A calorie deficit is required for weight loss. This means you need to burn more calories than you consume. That is basic science and math.
However, not all calories are created equal and your caloric needs are individual to you. Eating foods that are full of “empty” calories will not fill you up and lead to additional snacking – which will pack on more calories.
For example, there is roughly the same amount of calories in white pasta as there is in chickpea pasta. Chickpea pasta contains a high fiber content, which helps to curb the insulin response, which is responsible for cravings and weight gain.
You may also feel as though you’re not eating very many calories. But in fact, most of us have a tendency to underestimate and underreport what we eat. Start tracking your meals for a week, either by keeping a physical food journal or using an app like “My Fitness Pal”. Be honest with yourself and track EVERYTHING. Every “tiny” bite of foods you eat throughout the day, does in fact add up and can impact your weight loss progress.
You may be consuming too many foods that are healthy but also high in calories, such as nuts and cheese. Watching portion sizes is key.
On the other hand, decreasing your calorie intake too much be counterproductive.
Studies on very low-calorie diets providing less than 1,000 calories per day show they can lead to muscle loss and significantly slow down your metabolism.
If you exercise, it’s important to consume enough calories to re-planish energy lost during your workouts. Food is fuel and when used properly it creates balance and harmony within your body.