In a previous blog post, I talked about how to mentally deal with a building phase.
While that presents its own challenges for many people, fat loss phases present many challenges as well.
There is some overlap, but there are also some differences between mentally dealing with a building phase or a fat loss phase.
Just to give you a brief overview, for online clients a fat loss phase is usually around 8-12 weeks in length and requires an energy deficit. This means you will likely have to find ways to consume fewer calories.
But the trick is to not just go low calorie, you need to eat enough so you have energy and can maintain your muscle while limiting extreme hunger.
However, fat loss is more than just macros and what’s on the plan.
There is a mental component that cannot be overlooked.
In this post, I will go over some mindset traits that I have learned from doing my own fat loss phases, from coaching clients in fat loss phases, and what I have learned from others in the industry as well.
Let’s dive into them.
If you are going to have a successful fat loss phase you are going to have to display willpower at times.
There are going to be foods you want to eat but will have to say no to.
There are going to be days where you still have to get your steps in when you dont want to.
There are going to be days when you dont want to get your lift in.
If you struggle with willpower you are going to struggle with your fat loss phase, there really is no way around this.
It might be a bit easier in the beginning, but if you are going to see fat loss there will be some times when you can’t just do what you want or feel like.
Willpower is mostly mental. Clients who say they dont have any willpower are usually just making up stories in their heads that become true because of what they are telling themselves.
It is also a skill. And with any skill, you have to practice it.
Anytime I have a challenging situation like this come up I frame this as a time where I get to practice and develop my willpower.
Be ok with hunger
You have to be ok with some hunger. There are things you can do to manage hunger and try to mitigate it as best as you can but you are going to have to deal with hunger at some point.
Just like with willpower this is a great skill to develop.
A big problem in today’s world is that we are so comfortable with everything, so anytime we feel a little discomfort we run away from it.
Not to mention, if you are never hungry are you really losing any body fat?
Framing this hunger as a positive can be helpful. Think to yourself, this hunger is just my body losing fat.
Now, this doesnt mean you should just strive to be super hungry all of the time, as this may lead to unfavorable body comp changes (more muscle lost than youd want), but a little hunger is a good sign.
As you do more and more fat loss phases over your journey you learn how to manage hunger much better and you find that fine line over time.
The biggest thing with hunger is we want to limit/avoid those times where you are in tough environments, as this is when most people fail. We will talk about this in future points.
You must take responsibility for your actions.
If you are constantly blaming your environment or circumstances fat loss is going to be very challenging.
Even if something outside of your control happened you need to reflect on it to see how you could have managed it better.
For example, you went to a party and there was no protein or veggies, so you just said screw it and ate whatever.
In this situation you need to reflect and ask yourself things like could I have slowed down and enjoyed more? Could I have had more protein ahead of time? Could I have moved more? Could I have drank more water?
If you dont reflect and see what you could have done differently/managed better then you will keep running into the same issues over and over again.
One of our main goals during a fat loss phase is to avoid/limit those times when you get extremely hungry. (again knowing that there is going to be some hunger).
In order to do this, there is going to have to be some planning involved.
Planning can be planning all of your meals for the next day, or maybe you just plan protein. Planning can also be looking ahead at your schedule and working around times when you know you will be put in a tough environment.
The main thing here is that you can’t just wing every day and expect to have a successful fat loss phase.
You need to have some sort of plan for your week/days.
Being more selective with choices
What I mean here is if you know you enjoy date night with your partner or you enjoy going out with friends on the weekend then during those other nights/days you are being more selective with your food choices.
If you know you are going out Saturday night do you really need to order take-out on a random Wednesday night? This is again where planning ahead can be helpful.
When it comes to drinking, I have some clients who enjoy drinking.
I often tell them you dont have to go cold turkey, but you probably want to be more selective on when you drink and when you have more drinks.
For example, do you really need to have 10 beers on a random Friday night?
Instead save those times when you drink that much for more important events.
The same goes for food, save that tasty food for the important events.
Being ok with not being perfect
You have to be ok with not having things be perfect either.
A big culprit to why you can’t stick with a fat loss diet is because the moment you have one thing or one thing goes off-plan you say screw it and get into that all or nothing mindset.
You are going to run into plateaus, you are going to have some bad days or bad choices, but you can’t let this steer you off the path.
Your nutrition is never going to be perfect and you have to learn to be ok with that and learn how to deal with that.
Have to think more about your future self
When you are in a fat loss phase you have to think more about your future self.
If you only think about what you want right at that moment, you are going to struggle.
For example, You are hungry and there is pizza around. Yes, the present you wants that pizza, but you also have to think about how you will feel afterward and in a few days and weeks.
Most people just think about right now when making choices. That won’t work in a fat loss phase.
Realize this is only temporary
In the building phase post, I mentioned “this too shall pass” and the same is true for a fat loss diet.
This is only temporary and not how you are going to eat forever.
This is why with online clients we phase our nutrition. We aren’t always in a fat loss phase, we aren’t always building.
There are times and places when we will do that and push it, but it cant be forever.
I think this is why a lot of people struggle with their choices. They think they will never be able to eat certain foods again and thats why they will give in.
Knowing this will pass can help you make the right choice in tough situations.
If you can apply these mindset traits you will have a successful fat loss phase.
Maybe you dont do all of them but pick a few that you know you struggle with or that you know you can stick with.
Sometimes you just need an extra set of eyes/accountability.
If so this is exactly what our 1:1 online coaching program does.
HERE are some common client avatars we work with.
If you fit the bill, fill out this form HERE, and let’s get to work.