how to know you’re ready for a fat loss phase

Dieting is not a lifestyle.⁣

A calorie deficit or eating less than your body needs for the purpose of fat loss is meant to be a short term phase – not the dominant theme or your year (year after year). So the next time you think about trying to lose weight by any method or approach ask yourself if you’ve earned the right to be intentionally underrating your needs in the first place. ⁣

Peep this post for an audit!⁣

you've spent a significant amount of time not attempting to lose weight

Sustainable fat loss phases are earned after spending a significant amount of time NOT attempting to do so – most of the year, in fact.

Having a predictable, relatively easy, fat loss phase results from spending significant time eating enough (not less than what you need).

The metabolism is dynamic and flexes with calorie consumption. If you’ve been restricting for a long time and are currently surviving on very low calories, your metabolism has adapted to that reduced calorie intake. Dropping calories even lower is not the answer.

Alternatively, if you’ve been maintaining your weight and body composition, sleep well, perform great, and generally feel awesome you might be ready for a short, temporary fat loss phase.

your hormones are happy

If your goal is a relatively easy, short and painless fat loss phase, best believe your hormones should be in a good place.

Things like brain fog, fatigue, poor sleep quality, low moods, dry skin, brittle hair, irregular menstrual cycles, terrible PMS, and acne might be signs that something is up with hormones and therefore, undereating your needs is not a good idea. Your body needs adequate fuel to support hormone health.

Work on those things first.

your gut feels good

So much of hormone regulation is dependent on how well we digest and absorb nutrients. And, much of the conversion of nutrients from inactive forms to active forms happens in the gut – and none of this can happen if your gut lining is compromised or you have an overgrowth of bad bugs.

If you’re noticing gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation or even acid reflux – your body is trying to tell you something and you need to pay attention.

It’s best to look for healthy, clear skin, stable moods, 1 to 3 solid, soft bowel movements per day, minimal gas and bloating before intentionally setting a calorie deficit to see fat loss.

you "why" is rooted in love and respect in your body

Ask yourself why you want to reduce calories and be in a deficit? And also why? And also why?

The point is to really dig deep and ask yourself about why you want to lose weight or body fat. If your reasons for wanting to start a cut include: to get a thigh gap, gain a sense of control of a chaotic situation, impress someone else or become something someone else wants you to be – these are not solid reasons. Changing your body won’t make you more worthy, adored, or liked.

So, if you can confidently conclude that your reasons for seeking a leaner body composition are not rooted in any of the things mentioned above, you might have a sound and strong mindset to start a calorie deficit.

you come with a curious mind, open to the outcome

If you have goals to lose a specific amount of weight, get to a specific body fat percentage, or fit in a specific size pant, you probably need to reassess your goals.

You have very little control over achieving any of these outcomes so it’s likely that you’ll be sorely disappointed when you don’t reach them.

Alternatively, you can commit to habits and behaviors that get you moving in the direction toward your goal outcome – such as being leaner. Set process goals instead, which are centered around actions that you can control.

Approaching a fat loss phase with a curious mind feels very different than holding a goal outcome in mind. Remove expectations for how much you can accomplish and at what pace you will move and instead focus on the habits that you do everyday because we know what we do often is what leads to results.

you have the bandwidth to support diligent tracking + heavier mental lift

A fat loss phase is driven by data. If you can’t dedicate the time and energy to tracking macros and all that goes with it: planning ahead, shopping differently, eating alternatives at restaurants and social events, prepping often – then it’s not the right time.

Similarly, if you’re not in a place to be in charge of your food because you have a lot of travel coming up, you have guests in town, or you’re participating in a lot of celebrations, then it’s also probably not the right time to go into a fat loss phase.

Truly, there is likely no “perfect” time to execute a fat loss phase, as life is often messy and chaotic. But understand that you will likely think about food and training more often, and that you will have to flex your willpower and discipline muscle harder than when you are not attempting to lose fat. If you feel fresh, ready or excited about that, you might be ready to pursue aesthetic goals.

you're ok with your athletic performance taking a hit

Consider that you might not perform at your absolute best during a fat loss phase. Your physical ability and energy output might be limited depending on how drastic the calorie deficit.

This is not the time to be signing up for a marathon, Crossfit competition, or otherwise demanding physical feat or training regimen. Take all these components into consideration when deciding if it’s the right time for a calorie deficit.

You should continue to strength train through your fat loss phase, but you might need to lower your expectations for strength gains. Depending on your training history and your training age, this will likely not be a time when you will make appreciable strength and muscle gains. Ask yourself if you’re ok with tabling these goals temporarily.

Getting leaner can be predictable and relatively painless but only if you start from a great foundation first. You don’t have to feel hangry, wired and tired in pursuit of your aesthetic goals.

learn how much food is right for you