Taking a break from your diet might sound like a crazy idea at first, but the fact is it will actually help you get better results without needing to eat less and less. See once you’ve dieted for long enough your fat loss will start to slow down and it will eventually stop or even worse you’ll start to gain weight even though you’re doing everything right. Now when this happens what most people do is decrease their calories further and increase cardio, but you can only go so far in each direction until you lose motivation and start binging.
For some reason most dieters believe that the key to fat loss is to be as miserable as possible for as long as possible and that really isn’t the way to go about your diet. If you honestly want your diet to be successful in the long term then taking a planned break is one of the best things you can do.
The Diet Break
In short, a full diet break is where you raise your calories up to maintenance and loosen the tracking restrictions for a period of 10-14 days. Furthermore, if you’re currently doing a lot of cardio (like 5 times a week) limit it down to just two days a week. The goal of a diet break is to help you stay eating as much as possible, for as long as possible while being in a caloric deficit so that you can get leaner than ever before in the most comfortable way imaginable.
So Do You Actually Need A Diet Break ?
Diet breaks are great, but you might not even need it. So here are all the negative symptoms of long-term dieting and if you’re currently suffering from one or more of the following symptoms then you should take a diet break:
- You’ve been dieting for over 12 weeks without a refeed/cheat day.
- You always feel tired and fatigued even when you get a good night’s sleep.
- You struggle with falling asleep.
- Your rate of fat loss has slowed downed considerably, stopped entirely or even reversed.
- You always feel irritable and unhappy for no reason.
- You are losing a lot of strength in the gym.
- You have cut calories several times already and can’t comprehend cutting them any further.
- You find yourself getting sick a lot.
However, there is one exception where you shouldn’t take any diet breaks even if you’re currently suffering from the symptoms mentioned above. This is when your less than 8 weeks out from an important photoshoot or bodybuilding/physique competition where you need to look your best. In this case other methods will be used to help you lose more fat: This Article Will Explain These Methods In More Depth
Benefits Of Taking A Diet Break
Dieting for weeks or even months without having anything to look forward too is the single biggest reason why most diets fail. However, if you knew that you only had to stay on your diet for 6-12 weeks before getting a break while also allowing yourself to have refeeds and cheat meals every 1-2 weeks would that not make it much more doable ? Of course it would since it breaks the periods of active dieting into much more manageable chunks, relieving all the mental stress and giving you something to look forward to.
When you diet for a few months to lose weight/fat your metabolic rate also decreases because your body simply weighs less (since smaller body burns fewer calories), while that is the main reason many of your hormones (things like leptin, insulin, thyroid hormones, ghrelin levels) also play a role to this metabolic adaptation.
So by taking a diet break many of those hormones are given time to recover to normal, therefore reversing most of the effects of this metabolic adaption. Meaning you’ll often be able to eat more than you otherwise would have and still progress with your diet. Moreover, if you’ve been losing strength in the gym this diet break will help you regain some if not most of that strength back.
How To Implement A Diet Break
Implementing a diet break couldn’t be simpler, all you have to do is eat like a normal person that isn’t on a diet. So that means you won’t have to count your calories or worry about macros, just eat at normal times and until you’re full. However, don’t take this as a license to completely pig out and binge. If this is a concern for you then set your calories to maintenance and just roughly track everything you’re eating.
Lastly, the leaner you are the more often you should take a diet break. Here are some guidelines you can follow:
- Men 2-10% Body Fat/Women 9-17% Body Fat = Diet Break Every 4-6 Weeks
- Men 10-15% Body Fat/Women 17-22% Body Fat = Diet Break Every 6-8 Weeks
- Men 15-25% Body Fat/Women 22%-32% Body Fat = Diet Break Every 10-12 Weeks
- Men 25% Body Fat Or More/Women 32% Body Fat Or More= Diet Break Every 12-16 Weeks
If you have anymore questions about diet breaks then please feel free to leave a comment below.