by Matt Weik
It’s common for people to “bulk” in an effort to add some quality lean muscle mass to their frame. What generally tends to happen due to a surplus in calories to allow for muscle growth, a little body fat tends to be added as well. When it’s time to start your cut, many fail to see the results they desire. In an effort to keep you from getting frustrated, I’ve compiled 10 reasons why your cut is failing. Make these changes and you’ll see the results you desire.
1. You’re not eating enough
Our body is very particular to the amount of food we put in it. When we restrict calories for a given period of time (severely undereating) our body believes we are starving. For self-preservation, it stores any and everything we put in our bodies to protect itself. It’s for that reason that you need to ensure you have your calories and macronutrients set at a level that is conducive for weight loss, yet not too low that your body thinks it’s starving.
2. You’re eating too much
If you aren’t tracking your calories and have no true knowledge of nutrition, you could be severely overconsuming calories – even if you’re eating “healthy” foods. There are many healthy foods out there which are very calorie-dense. The key is to know your numbers and track them if you truly want to drop the weight. The “eye-ball” effect isn’t accurate and isn’t going to help you reach your goals. How do you know if you’re supposed to be losing weight if you have nothing to measure other than the weight on the scale? Knowing your numbers and what you need to hit daily will help you in your quest to lose weight.
3. You’re not eating enough protein
Increasing your protein intake is an easy way to fill up and feel satisfied after a meal. When you fill up on protein, you’re less likely to be hungry after a meal. For instance, think about how you feel after you eat a nice steak dinner. Full, right? Now think about how you feel after a bowl of cereal. Hungry. Load up on the protein! If you find you aren’t taking in enough protein as is, consider using a protein powder in between meals to increase your intake. There are plenty of choices out on the market with a million different flavors. Find one that appeals to you and give it a try.
4. You’re not eating enough fiber
When you consume fiber, it helps you feel satiated and full longer. In addition, it’s great for keeping the digestive tract healthy. Fiber is also a great way to maintain blood sugar levels in the body. To accomplish this, consume foods like oatmeal, apples, and broccoli for example. You could even snack on a handful of nuts between meals to increase your fiber intake for the day and not suffer from hunger pangs in the middle of the workday. There’s nothing worse than starving in the middle of the day and the only thing at your disposal is what’s found in an unhealthy vending machine that doesn’t represent what you want to accomplish during your cut.
5. You’re not eating enough healthy fats
Fat is your friend! Fats have gotten a bad rap over the years. Consuming healthy fats not only provides plenty of health benefits, but they also help you feel full. Fats are both calorie and nutrient dense, so while you don’t want to overconsume them, they will have you feeling satiated long after you’re done eating your meal. Adding healthy fats to your meals is a great way to improve the flavor of your foods as well as helping your body better regulate hormones.
6. You’re eating too many foods containing sugar
Pay attention to the nutrition label of the foods you eat. Many of them have added processed sugars that quickly add up which is counterproductive to your end goal of losing weight. Also, sugar tricks your brain into flipping a switch to induce hunger. By doing so, you’ll be more likely to consume unhealthy snacks throughout the day to combat your sudden hunger. Stay clear of sugar if you are looking to drop body fat and have a successful cut. Don’t let sugar turn you into a Hungry Hungry Hippo.
7. You’re not counting liquid calories
We are all human and we enjoy a good time. However, those good times out with friends consuming some adult beverages add up way too quickly. One beer quickly turns into a handful and before you know it you’ve consumed half of your calories for the day while out with your friends for a couple hours. Those liquid calories add up and you need to be conscious of what you’re putting in your body. This also goes for other calorically heavy beverages like soda, juice, and even coffee/tea full of added ingredients like sugars and creams. Try to stick to water or something flavored like diet green tea to minimize your calories coming from liquids. Green tea is full of antioxidants and can help promote fat metabolism (food for thought) while water is calorie free and vital for our survival and overall health.
8. You’re too stressed out
What happens when you’re stressed? Do you find yourself emotional eating? On top of the weight gain you’ll quickly find piling on from all the stress, you’ll also increase your levels of cortisol in the body which can also wreak havoc on your weight loss goals when cutting. Find a way to deal with your stress. Maybe it’s a trip to the gym? A nice quiet room to meditate? A good book to dive into? Find what works for you so you can put the fork down and stay out of the pantry.
9. You’re changing too much in your diet too quickly
If you want the wheels to fall off your progress, try and do everything all at once. You’ll fail – quickly. Find one piece of your diet that you want to work on first. Implement the change for a week or so until it becomes second nature. Once you have your arms around this adjustment in your nutrition, change something else. So, maybe for your first change you decide to cut soda from your diet. Do that until you no longer have the craving for the item. Then for your second phase, maybe you implement more green leafy vegetables into your diet and cut out some of the unhealthy carbohydrates in your diet. Continue down this path and you will surely see the weight slowly start melting away during your cut.
10. You’re not getting enough sleep
Most people think they can live off of minimal sleep, and while they might be able to for a night or two, doing this consistently will crush your cut. Sleep allows your body enough time to rest and recuperate. This can be physically from exercise as well as mentally from stress. Not getting good deep sleep can drain your energy levels which in turn can cause you to overconsume on calories the following day as well as not have enough energy to train intensely at the gym. Lack of sleep has the ability to negatively affect your mood, throw your hormones completely out of whack, and leave you wondering why the numbers on the scale aren’t dropping. Don’t let lack of sleep kill your cut, strive for around 7-9 hours of sleep each night. That’s quality sleep, not multiple hours of just laying in bed scrolling through social media feeds while you should be sleeping – that doesn’t count.