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How to Burn More Calories Than You Eat? (4 Easy Steps)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 14, 2022

The solution to losing weight isn’t that complicated: just exercise more and avoid extra calories. However, putting that into practice is where it gets a bit tricky.

With over a decade of experience helping people lose fat and get their exercise and nutrition in order, I’d like to share some time-tested and proven methods that’ll help you burn off more than you eat.

Let’s begin.

Quick Summary

  • The best weight loss strategy is to eat fewer calories than you expend.
  • Eating smaller portions and low-calorie meals is the easiest way to achieve a negative calorie balance, which helps you lose weight over time.
  • Before going on a caloric deficit, you must figure out your basal metabolic rate.

What Does It Mean to Burn More Calories Than You Eat?

A buff male holding a dumbbell and vegetables

To burn more calories than you eat simply means consuming fewer calories than you burn through physical activity.

The result of burning more calories than you eat is weight loss.

Burning more calories than you eat is referred to as a calorie deficit.

To put it in a simple equation, caloric deficit equals calories in minus calories out. This is an integral part of many weight-loss diets.

How You Can Do It

A buff male eating cottage cheese in front of a black background

There are many unsafe ways to burn more than you eat. Based on my experience, here are the steps you need to follow to safely start burning more than you consume.

1. Find Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

BMR is the total number of calories your body requires to sustain basic functions like breathing, digestion, and staying awake.

You can calculate your BMR with these formulas:

  • Men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kgs) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years)
  • Women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years)

You need to figure out your BMR so you can do the following:

  • Estimate how many calories you burn on an average day
  • Avoid the risk of going on a substantial calorie deficit

Also, the more lean muscle you put on, the higher your BMR.

“With increased muscle mass, you'll have a higher metabolism. That will help you burn off more calories.”

- Dr. Cedrina Calder, MD, MSPH

2. Plan Out Your Calorie Deficit

Now that you’ve figured out your BMR, you need to decide how many daily calories you want to burn.

So, here’s what you need to do.

First, know that one pound of fat consists of 3,500 calories. To lose one pound of fat, you need to be in a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories.

Obviously, you cannot do that in one day. So, you split up your deficit throughout the week.

Next, let's say you want to burn about one pound of fat within a week (which is the safest option). The math says you'll need to burn 500 calories a day or be in a caloric deficit of 500 calories.

You can split up the deficit between your meals and workout.

So, for a deficit of 500 calories a day, you’d have to reduce your daily calories by 250 and burn 250 from cardio. You may divide this up however you please.

Adjust your caloric deficit based on how much fat weight you want to lose per week.

3. Avoid High-Calorie Foods

A buff male holding a sausage on a fork with an angry face

The next step is to get rid of any junk in your diet. Then, replace said junk with good calories (preferably nutritious foods with lower calories).

Eating fewer calories also means staying away from extra calories. As a rule of thumb, always count the calories you need to lose first before eating.

Stick with meals that will give you all your essential nutrients. Focus on eating low-portioned meals to reduce your daily calorie intake.

4. Work Out More Intensely

Working out is the best way to burn calories. Your body burns calories from basic physiological functions, so whatever you burn from physical exercise is extra.

Those are the calories you want to target.

If you work a sedentary job, you can squeeze in some low-impact cardio like brisk walking for fat loss, stationary bike, elliptical, or even swimming into your schedule. The more you engage in physical activity, the more you lose weight fast.

Keep in mind that if you add weight training into your routine, your BMR might slowly increase as you gain lean muscle mass [1].

So recalculate it from time to time to adjust your calorie deficit.

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Some Friendly Tips

A buff gym coach taking down notes

When losing weight becomes your priority, it’s often very easy to make mistakes that’ll backtrack your progress.

Even worse, there’s the possibility of even making fatal mistakes.

So, here are a few tips to keep in mind on your weight loss journey:

  • Don’t overdo it. Plan your daily caloric deficit and stick to it. Rapid weight loss can be a sign that you’re losing muscle weight [2].
  • Find your routine. Part of efficiently losing weight is finding a good routine. Set a time for meals and exercise every day and strictly adhere to it.
  • It looks different for everyone. Some folks might choose to burn a higher number of calories depending on their fitness goals. We recommend you stick to a moderate calorie deficit.
  • You won’t see results immediately. So, don’t be discouraged if you don’t lose weight in the first week. Also, aim for a healthy rate of fat loss (1–2 pounds per week) once you get the hang of your diet [3].

If you’ve done everything right and still struggle to lose fat, I highly recommend taking natural fat burners.

These can help your body to burn fat, reduce caloric intake by suppressing appetite, and give you an energy boost for your workouts.

FAQs

Is It Safe to Burn More Calories Than I Eat?

Yes, it is safe to burn more calories than you eat. However, you must still eat enough calories and the right amount of nutrients to sustain your body and achieve your fitness goals.

How Do I Know I’m Burning More Calories Than I’m Taking In?

You know you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in when you lose body fat at a controlled pace. Usually, this rate of fat loss is 1–2 pounds per week.

Is It Possible to Burn More Calories Than You Eat and Still Gain Weight?

No, it is not possible to burn more calories than you eat and still gain weight. If you feel this is not the case, it could mean that you’re tracking your calories inaccurately.

Burn More Calories Than You Eat Safely

You can start burning extra calories by eating healthier and increasing your energy expenditure.

Sometimes, it can be a little challenging, with cravings getting in the way.

To help you burn fat faster and control your appetite, I highly recommend taking natural fat burners: 

We’ve thoroughly tested these products ourselves and documented that they can help curb appetite, burn stored fat, and increase calorie burning by giving you an energy boost.


References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/basal-metabolic-rate
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140529/fast-weight-loss-may-mean-muscle-loss
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html

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