Mind the gap 

Most of us are aware that in order to lose fat we must be in a calorie deficit but how much is enough?

Depending on your goal and how you have chosen/been advised to approach that goal you may, at some point in your life have found yourself counting the calorie you consume. 

We all know this approach isn’t for everyone but we can’t get away from the fact that your energy intake and output is important if you are focusing on body composition goals (whether these be weight loss, body fat loss or muscle building). 

For those of you wishing to lose weight you may be aware of the term “calorie deficit” and this put simply refers to the process of consuming fewer calories than you are outputting on a daily basis. The severity of this deficit will depend on a number of factors such as your end goal, the rate at which you wish to lose weight, your activity…the list goes on! Twenty percent is usually appropriate for most people. 

The common misconception that arises however is that this deficit number is a static number and consuming anything above will lead to no progress and even gaining weight! 

The reality is actually that in between your maintenance calories and your calorie deficit there is a wonderful space where your weight loss progress will be made. 

Red Flag thinking: “If I exceed my deficit amount today I’ll gain weight”. 

Reality: You have to exceed your maintenance to run any risk of gaining weight. Eating more than your deficit (up to the point of maintenance) will simply slow the rate of your weight-loss progress. 

What does this mean in real life? 

The message I want everyone to get from this is that if you’re tracking your calories and food intakes and on one day you exceed your target you have NOT “ruined your diet”, “blown it”, “lost control” or “gained everything you’ve lost”. 

This is absolutely not the case, unless you are consistently eating above maintenance you won’t gain weight but you may change the rate of your weight-loss progress! 

So bare this in mind next time you don’t quite hit those targets! 

Hannah  

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