Nailing your deficit from start to finish
Ready for a cutting phase? Go you! Before you start, make sure you set yourself up for success by considering each phase of your deficit. Dieting isn’t just the diet itself, but the time before, during and after all play into how successful you will be, and how you will sustain your results.
Here are some things to consider before, during and after your diet so you know what to expect, set realistic expectations, and get the most out of your deficit period!
- Make sure you have spent time building your calories up. Ideally, you should be sitting at maintenance or in a small surplus for at least 3-6 months (the longer the better) before starting a deficit. If you just finished a diet, now is not the time to diet again.
- Make sure your environment is set up for success. Tell those around you about your goals, and ensure you don’t have a lot of events coming up to give yourself the best chance at success.
- Get organised. Preparation really is key when it comes to a successful deficit. Have your calories and macros ready, and set aside time to meal prep and organise your meals and snacks.
- Be flexible. Yes, it’s good to have a plan, but make sure you are open to things changing. Depending on you and your body, you may need to stop the diet early, which is okay! Your mental and physical health should always be your number 1 priority.
During the diet:
- Don’t start your diet with a super aggressive deficit (unless you're doing a very short and sharp deficit). This will only set you up for failure when you cannot sustain it, and you will leave yourself no room to move as you get deeper into the deficit.
- Keep cardio and steps as low as possible when you start. You may need to increase these as you get further into your diet, so make sure you don’t play all of your cards at once!
- Prioritise sleep and recovery. This is SO important when in a deficit to help with muscle retention and reducing stress. This will also help regulate your hunger hormones and keep cravings to a minimum.
- Include your fave foods and don’t cut out entire food groups. You CAN enjoy the foods you love while dieting, and this will make your deficit more sustainable and enjoyable long-term.
- Remember consistency over perfection. It’s okay if you aren’t perfect everyday. What matters is that you continue to show up and stay consistent. Trust the process gf!
After the diet:
- This is arguably the most important, and sometimes the hardest part of a dieting phase.
- Have a plan in place for how you will exit the diet - you may choose to do a slow reverse diet, or jump straight back up to your new maintenance (refer to previous blogs covering reverse dieting).
- Start to taper down your steps and cardio so that they are more sustainable and realistic for you and your lifestyle.
- Spend time at maintenance! Don’t rush back into a deficit. Allow yourself to spend some time eating at maintenance or in a small surplus to build your calories back up to a good level and restore your metabolic and hormonal health post-diet.