An energy deficit or calorie deficit (the same thing, just different wording!) are terms that seem to be popping up EVERY WHERE when it comes to losing weight, and with good reason since it's so important for us to know! But since it's definition can be pretty scientific, I get some EXTREMELY puzzled looks and awkward "i'm soooo not understanding this" 😬 smiles whenever I try to explain what it is and why it's SO essential for weight loss.
So... sans all the scientific-talk... here is the EASIEST definition of what an energy deficit is, why it's SO important and HOW IT HELPS YOU lose weight! 💪🏼💪🏼
What Is An Energy Deficit?
For us to understand this, let's start by understanding that any weight change in your body is from a change in your body's energy balance! What does that mean exactly? Let's take a look..
This is a visual representation of what our energy balance would look like IF we were in an energy deficit. It's a little more complex of course, but at the end of every day, our body calculates the difference between what we consume from food and drink, and compares it to the energy that our body uses. The aim is to tip the balance.. so to achieve an energy deficit, we need to be USING/BURNING more energy (through exercise and movement) than we are CONSUMING (through food and drink).
If we don't tip the scales at all and it stays level, our body will remain at its current weight (in maintenance), or if we consume MORE than we use, our body will gain weight (by being in an energy surplus). So by exercising more and eating smart, we can achieve this energy deficit (yay!), but what happens when we tip the scales TOO much in that deficit?
What Crazy S**t Happens When The Deficit Is Too Much?
Look, by the definition of an energy deficit, it's seems easy to assume that if we eat EVEN LESS and exercise EVEN MORE.. that we would be able to lose that pesky weight even quicker... right? ... RIGHT??
Eeeek.... not so right!
Sure, in the short term that weight is going to drop off quicker than a hot potato, but you will feel fatigued, hungry and feel like you're being too restrictive (SO unsustainable!). But the instant you begin to eat normally, or in a healthy, less aggressive deficit.. the weight will bounce back, you'll find yourself unable to sustain the weight loss long term, and could very likely fall into a habit of yo-yoing!
Just think about being exhausted, fatigued and hungry eating crazy low 1200 calorie diets every day, PLUS exercising with tough workouts twice a day, every day, for the rest of your life. Because that's what it would take to keep that quick weight-loss off 😶 Not sustainable (or enjoyable) AT ALL IN THE SLIGHTEST!! The best thing about my weight loss journey is that I've enjoyed every single bit! I've enjoyed the challenges, enjoyed the progress and felt like it was something I could do long term.
So what, then, can we do to make sure we're setting ourselves up to achieve an energy deficit that's safe, won't bounce back or make us miserable?
How To Achieve A HEALTHY Energy Deficit
First things first, let's touch on the fact that since we're talking about energy (calories) here, we need to know that while 1 calorie = 1 calorie, all calories are not equal in quality! Let's look at a typical biscuit versus an apple. Same calories, but entirely different nutritional value!! The biscuit has unhealthy fats, sugars, and not much else that really serves the body. Whereas an apple has fibre, vitamins and antioxidants (to name a few). We always need to make sure we're paying attention to the nutritional quality of our food as well.. Not just for our overall health, but also so we avoid things like sugar crashes and those slumps in energy that are caused from eating foods lacking in nutritional quality. Not to say I'm against biscuits (because that's absolutely not the case!).. but it IS important to note the difference!
With BARE Lean being individually tailored to the person completing it, the headache of figuring out a sustainable and achievable energy deficit has all been done FOR you. BARE Lean isn't another low-calorie, numbers-focused or restrictive diet. We created and portioned ALL the BARE Lean recipes to meet your daily energy (calorie) requirements. So while eating from the guide and pairing that with at least 30 minutes of planned exercise 5 times per week, you and I both know that you're going to be in a realistic and sustainable energy deficit for your body!
There's nothing worse than putting in the hard work, only to realise that the unrealistic program with the crazy deficit was putting you WAY too harsh of a deficit, causing more problems for you and having the weight bounce back super quick! 😯
Another thing to keep in mind to achieve a healthy energy deficit is to focus on what kind of exercise you're doing throughout the day! There is the energy we burn from our planned exercise, like from a gym class or a run, and then there is the energy we burn from non-exercise activity (NEAT), like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, gardening, cleaning, doing a little dance while cleaning haha, and so on. Incorporating BOTH into your week is the best thing you can do for your journey and the overall energy deficit! Tips on how to increase your NEAT here!
The BARE principles are (and always will be) about those LONG-TERM results to help you achieve a healthy mindset in LIFE above anything else! Knowledge is power, and we should absolutely understand why we're doing the things we do... but getting stuck on calories or energy deficits shouldn't be taking our attention away from our journey at all.. that's why we (Team BARE) work SO hard to do it all for you! So your day can just be about loving and enjoying your life 🥰🥰
SO glad to have you ladies on this journey with me!
LOVE ALWAYS, Leah xx