If you’re exploring keto, you may hear people kick around the phrase “calorie deficit.” In fact, we use it in our very own Keto-Mojo Macro Calculator (MyMojoMacros). But what is it and why should you care? Let’s get clear on what a calorie deficit is and why you want to know about it.
What is a Calorie Deficit?
A calorie deficit is the same thing as a caloric deficit: it’s a shortage in the amount of calories you should eat to maintain your current weight.
People trying to lose weight intentionally operate at a calorie or caloric deficit for obvious reasons: if you eat less than you need to maintain your current body weight (energy homeostasis), your body burns reserves in order to continue to function properly and consequently loses weight.
What’s the Right Calorie Deficit to Lose Weight?
If you’re looking to lose weight, you need to operate at a calorie deficit. But, as with most things, the right deficit is not one size fits all. The correct deficit for you depends on a number of factors, including your sex, age, your weight, your height, your activity level, and how much weight you want to lose.
To calculate your calorie deficit, you first determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) based on age, gender, height and weight. BMR and RMR are used interchangeably and refer to the number of calories you need to perform the most basic and essential functions like breathing. Then you factor in your activity to identify how many calories you need each day just to maintain your current weight. By knowing how many calories you burn, you can create a calorie deficit based on your weight-loss goals.
There are calculators that can help you determine the right calorie deficit for you. These calculators determine your BMR or RMR, essentially how many calories you should eat to maintain energy homeostasis (your everyday functioning without losing weight), then tell you how many calories you need to eliminate (burn through exercise or more likely subtract from your daily caloric intake) to achieve your weight-loss goal.
Using a Macro Calculator to Determine the Right Calorie Deficit
If you’re attempting to lose weight, a macro calculator will help you determine a safe, sustainable calorie deficit—i.e. one that won’t make you so tired or hungry that you can’t stay on the diet. It will tell you how many calories you should eat to maintain your current weight, factoring in your sex, age, weight, height and activity level. Then it will tell you what percentage of calories you should cut daily to achieve your desired weight loss (the calorie deficit needed to reach your goal).
A macro calculator will also tell you how many of your daily calories should come from fat, protein, and carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet. This, along with tracking what you eat so you don’t eat more than you think and so you also make sure to eat the right amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, is essential to successfully meeting your weight-loss goals.
Fortunately, we have an easy and convenient calculator here on this website. The Keto-Mojo MyMojoMacros calculator will individualize your macros (daily calories broken into fat, protein, and carbohydrates) for a ketogenic diet based on your personal data, activity level and goals. Start calculating your macros here!
The Final Word
A calorie deficit is a shortage of calories needed to maintain your current weight. To lose weight, you need to determine the right calorie deficit to achieve your weight loss goals. The right calorie deficit for you depends on your sex, age, weight, height, activity level, and weight-loss goals. Using a macro calculator helps you best understand a caloric deficit that’s safe for your health, allows for success over a reasonable amount of time, and takes into account specific things about you and your body.