• Ciaran O’Connell

More calories = more weight loss?

Before you read on, and to avoid any confusion whatsoever, a calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight.

But what I’m about to say does include consuming more calories than you may be on now.

Firstly, let me explain why cutting too many calories out of your diet may actually not lead you to lose any weight.

When you calculate your maintenance calories (the amount of calories consumed to stay at your current weight), the more calories you remove from this amount, the greater the weight loss ASSUMING you continue to exercise and be as active as you would be consuming your maintenance calories.

What can happen if you reduce your calories by too much is you reduce your NEAT (daily activity such as walking, washing, cleaning etc), and reduce the amount you exercise (e.g. from 3 times a week to 1 time a week). This is because you’re most likely feeling too tired and lethargic. Remember that calories are effectively our batteries for moving and doing things.

When we feel tired our bodies also crave super high energy foods such as fats and carbohydrates, which can lead us to give in to temptation and also go way over the daily calorie target

This is why it is suggested that when creating a calorie deficit, you only remove roughly 200-300 calories from maintenance calories. it is better to get to your goal gradually than constantly feel like you’re failing.

So why am I saying to eat more calories?

I say this with a warning. You HAVE to be moving more and burning more calories than you are putting in. The idea of this deficit is to elicit it with movement and exercise rather than a reduction of calories with a maintained exercise programme. Your calories may be at 2600, but if your body is burning 2800 calories each day then you are still in a 200 calorie deficit.

For instance in this case you may be consuming 200-300 calories more than usual but are walking 5km more each day and exercising 4 times a week instead of 2 times a week.

For a lot of people this method works much better as they can enjoy their food without stressing about being over a certain calorie target. However, it does require more effort on the activity and exercise part.

It comes down to which method you prefer. If you know you’re someone who struggles to maintain a stricter diet and enjoys their food, staying at those calories and increasing your activity will create weight loss for you.

If you are someone who is feeling too tired on the calories they’re at, not seeing any changes in their body, then consider upping your calories to help your energy levels to do more exercise and be more active.

You can make a deficit in 2 ways.

Eat less or move more.

(If you want to eat more, then move even more)

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