Can I Eat Whatever I Want in a Calorie Deficit? (Find Out How)

weight loss scale

I am going to tell you exactly how you can eat whatever you want in a calorie deficit to lose weight. You may not think that this is something that can be done, but I can assure you that it is possible.

You can eat whatever you want in a calorie deficit, because losing fat is only possible due to our body burning more calories than we take in through our diet, not by which food the calories are derived from.

A calorie deficit is the only thing that is going to help you achieve your goal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have foods that you love while doing so.

Let’s dive right in.

Can I Really Eat Whatever I Want in My Calorie Deficit?

Yes! You can eat whatever foods you enjoy and still lose weight, you just need to make sure you are accounting for these calories in your daily calorie allotment.

Now we all know it is better to eat healthy foods, and as much as them as we can fit in our diet, but this does not mean we can’t have the occasional candy bar or piece of cake.

To be perfect honest, it is never recommended to never enjoy foods you love. You are only going to make yourself miserable. You CAN lose weight eating whatever you want as long as you do it with some thought behind it.

For example, if you want to enjoy a donut at Dunkin, but you are trying to lose 40 pounds, you may think that just eating a donut is going to hinder your progress, this is not true at all.

Let’s say you set a calorie intake goal of 1,800 calories, and your donut is 300 calories. As long as you calculate in these 300 calories and subtract it from your daily total calorie amount, you are safe.

Let’s talk about how you are able to achieve this, and eat whatever you want and still burn body fat, by starting with the basics.

What Exactly is a Calorie Deficit?

It is a simple process, really. Our bodies utilize calories for fuel. If we consume more calories than our bodies are using (burning), this will eventually be stored as fat in our bodies.

There are about 3500 calories in one pound of body fat, and this is a magic number that you will need to remember to calculate your calorie deficit.

You will need to burn more calories than you are eating. It is all about calories in vs. calories out. This is it. There is no magic pill. You will need to burn more than you are consuming every day. You will be able to achieve this by eating whatever you want, and by that I mean your favorite foods, within reason of course.

What is also important to know, is that our bodies will store fat as subcutaneous fat as well as visceral fat.

Subcutaneous fat is the type of fat that is stored in our subcutaneous tissue. This is the type of fat most individuals are usually targeting. Subcutaneous fat is the fat you see when you “pinch an inch” on your stomach for example. Visceral fat is stored in a different location, around our vital organs.

According to Medical News Today, it IS possible to lose both subcutaneous fat as well as visceral fat at the same time. There is no special way to target either of them.

While losing subcutaneous fat might make you feel and look better, visceral fat loss can drastically improve your health. Lowering the amount of visceral fat that we have around our organs prevents us from developing serious health conditions.

How to Calculate your Calorie Deficit

Now, how do you calculate this calorie deficit you may ask? First, what you need to do is actually start tracking your food intake.

Start tracking every single thing that you eat on a daily basis. You can start tracking this intake by using a diary and manually looking up the calorie content of each food or drink you consume, or you can use a calorie calculator online.

I suggest going the calorie calculator route as this is the simplest way, and it is what I used when I lost my weight. There are numerous calorie calculators out there to use at your disposal.

Simply go to your app store on your phone or search them online.

Calorie Tracking Calculators

What I like about calorie calculators is the awesome barcode scanning feature. Every food or drink you want to eat for the day will likely have a barcode on the package if it is a prepackaged product.

You simply scan the barcode, and viola, you now have your calories tracked!

Start out doing just this, track what exactly it is you are eating each day, and find out around how many calories you are actually currently consuming on a daily basis. You might be surprised. I know I was certainly surprised. It really is an awakening.

Calculating your BMR or TDEE

The next thing you will need to do, is go online and find a calculator to find out what your basal metabolic rate is or your BMR for short. The BMR is the amount of calories that our body burns every day, just from us existing.

Just by keeping our bodies alive, this burns calories. Who would have thought? Everyone depending on their gender, height, weight, and age will have a different BMR so everyone needs to calculate their own number to be most accurate.

While of course, this number is not going to be EXACT, it WILL give you a great estimate on how many calories your body requires every single day.

The BMR is not however, the only thing that you should take into consideration. There are other things that will burn calories in addition to this. Are you walking? Are you exercising at all? These things will also add calories to your BMR.

It is not extremely easy to calculate these calories, but there are also calculators available that will give you an estimated number based on whether you are doing light exercise, moderate exercise, or vigorous exercise.

These calculators will now let you track your BMR in addition to your exercise calories burned in one day. This is known as calculating your TDEE or total daily energy expenditure. Here is a great calculator you can try to calculate your TDEE.

running calories

Using your BMR or TDEE to Calculate your Calorie Deficit

Now that you have your specific number for your BMR or TDEE, whichever you prefer to use, now we will try to fit in how many calories you need to consume in one day to burn fat, which will cause you to start losing weight.

Let’s say for example, your BMR calculator results said that you burn 2,605 calories/day and you are a 25 year old male who is 5’10 and 260 pounds.

This value you found is your calories OUT because this is the amount of calories you are expending or burning. You need to use this number to track your calories IN.

We know from earlier that there are 3500 calories in one pound of fat. If we break this up over one week, that would mean you have to calculate a deficit of 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound of fat in one week, which would be highly attainable and SAFE.

Based on the above information, you would need to consume around 2,105 calories every day to start losing weight.

I emphasize “around” because remember, these are estimates.

What is smartest to do is to start at this number and track your weight for a week or two. If your weight goes down, it is likely a good calorie range for you to stay at. If your weight goes up, then you are still likely not in a deficit and may need to decrease your calorie intake maybe by 250 calories or even a little less if you desire, just to start seeing a result you are happy with.

This is it, you just calculated your calorie deficit and you are ready to start tracking your progress!

What Should I Eat While in my Calorie Deficit? Can I Eat Whatever I Want?

We have to remember, calories are calories. It does not matter if the calories are coming from fats, carbohydrates, or proteins. They all will get stored or burned for fuel no matter what the source of them are.

While they might be utilized differently by our bodies, this really boils down to calories in/calories out.

I do believe that calories consumed from all three of those groups are important for our bodies to function and I do think that each group are important to include in your diet. When I say you can eat whatever you want while in a calorie deficit, I mean that you surely can as long as you do it in a smart “calculated” way.

I have had success losing my weight by not restricting any foods that I love. If I want to enjoy a donut, I will. If I want to enjoy some ice cream, I will. Life is too short for restrictions.

As long as you are including these foods and their calorie contents in your tracking, you will still lose weight, but you MUST track them accurately. You must be honest with yourself and accurately track your calories for success with this method.

eat whatever you want in a calorie deficit, including cupcakes.

Last Words

You can lose weight while still eating whatever foods you enjoy. You do not have to sacrifice enjoying your favorite foods to burn body fat and lose weight.

I would like to say, I do not recommend dropping your calorie intake down too low. Avoid doing this.

You may not feel well, and you are NOT going to be happy with this restriction to your diet and lifestyle.

This must be done in a way that is sustainable for you. You should start out slow and make slow progress.

Starving yourself is not going to work in the long run, and you will likely regress and gain any weight you lost back. You want this to be a lifestyle change that you will able to keep and to succeed at. So, yes, eat what you want, but do it in a smart way.

When you are in a calorie deficit, you can lose weight without doing cardiovascular exercise (running, jogging, elliptical training), but I would strongly suggest starting weight training if you are able to.

This is a great idea for someone when they are trying to lose weight because having more muscle mass on your body alone actually increases your metabolic rate which will raise that BMR or TDEE, as well as prevent you from looking “skinny fat” when you do lose weight due to having no muscle mass as a foundation.

Sometimes this can happen as losing some muscle mass when losing fat is expected, so if you weight train, you can surely avoid it.

Also, strive for 1-2 pounds per week lost at the most. This is what is going to work best, and help you keep it off in the long run. Slow and steady wins the race!

I wish you well in this endeavor. Remember, you can and you will achieve your goals.