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Your emails answered: Techniques I use to stay on plan when cutting body fat.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I received an email earlier this week asking me how I avoid snacking between meals when I’m cutting body fat. As long-time readers of this site know, when I’m leaning out I go hardcore: not a single bite of food off my planned cutting diet, no cheat meals, no alcohol, no missed workouts and no excuses. Depending on how you attack your fat loss program, healthy snacking between meals may be just fine, but obviously for people like me who choose to cut in “all or nothing” mode snacking between meals is 100% out of the question. Today’s blog is for those people.

There are several tricks and techniques–some mental and some physical–that I employ to help get me through the cravings.

At the base level, I structure my meals so that I’m eating every 3 hours. It helps to know you’re never more than a couple hours away from some food, and makes it easier to hang tough.

When you’re cutting body fat you’re in a caloric deficit, and you’re going to be hungry at times (possibly most of the time). Learn to enjoy the feeling, make friends with it. When I’m cutting I adopt a mindset that actually embraces hunger pangs between meals. It helps me to imagine that that hungry feeling is literally fat burning away.

Remember my million dollar challenge, which is simply this: If someone said to you, โ€œIf you go six months without a cheat meal or missing a workout I will give you $1,000,000, tax free.โ€. Thereโ€™s not a single person reading this who would not walk away a millionaire. Keep that in mind while you’re cutting and you’ll realize that the question is never “Can I do this?” (of course you can), it’s simply a question of “How badly do I want this?” Excuses are for the weak and uncommitted.

When I’m cutting I go through a lot of chewing gum. Orbit is my favorite brand, and I buy several boxes of 24 at a time. Chewing gum has got me through some pretty tough cravings, and I would never cut without it.

I also drink lots and lots of water. Drinking water helps flush out your system, and helps keep you feeling full. I have water with me at all times during the day.

Brush your teeth. I find that I don’t have the desire to eat after brushing my teeth, and I’ve been known to brush 6 or 7 times per day when I’m cutting. Really do a good job, too: brush for at least 2 minutes, floss, scrape your tongue and use mouth wash.

For more information on healthy fat loss techniques, tips, tricks and motivational material, check out some of my Fat Loss 101 articles.

John Stone Fitness Comments

14 Responses to “Your emails answered: Techniques I use to stay on plan when cutting body fat.”
  1. Thanks John. I needed this today. The hardest part for me is the hunger. I can generally avoid the snacking out of boredom or some emotional need, but the overwhelming hunger is what gets me every time. I think I will try your gum technique. Something that also helps me is to drink a cup of coffee. Even at night. If I feel hungry or that I just need a little something I’ll brew a single cup of decaf and that usually does the trick for me. It’s warm and fills my stomach.

    Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • This is way off topic but living in Florida you must have heard of Les Brown, now with the Miami Dolphins. Athletic guy who didn’t play College Football got signed to the NFL. He had his own incredible transformation. In 10 weeks he went from 215 15% BF to 240 8%BF, age 25. That’s a 3.8#/wk muscle gain and 1.3#/wk fat loss. Lots of videos on the net. He went from fat to jacked in 10 weeks! I’d post a link but afriad it would just get stripped off.

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        • While I most assuredly agree that this is not what this site is about-the use of banned/illegal drugs to make fitness gains-I wouldn’t necessarily assume at first glance that Les Brown did what he did by way of such means.

          Most everything in life tends to fall under the umbrella of a natural distribution in terms of where things end up in relation to the average or the mean. In terms of physical capacity, fitness potential, and body makeup, the vast majority of us are just simply average. Every now and then though, we end up with an outlier. This could be the 1,000lb person that just defies all explanation as to how they’ve gained so much weight, or somebody like Michael Phelps or Michael Jordan that make all of the rest of the elite athletes that they compete with look like amateurs.

          As you’ll recall John, even you have been accused from time to time of achieving your results through the use of unnatural means. Personally, I think you just fall toward the outer edge of the curve in terms of simply having a greater potential for where your upper limits are physically. In fact, you continue to push those boundaries every day, while heading in a direction age-wise that pushes most of us back toward the middle.

          Anyhow, I would respectfully encourage a reservation of judgement instead of summarily dismissing what Les Brown has accomplished because it seems to be out of the realm of what’s normal. I like to think that he accomplished what he did by just plain old hard work both in the kitchen as well as in the weight room. In the end though, I suppose that like all of the rest of us, only Les truly knows what went into his accomplishments.

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          • The vast majority of people who have accused me of steroid use are simply uneducated about what’s possible with hard work.

            There’s hard work, there’s genetically gifted + hard work and then there’s physiologically impossible.

            Gaining 3.8 pounds of muscle per week while simultaneously losing 1.3 pounds of fat per week over a period of 10 weeks falls so far outside even the most spectacular natural transformations that it’s utterly laughable to suggest it was accomplished naturally. Even using steroids that’s an amazing, almost unheard of, transformation.

            If the numbers reported above are accurate, I have to stand by my assertion.

            Also, I want to be clear that I’m not dismissing Les’s accomplishments. The guy clearly worked his butt off, and I respect that.

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    • Jason, another option could be scheduling your day so that you are in bed around 9pm ๐Ÿ™‚

      I also find it hard to control my cravings at night. Going to be early and getting at least 8 hours of sleep really helps. I get up at 6am and try to go to be no later than 10pm. I often do have a 9pm snack – half a cup of greek yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese with some splenda and either some fruit or some coco powder.

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  2. a big part about keeping cravings down is just eating clean…Loading up on protein, tons of vegetables and moderate amounts of fat really does help reduce cravings. Anything that’s high fiber, high-water content and/or high protein does wonders for the appetite. This is why I never understood the argument against clean eating. I honestly don’t see how it’s possible for MOST people to maintain a caloric deficit without clean eating.

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