Sep 2, 2016

Is a calorie just a calorie?

Sep 2, 2016

Is a calorie just a calorie?

Home    >    My Blog    >    Is a calorie just a calorie?

A calorie deficit is a required condition for weight loss, but if creating a healthy fat burning nutrition plan were only a matter of calories and nothing else, then three diets at the same calorie level – the first composed of 100 percent protein, the second 100 percent carbohydrates, and the third 100 per cent fats – would all produce the same results. Common sense tells you that eating 2000 calories of fish and vegetables won’t produce the same results as 2000 calories of fast food, crisps and chocolate.



How you divide your calories between the three macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, and fats – and which foods you choose from each category has a profound effect on your body and your health. Severely restricting any one of the macronutrients can lead to nutrient deficiencies and a drop in your physical performance.

How you split up your macronutrients can also affect your hormones. This includes hormones of hunger and metabolism, which influence how many calories you eat or burn each day.


Track Calories

Nail down the fundamentals first, Start with calories, find out what your maintenance calories are (check out online calculators) then track your calories using an online tracker like “my fitness pal”. When you begin to log your calories you’ll be amazed where extra sneaky calories are slipping into the diet. When you are more aware of your eating habits it’s easier to tweak and refine your eating habits. You’ll establish a baseline for those numbers and measure your results. If the baseline isn’t working , experiment, tweak and adjust.


For healthy long term fat loss, choose a deficit between 15-30 percent below your maintenance level.


  • Conservative deficit                                         15-20% below maintenance

  • Moderate deficit                                                21-25% below maintenance

  • Aggressive deficit                                               26-30% below maintenance

  • Extremely aggressive deficit                      31-40% below maintenance

  • Semi-starvation                                                  50% below maintenance



Always remember, you must have a calorie deficit to burn body fat, but most people cut calories much too fast. Your body can’t be forced to lose fat more quickly than nature intended; you must coax it. The smartest, safest, and healthiest approach for permanent fat loss is to start with a small deficit , say 10% below maintenance calories, add exercise, then continue to cut calories if necessary as your weekly results dictate. Do it slowly and progressively in stages, not all at once.

There’s more than one way to create a calorie deficit. You can decrease your calorie intake from food or increase the calories you burn from training and other activity. Unless you’re physically unable to exercise, a combination of both is ideal.


Become a metabolic furnace

Why deprive yourself by eating less when you can eat more and fire up your metabolic furnace? All you need to do is add the right kind of training on top of a sensible nutrition programme. Compared to dieting alone, the results you get from combining cardio, weight training, and nutritious eating to achieve a specific goal are nothing short of miraculous.


Here are some reasons why training (weight training and cardio training combined) is superior to dieting for losing body fat :


  •  Training (burn more)                                                                            Dieting (eat less)

  • Raises your metabolic rate                                                            slows down your metabolic rate

  • Creates a caloric deficit without triggering the                                 Triggers the starvation response

  • Starvation response

  • Builds and maintains lean body mass                                                     May be harmful to your health

  • Increases fat burning hormones                                                                  Decreases fat burning hormones



If you have any questions on fat loss, body composition and training, contact me on

Who is
Tara Grimes

Tara is one of Ireland’s top Fitness & Weight Loss Experts.

Tara is a Certified Nutritionist and Accredited Personal Trainer who has helped transform thousands of clients in Ireland and the UK and her online business is now helping many more clients across the world. She runs several online businesses from her base in N.Ireland and distributes 100,000s of her popular weight loss meals to customers across the country.

A mum of 4, who is passionate about Women’s Health and Fitness, she knows exactly how to help women of every age get Leaner, Fitter and Stronger. Tara’s companies employ top-level performance coaches and she has a team of registered nutritionists providing support for online clients across the globe. Tara has been recruited by Bluechip companies to provide in-house employee Health & Wellness packages, consulted with Government Departments on Nutrition & Weight Management and worked with professional sports teams & elite athletes improve their Performance Nutrition.

Tara has extensive qualifications including, BA(Hons) Degree from University Of Ulster and MSc from Queens University, Belfast.  She is also a Certified MNU Nutritionist helping Clinical Populations improve their overall health. She features in top publications and is a guest writer for many health publications.

Transforming Women’s bodies and health is Tara’s specialist area. She has created an amazing community of followers and clients across the world and her Fat Loss and Fitness Programs specialise in Female Fat Loss & Health, Over 40’s Fat loss and how to manage & Optimise changing hormones. Fitness programs for all levels and all incomes. She has programs to suit everyone, no matter what their starting level is at.

Her business is based entirely on the success of her clients.

*By following a plan or by following advice provided by Tara Grimes Fitness, you assume such risks and waive and release any claim which you may have against Fitness 31 Ltd. as a result of any future injury or illness as a result of the use or misuse of any program. You also claim responsibility for any adverse effects that result from the use of recipes and/or information in a plan.

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