Believe it or not, we’re going to talk about cutting weight … and it won’t feel like I’m cutting your soul (I promise).
Whether you’re in the MMA game or simply looking to cut fat like a pro, the tips I’ve used for years to shed relatively quickly have been optimized to make the process as painless as possible.
Now, let’s put that fat in its place.
How to Cut Weight: The Tips and Tricks
1. First things first: If it’s processed, pass on it.
What keeps my son lean and fiesty, even after downing a ribeye? It’s the fact that that ribeye is 100% natural.
Okay, okay … all jokes aside, the point remains: processed food is detrimental to cutting weight. Why?
When I say “processed” foods, I’m referring to anything that has been refined from its natural state, including breads, pastas, candy, cookies, most protein bars, boxed foods, etc … These “foods” are not only typically loaded with additives like preservatives and food colorings which have been proven to disrupt your hormonal function (which could result in weight issues in and of itself), but the impact they have on your blood sugar and fat stores can make it difficult to shed fat.
Processed foods are high carbs and sugars, which spike your blood sugar like no tomorrow. When this happens, there is more sugar in your blood that can be used for energy, so your body converts the excess sugars into fat.
This is a normal process, the difference being when you consume natural foods, they contain fibers and enzymes that slow the rate of sugars flooding into your bloodstream, so your body stores less as fat. Processed foods don’t have these enzymes and fibers, which means there’s a higher chance your body will have to store their sugars as fat to get them out of your bloodstream.
You’ll notice when you stick to ultra-clean foods like veggies, leafy greens, wild fish, meats, eggs, nuts and seeds, and squashes, you’ll also experience less energy “crashes.” When you eat a high-carb meal of processed foods, it’s typical to get a burst of energy, followed quickly by a crash. Natural foods keep your blood sugar steady, so you don’t experience a roller coaster energy ride. A side bonus.
2. Spice, and Spice Some More
I know what you’re thinking: when I say stick to “ultra-clean” foods, I mean boring foods, right?
The truth is, the best cuisines in the world are built around one idea: the right spices. Herbs, peppers, you name it – spices make the flavor world go around.
This is one of the reasons I founded Flavor Republic. I wanted a way to make cutting sustainable and enjoyable and decadent, rather than boring and average. With the right blends, you can take a plain roasted chicken breast and turn it into a Moroccan masterpiece, or a marinated miracle (haha).
On a serious note again: if you don’t like your diet and you’re struggling to enjoy healthy foods every step of the way, chances are cutting weight isn’t going to work. This is why it’s imperative to try new recipes and utilize various spices to please your palate.
3. Reduce Carbs
Low-carb diets work for a reason. Remember how we spoke earlier of how processed foods and sugars spike your blood sugar and cause the excess to be stored as fat? Low-carb and keto diets minimize carbs and sugars so that their blood sugar spikes are very minimal, which no only minimizes fat storage, but also encourages your body to start burning body fat for energy.
Our bodies prefer glucose as a fuel, and when we take that preferred fuel source away, it begins to hunt for it. When it can’t find any, it’s produces ketones from fat (dietary and body fat) and begins burning those. This is what is called “fat-burning mode,” and it tends to be highly effective.
Try dropping carbs for a bit, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, breads, high-starch veggies, sugar in all forms (even honey), pastas, cakes, dairy, etc… Replace these with healthy fats like avocado, eggs, nuts, veggies, and olive and coconut oils.
4. Read Labels
This is super important: always read labels. Be on the lookout for added sugars, chemicals and additives (anything you can’t pronounce) and if you are buying a boxed food (say, almond milk or a bar) make sure it has less than 6 ingredients.
5. Have a “Cheat” Meal
You read that right. I find cutting is infinitely easier when I have a cheat meal on the weekend. Technically, this should still be relatively clean (for example, eating ice cream made from coconut milk and no chemicals rather than full-on Ben & Jerry’s).
This can look like having an organic pasta meal followed by some chocolate, or whatever you normally crave as a reward. If you can find the clean version of it, all the better. Having this reward can help keep you from slipping up during the week, which can improve long-term progress.
These cornerstone tips will make a huge difference in seeing the fat melt away – hell, even just sticking to natural foods alone should result in a huge difference in your physique. If you’re having trouble cutting but feel as if you’re doing everything right, but sure to also check for food sensitivities and double-check you’re getting enough sleep.