Calorie deficit – the “not-so-secret” secret to weight or fat loss

Calorie deficit – the “not-so-secret” secret to weight or fat loss
Justin Moran

Now I am sure you have heard of the term “calorie deficit” before and it you haven’t then I best explain to give some context.

Calories (sometimes referred to as kilojoules) are the units of energy you get from the foods and drinks that we consume. When you consume fewer calories than you burn, the net result is a calorie deficit.

On the other side of the equation is the calories that we burn each day, and this can be termed “calorie expenditure” and is the amount of energy that the body uses over a certain period of time (usually measured over a 24-hour period). Everything the body does requires energy, even when sleeping!

So, in the simplest of terms, if we can consume less calories than we burn then we should be able to lose weight! Sustained calorie deficit will lead to weight and/or fat loss. Now that sounds easier said than done but, how do we achieve this? Sadly, an estimated 36 per cent and 31 per cent of Australians are overweight or obese respectively and it is a shame that with access to education, knowledge, exercise and food choice that we are so unhealthy across our population. The food pyramid serves as a great guide in which to base our food choices from but sadly 90 per cent of the population doesn’t follow it!

Instead, we seek quick fixes, gimmicks or follow Instagram influencers or follow some random person’s or friend’s advice because a certain diet worked for them. At the heart of any successful experience with a diet would be based on a calorie deficit being achieved and sustained over a period of time. Following a ketogenic or an intermittent fasting diet may well work if the actual calories consumed are less than the calories burned. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a healthy diet or that it is suitable for you. In fact, some people will work towards a diet that results in a calorie deficit at the neglect of valuable vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function at its best.

So, what is the answer? Simply, optimal nutrition is vital and to achieve that, everyone would benefit from one to three visits to a dietitian or nutritionist (note that these are the only two professions that are qualified to give you specific dietary advice or provide an eating plan).


There are many “health coaches” out there with minimal, if any, university-backed nutrition qualification and will likely lead you to weight or fat loss at the detriment of your health and your wallet or purse.


There is a fantastic 80-minute nutritional education video that we share with our clients that is most helpful and if you would like me to send you the link, email me. It’s very powerful and insightful and ties in well with the healthy food pyramid and has an emphasis on consuming more fruit and vegetables, while helping with achieving a calorie deficit but in a healthy manner – full of vitamins, minerals and meeting your needs of macronutrients.

The other side of this is the need to exercise for health and wellbeing and we need to ensure that we focus on our fitness and strength. Performing adequate cardio-vascular fitness and performing some regular resistance exercise is vital for us to feel our best and live a healthier and fulfilled life. Remember that muscle is way more metabolically active than fat (they cannot change into each other!) and by building muscle we are helping boost our metabolism.

In closing – calorie deficit is vital for weight and fat loss, but we need to find the right type of sustainable healthy eating to support the body’s many functions. Eat and exercise for optimal health and wellness and weight or fat loss will be a natural consequence and if you need help getting started, invest in a health or fitness professional and/or see a dietitian or nutritionist.  •

For more information, exercise guidance or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me by heading to

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