Cutting weight is an inevitable and often desirable part of the training journey.
For instance, you might need to cut some weight to fit into a specific weight class. Or maybe, you simply want to shed some of the bulk and look good on the beach.
Regardless of your reason, you probably have questions about the whole process and how to best go about it.
Let’s go over some of the most important things you should know.
How to Reduce Your Appetite While Cutting Weight
Cutting weight is a bittersweet experience. On the one hand, you look better with each passing week. But on the other hand, your hunger goes up, and you might start obsessing over food after a while. The good news is, there are actionable ways to reduce your appetite and make cutting more enjoyable.
First, bump your protein intake to around two grams per kilo of body weight. Doing so will protect your muscles and help you feel fuller between meals.
Second, start consuming more voluminous foods, such as fruits and fibrous veggies. These will fill your stomach without adding many calories to your daily total.
Third, make sure to sleep at least seven hours per night. Researchers show that sleep deprivation is associated with elevated levels of ghrelin - the hunger hormone. Plus, sleep deprivation inhibits impulse control and makes us more likely to eat junk foods.
And fourth, consider intermittent fasting. This nutritional approach is nothing special or unique and doesn’t result in superior fat loss. But, by restricting your eating inside a smaller window, you get to consume fewer but larger and more satisfying meals. Doing so can make it feel like you’re not dieting. For example, you can try the 16:8 approach - fast for 16 hours per day and eat all of your calories inside an 8-hour window.
Also, cutting weight more slowly will help you manage hunger better. Eating way below maintenance will result in quicker weight loss, but it will also raise appetite and make you feel more deprived. As a rule of thumb, aim to lose 0.5 to one percent of your weight per week.
How Long Should You Cut Weight?
You have two options for cutting weight:
- The mini-cut - losing fat a bit more aggressively for two to six weeks
- The extended cut - losing fat more gradually but for over six weeks.
The mini-cut is a good option if you simply want to shed some fat before continuing your muscle-building journey. The mini cut is also helpful if you need to shed a couple of kilos for an upcoming meet.
If you have to lose more fat, the longer cut will be your best option because it is more sustainable and carries a smaller risk of muscle loss. Depending on your body fat percentage, the long cut can last eight weeks or over twenty. You should stick with it for as long as you need to reach your desired weight and body fat percentage.
Of course, if you start feeling overly hungry, deprived, or fatigued while cutting weight, you should consider a break for a couple of weeks and bump your calories a bit. Doing so can up-regulate your hormones and give you a psychological break from dieting.