I Lost 20lbs in Two Months by Doing a Calorie Deficit, Here’s How I Did It

When it comes to trying to lose weight, I’ve tried a lot of things. I starved myself, enrolled in a gym, took diet pills, and tried all sorts of fad diets. While they had varying degrees of success (please do not starve yourself or take diet pills, you will lose weight but you will look and be unhealthy), I didn’t achieve the goals I set out for myself. Only one thing has consistently shed the pounds for me: going on a calorie deficit.

A calorie deficit is reducing calories so you burn more than what you eat each day. Simply put, it’s eating less. According to Healthline, “doing so consistently for long periods results in weight loss.” And it has been helpful for me. I lost 20lbs in two months. What makes this impressive is that I lost the first 10lbs in December, the month noted for gaining weight because of all the Christmas celebrations.

How do you do a calorie deficit?

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The first step is to know how many calories you should consume each day to lose weight. Healthline recommends subtracting 500 calories each day. This way, you get to lose weight without affecting your energy or hunger levels. If you plan to go this route, the website says you should track your calorie intake for 10 days. Divide it by 10 to get your average number of calories. Subtract 500 and that should be your goal for calorie intake. So for example, if you find out that your average daily calories are 2,500, make sure that you only eat 2,000 per day.

Men’s Health has a similar formula to find out how many calories you need to eat each day to lose weight. The first step is to find out how many you consume for three days. As an example, let’s say you consume 2,500 calories each day. Next, find out how many you need to eat to maintain your weight.

Men’s Health has a formula that depends on your activity level, or how much you work out each week:

Zero workouts

Multiply your weight by 10

One or two workouts a week

Your weight x 12

Two to four workouts a week

Your weight x 14

Five or more workouts a week

Your weight x 16

So for example, if your weight is 200lbs and you don’t work out at all, you need to consume 2,000 calories each day to maintain your weight. To lose weight, you need to eat less than 2,000. Remember, you’re already eating 2,500 calories each day. Maybe you can start by eating less than 2,000 or working out to burn calories.

How did I do my calorie deficit?

I set my goal to eat 1,800 calories per day. All I did was track my calories and make sure I was hitting my goals every day. To make it easier, I subscribed to a diet delivery service that sent over lunches and dinners at 350 calories each. For the rest of my meals, I ate what I had or bought. I need to be sure that I was limiting my daily calorie intake to 1,800, so I used MyFitnessPal to figure out many calories were in a dish or meal. I also bought a kitchen scale so I can be accurate. If 28 grams of peanuts are worth 160 calories, I made sure that I only ate 28 grams.

I also opened a Google Sheet where I tracked my daily calories and my daily weight. As for my weight, I weighed myself every day and computed the average per week. I noticed a downward trend: I started at 206lbs on December 7, 2020. I was 196.5 on January 7, 2021. I was 186.8 on February 7. It helped that I live alone and I’m paranoid to go out because of the pandemic, so I didn’t have a lot of temptations.

What I loved about going on a calorie deficit is that I could eat whatever I wanted as long as it fit my daily goal of 1,800 calories. Of course, I prioritized healthy food, thanks to my diet delivery service.

For snacks, I still got to eat donuts, burgers, chocolates, and other snacks. I just ate them in moderation. I ate half a donut as an after-lunch dessert then ate the other half as my midnight snack. I also got to spread the calories so I don’t go to bed hungry because I already hit the 1,800 mark at 5PM.

What were the challenges to the calorie deficit?

The biggest challenge is getting used to the drop in calories after consuming so many in a day. On my first two days, I went way past 2,500 calories. Because I was tracking everything I ate on a Google Sheet, I was able to study my eating pattern to develop a solution.

I noticed that I could function in the morning with just a cup of coffee. On the other hand, I have a hard time sleeping without snacking on something. My solution was to just have coffee in the morning, then saved my 1,800 calories from lunch onwards. This meant I could save a few hundred calories for my midnight snack. It’s just finding the strategy that works for you.

Should I work out?

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Ideally, yes. This will help you burn calories faster, thus making you lose more weight. Strength training can also tone you. For the sake of transparency, I did not work out much during December because I wasn’t in the right mindset and I still lost 10lbs.

Is a calorie deficit for you?

Like with all diets, it’s important to consult a doctor if you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, problems with blood sugar regulation, low blood pressure, or more. Consult a doctor if you are taking medications, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. Results may vary so find a diet that you can commit to in the long run and that you enjoy. Food is amazing, it’s just finding the balance and managing your portions.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below!

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