Do you have to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight?

Some say that it doesn’t matter what diet you follow so long as you are in a caloric deficit. Is that true and what does that mean?

So being in a caloric deficit means that you are taking in less calories than you expend. So how much energy do you expend? How do you know and what determines that?

What do I think about all this????

I agree. For the most part. You do lose weight in a caloric deficit and when I work with clients I put them in a caloric deficit. The difference is that I determine what it means to be in a deficit and I never keep calories low for a long time.

The problem with just putting people in a chronic deficit is that the body adapts to caloric intake. If you cut calories from 2500 to 2000 the body will initially take 500 calories from body fat per day and you will lose roughly 1lb a week. This might continue for 5 weeks or maybe only 2 weeks and weight loss slows or stops. This happens because the body slows metabolism in order to keep you from losing weight. If it continued to use the same amount of energy than those that are lean would quickly waste away and die. Today we don’t really have any danger of this but for most of our evolution we were lean and this was a real danger. Our body still works that way. So you can cut calories and lose weight for awhile but that slows and stops. Everyone that has every done a diet knows this.

So you keep cutting and cutting until you are down to 1000 calories. Great but what happens when you stall here? Well hopefully you have reached your goal. If not then you are in trouble aren’t you? You can’t really cut more than this can you? What if you have met your goal? What do you do now? Do you keep eating 1000 calories a day for the rest of your life? How sustainable is that going to be? Most likely you won’t. You will either quit tracking all together or even worse go off the diet. So what happens if you do either one?

In all likelihood, you will eat more if you aren’t tracking. What if you eat 1500 calories? Same thing that happened when you cut 500 calories. Your body is adapted now to eating 1000 calories and burning 1000 calories. If you eat 1500 that is 500 more than your body is used to eating. You will gain roughly 1 pound a week for a bit of time. As it slowed when you were losing it will also slow down when you are gaining. First week you might gain 1 pound while the next week it might be 3/4 of a pound and so on until you adapt to the new caloric level. This is how the body works. It adapts.

So what does all this have to do with my view on caloric deficits?

Well like I said earlier, I determine what that deficit is. How do I do that? I use the body’s ability to adapt its metabolic rate to match the amount of calories coming in and the ability of keto/high fat to limit weight gain. I increase calories very high which in turn makes the metabolism faster. Once I get metabolism high enough I then can create a new deficit that is still adequate yet not low enough to really cause issues with health.

So do you need to be in a deficit to lose weight? Yes, but you get to decide what that means. 🙂

If you need help getting past a stall, getting your hair to stop falling out or on the other end of the spectrum you need help increasing exercise performance and body composition I have strategies for all of the above. 

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Keto ON!

Coach Jack