2000 Calorie Deficit For Fat Loss

There are several ways to create a calorie deficit.

It can be done by restricting calories on a daily or even weekly basis. So if you’re wondering if a 2000 calorie deficit is the right fit for you or not, this article will hit home with you.

In general, a 2000 calorie deficit is the equivalent of eating one small meal once a day. This type of method can be infrequently used as a way to lower body weight and reduce body fat. However, creating a 2000 calorie deficit isn’t sustainable and shouldn’t be done daily.

Lowering too much calories to fast can lead to slower progress and lethargy. Unless, you’re doing it in cycles.

Is A 2000 Calorie Deficit Too Much?

As a general rule, a daily 2000 calorie deficit can be too much of a restriction that can lead to down-regulating metabolism, excess cortisol, and unwanted eating behaviors. However, implementing a 2000 calorie deficit on and off throughout the week can lead to a better consistency.

Dieting is like running. If you sprint too fast, too soon, you can get crushed and burn out. But when you spread your energy wisely, you can run for miles.

Doing a 2000 calorie deficit on a daily basis is a recipe for burnout. At least for most people.

In the short term (around 3-6 months) you may experience metabolic adaptations like:

Reducing calorie intake to one meal a day can lower melatonin levels and impact your sleep. The easy fix is to move up your meal towards late afternoon (source).

  • Lethargy

Eating fewer calories initially may energize you, but eventually, you may feel like you don’t want to move so much, and your willingness to train drops.

  • Lower muscle mass

If you don’t prioritize protein intake, eventually muscle protein breakdown will exceed muscle protein synthesis. This means your muscle will be broken down to provide amino acids for the body (source).

  • Lower sex drive

Within a few weeks of doing a 2000 calorie deficit, you can notice lower libido. This is due to a reduction in testosterone, suppressed ovarian function, reduction in serum concentration of IGF-1, and lower serum T3 concentration (source).

  • Emotional distress

Calorie restriction spikes cortisol levels. Which means your stress tolerance can drop. This means you can get irritated very easily by the minor situation.

Non of those things contribute to consistency.

Because that’s all you need. Consistency and sustainability.

That’s when you see the results. Not after a week. But after several weeks.

So how can we move this stuff around?

Related article: What Is Better ADF vs Extended Fasting?

2000 Calorie Deficit A Week Weight Loss

Implementing a 2000 calorie deficit weekly (instead of daily) can lead to better results in the long term. Creating calorie cycling where you alternate normal calorie days with 2000 calorie deficit days will lead to hormonal stability and consistent weight loss.

The similar approach you have by doing intermittent fasting using the ADF method.

Here is the example of how Alternative-day fasting works:

  • 36-hour fasting / 12-hour feeding

During the fasting period, you don’t consume any food. Only the water, tea coffee, and zero-calorie beverages, like diet coke. So let’s say, if you’re starting ADF on Monday morning, this means your first meal comes in on Tuesday.

So in your case, if you want to do a 2000 calorie deficit, it would look like this.

Get it?

On the days when you diet, you reduce your food intake to one meal, ideally later on during the day. Making sure you have enough protein and fiber-rich foods.

Following the next day of your regular 3 meals per day thing.

Bear in mind that if this seems to extreme, you can start by even one day per week where you are in deficit. This will build up the stress and hunger tolerance.

Because the reason why people fail to be consistent is they can’t cope with hunger signals. So by slowly adapting, exploring, and experimenting with eating less, you are getting more familiar with hunger.

Related article: Is OMAD Better Than ADF?

How Much Weight Loss With 2000 Calorie Deficit?

In general, when doing a 2000 calorie deficit men can expect to lose 1–3 pounds per week, and women can expect to lose 0.8–2.5 pounds per week. The amount of weight loss will depend on multiple factors like current body weight, physical activity, and consistency.

  • Men usually have greater results than women because of the differences in anabolic hormones. Men also gain muscle much faster, comparing to women (source).
  • People who are early in the process, meaning they have a lot of weight to lose, will notice much faster progress comparing to people who want to reduce the last 10-15 pounds.
  • People who are more physically active will burn more calories, and therefore, speed up the process.
  • And lastly, non of this matter if we’re not consistent. Weight loss is a process, not an event. Think of when you want to grow hair or plant a tree. It will take time.

Solution: Focus on small, daily goals that over time can add up to huge results.

It is much easier and motivating when you want to:

  • Lose 1–2 pounds this week, instead of 50–pounds in a year
  • Write 1–2 paragraph per day, instead of the whole book this year


Doing a 2000 calorie deficit every day may seem like a good idea, but the reality is that after a while it will make you weaker, not stronger.

Strategically cycling your calories will ensure your energy expenditure and metabolism is ON, while you’re burning fat and getting lean.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc) and a veteran endurance athlete. He loves to experiment and share his successes and failures to help busy men and women who want to lose weight.

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