First and foremost let’s get down to what a calorie deficit is and what it means.
A calorie deficit is when you burn or expend more calories than you consume through food/drinks. A calorie deficit has to happen in order for anybody to lose weight.
We all see a lot of diets that are around yet what a lot of people don’t actually realise is that even fad diets are based off a calorie deficit.
An example of a calorie deficit is as follows-
An individual has a maintenance of calories of 2,500 calories a day, maintenance calories are what that individual would need to stay at the exact same weight that they are currently at, yet if this person wanted to lose weight then they would have to create a calorie deficit, they could do this by reducing their calorie intake, for example you could create a deficit of 500 calories a day, this would mean that they would be below their maintenance of 2,500 if their maintenance was that amount and that if they’ve created a 500 calorie deficit per day they would then be having an intake of 2,000 calories a day.
Here’s a way of looking at it as well-
At maintenance calories: 2,500 x 7 (7 days) = 17,500 calories per week
At deficit calories: 2,000 x 7 (7 days) = 14,000 calories per week.
This means that as you can see from above that from 17,500 and 14,000 there is a 3,500 calorie difference. 3,500 calories are equivalent to 1 pound of fat, therefore, this person putting themselves in this calorie deficit will lose weight (1 pound throughout the week) and in time this could lead to 4 pounds of fat in a month from creating a calorie deficit.
If you didn’t want to eat less in a deficit then you would have to burn more calories which would mean that you would have to be more active, i.e exercise more, go to the gym more, move more such as walking to get more steps in etc.
Fad diets still put people in a calorie deficit and that is why they seem to work but only for a short period of time in most cases as some diets don’t change your calorie intake after a while of being in the diet, this would need to be changed if your weight loss comes to a stall, this is what we call a plateau.
Calorie intake may need to be changed by lowering your calories more so that you are still in a deficit but they need to be changed in order to what your goals are i.e losing body fat.
In some cases calories may need to be changed so that you can eat a bit more as you could be stuck in a plateau but this tends to be done when you have been in a calorie deficit for years and your body can no longer lose the body fat through being in a calorie deficit at that current time.
Although even after you have upped your calories a bit you may need to go back down to a calorie deficit in the future, these type of things is dependent on your goals etc.
Remember no matter what method you choose for your diet be that slimming world, 5.2, Akins or flexible eating the principle is the same. A calorie deficit. Just because you don’t count calories doesn’t mean your body doesn’t.