Calorie Deficit Diet Plan – Beginners Guide

By | January 27, 2020

A calorie deficit diet plan is essential for any weight loss attempts. In this post, I will outline everything you need to know about being in a calorie deficit. Firstly. In other words, by the end of this post, you will understand

  • What a calorie deficit diet
  • What happens in the body when you introduce a calorie deficit
  • How to start your calorie deficit
  • How to work out your unique deficit

What is a calorie deficit diet plan?

For the most part, all weight-loss diets work on the premise of calorie restrictions. Take Weight Watchers, for instance. They work on a points system or slimming world, and they tend to use the term sins for high-calorie foods.

There are hundreds of diets out there, and they all work to the same principle. The reason being, eating fewer calories than your body needs, you are guaranteed to lose weight.

In essence, you consume fewer calories than the body requires. Thus, you start to lose weight.

What happens when you go into a calorie deficit.

Before we look at what happens, let’s look at the opposite. I assume if your reading this, you want to lose weight. The reason you are overweight is that you’ve consumed too much (excluding medical reasons). Food equals energy, and any unused energy is converted to body fat. Your body starts storing remaining energy as fat for survival in case you ever go through a period of famine.

When the situation is reversed, and you are not consuming enough food (energy), the body does the opposite for survival. The body will dip into the energy reserves (body fat) to provide you with your daily energy expenditure.

The body is pretty cool, right.

How to get started on a calorie deficit diet plan.

I can’t stress enough about proper planning. As with any diet, you should always consult a medical professional such as your doctor. With this in mind, a reduced-calorie diet is usually safe. However, it’s still better to be safe than sorry

It’s important to remember; a calorie restriction should only be for people who are overweight. Shortly, I will show you how to work out your calorie deficit, but if the deficit is too big and you’re not overweight, it will become dangerous.

Anything under 1200 calories a day and this type of plan isn’t suitable for you. Furthermore, you’re are going to need a tool to count your calories. My recommendation is MyFitness Pal. Simple to use the app, you can get from the app store or play store.

Ignore the suggestion it gives you for your deficit as we are going to work yours out soon. You need it to count the calories in the foods you consume.

Myfitness Pal has an extensive library, and you will pretty much find anything you consume there.


As mentioned, it’s super important to prepare. See below for some points

See below for a more detailed look at the points above.

Why set a start date?

Setting a start date will prepare you physically and mentally. Don’t forget; you will see a lot of physical changes. With physical changes, you will encounter obstacles. For instance, reducing your calories at Christmas wouldn’t be the smartest choice. The first week or two will be the hardest as you adjust to the new lifestyle.

Ideally, the date shouldn’t be set for any stressful periods. Being stressed can trigger you to eat more. When stressed your body release hormones that can increase binge eating

What do you mean by “temptation”?

If you’re overweight, then you are consuming more calories than the body needs. In which case, you’re more than likely overindulging in “junk” food. Typically,  junk food is low in nutrients and high in calories. Not to mention extremely tasty!

Just because you can eat anything you want on a calorie deficit diet plan doesn’t mean you should. Processed and man-made food should be kept to a minimum. However, don’t deny yourself of the things you like. Instead, only have a few potato chips and chocolate bars in the goody draw.

Don’t worry about social interaction

When faced with any diet, people tend to sacrifice social events such as meals with friends. DONT! Remember, this is a lifestyle change, and it has to fit in with current lifestyle habits. Ditching social time will lead to quitting.

If you know an event is coming up, you should plan accordingly for it. If you overeat the daily amount, don’t worry.  You can shave some calories off of other days in the week. Your body won’t stop the fat loss process or put weight on because of one day.

Seriously, don’t worry it’s ok to have a life

Don’t underestimate the importance of food prep!

How often do you pop out at work to buy food at dinner? I imagine, for most, this is common. People are living busier lives than ever right now. Thus, if food is already made up, we buy it and eat it. There is a problem with this.

Firstly, its more expensive to live like this and secondly a lot of pre-made foods have more calories. If you were to make your food at the beginning of the week and then store, it would be cheaper, more nutritious, healthier, and you’ll have a better relationship with food.

You don’t need to be a master chef to prep your food. Google has a ton of quick low calorie, highly nutritious recipes that anyone can follow.  Click this link for 100 low-calorie snack recipes 

An easy diet plan to lose weight

Choosing the right foods for success

To succeed with a low-calorie plan selecting the right foods is essential. The biggest issue you are going to face is hunger. To combat hunger, foods high in protein and fiber are crucial. Fiber will help keep hunger at bay by keeping you in state of fullness for longer.

Protein is associated with weight loss for many reasons. Below is a round of some of the association’s protein has with weight loss.

  • Significantly boost metabolism
  • Reduce nighttime cravings (1)
  • Reduces appetite and hunger levels
  • Slows down muscle loss

I can’t stress enough the importance of adequate protein during a reduced-calorie diet plan. The aim is to lose body fat and muscle mass. In fact, if you start losing muscle mass, your metabolism will begin to slow down, and this will slow or halt your weight loss attempt

Working out a calorie deficit.

Time to work out your calorie deficit. The ultimate goal is to get the right amount of calories that you are losing steady weight and not totally miserable because of the hunger.

So there is a couple of steps to work this out. Don’t worry; it’s effortless. Grab some paper and something to write with for this next part.

There are two parts to working out your calorie deficit

  • BMR (Basel Metabolic Rate)
  • TDEE (total daily energy expenditure)

We will explain more about BMR and TDEE soon. Also, write down what activity level you’re at per day and how many calories you need to add on

BMR explained

BMR is the rate your body uses energy (calories) at rest. This includes keeping all your vital organs working, such as the heart and lungs, and to keep the body warm, amongst other things.

TDEE explained

TDEE is a total of all calories needed. This includes BMR calories and anything outside of resting, such as moving. See below for a rough guide of how many you need to add on.


Unless you do 30 minutes or more a day of exercise, you are classed as sedentary. You may spend most of the day sitting at your job, and you only perform everyday living tasks. No need to add any calories on to total

Lightly active

Slightly more active than sedentary. You may find yourself spend long periods on your feet when working. For this type of lifestyle add 160 calories on to your daily total


You perform some exercise, and you tend to be on your feet, walking around for a considerable portion of the day. Add 450 calories to the daily total.

Very active

Working out your BMR

First things first, we need to find out exactly how many calories your body needs before any activity whatsoever.  the formula for this is –

  • BMR for Men = 66.47 + (13.75 * weight [kg]) + (5.003 * size [cm]) − (6.755 * age [years])
  • BMR for Women = 655.1 + (9.563 * weight [kg]) + (1.85 * size [cm]) − (4.676 * age [years])

Once you’ve got your BMR add on your TDEE and then subtract 200 – 500, this will be your calorie deficit. Or you could use this calculator instead and subtract the same figures as above.

TDEE calculator 

What about when I’ve lost the required weight?

Eventually, you will be at a desirable weight. At this point, you need to work out your maintenance calories. Working out your daily maintenance expenditure is simple. Use the same formula above, but don’t subtract any calories.

By using this same formula, you will ensure you don’t put the body fat back on. You can still eat whatever you want but keep to the same guidelines I’ve outlined in this article.

Things you need to watch out for!

Although reducing calories is relatively safe, you still need to understand any potential hazards. Naturally, when reducing calories, the amount of nutrients you consume is also lower. See below five ways restricting calories can be harmful

  • It can lower metabolism
  • It may cause fatigue and deficiencies in nutrients
  • It may reduce fertility
  • It may weaken bones
  • It may lower your immunity

Looking at these five points, it can be off-putting. However, if you’ve calculated your deficit right, you will only be between two hundred and five hundred calories short each day. By all accounts, this is safe and will be recommended by any weight loss specialist.

If you are planning on having a baby or currently pregnant, then this isn’t for you. Concentrate on your health and the unborn baby. Weight loss can wait.

As I’ve already mentioned, consulting a doctor or other medical professional first is always best.

Summary of a calorie deficit diet plan.

As outlined, using this method to lose weight is incredibly easy to lose weight. In fact, using this method  (calorie deficit) is the only way to lose weight. All diets that are set up to lose weight will be based on reducing calories.

Keep in mind the harm you can cause if you overdo it. You should only reduce calories by no more than 500. This is a safe number provided you aren’t below 1300 calories per day. Anything more than this does not attempt this diet. Furthermore, consult a medical professional before starting a calorie deficit diet plan.

It’s important to realize that your daily calories will move, so weigh yourself every two weeks and use the calculator to adjust accordingly.

Good look with your calorie deficit diet plan and let me know your thoughts below.

8 thoughts on “Calorie Deficit Diet Plan – Beginners Guide

  1. Jeff

    This is an amazing guide to losing weight safely for beginners, I have managed my weight all my life by eating mainly low-calorie foods and regular exercise. so I know if you follow this guideline in this article you can lose weight and manage your weight to be healthy, I strongly recommend this article to all of you with any doubts it will work for you


    1. Steven Varley Post author

      Thanks Jeff, It really is this simple. If you exclude any medical problems that attribute to weight gain then this formula of burning more than you eat is guaranteed. The bonus is you can eat what you like as well.

  2. Dereck

    You made a lot of excellent points. Your comment about the social aspect of staying on a reduced calorie diet really hit home. There’s been many times where I haven’t wanted to go out with friends on the chance I’d be tempted in eating unhealthily. But, making this change fit in with our current life is the only way to make this a habit instead of a fad. It’s definitely something I need to continue working on, but thank you for sharing your knowledge on this. Keep up the good work!

  3. Julius

    Awesome article! It kinda got stuck to me the fact that you said not to sacrifice your social/off time. I’m a person that seems to have a tough time with that. How do you manage the outside life aspect and also getting the best results possible?

    1. Steven Varley Post author

      Hi Julius,

      Don’t worry if you don’t come in below your deficit. enjoy yourself there are 6 more days in the week to make it. Losing weight is a process and a journey. Journeys are to be enjoyed its not just about the destination

  4. Tom

    Hey Steven,

    Counting calories is something I have struggled with over the years. I go up and down with my weight, and it really does my head in.

    Thanks for sharing this post, the tips on here are great. I’m going to set my date for my calorie deficit plan for this Saturday. I will let you know how I am getting on.

    Thanks again,


  5. Herbert

    Your post has taught me a lot especially, Working out a calorie deficit. You have explained everything thoroughly.


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