A Nutritionist Shares the Healthy Way to Maintain Calorie Deficit
What EXACTLY is calorie deficit?
"Calorie deficit basically means that the amount of calories burned by the body is more than the amount of calories consumed so that the body starts burning the stored fat for the additional energy that it requires," says Priya Prakash, certified nutrition coach and co-founder of Naturally Yours.
How can you achieve it?
"There are two ways to achieve a calorie deficit – either cut down on what you eat or workout hard. I strongly believe in the concept that you cannot out-train your diet. So although regular workouts do help to a certain extent, watching what you eat and generally staying active throughout the day together will give way better results. So, if your idea of the desired body is to lose the excess body fat and thus reduce inches, then calorie deficit is the way to go about with it. Of course, you have to ensure that you do not cut down on your calories to such an extent that you end up feeling tired and lethargic all the time. So it is very crucial to touch that sweet spot of calorie deficit which helps you to lose body fat but keeps you from feeling tired throughout the day."
Skipping meals or starving is NOT how you reduce calories!
"Maintaining a calorie deficit does not mean you have to starve yourself and eat the bare minimum. You still require a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats for optimal functioning of the body." Here are some recommendations: • Completely avoid/limit consumption of food sources that contribute empty calories - such as maida/refined flour, high sugar drinks, candies etc. • Include food high in protein and fiber like wholegrains, fruits and vegetables in your diet. They not only provide you with a various nutrients but also ensure that more energy is burned while digesting them
• Studies have shown that working out for 1-2 hours a day and then remaining pretty much sedentary the rest of the time will not really move the needle when it comes to weight loss. So ensure that you keep yourself active throughout the day by standing more, walking more, playing with your kids etc.
• A calorie deficit diet can cause some amount of stress in the body which can trigger the release of body’s stress hormones such as cortisol. This is turn can lead to the body holding on to its fat reserves and targeting the proteins from muscles for its energy requirement. So keep yourself relaxed by doing meditation or going for a brisk walk every day or listening to music or reading a book. Do whatever helps to distress you.
How can we ensure that we are not lacking in nutrients while maintaining a calorie deficit?
"Ensure that you get a balanced diet comprising of all macronutrients along with vitamins and minerals. Home cooked meals would ensure that there are no hidden refined flour, sugar or unhealthy fats that could fill you with empty calories. Eat sufficient whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds for a wholesome diet."