Cut Update...The Good, The Bad, and What's Next

Mar 03, 2022

How it is already March? The last couple of months have been a blur.

And a struggle, to be quite honest. 

I'm committed to always being honest with you all, so here's the reality of how my "cut" has been going for the last 6 weeks. 

Little to nothing has happened, but not for a lack of wanting it. We've been under an immense amount of stress in dealing with some family things. Additionally, our pup was diagnosed with Cushing's Disease and the spike in cortisol wrecked havoc on his adrenals. He literally stopped sleeping at night for two months, and wanted someone awake with him every night, all night to provide comfort. I wish I was exaggerating.

It was rough. For all of us. The positive spin is that we are now managing his disease and symptoms. All dogs and humans are much happier. 

But have you ever noticed how a night of poor sleep and a super stressful day can really affect your appetite and food choices? Couple that with 2+ months of maybe a couple hours of sleep a night, and you can imagine what that looked like (or parents who have had littles.. you don't have to imagine. You know). 

I spent the first couple weeks attempting to stay on "it".. counting macros, logging food, getting all of my workouts in, and then I took a break. It was adding more stress to my life than was necessary. 

Not to mention the fact that the body will literally just NOT do what you're asking it to do when you're chronically stressed and sleep deprived. I literally fell asleep standing up in the middle of a crowded room. Oof. Weighing my food was the least of my concerns. 

Quick lesson on sleep deprivation and fat loss and then I'll update you on what I'm doing next (skip down a couple paragraphs if you want!).

Sleep influences two important appetite hormones in the body - leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that decreases appetite, so when leptin levels are high, we usually feel fuller. On the other hand, ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite, and is often referred to as the "hunger hormone." Studies show that sleep restriction increases levels of ghrelin and decreases leptin. Additionally, we often want to turn to more "comfort" foods when we're sleep deprived. This contributes to why adhering to a low calorie diet is especially difficult when one is low on rest. 

Even more interesting, little sleep impairs the insulin response to glucose intake and affects our metabolism. An excess in glucose (both from choosing more comfort foods when we're tired and from a reduced ability to absorb), could be more readily converted into fatty acids and stored as body fat. Collectively, this can accumulate over time. 

All this said.. I recognized early on that adding more stress to my body by dropping calories lower and adding more movement, wasn't going to do me any favors. 

Instead, I maintained my normal amount of movement - walks, moderate strength training sessions when I felt rested enough to do so safely, and I just watched what I ate - keeping processed foods to a minimum and focusing mostly on lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and complex carbohydrates. 

The good news is that I feel like a new woman! I have more energy, I feel better mentally, physically, and I feel like I have the capacity to do more work on myself. I've maybe lost a little body fat, but the scale hasn't moved much, and that's fine. I feel good in my body.

I still want to work hard to lose a little more body fat over the next four weeks, so here are my plans...

Finish out the week and weekend eating intuitively, then: 

  • Track macros for the next four weeks - aiming to hit my calorie/macro targets I set for myself in my last blog post.
  • Stay committed to my training/movement routine

Four weeks is plenty of time to do a cut, since my metabolism is firing, I've got a lot of muscle on my frame, and I have the capacity to exert more energy into my own programming for the next month.

Moral of the story here.. nothing was lost (except a lot of rest). I didn't lean out much in Jan/Feb. like I hoped, but that's ok. It was a priority to take care of my family and my health in different ways. Sleep and stress levels are critically important to your overall health - especially if you have any sort of fat loss goals. Keep this in mind as you work on your own fitness journey. 

Questions? Send me a message. I am committed to keeping you updated weekly for the month of March! 

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