I knew NOTHING about eating at a calorie deficit for so many years. It’s crazy because I consider myself to be a health nut. I’ve completed so many different kinds of work outs, and eaten so many different ways in order to try to burn fat, and it never occurred to me that the moment you learn how to eat at a calorie deficit you will truly begin to see fat burn off your body, seemingly without much effort.
I say “seemingly without much effort” because I eat at a calorie deficit in a way that’s fun and feels effortless. There are programs out there that tell you to eat at INSANE calorie deficits, which in my opinion, are not realistic, because at some point, you’ll snap and say screw this because you’re starving yourself.
If your goal is to burn fat and lose weight seamlessly, then read on. My approach to this is to allow you to maintain your sanity while at the same time lose 4 to 5 pounds per month.
Calculate Your Calorie Deficit
Everyone’s calorie deficit is different. I’ve laid out this calculation on different places of this site, but I’ll do it again here:
If you have LESS than 20 pounds to lose, then use your current weight for the following calculation.
If you have MORE than 20 pounds to lose, then use your TARGET weight for this calculation. So, if you weigh 250 pounds, but you want to weigh 200 pounds, then do this calculation using 200 lbs.
Take your weight and multiply it by 15.
I weigh 141lbs.
141 x 15 = 2,115
2,115 are my maintenance calories.
To calculate my calorie deficit, I subtract 400 from this number.
2,115 – 400 = 1,715
1,715 is my calorie deficit.
What this means is I would be eating 1,715 calories each day. This is a 400 calorie deficit, which will in turn cause me to lose 4 to 5 pounds per month.
Track Your Calorie Intake
Now that you’ve got the calculation above to track how many calories you should eat to be at a daily calorie deficit, you need to know how to actually track your calories properly.
I have the MyNetDiary app installed on my phone, as it is the only way I know how to track my calories each day so that I don’t go over my budget. MyFitnessPal should work the same, but I personally use MyNetDiary. You set your daily calorie budget inside the app, so whenever you eat, you track it inside the app.
If you eat out a lot, it’s really easy to just insert the foods you’re eating into the app. For instance, if I eat a Chipotle steak burrito bowl, I can easily add that into the app, and I see it’s 740 calories (depending on what you add to the bowl). Since my calorie budget is 1,715 for the day, just subtract the burrito bowl calories from it.
1,715 – 740 = 975
So, I’ve got 975 calories left to eat for the day. I could easily break that up into a bigger meal and a smaller meal, or two equal sized meals.
Intermittent Fasting Helps
Intermittent fasting became a game changer for me in a bunch of ways. Prior to implementing this into my life, I was eating 5 to 6 small meals per day, which was tedious and annoying, cause I was always trying to track the foods I ate. BTW, I never really strictly watched calorie intake. I used to think just eating low carb would be enough.
Everything changed when I started paying attention to the EXACT calories going into my body each day in order to lose body fat.
Intermittent fasting helps because you eat your first meal several hours after you wake up. During your fasted state, your body is in fat burning mode. You can learn more about how I implement it into my life here.
I just want to stress that it’s something I do, and it’s SO much easier than I ever thought it would be. In fact, it’s easier and more fun than the way I used to eat because it’s less of a headache, not having to track all my meals throughout the day.
It’s so much more fun because I get to eat a HUGE dinner, where I’m not really paying all that much attention to what I’m eating aside from protein. I do make sure to hit my protein goals each day, and if you want to understand how that factors into this calorie deficit equation, you can read this article here. Just scroll down to the section on protein.
Lose 4 – 5 Pounds Per Month
You should definitely expect to lose weight if you follow the calorie deficit calculation above. Since this article is really only about how to eat at a calorie deficit – I didn’t include other things that I do, like walking 10000 steps per day, or how I calculate daily protein intake, which I feel both of these things help speed up weight loss.
If you don’t want to walk 10000 steps per day, it’s not essential, but I would strongly suggest that if your goal is to burn fat and lose weight, at the very minimum, find out how much protein you should be eating per day, and utilize it with this calorie deficit. It’s very simple to do.
My best friend who weighed 185 pounds, now weighs 160lbs. He doesn’t want to lose any more weight so he no longer eats at a calorie deficit. But everything I’m explaining in this article is how he lost all that weight. BTW – aside from the MyNetDiary app, I will say, having a food scale has helped me tremendously, because I had no idea how much I was actually overeating prior to owning one. You can find one on Amazon for less than $10 and it does wonders, especially if you prefer to cook at home and not eat out. You input the data from your food scale into your MyNetDiary app, and you’re good to go.
If you follow what I’ve taught here, and you want to burn fat and lose weight, I have no doubt you’ll see in one month (assuming you start today) that you’ve lost 4 to 5 pounds.
Calorie Deficit Is Simple
If you’ve gotten this far into the article and you calculate your own calorie deficit, you should be set to start burning fat and losing weight. I didn’t really get into the foods that I suggest eating, but you can read about those here.
There really aren’t any rules. I don’t believe any longer in low carb, low fat, or low anything. Just hit your calorie needs and your protein goals per day, and you’ll be good to start your journey of weight loss.
I hope this article was helpful, and if you have any questions or comments, please let me know and I’d be more than happy to answer them. Thank you!