Tuesday Tip: When a calorie deficit is no longer a deficit! 📉
To lose weight/fat you need to be in a calorie deficit, and to be in a deficit you need to be consuming fewer calories than you’re expending. You may notice that as you progress your weight loss slows or stalls – which means your deficit is no longer a deficit. Why might this be?
#1 Metabolic Adaptation
As you reduce calories over time your body makes efforts to conserve energy through subconsciously down regulating. For example you burn fewer calories through incidental movements (NEAT – non-exercise activity thermogenesis), your heart rate may slow, body temperature may change, and hormones such as leptin, T3 and T4 adjust to reduce energy expenditure. As a result your BMR may decrease. Whilst metabolic adaptation alone won’t make a massive difference it does still play a part.
#2 Body weight reductions
When you weigh less you typically burn fewer calories at rest, and you’ll also burn fewer calories for daily activity and exercise e.g. 10,000 steps at 85kg burns more than 10,000 steps at 75kg.
#3 Habit changes
Often we are stricter with the calories earlier on in the weight loss phase and less strict layer on. Habits change as time progresses and as a result you may be consuming more calories than you realise or being less active than before. As weight loss progresses hunger and desire to eat increases so this can lead to you eating more without even realising you’re doing it. Studies have shown that portion sizes increase subconsciously as time goes on. In addition activity decreases slightly. These changes may be small but they contribute to the loss of the calorie deficit.
So if you find that weight loss is stalling just consider these reasons. Solutions may include reducing calories further, or going back to basics with tracking and checking portion sizes etc, but equally sometimes it may be time to focus on maintenance for a while. The option you choose may change over time and will depend on you and your goals.
Happy Tuesday 🤗