Is A 700 Calorie Deficit Too Much For Weight Loss?

Weight Loss Coach and Owner at 9 To 5 Nutrition
Joe is an online weight loss coach, certified nutritionist and qualified personal trainer who helps busy, lawyers, marketers and accountants lose weight and keep it off forever.

He specialises in working with people that have busy lives and don't necessarily have time to exercise and cook complex nutritious meals. Having had a 9-5 desk-job, Joe understands the struggles of juggling a hectic life with trying to maintain a good physique.

Joe has helped over 100 professionals lose weight and feel better about themselves using simple, repeatable daily habits and an easy-to-use spreadsheet to track everything.

Joe has also been quoted on several respected sites including Nike, Live Science and

While Joe mainly works online these days, he also offers 1-2-1 personal training sessions across Sussex and Surrey.

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I have some good news for you.

You’re asking exactly the right question.


Well because although we all want to lose weight as quickly as we possibly can, going TOO fast is ultimately going to result in failure for 99% of people.

If your calorie deficit is too large, there is very little chance you’ll be able to stick to it for long enough to make a real difference to your weight.

Even if you can stick to it for a while, your life will end up being miserable, because your calories will be so strict, you’ll have to skip stuff like;

  • Weekend takeaways 🍕
  • Nice food on holiday 🥩
  • Work drinks/lunches 🌮
  • Wedding drinks/buffets 🍷🥠
  • Birthday meals out 🍝
  • Drinks with friends at the weekend 🍻
  • A slice of that cake at the office 🍰
  • Treats on the sofa 🍫
  • Higher calorie coffees 🥤

Basically everything.

Your calorie deficit will rule your life.

So, you need to aim for slow, sustainable weight loss, but what size of calorie deficit is easy enough to main for the long term?

Well, as a blanket recommendation, I think a 500 calorie deficit suits the majority of people. 

Regardless of your current weight, it means you’ll lose roughly 1lb (0.5kg) per week, which is just about right for most people, because it’s fast enough to see decent progress, but not so fast that you need to eat a really low amount of calories to maintain the deficit.

But what about a 700 calorie deficit? Well, if you have a 700 calorie deficit, you’d lose 1.4lb per week. It doesn’t sound like much more than what you’d lose on a 500 calorie deficit, but it would mean that you lose can extra 1.6lb per month or around 19lb per year, so it does actually make a significant difference.

Would those 200 fewer calories a day really impact you?

Well that’s for you to decide, but to give you a feel, here’s what 200 calories looks like;

Image credit:

How Much Do You Need To Eat to Create a 700 Calorie Deficit?

The amount you need to eat to create a 700 calorie deficit really depends on your current maintenance calories.

Below is a handy chart to show you how much you’d need to eat to create 700 calorie deficit, based on your current maintenance calories


The average man will have a maintenance of around 2,500 calories a day, and the average woman will have a maintenance of 2,000 calories.

This means that the average man would need to eat 1,800 calories a day, and the average woman would need to eat 1,300 calories a day in order to be in a 700 calorie deficit.

How Much Weight Should You Lose on a 700 Calorie Deficit?

If you are genuinely in a 700 calorie deficit, you should expect to lose 1.4lb (0.6kg) per week.

Below is how much you could expect to lose over the course of 12 weeks if you stuck religiously to that 700 calorie deficit.


S, if you actually stuck to this level of deficit for a 12-week period, you’d lose almost 15lbs (over a stone).

However, this means being in a 700 calorie deficit every day.

This means you need to be in a 700 calorie daily deficit on weekends, on holidays, ALL the time.

If you’re not in a 700 calorie deficit every day, you won’t lose weight that quickly, it’ll be much slower.

For example, let’s say your total daily energy expenditure was 2,500 calories per day, and you were ONLY in a 700 calorie deficit during the week

TOTAL DAILY ENERGY EXPENDITURE2500250025002500250025002500
CALORIES CONSUMED1800180018001800180041873457
CALORIE BALANCE-700-700-700-700-700+1687+957

In this scenario, you’d actually be in a 122 average daily calorie deficit, not a 700 calorie deficit.

This means you’d only lose around 0.25lb per week, or 1lb per month, this is why if you’re not in a 700 calorie deficit every day, then you’re not in a 700 calorie deficit.

Why You’re Not Losing Weight On A 700 Calorie Deficit

If you’re not losing weight on a 700 calorie deficit, then one of two things is happening.

You haven’t waited for long enough

It takes time for weight loss to show up on the scale. 

Expecting instant results will only set you up for failure, regardless of whether or not you’re in a calorie deficit yourw eight will fluctuate on a daily basis.

This means that, even if you are in a deficit, your weight could actually temporarily go up.

From the day you start your diet, you should weigh yourself once a day, every day for two weeks.

By that point, you will have almost definitely lost weight.

2. You’re not actually in a 700 Calorie deficit

Assuming you’ve given enough time to see results on the scales, the other explanation as to why you’re not losing weight is that you’re not actually in a 700 calorie deficit.

This could be for any number of reasons, including;

  • You’re under-counting your calories
  • You’re not tracking certain things (intentionally or unintentionally)
  • You started dieting, but at the same time started doing less activity 
  • You hit a plateau (i.e you were in a deficit, but aren’t any longer)
  • You have a medical condition or are on medication that affects your metabolism

You need to get to the bottom of what’s actually happening because if you were genuinely in a 700 calorie deficit, you would be losing weight fairly rapidly.

Is a 700 Calorie Deficit The Same as a 700 Calorie Diet?

No, a 700 calorie deficit and 700 calorie diet are two very different things.

A 700 diet means eating 700 calories a day, every day,. For the vast majority of people, this will be almost impossible.

If you have even a slightly active lifestyle 700 calories is going to be nowhere near enough to fuel all your daily activities.

A 700 calorie deficit means eating 700 calories FEWER than you burn on a daily basis, so, if you burn 2,500 calories every day, a 700 calorie deficit would mean eating 1,800 calories every day.

Don’t get the two confused.

Is a 700 Calorie Deficit Too Much?

Well, this is the million-dollar question, and the truth is, there’s no one size fits all answer

Having worked with dozens of people over the past 4 years, I would say that a 700 calorie deficit is at the absolute upper limit fo what most people can handle.

The thing with weight loss is, the faster you go, the quicker you’ll get results, but the more you have to sacrifice in the here and now.

So it’s really about weighing those two things up.

How important is being able to live your life in an enjoyable way, e.g.

  • Letting loose on holiday
  • Popcorn at the cinema
  • Indulging at weddings
  • Having that extra slice of pizza
  • Getting dessert at the restaurant

VS losing weight as quickly as possible.

In my opinion, a 500-calorie deficit is about right for the vast majority of people, as it offers a respectable rate of loss that’ll keep you motivated (about 1lb per week), and it’ll stil allow you to have some nice food on a fairly regular basis.

What About a 750 Calorie Deficit?

You might think that if you can stick to a 700 calorie deficit, then you can stick to a 750-calorie deficit. 

After all, it’s only 50 fewer calories right?

Well, yes it is, but you’ll realise that when you’re this deep into a calorie deficit, every calorie counts.

50 calories a day is 350 calories a week; which could be

  • An entire tub of Halo Top ice cream
  • 2 slices of pizza
  • A couple of chicken wings
  • Two small beers
  • Two glasses of wine

So, when you look at it like that, 50 calories a day could make a difference.

Think about whether you want to sacrifice those things for marginally faster weight loss


A 700 calorie deficit is doable, but you need to be aware that you will need to make some significant sacrifices.

Unless you’re very heavy, or have lots of weight to lose in a short amount of time, I’d recommend going a bit more conservative with a 500 calorie deficit, which will get you to your goal a little slower, but make life a lot easier

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