Implementing Mini Cuts For Fat Loss
One truth we can’t escape is that when we want to lose body fat, we require an energy deficit to be implemented to achieve this.
How we go about this will look different for most people, depending on their preferences and lifestyle.
Does it mean eating 1200 calories forever? No, and the catch 22 to that is that you’re unlikely to lose more body fat trying to do that.
Why is this? The adherence factor. The best diet for fat loss, is the one you can stick to the longest.
One evidence based way to promote adherence and long term success is to periodise your fat loss diet and chunk it down into shorter periods of caloric restriction, with built in “diet breaks” of a few days or a week at maintenance.
Sorry, a diet break doesn’t mean a cheat meal, day or week. That would more accurately reflect the restrict/binge cycle that a lot of women are unfortunately all too familiar with.
Firstly your “diet” phases should ideally be made up of minimally processed foods, prioritise lean protein sources each meal and contain a variety of whole fruit, veg and grains with a relatively small amount of dietary fats.
Your maintenance phase, or time off shouldn’t look too different. It just will contain larger servings of some of these foods, perhaps you’ll include some more serves of carbohydrates or fats (hello avocado on toast!).
This time off caloric restriction gives you a psychological break from dieting, promotes an increase in physical activity that may have dropped off during restriction and allows you to train a little harder again, promoting muscle development. (Ultimately, that “toned” look you’re after).
Planning dieting and maintenance phases around training cycles is one way to do this. You may find that your training intensity drops off during diet phases and opt to do lighter lifting sessions to promote mobility and joint health during this time, with a little more low to moderate intensity aerobic activity.
During maintenance phases you may find you can use the extra energy available for more intense sessions including HIIT cardio and heavier lifts.
My shift working friends out there can play around with lower and higher calorie days to coincide with rostered on days, and training days, and find their sweet spot – they key to this will be food selection, and getting a handle on the urge to eat due to work related stress or boredom. Easier said than done, but not impossible!
While you can in theory lose weight via heavy calorie restriction alone and little to no physical activity, I don’t recommend it as you will lose a larger proportion of lean muscle as part of the process and research shows, regain a higher percentage of body fat later on. This often results in poor posture, flat bums and low energy.
Conversely some people try to beat the system via increasing their physical activity alone and overtraining, which will work for a while (longer for some than others), but eventually either your appetite will up regulate and ruin your calorie burning efforts, you’ll run out of time, or your body will break down and succumb to stress injuries.
Of huge concern to me is the long term physical impacts of overtraining cardio and chronic caloric restriction to women in particular, who can experience hormonal disruption and risk developing osteoporosis later in life.
While mini cuts sounds quite technical, just like intermittent fasting, it’s one way to try to get you to the end result of a calorie deficit so fat loss can follow. At the end of the day, it really comes down to what works for you.
Message me for support on finding your long term fat loss strategy.