A 7-day ‘cut’ for women
Please keep in mind that I am not a certified nutritionist. Although I am working toward my certification, the information in this post is based on my own personal experience and research. I am happy to answer any questions you may have; however, if you require in-depth information please seek the advice of a trained professional and remember to do what works best for your body.
In order to ‘cut’ body fat we need to adjust our diet, plain and simple. Some people get caught up with the idea that going to the gym for hours at a time or adopting the newest workout fad will help them get the body they want, yet they still eat garbage. How many times have you heard people joke about “going to the gym now so I can eat cake later”? On the other hand, as a model I have to often bite my tongue when women talk about only eating 750 calories a day so that they can achieve their desired measurements. Life is about balance, and fitness and nutrition are key examples of how balance is necessary in order to achieve your goals.
So what is a ‘cut’?
You can do all the sit-ups you want, but in order for those abs to peak through you need to ‘cut’ away the layer of fat on top of them. In order to do this, you must create a calorie deficit and balance your macronutrients. Now I want to be very clear that this is done strategically by adjusting your caloric intake based on your unique body and lifestyle. Randomly starving yourself is not going to work! It’s also important that you focus on resistance training (i.e. weights) rather than cardio during this time so that the body retains muscle and breaks down fat. As a bonus, doing a ‘cut’ is also about eating clean, healthy foods which can be a great way to kickstart (or re-start!) better overall nutrition.
Okay, now how do I plan a cut?
First off, I strongly suggest downloading ‘My Fitness Pal’. In my opinion this is the best nutrition tracking app available, and it even has added features if you get the premium version. Without the app counting calories and macros will be overwhelming. Once you have the app, fill in all your information including your weight, goal weight, and daily activity level. From here, adjust your daily macronutrient goals so that they are roughly 35% protein, 35% carbs, and 30% fat. You should be aiming to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. The final essential aspect to successfully implementing your cut is to plan ahead. Decide how long you will be doing the cut (ideally 7-21 days) and when you are going to start. If you know you have an important event coming up that revolves around food, keep that in mind. Prior to your cut it’s also helpful to use up food in the cupboards/fridge if it doesn’t fit in with your meal plans.
I love cooking and getting creative with recipes, so I really enjoy sitting down and planning a week’s worth of balanced meals. However if you are one of the many people who want something quick and easy, consider prepping all your meals ahead of time. Personally I prefer to cook every day because I get bored eating pre-made meals, but if this works for you then do it! There are some things I cook in big batches ahead of time, such as chicken breast and beets, in order to save time. As for individual meals, that’s really up to you and your preferences. The photos below show some examples of meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Still not sure where to start?
I have made an example of a daily meal plan below. I feel best when I eat every two hours, so this outline follows that schedule. However, if you prefer to eat every three hours you can just adjust as needed as long as you’re counting those extra calories in one of the meals. You can play around with the order of things based on your preferences, but be aware of how your numbers are adding up for the day. For example, if you opt for the smoothie bowl in the morning, you’ll want to choose a different option for your bedtime snack. Use the food options listed below to create your meals!
Sample Meal Plan
Breakfast #1: 3-4 egg whites with optional nutritional yeast topping (boiled, fried, or scrambled)
Breakfast #2: Smoothie bowl OR oatmeal OR 2 baked oatmeal cups
Lunch: Chicken salad with veggies and dressing
Afternoon Snack #1: One quinoa cookie
Afternoon Snack #2: 1 cup fruit
Dinner: Chicken or white fish with veggies and spices/seasonings/sauces
Bedtime Snack: Protein pancake OR protein peanut butter cookie OR smoothie bowl OR protein pumpkin pie
Natural nut butters
Seasonings, Spices, & Sauces
Pepper and salt (limit to 1 tsp/day)
Dill Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Easy Salad Dressing
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix together 1 scoop of protein powder and 2 eggs whites.
Lightly grease a pan with 1 teaspoon oil.
Spread batter evenly onto pan and cook.
Top with 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup and 1 tablespoon nut butter.
Blend 1 cup frozen berries, 1 scoop protein powder, and 1/2 cup almond milk.
Add small amounts of water to blender if needed until mixture is smooth.
Top with 1 tablespoon fat. Optional topping: 1/4 cup puffed quinoa.
Making oatmeal is straightforward, but here is the format I follow for the purposes of a cut
Cook 1/2 cup rolled oats, either on the stovetop or in the oven.
Top with 1 tablespoon fat, 4 dates OR 1/4 cup fruit, and spices of your choice
For more high protein/low carb recipes, check out this Pinterest board.
Tips & Tricks
During your cut you should completely avoid dairy, gluten, beans, alcohol, and caffeine.
Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. Consider adding lemon to your water, but be aware that lemon does effect the enamel on your teeth. Just make sure to rinse with regular water afterward and wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth! Read more here.
Many people often question the use of stevia as a sweetener. Stevia is actually from a plant, and can be safely consumed in small amount without any negative effects. Wellness Mama has a great post if you want to read more about stevia.
If you dislike eggs, you may find this meal plan challenging. Egg whites are easy to digest but high in protein, so they make it easier to reach your macronutrient count. If you are choosing not to including eggs, you may find it difficult to eat as much protein as you need.
It is not uncommon to experience mild constipation during a cut, especially if you aren’t used to eating a ton of protein-rich foods. Consider taking magnesium every night after dinner (I like this one) and try a herbal laxative tea if the issue persists.
Craving a sweet dessert in the evening? Try one of these ‘dessert teas’ with one package of stevia.