Jun 6, 2022
Calorie Deficits: Healthy or Unhealthy Tools for Weight Loss
In the world of weight loss and the dieting industry, you often hear the term calorie deficit, but what is it, and is it healthy? All the food and most beverages you consume on any given day contain calories. Calories essentially convert to energy, allowing your body to function correctly. However, your body only needs so many calories to operate at optimum levels. If you eat too many calories, the body converts those into fat, which is basically stored energy.
A calorie deficit occurs when you figure out the appropriate number of calories to maintain your current weight and reduce them. Because you reduce the number of calories needed to sustain your current weight, the body begins to burn its energy reserves, allowing you to lose weight.
In theory, a calorie deficit is a healthy and effective way to lose weight. When it is practiced safely, a deficit is also effective. The problem is that people are impatient.
When someone is impatient, they may cut more calories than necessary. Cutting too many calories at once can force your body into starvation mode. When starving, the body hoards calories and reduces energy production, attempting to save the vital organs.
The emergency storage of calories leads to a weight loss plateau. Unfortunately, since most people do not believe that eating more will resolve a plateau, they consume even less. It is not uncommon for calorie deficits to get out of hand, resulting in eating disorders or other problems.
Is a calorie deficit a good idea? It can be when managed appropriately.
Slow, Steady, and Healthy Weight Loss
A healthy calorie deficit is 500 calories. Eating 500 fewer calories per day than your body needs to maintain its current weight should lead to about a one-pound loss per week. Losing one pound per week is a healthy and safe weight loss.
Some people might be safe reducing their calorie intake by more than 500 calories, but they should speak to a doctor before taking such action. People who fall into the obese or morbidly obese categories might require more drastic intervention. However, before pushing their bodies to the brink, they should consult a bariatric specialist.
While a one to two-pound weight loss per week does not sound ideal to those who have dealt with weight problems their entire lives, it is a significant accomplishment, and it is safer than extreme weight loss you might see on popular television programs.
Instant Gratification Versus Sustainable Weight Loss
The drastic reduction of calories might achieve rapid results, but at what costs? While an individual might be capable of losing 10 pounds in a single week, is it healthy, and more to the point, is it sustainable?
The problem with rapid weight loss is it doesn't instill healthy habits. Maintaining a calorie deficit of 1,000 calories or more is not practical and makes learning essential nutritional skills more challenging. Additionally, people who take such drastic action often spend most of their days feeling hungry and unsatisfied, potentially threatening their commitment to the weight loss process.
A 500 calorie deficit is manageable and sustainable. As you lose weight, speak to a doctor, nutritionist, or weight loss specialist about reducing calories or maintaining your current count. Weight loss journeys are individual and require constant adjustments, which is why professional medical advice is crucial to success and safety.