If you’re anything like me, you find “cutting” boring and uninspiring. You’re slightly weaker, flat, hungry and tired… even your libido is suffering. Deficits never feel good for long. There’s little to excite you, because you can’t make massive strength or size gains during the gym (again, not for long) and food has to be so rigorously controlled that you can’t even get your culinary freak on.
But what if there was another way?
I’m not going to promise you an effortless approach that will triple your fat loss and allow you to retain all your muscle mass, whilst eating three pizzas a day. I’m not trying to sell you anything. What I am instead going to do is present you with an approach to dieting that keeps things exciting. I call it Constant Variability. Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself.
The idea with Constant Variability is that you vary your approach with every week – or whenever you feel sick of it – whilst maintaining a constant deficit. The way I see it, as long as you keep in a ~500kcal deficit and hit your protein goal, then you can be consistent with your fat loss without boring yourself to death. Obviously, this isn’t an approach worth taking if you find dieting easy and prefer not to complicate things… I commend you for your fortitude! This is an approach for dieters who hate dieting.
How to implement the variability… and stay constant
1. Alternate your energy sources
I really hate going on a low-carb diet. I mean, really, I hate it. But, for a week or so, it does me good; it doesn’t affect my strength levels and it restores my insulin sensitivity whilst helping shift the weight. I also find I am less hungry on a low-carb, high-fat diet, for a week or two. Whilst that is my absolute limit for low-carbs, it does me good! I probably barely enter ketosis, but the other benefits listed above are certainly present. Then I shift back to higher carbs, draw them in like a sponge, kill my workouts for another week or so, and feel like I’m being given a permanent hug.
Energy source varying can be utilised on a monthly, fortnightly, weekly or even daily basis, as required.
2. Shift your calories
People don’t give enough credit to the short-term. Studies take into account the long-term physical result, but do not record or present the psychological benefit or the physiological short-term. So we need to think outside of the research for a minute and consider practicality; workouts and recovery need to be fuelled, even when losing weight. During training days, you want to feel fed, satisfied and fuelled for training. On off days, feeling a bit weak and depleted isn’t even an issue – you don’t need to perform. Instead of eating a standard ~2500kcal diet, every day, why not eat a more satiating, workout-fuelling 3000kcal during your five training days, and a more modest 1250kcal on rest days? Total caloric intake in both conditions is 17500kcal/week.
Caloric shifting can be implemented on an inter-daily basis like this, an intra-daily basis (front-, back-, bookend-loading your calories over the course of one day), or in a more long-term way: a week high followed by a week low. As long as the total caloric intake is standardised, you will still drop weight.
So there we have it. There are two ways in which you can vary your fat loss diet for the sake of adherence and enjoyment. Because, at the end of the day, if we’re not sticking to our diet, then it’s not worth suffering for!