Nutrition The Basics of Weight Loss: Calorie Surplus vs Calorie Deficit

It’s simple. Calories in vs calories out. If you’re in a calorie surplus i.e. consuming more calories than you’re burning, then you’re likely to gain weight. If you’re in a calorie deficit i.e. consuming less calories than you’re burning, then you’re likely to lose weight. So why do people over complicate it?

The Basics of Weight Loss: Calorie Surplus vs Calorie Deficit

Why do people think there’s more to weight loss than the simple calories in < calories out rule? The majority of the human race seem to believe that there’s some magic behind weight loss and that the only way to lose weight is to live off lettuce leaves and dust, and by training two or three times a day doing fasted cardio and HIIT. From this point onwards, I want you to remember that this is complete and utter bullshit! It’s really not that difficult! You don’t need to slog your guts out!

What are Calories?

Calories, the little things that live in your wardrobe and sew your clothes tighter each night. Well that’s what some people seem to believe anyway! No. Calories are a measurement of energy. Calories in your food is energy consumption and calories that you burn is energy expenditure. They are made up of three macronutrients (or macros as you may have heard), proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Each gram of a macronutrient is worth a different amount in calories. Now here’s the important bit:

1g of protein = 4 calories

1g of carbohydrate = 4 calories

1g of fat = 9 calories

Now do you see why foods that are high in fat are looked upon as “bad”? Because they contain more calories. But this isn’t a bad thing! Any food can be “bad” if you consume too much of it. For example, if you were given an allowance of 2000 calories per day and you ate a high fat diet, then as long as you don’t go over 2000 calories you won’t gain weight. Now, if  you were to eat a low fat diet but high protein and carbs then, again as long as you don’t consume more than 2000 calories you won’t gain weight.

Where people go wrong is that they eat way too many calories of what they think is “healthy” i.e. fruit, veg, chicken, rice etc and they go over their calorie allowance, so regardless of what they’re eating they’re going to gain weight! Just because something is classed as “healthy” or “low fat” or a “superfood” it doesn’t make it any better than a Big Mac Meal or a Domino’s pizza.

So how many calories should you be consuming?

Well this all depends on your goals and calorie expenditure. If you want to loose weight then a calorie deficit of 500 per day is sufficient enough to lose 1lb per week, or to gain weight (1lb per week) you’ll need to be in a calorie surplus of 500 per day.

Next month… Shake Diets & Why They’re Shit!

Are you that person that has tried every shake diet under the sun but still swears blind that they “work for you”? Well no offence, but if they worked then why have you done so many? Or done one specific one so many times? Next months issue should enlighten you on why they’re a complete and utter waste of time and money. So see you then!

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