What is Calorie Deficit Diet

Lose weight quickly: This is how high your calorie deficit should be

If you want to lose weight, you have probably already asked yourself one of the following questions: “How fast can I actually lose weight?” Or “How high must my calorie deficit really be?”. This question reaches me very often too. Therefore I would like to answer this question for you today and explain to you what you have to pay attention to and why the fastest way is not always the best. The Energy Availability Threshold - i.e. the minimum amount of calories per day - is particularly important for women!

The Basics: How Does Losing Weight Work?

Before we can devote ourselves to the question, however, we should first clarify a few basics. It's important to understand how losing weight actually works. As I always say: First, make sure you have a good basis before you think about the subtleties.

Fat loss is a pure science of numbers. It's all about manipulating a simple formula correctly. The formula of the calorie balance is made up of the calorie intake and the calorie consumption.

Our body needs energy. We take in this energy through food and measure it in calories.

If you put more calories in your body than it needs, it will store it in the form of fat. If you give your body fewer calories than it needs, it has to compensate for this deficit by tapping into its fat reserves. This will make you lose weight. This is by far the most important law for fat loss!

To repeat it again: If you eat fewer calories than you use, you will lose weight! There's no way around it.

How fast can you lose weight?

Armed with the knowledge of the Calorie balance we can now make the following assertion: Je higher the Calorie deficit is the more more quickly you will lose weight. And this claim is also fundamentally true.

In purely mathematical terms, you need a total deficit of 7,000 calories to lose one kilogram of body fat. How you divide this deficit is not decisive, as the following example shows:

1.) 500 calorie deficit per day = 3500 calorie deficit per week -> loss of 0.5kg of fat per week

2.) 1000 calorie deficit per day = 7000 calorie deficit per week -> loss of 1kg fat per week

This is how high your calorie deficit should be

The recommended deficit is around 10-30% of total sales Every day. With an average calorie consumption of around 2000-2500kcal, this usually corresponds to a daily deficit of around 200 to 500kcal. But higher deficits of up to 1000 kcal are also quite common. But how high can I set my deficit? After all, do I want to lose weight as quickly as possible?

Especially for women there are two reasons the calorie deficit Not to set too high:

1.) Hormone balance and the energy availability threshold

Women have a very complex and balanced hormonal balance that changes greatly due to the female cycle. You can read more about it in this post: The female cycle: This is how it influences your training

In order not to disturb this cycle and the hormonal balance, there is the so-called Energy Availability Threshold. This is a certain amount of calories that women put on their diet by no means should fall below. Even a short diet phase in which fewer calories than this threshold are consumed can lead to your period being sabotaged or even missing entirely. The resulting hormonal imbalance has a direct negative impact on the health of your bones and can significantly affect bone density!

The level of this threshold, i.e. the energy availability threshold, depends on your lean body mass. This is the lean mass of your body, i.e. your body weight without fat mass and your daily activity.

How to calculate it:

Lean Body Mass * 30 = Energy Availability Threshold

To calculate the Lean Body Mass, you only need your body weight and your body fat percentage. If you don't know the latter, you can estimate it and compare it with pictures. The normal body fat percentage in women is between 20% and 30%. You simply subtract this value from 1 and then multiply this by your weight. Example:

60kg body weight & 25% body fat percentage -> (1-0.25) * 60 = 45kg Lean Body Mass (= lean mass)

45kg * 30 = 1350kcal Energy Availability Threshold per day

This is the amount of calories you should as a woman No way fall below. You should also add one to that amount of calories Safety buffer add up and add your sporting activities. In practice, a buffer for estimation errors and activities of around + 400kcal has proven itself. In our example, the minimum amount of calories would be around 1750kcal per day, which our 60kg athlete should never fall below!

2.) Loss of muscle mass

Muscles are an absolute luxury product for the body. They cost a lot energy and if the body does not get a good reason to keep them, it will immediately "to sell“And convert it into energy. With a high deficit, your body will trade more and more of your hard-earned muscle mass for energy. In addition, as the deficit increases, so does the amount of protein in your diet, which means that muscle protection is increasingly lacking.

But muscles are not just a visual eye-catcher. They significantly increase your basal metabolic rate, which makes your project of losing weight much easier. It is therefore important to do everything possible to ensure that your body builds up more of this precious muscle mass or at least does not reduce it in the diet! Therefore, in addition to a moderate calorie deficit, it is advisable to ensure an adequate protein intake. In practice, 1.8 - 2.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight have proven to be effective every day!


To lose weight, you need a calorie deficit: you have to take in fewer calories than you use. How high you set this deficit is entirely up to you. Basically, a deficit of 10-30% of your total sales has proven itself. As long as you observe the following points, this is entirely up to your preferences:

  • Pay attention to the minimum amount of calories (Energy Availability Threshold)
  • Make sure you get enough protein to maintain muscle mass

Of course, a sufficient intake of micronutrients and vitamins must also be guaranteed - another reason not to set your daily calorie intake too low.

Especially for beginners, I generally recommend not to set their calorie deficit too high in order to develop a feeling for their body and not immediately run into a wall and succumb to the "yo-yo effect".