SURVIVING A DIET
Cutting is hard. End of story. There's no easy, quick-fix to getting nice and lean. It basically all depends on your ability to stay focused in the gym and in the kitchen. Staying on point every single day with your training and your macros can be mentally and physically draining, but lucky for you I have a few tricks up my sleeve to making "dieting" not quite as impossible!
First things first, lets talk food. With flexible dieting or IIFYM, it's easy to fit yummy quote-on-quote unhealthy foods into your diet, even when your dieting. Which is amazing, because if you really want a Reese's, you can make it fit. But here's where it gets tricky... When your calories lower, you obviously have less to work with. So you have to decide to either give into that craving and sacrifice a good amount of macros for the day, or push that craving aside and eat something substantial that will actually make you full. My biggest piece of advice is instead of trying to squeeze little, nutrient-less goodies into your macros, eat for VOLUME. Choose meals that will leave you satiated and not just with more cravings. Ever-so-often, of course its necessary to let yourself have that treat, but if you're on a strict protocol, you will do yourself a huge favor if you choose volume.
Now, I'm not saying that eating a big salad is going to curb your Reese's craving, but I am saying you can work a little MACRO MAGIC to help it subside. For example, make a big, thick protein shake and top it with a couple dark chocolate chips or some fat-free whipped cream. Or have a serving of low-calorie ice cream. Or make yourself a protein pancake with sugar-free maple syrup! All of these are sweet, will probably satisfy that craving and on top of that, they're VOLUMINOUS... which will in turn keep you full and keep you from binging on shit you shouldn't have.
Whenever you are eating a meal or snack, it's important that you are PRESENT IN THE MOMENT. It's so easy to be scrolling through instagram or watching TV and not even realize that you ate your meal. Put your phone down, slow down and enjoy every bite. If you can actually appreciate each meal you eat, you'll realize how much more satisfying it is.
This all works when you have a meal to eat or have enough macros to fit something in, but what about when you don't or trying to save food until your next meal? If you're really needing to snack or feel like you just need something, you need to KEEP YOUR MOUTH BUSY. I like to:
- Chew gum (sugar free)
- Sip on something (such as sparkling water, 0-calorie drinks, BCAA's, coffee, etc.)
- Nibble on veggies (cucumber, carrots, bell-peppers, broccoli, celery, snap peas, etc.)
- Drink LOTS of water (1-2 gallons per day)
Another hack you must incorporate to survive a diet is to LEAVE. THE. KITCHEN. Get out of there!!! It is nearly impossible to stand near tempting foods and not give in. So, keep yourself busy. Go on lots of walks, hikes, mini-adventures, or simply keep busy with your work, whatever that is. Just separate yourself from the kitchen, because I swear I can hear that pantry whispering my name sometimes, and I'm sure I'm not the only one!
If you feel like you've got the food part down, then it's time to make sure you SLAY YOUR TRAINING. When you're in a caloric deficit (meaning your calories are lower than where you maintain at) getting into the gym can be that much harder because you don't have the same energy you do as when you're eating a lot of food! So, instead of looking at the gym as a task, look at it as a chance to enhance all the effort you're putting into your diet. Try to eat bigger meals, or at least your carbs, around your workout to ensure you have enough energy to get a great workout in. You're also usually hungriest after a workout, so try to take that time to satiate yourself and know that the calories going in are being put to good use.
One of the hardest parts about cutting is trying to lose fat without burning through all your muscle. So keep your training consistent, continue to push heavy weight when you feel like you can, and DON'T GO TOO BALLS TO THE WALL WITH CARDIO. Cardio is there to help move the process along, but it isn't going to get you there alone. Put as much effort as you can into perfecting your macros and training first and foremost, and then incorporate some cardio.
Being able to successfully diet, or cut, takes patience, practice and a whole lot of will-power. Don't expect yourself to be perfect the first time around and if you slip up, don't beat yourself up about it. If you have an off day, don't try to make up for it by doing an insane amount of cardio or starving yourself, just get right back to where you were and keep kickin' ass. If you're truly serious about reaching a goal, I promise you will get there! Use these tips and tricks to make the process just a little easier!