but Burn an Additional 500 calories Each Day
The other way to create a deficit of 500 calories a day without reducing what you eat is to try to burn 500 more calories. There are many ways to get more active , such as:
- The MyFitnessPal app can also track the calories you burn, so try logging all of your activities and aim for 500 a day
- Walk, jog, or run each day (or try going farther and faster than you normally go to burn even more calories)
- Turn TV commercial breaks into an opportunity to stand up and move by going up and down your stairs, dancing, or doing push ups or sit ups, etc.
The calorie deficit equation is simple math. However, if after you try this system you find that you did not lose weight the way you expected to, then you should consult with your healthcare provider. It is possible that hormone or nutrient imbalances (or other factors) might be interfering with your body’s capacity to burn calories.
The simple calorie deficit equation shows you that by consuming fewer or burning more calories each day you can lose weight. Your goal to lose one pound each week is to have a deficit of 500 calories each day.
You can do this!
Alvarez, N. 2019. Heels vs. ties: Living with your #1 threat. RI-AL Consulting.
Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.). Do you know how many calories you need? https://www.fda.gov/media/112972/download