T Nation

Combating Problems While Cutting

I started a cut two weeks ago and made pretty good progress for the first two weeks, then I had a small vacation this weekend to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday and made a couple of steps backwards. It got me thinking about the issues faced while dieting, and how to combat those issues. I made a short list of the problems I expect to face, and a couple of methods of combating those issues.

I thought it may be interesting to hear some problems & solutions from others here. My starting point is around 10-12% and it’s been a very long time since the last time I did a cut. I remember distinctly that getting to 10% was pretty easy, and then everything passed that point was very difficult.

Problem: Hunger Pains
Solution: EC Stack, Diet Soda

Hunger pains are pretty easy for me to deal with. Especially with EC in my arsenal. That usually squelches all thoughts of food for the majority of the day.

Problem: Cravings
Solution: EC Stack, Carb Refeed, Low Cal Alternatives

I think cravings are much more difficult to deal with than hunger pains. However, EC also helps take care of cravings for the most part. I also find that when I start craving foods a carb refeed usually takes care of my cravings. Another trick is using low cal alternatives to sweet foods. For example, some greek yogurt and fruit help kill cravings that I would have for ice cream.

Problem: Boredom
Solution: Hobbies. For me: reading, tv shows, movies, video games, playing cards, go-karting, go for a walk, watching / reading sports.

Bored can be a killer, because when I’m bored I’m tempted to call up friends and go drink beer. Luckily running my own business keeps me pretty busy most days, but it’s still good to have hobbies to keep yourself busy

Problem: Strength Loss
Solution: ?

This one is a killer for me. When I fail on a lift it really pisses me off and I am tempted to overeat because I KNOW that will get my strength back up. Could use some advice on dealing with the mental issues associated with strength loss.

Problem: Slow Progress / Lack of Motivation
Solution: Look at pictures of someone you want to look like

One of the worst parts about cutting is that it can be real hard to tell progress if you see yourself in the mirror every day. Especially if the scale isn’t moving quickly. What do you guys do to keep yourself motivated when you feel like you aren’t making progress? Deep down I can tell myself it’s all part of the game, and it just takes time. But sometimes you need a quick way to kill the negative thoughts that start to creep up.

Problem: Weekend Trips / Vacations
Solution: N/A

I really don’t think there is a good way to handle this. I think you just need to pick a 6-8 week period of time where you don’t have anything going on and hit your diet then. I’ve kicked around the idea of eating once per day or something like that on vacations to help do damage reduction, but it’s never seemed to work in the past.

Problem: Dinner with friends / social pressure
Solution: Don’t go to dinner with friends

Another big problem. Friends invite me out to dinner and I don’t want to act like a social pariah, but sometimes it’s hard to keep from drinking beer and overeating when you go out with friends. The only thing I can think is to avoid the situation while cutting. Anyone else have ideas? I think the “fear of missing out” can kill diets. Any thoughts?

I cannot recommend fasting for 24 hours enough to cut cravings, the habit you’re currently in, and appreciation of good foods after. Did a fast nyesterday and had a heavy deadlift session at the end of the day no problem.

[quote]Amonero wrote:
I cannot recommend fasting for 24 hours enough to cut cravings, the habit you’re currently in, and appreciation of good foods after. Did a fast nyesterday and had a heavy deadlift session at the end of the day no problem.[/quote]

I actually fasted all yesterday. It’s a good psychological trick to get over a weekend of bad eating. It also helps reverse some of the damage done. I would agree, this is a useful strategy. I have no desire to eat junk food now. I don’t know if it’s placebo or not, but it works.

Refeeds are OK when cutting, and are actually very helpful. Try to time your refeeds around the dinner with friends or weekend trips. When it’s over you go back to your normal diet.

I have found the loss of strength to be more mental than anything. I will notice a loss of endurance when cutting, so I will not be able to hit my max on reps, but only if it’s been some time since my last refeed. You should not see much loss of your max lifts, if so you are probably cutting too fast and losing muscle. Take it slow and shoot for no more than a pound of weight loss per week.

And don’t forget to drink a lot of water.