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How to make a calorie deficit work for you

Georgia Williams

The first of our ‘How to’ series starts right at the very beginning, the basics. Many people think that dropping your calories as low as possible is a sure-fire way to drop the pounds. This is not the way!! Eating less calories than your body needs can be extremely dangerous, and this is why…

According to the NHS, low calorie diets can cause a range of side effects which include:

• Feeling hungry
• Feeling low on energy
• A dry mouth
• Constipation or diarrhoea
• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Cramps
• Hair thinning


So, how do you work out how many calories you should be eating? There is an abundance of calorie calculators online you can use, including one on the NHS website here

The average male needs approx. 2500 calories per day, and for the average female, approx. 2000. However, everyone is different, and things like activity level can affect this so to calculate your personal maintenance caloriesthese online calculators are great! Once you know your maintenance calories, it is recommended to subtract up to 500 cals to be in a calorie deficit.

For many, a calorie deficit can seem like a chore, but it doesn’t need to be. Here are our top 10 tips on making a calorie deficit work for you:

1) Plan ahead and incorporate all your favourite foods! If a McDonalds breakfast is your Sunday morning guilty pleasure, then have it. If you like a glass or two of prosecco on a Friday night, then have them. If you know you’re having these things then you can plan the rest of your daily calorie intake around them.
2) Listen to your body and feed your cravings. If you want a chocolate bar, have a chocolate bar, it’s as simple as that. If you deprive yourself of any treats, you’ll most likely end up eating way more to try and compensate!
3) Forget ‘cheat days’ and incorporate treats throughout the week. You’ll find that you will be able to stay on track much more easily i.e. having one off track meal won’t make too much difference, but an entire day off plan could easily add back on all the calories you’ve saved throughout the week.
4) Protein Protein Protein. High protein meals keep you fuller for longer, making you want to snack less. When you do fancy a snack, try and go for something which ticks all the boxes, our new indulgent balls are choc coated, high in protein, full of fibre and less than 200 cals, result!!
5) Change the way you cook. Cooking in oil can have a big impact on calorie intake without you even noticing, try low cal sprays instead!
6) Weigh your food out. Sometimes guessing can be totally off, so it’s much more efficient to weigh things out, this way you know exactly what you’re having and can stay in control.
7) Be mindful of extras i.e. sauces & dips. I’m sure we all agree that no pizza is complete without some crust dippin’ but look out for lower cal options like lighter than light, or sugar free. Winner winner, pizza for dinner.
8) Spice it up! Gone are the days where healthy eating needs to be bland. There are SO many recipes out there so get creative with your cooking! Spices make your food tasty and vibrant so get shaking!
9) If you have sugar in your tea or coffee, then try switching it out for sweeteners or flavour drops. These sneaky sugar cals soon add up! Trust us, you’ll never look back.
10) FAKEAWAYS! Let’s face it, we all love a takeaway, there’s nothing like having a night off cooking and sitting down with a feast. BUT, it’s really hard to know what exactly you’re consuming so take back the power and cook up a storm yourself. You could try a homemade burger and chips, two ingredient pizza dough or a cheeky sweet & sour! Stay tuned for our next blog where the queen of fakeaways herself will be showing us some of her favourite recipes!