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I am 48 and am working on losing some weight. All of the information I read tells me of the importance of maintaining a caloric deficit, which I understand. I am also doing a reasonable amount of exercise most days, which I would like to keep doing (more details below). My challenge is that when I try to maintain this caloric deficit, I just feel like I have no energy for exercise.

In terms of working out and lifestyle, here are the details. I am 48 and I work in a field where I sit in front of the computer most of the day. So That is certainly one challenge. But I also workout in a variety of ways during the week. So I do laps in our apartment pool, as well as lift weights, walk a lot, and do some calisthenic/kettlebell exercises during the week. I try to split the cardio and weight training on different days.

I was trying to be more restrictive at first, and that seemed to be working. But then I ate just a little bit more one day, and just felt so incredibly hungry after that. So it made me realize that I was undereating and my body was not recovering as it needed to. So I certainly needed to eat more than I was, but I was not sure how to maintain this calorie deficit in that case.

Right now I am trying to focus on the quality of food, ensuring my carbs are high fiber, etc. I am also experimenting with eating a bit more on weight training days and a bit less on swimming/cardio days. I also probably need to incorporate more healthy fats, as I worry that all those extra calories add a lot of calories.

But does anyone have any good suggestions about how to handle maintaining a calorie deficit while still being active?

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That's exactly my situation. Hard to tackle remote. Here a few tips:

It sounds like you're really dedicated to maintaining a balanced approach to weight loss, which is fantastic! Creating a caloric deficit is indeed a key component of weight loss, but it's also crucial to fuel your body appropriately so you can stay active. Here are some tips that might help you achieve your goals:

  1. Understand your energy needs: Use a TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculator to get an estimate of how many calories you burn in a day. This takes into account your basic metabolic rate plus the calories burned through physical activity.

  2. Moderate deficit: Aim for a moderate calorie deficit (500-750 calories per day) instead of a large one. This will help you lose weight at a safe rate of 1-1.5 pounds per week and should provide enough energy for your workouts.

  3. Nutrient Timing: Eating more on your training days and less on your rest days is a great strategy. This is often referred to as "carb cycling." You may want to consider eating a carbohydrate-rich meal 1-2 hours before your intense workouts to ensure you have enough energy.

  4. Quality of food: Keep focusing on high-quality, nutrient-dense foods. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats are all essential for energy and recovery.

  5. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can often be confused with hunger. Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day.

  6. Protein and Recovery: Ensure you're getting enough protein, which is essential for muscle repair and recovery. Aim for about 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of your target body weight.

  7. Healthy Fats: Don't fear fats. While they are high in calories, healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are essential for hormone production and can help keep you satiated.

  8. Rest and Recovery: Make sure you're getting enough sleep and taking rest days as needed. Overtraining can make you feel overly hungry and fatigued.

  9. Regular Check-ins: Keep checking in with your body. If you're constantly feeling hungry, it may be a sign you need to adjust your calorie intake or macronutrient distribution.

And one last tip: I found that eating some calories right after training helps preventing the post-trainging calories-greed. I experimented a while and found that I need to eat about 15% of the exercise calories directly after training. I use a very high protein bar for that.

Oh, and let me restate the hydrated thing. Stay well hydrated, you can get test strips for urine for cheap that show the hydration state (density).

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    thanks for much for your suggestions here. It is very helpful to know what you have tried and what has worked for you. I suppose it is always trial and error, so hearing your experience helps me understand what to try.
    – krishnab
    Jul 24, 2023 at 7:02
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To maintain an active lifestyle and a caloric deficit, focus on incorporating regular exercise into your routine. Engage in a combination of cardiovascular activities (like running, cycling, or swimming) and strength training to burn calories and build lean muscle mass. Additionally, be mindful of your diet by choosing nutrient-dense foods that are lower in calories, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid sugary and high-calorie processed foods. Portion control and mindful eating can also help maintain a caloric deficit. Balance your energy intake with your energy expenditure, and remember to stay consistent with both your exercise routine and healthy eating habits for long-term success. Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your lifestyle.

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    – JohnP
    Aug 1, 2023 at 20:03

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