Oh man, here he goes again!
Yes, I know, I talk a lot about calorie deficit and yes, I am sure you have heard enough about it! BUT, it is so, so important to your progress and I’d be a bad coach if I wasn’t always educating you about it.
So, let’s talk about how calorie deficit could go WRONG!
Before my clients start anything, we sit down and have a blueprint call to discuss their goals and discuss anything about their lives that will either hold them back or excel their progress. We also spend some time looking at their numbers to find a calorie deficit that will work for them and their lifestyle.
Most of the time we start with a 20% deficit, which is a great place to start and will definitely show you some great results and still allow you enough calories to play around with. Allowing you to eat with the family, go out for special events and still enjoy a treat here and there.
There are some who want to jump straight in and get results now and so they start with a 30% deficit. This is the max I would recommend, as you will have to be VERY committed and controlled as your intake will be a lot smaller. This may require careful planning, declining special events and really restricting foods and drinks that you crave.
However, there are some who push it even further and go into a higher deficit and that’s when we start to see problems as this can then affect the body’s functions and decrease fat loss.
If you’re not eating enough, your body will slow down and weight loss will drastically slow down too. This will cause many of us to give up, as the results they’re expecting are not happening.
Why doesn’t this work?
Our bodies are always preparing for a period of famine and that’s why we hold on to fat. So if we ever encounter a time where we don’t eat for a while, our bodies will use the stored fat to survive and function until we are able to find food. Think caveman! Until they were able to find food, the cave man may have gone days and weeks without food and so their would body would survive on fat stores from animal fat etc. – That’s how they survived! That’s how we are still built today.
So if you’re not eating enough, your body will slow down and hold on to body fat so that it can function and stay alive. The large deficit that you were expecting to accelerate your fat loss has actually worked the complete opposite of what you wanted!
What is a good deficit to start with?
It really does depend on the person, their body and their goals. As most of the dads I work with are looking to change their lifestyle so that they can keep up this way of health for life, they usually start off with 20%. Saying this, there are some who can see dramatic changes with just a 10% or even just as simple as mindful eating (reducing processed food and increasing your micronutrients).
Perhaps, even after going 30%, you may decide to change it to 20% or 10% and still keep succeeding with your goals. I cannot stress enough how important it is to fuel your body, to feed it, to allow food to help it recover. By being kind to your body, you will see so much improvement in your everyday life. Your sleep will improve, you’ll be able to focus better, performance at the gym will improve, your mood will improve and so much more.
To sum up, what we need is BALANCE! Find the balance that will help you meet your goals, the balance that will help you adhere to what you want and the balance that will allow you to still have a life where food isn’t scary, but just fuel for your body.