Fat loss / weight loss is unequivocally the most sought after goal in the health and nutrition space. From athletes to weekend warriors to the working professional - many people pursue fat loss like it is the pursuit of happiness.
This means that knowing how to actually achieve weight loss properly and effectively becomes the biggest priority among these dieters. Over the years, there has been much information spread pertaining to fat loss nutrition - unfortunately many of which are utterly incorrect.
One common theme, however, is the notion that in order to achieve fat loss in any shape or form…you need to be in a calorie deficit. This is made all the more confusing with some people swearing that they are not losing weight in a calorie deficit.
In today’s blog, I will reveal the answer to the question: Do I need a calorie deficit to lose weight? As a Sports Dietitian, I want you to know the truth so let’s explore this and determine the fundamental fat loss protocol.
Within the health and nutrition space, fat loss is a super common and super popular goal. With so many people trying to achieve fat loss, this creates the breeding grounds for a lot of misinformation, misconceptions, wrong advice, and down straight unhealthy practices.
That is why it's important to address certain recommendations that are super common in this space and one of those is you have to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose body fat.
How much truth is there to this? Is “calories in, calories out” truly the king (of the North!) when it comes to strategic physique change?
Let’s deep dive into this!
Calorie Zones ExplaineD
In order to explain calories and the link to fat loss and body composition change, I want you to think of this visually via this diagram I created and the concept called Calorie Zones.
Firstly we have a horizontal line in the middle - let's call that the maintenance line or maintenance threshold line. Then you've got an area above that line and you've got an area below that line.
The area above the maintenance line is what I call the ‘Calorie Surplus Zone’. The area below that line is what I call the ‘Calorie Deficit Zone’. Our intake of calories will vary from day to day and essentially can be visually represented as a zigzag line for the purposes of this explanation (#KeepItSimpleSilly).
In order to be in what is called a calorie deficit, you need to essentially average your daily calorie intake within the deficit zone below the line of maintenance. Alternatively, the opposite is true for a calorie surplus - for building weight and/or muscle mass.
Calorie Deficit Explained
Hi there! My name's Aleksa Gagic - i'm a Brisbane Sports Dietitian & Brisbane Sports Nutritionist. I have 7+ years experience in providing professional nutrition consulting and want to help you learn about the power of flexible nutrition.