Times When Dieting For Fat Loss Isn’t a Great Idea

When a new client comes to me 9 times out of 10 they are looking to lose body fat. 

And most of the time they could benefit from losing body fat. 

However, this doesnt mean we go straight into a fat loss diet every time. 

Read HERE about nutrition phases clients go through.

We take each client’s unique circumstances and then from there we look into if a fat loss diet would be best for them. 

We could go with the approach of taking everyone straight into fat loss diet protocols, but we would be doing a disservice to the client. 

It’s important that the client is in the best position to be in a fat loss diet. 

Now, just because they dont go into a fat loss diet right away doesnt mean we dont work on improving their overall habits.  

We are certainly working on other habits that will help get them in the best position to lose body fat. 

But there are times when a fat loss diet just isn’t a great idea. 

In order for fat loss to happen, you need to be in an energy deficit. Read HERE about that.

This energy deficit is a stressor on the body. 

Because of this, there are times when fat loss dieting isn’t great, and trying to diet through certain situations is just going to set you up for failure. 

Let’s dive into those times. 

You have been yo-yo dieting for years/have tried to diet multiple times in previous months. 

If you have yo-yo dieted your entire life or you have tried to diet multiple times in the past few months without success then jumping into another fat loss diet isn’t the best choice. 

You’re better off working on improving nutrition habits ( better diet quality, planning ahead, environment, etc.) and other lifestyle/fitness habits (stress, sleep, training volume, weight lifting etc.). 

There is something off somewhere along the line that needs to be addressed. 

With clients like this the goal is to get them into a fat loss diet at some point, but putting this client back in a fat loss diet right away would be like trying to drive cross country on flat tires. 

Stressful times (poor sleep, job change, new kid, school, etc.) 

Weight/fat loss is a stressor on the body and it isn’t an easy thing to do. 

If you have a ton of other stress on your plate, adding a fat loss diet to the mix isn’t a great idea. 

Stressful times could be things like a new kid, changing jobs, school, poor sleep, divorce, and many other stressful events that come up. 

Now, this doesnt mean you shouldn’t focus on your fitness and nutrition. 

In this situation, you’re better off working on overall nutrition habits and managing stress. Oh, and lifting weights of course. 

You have lost more than 10-20% of your weight in the last few months. 

If you recently lost 10-20% of your weight recently, it’s best to take a break from fat loss dieting for a period of time. 

Your body adapts to what you have been doing. If you dont take the time to maintain for a bit, your body is going to fight you tooth and nail. 

Read HERE about metabolic adaptation.

This is where most people fail long-term, they see weight loss, but then they have no plan to maintain. 

Read HERE about common post-diet mistakes.

Coming off an injury/surgery.

If you are injured or are coming off of surgery recently, you need to focus on recovering and properly fueling your body. 

Not stressing it out even more. 

Preparing for an event/competition. 

If you have a marathon or some sort of long-distance race, or something like a powerlifting competition a fat loss diet probably isn’t great for you. 

There are some exceptions here, obviously, a bodybuilding competition is excused from this (as the main goal to lose body fat). 

The other exception is if you have high levels of body fat, you can probably get away with fat loss dieting through these. 

Have multiple social events/vacations coming up.

If you have a few vacations or a ton of social events coming up, it probably isn’t a great idea to try and fat loss diet through those. 

In this situation, we may implement something like diet breaks or just take some time away from fat loss dieting altogether.

For example, 5 weeks in a deficit, 1-2 weeks at maintenance, then back to a deficit. 


If you fall into these categories this doesnt mean you should just not focus on your fitness and nutrition. 

It just means your priorities should switch for the time being. 

What we end up working on with most clients during these times: 

  • Weight training atleast 2-3x per week
  • Aiming to keep overall activity levels up (usually via steps)
  • Working on their nutrition habits 
  • Improving overall lifestyle habits (stress management, sleep etc.) 

The best part? You can always come back to fat loss dieting. 

Learn how to work with your body, not against it.

If you are looking to take your training and nutrition to the next level and/or just need more accountability/guidance then fill out the 1:1 online coaching form HERE to learn more.

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