Being in a dieting phase can be tough. Any change is uncomfortable, whether that be reverse dieting, bulking, or cutting. If we stay in a comfortable place, we will stay where we are. Change requires getting uncomfortable.
The biggest thing with cutting is that you need to prime your body in order to even be ready for a cut. Our bodies are so good at adapting to our circumstances. If your metabolism is not in an optimal, healthy place, you are not ready for a cut. Your body will not prioritize fat loss until it's in a place where it feels safe and balanced.
That being said, there are my top tips for how to survive your calorie deficit:
Drink a gallon of water a day. Water intake is always important, but I find a gallon a day during a cut helps with hunger control.
Eat volume foods. Load up on vegetables. Choose potatoes over rice. Get more volume per calorie. Make 1/3-1/2 of your plate vegetables. The only thing is to be cautious of overconsuming fiber, which can add up quickly if you eat a lot of plants.
Choose solid foods over liquids. Consume your fats from avocadoes, eggs, or nuts instead of using cooking oils or creamers. Choose a cut of meat over a protein shake. Physiologically and psychologically, the act of chewing solid food vs. drinking calories can be more satiating.
Avoid processed foods. This is a good rule of thumb always. Processed foods are designed to be hyperpalatable, meaning they will absolutely trigger cravings for more processed foods. Being in a calorie deficit will mean at times you will be hungry. It's much harder to push through feelings of hunger when intense cravings are involved.
Adequate sodium intake. If you're eating less in general, and less processed foods, maybe even sweating more from added cardio, your sodium levels might be plummeting. Salt your food and/or supplement with something like LMNT electrolyte packets.
Carbonated 0-calorie drinks. After you've downed your gallon of water, curb cravings with carbonated drinks like Zevia or Klarbrunn. The key is to finish your water first, and then choose a drink with minimal ingredients and if applicable, 0-calorie natural sweeteners.
Maintain a high protein intake. Protein will assist in maintaining your muscle mass while burning body fat and it will help keep you satiated for longer.
Maintain a healthy fiber intake. Fiber is found in only whole food plants. These tend to be volume foods and fiber promotes healthy, regular digestion and is often more satiating than non-fiber carbohydrates.
Keep dietary fats at a healthy level. The most satiating nutrient of all is fat. Fat is also an essential macronutrient. Many of us are tempted to demonize dietary fat and cut it out first when dieting, as fat is the most calorically-dense macronutrient. But fat has so many vital functions in our bodies, and if fat intake is too low, you will experience a ton of negative side effects (hair loss, cravings, low libido, weak immune system, etc.) that will halt your body's ability to prioritize body fat loss.
Be ready to deal with hunger. You will be hungry. This is quite literally what a calorie deficit is - you're eating fewer calories than you burn. Being okay with feeling hungry is a mindset. It's a mental game. Fat is stored energy. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.