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Why you should start your diet on higher calories

The most common mistake I see people make when it comes to dieting, is going ‘all in’ and starting their diet on a very low amount of calories. After all, the less calories we eat, the more fat we burn…right? Well, not exactly gf. 

When we diet, we undergo a natural process called ‘metabolic adaptation’. This is your body’s way of conserving energy by reducing your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) and slowing your metabolism so that you burn less. This is why our progress plateaus after long periods of dieting. 

So, while it might seem like a good idea to enter an aggressive deficit, it will leave you no room to move when you eventually plateau and cannot sustain it. This is why the goal of any diet is to lose fat on as many calories as possible. This will give you options when and if you do plateau, so you can reduce your calories without your deficit being overly aggressive or unsustainable. 

Okay, so how many calories should you actually be eating? Here’s a quick breakdown:

  1. Firstly, you need to know your maintenance. This is how many calories you need to eat to maintain your current body weight. You can learn your maintenance by tracking your food for a week and finding the average, and this will give you a starting point. 
  2. Subtract around 10-20% off your maintenance calories. For example, if your maintenance is 2000 calories, then 10-20% would equal around 200-400 calories. 
  3. So, this means your starting deficit calories should be between 1600-1800. 

Keep in mind this is a rough guide, and you may need more or less than this depending on your activity level, dieting history, age, and genetics. However for most people, a 10-20% deficit is a good starting point. 

If this all sounds a little confusing, don’t stress gf! That’s what TWS is here for! If you’d like more help setting up your calories for a deficit, get in touch with our team at

Soph x