Want To Know When, How And Why To Take Diet Breaks? Read On..
Today I will talk about diet breaks when wanting to lose fat. We will go over if, when and how exactly you should take them. First, what exactly is a diet break? A diet break is a planned and purposeful break from dieting. This break can be anything from a few days, up to two weeks. Like cheat meals, diet breaks are a controversial topic because when done wrong they can erase your hard earned calorie deficit and weight loss progress.
First, what exactly is a diet break?
A diet break is a planned and purposeful break from dieting. This break can be anything from a few days, up to two weeks. Like cheat meals, diet breaks are a controversial topic because when done wrong they can erase your hard earned calorie deficit and weight loss progress.
That’s why in this video I will show you how to take diet breaks the right way. When done right, diet breaks will help prepare you for the next phase of dieting and are vital for your long term success.
Now before we go into the details let’s first talk about why you should take regular diet breaks in the first place. There are physiological as well as psychological benefits and both are equally important.
The most important physiological benefit during a diet break is in the form of hormones. For most people, dieting and calorie deficits translate to more stress in their lives and more stress usually correlates with more cortisol in your blood.
Now, while short spikes in cortisol levels aren’t an issue, long term elevation does cause problems and will affect your dieting efforts. Research has shown that prolonged calorie deficit and increased cortisol levels cause a series of unwanted effect, for example, higher water retention, which makes your skin look puffier. When you take a diet break and do it right, cortisol levels, as well as overall stress levels, will go back to normal. This also means that you’ll be less hungry, have more energy and fewer cravings.
Now, what about psychological benefits of diet breaks, which many people underestimate in my opinion. First of all, dieting can be tough, very tough in fact. And even though it gets easier the more experience you have I would be lying if I told you I love it. One way to make things easier though is when you know that you are taking it one step at a time. Knowing you will be taking a break at a certain time in the future is a lot better than thinking about it with no end in sight.
This means taking a planned break from your diet will take off much of this stress and give you something to look forward to. This also helps maintain your motivation and reach your long term goals.
With this in what does the right diet break look like?
Basically to achieve the benefits I outlined before you want to raise your calories to maintenance level, Eat your meals at normal times and Don’t worry about your macros too much. I say don’t worry TOO MUCH because obviously, a diet break that consists of nothing but candy and pizza is not a good idea. So I still suggest you stick to mostly unprocessed healthy foods but don’t worry about hitting your protein needs exactly to the gram every day.
Depending on how intense you exercise, cutting cardio in half and decreasing your workout weights during the diet break can also be a good idea, but keep in mind that less intense workouts also mean lower calorie maintenance levels.
Now, how often should you take dieting breaks?
This will largely depend on how lean you already are. The less body fat you have the more often you need to take breaks to not overstress your body. For men a good rule of thumb is to take a break every 4-6 weeks if you’re below 10%, every 6-8 weeks if your between 10 and 15% and every 10-12 weeks if you’re between 15 and 25%. With a body fat percentage of over 25% you should take breaks even less frequent of course.
Women should add 5% to 7% percent to these figures to get their body fat percentages. Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines and the exact timing will differ from person to person. As with everything in health and fitness you should try to get a feeling for your body and listen to it when it’s too stressed or overworked.
And that’s it. I hope you understand now that regular diet breaks are an important part of the dieting process and when done right will help you feel and look better. Don’t take this as a free pass to binge eat though. But as long as you stick to the steps I outlined you will be fine.
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