I receive countless emails that start off like this…
In January I was 190 lbs at 25% body fat. 8 weeks ago I stopped seeing results. The last 8 weeks while cutting down I have dropped a few pounds (which I don’t really want to do) and my body fat has remained the same.
What many people fail to realize when cutting is the concept of nutritional periodization. All too frequently, I get e-mails from frustrated weight loss seekers who have been on a calorie deficit for MONTHS. While they understand the basics of calorie cutting and what it means to be in a deficit, very few of them use a Zig-Zag method or fully comprehend the deficits or length a cutting cycle can have on their metabolism.
People who seek to lose weight grasp the very basics.
- Calculate calories
- Eat less
- Eat good foods
- Keep cutting until I achieve the desired effect
While that works, at some point they hit a wall and what’s the 1st thing they want to do?
EXERCISE MORE and EAT LESS!
Which is the wrong approach. Nobody told them about the tips below.
The 3 best tips for fat loss are as follows:
1) Cycle your calories and your carbohydrates. This can be referred to as the Zig-Zag approach. In a nutshell, it’s defined as days of maintenance calories mixed with days in a calorie deficit.
2) Understanding your personal level of tolerance to carbohydrates. There are great differences in the way people process foods. You can find your nutritional ratio and then adjust it according to your personal needs and tolerances that you will discover thru experience.
3) “If man made it, don’t’ eat it!” – Jack Lalanne. You need to eat natural foods and avoid refined foods. I notice in many meal plans, more than 20% of the daily protein requirements are coming from protein shakes. My own rule is not to get more than 20% of my daily protein from supplements.
The 3 biggest mistakes are as follows:
1) Too severe of a calorie deficit:
- 15% below maintenance = very conservative deficit
- 20% below maintenance = conservative deficit
- 25% below maintenance = moderate deficit
- 30% below maintenance = aggressive deficit
- 35%+ below maintenance = very aggressive deficit
- 50%+ below maintenance = semi-starvation/starvation
2) Too prolonged of a calorie deficit. More than 12-16 weeks of a calorie deficit could result in a lowered metabolism. The concept of nutritional periodization of cycling calories and carbohydrates comes into play after out 12 weeks depending on your overall progress.
3) Over-training while under-nourished. Long stints of high intensity work in a long period of calorie deprivation no matter how small.
I’d love to take credit for these weight loss tips. Unfortunately I can’t. While I did adjust them and add some of my own tips, I pulled the real gems from pages 47-48 of THE FAT BURN FILES, a unique collection of by Tom Venuto. It gets 2 thumbs up from me because of the way it reveals everything that DOESN’T work as well as what DOES work for burning fat and gaining muscle… all in a fascinating, entertaining personal interview format.
Photo of the Perfect Weight by Jill Greenseth Used under a Creative Commons license