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Bala Cynwyd 610-664-6464

Feasterville 215-355-2700

Jenkintown 215-887-8787

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Weight Loss Requires a Calorie Deficit – There’s No Way Around it.


Let’s get straight to the point – you need to take in fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. There’s no way around it, despite a constant effort by supporters of fad diets trying to convince you otherwise.

The “calories in / calories out” method is built on the fact that to maintain a steady body weight, the amount of calories you eat needs to equal the amount you burn up.

“Calories in” means the calories you obtain from foods you eat, and “calories out” is the amount of calories you burn.

There are two main bodily processes that burn calories:

  • Basic metabolism – essential working functions of the body – heart, brain, digestion, breathing, etc.
  • Physical movement – remaining calories used for everyday physical activity i.e. exercise, walk to the store, folding laundry, etc

Once your body’s energy requirements are met, extra calories are stored for future use —mostly as fat. Therefore, consuming more calories than you burn will cause weight gain, however eating fewer than you need causes weight loss.

And so, the method is firmly true. You need a calorie deficit to lose weight.

Calorie Math Lesson

To lose about 1 pound of body weight a person needs to have a calorie deficit of around 3,500 calories. As a result, to lose approximately one pound of fat per week (7 days) you need a roughly 500 calorie shortage each day.

This is a good formula to use as a starting point, but weight loss is more than just counting calories. It’s about choosing which foods you put in your mouth.

Counting Calories Makes You Choose Healthier, Filling Foods.

Keeping track of all foods you eat, and their calorie amounts forces you to think about what you eat and how much you eat, making you more aware of high-calorie foods and training you to swap them for more nutritious and less calorie items.

You’ll quickly learn to trade a morning 300 calorie mocha latte for a cup of regular coffee with cream and light sugar (about 60 calories).

And, snacking on potato chips, cookies and other junk food will add on a lot more calories to your daily tally and leave you feeling hungry sooner.

Instead, eating whole foods like vegetables, whole grains, and fruits will lead to sustainable weight loss because they keep you full for longer periods.

AFC’s Comprehensive Weight Loss Program

Having a weight loss coach at the same fitness club where you exercise can help you lose more weight faster and safer, while keeping you motivated to continue. If you would like more information about how AFC’s registered dietitians and personal trainers create a customized weight loss plan just for you, stop by our Bala Cynwyd or Feasterville facilities. Contact our registered dietitians here.