It is very dangerous to stay on a diet forever.
It is also not practical. For long term weight loss, taking a break from dieting is important to achieve your goals.
WHAT IS DIET BREAK?
A diet break is a controlled break from dieting, where you increase your calorie intake for about 10-14 days to reverse the metabolic changes that occur from dieting.
Diet breaks can be scheduled as needed. They can be done every few weeks or every few months, depending on your individual needs.
One study found that over a 16-week period, people who took a one-week diet break every two weeks saw better weight loss results than those who dieted the whole time.
Here are a few benefits of a diet break to consider.
BENEFITS OF A DIET BREAK
1. MENTAL RECHARGE
Taking a break from your diet can help you mentally recharge for getting back on your diet.
A diet break makes it easy to focus on your dieting goals. It can help you feel relieved from the overwhelming demands of a diet.
Diet breaks allow you to control when to schedule them rather than unexpectedly losing control and being forced into a break.
These breaks being part of your long-term plan, make it easy to get back on track afterward. Committing to another diet phase post-vacation might not be such a struggle.
2. HORMONE REGULATION
Adipose tissue (fat) produces a leptin hormone, which tells your brain how much you’re eating and what your body fat is. This regulates how much fat you spend on energy.
When dieting, your body fat is reduced; therefore, less leptin is produced. This makes you burn fewer calories and make your weight loss plateau due to using less energy.
When you go on a break, you reverse some of the metabolic adaptations your body makes, therefore making you increase how you spend energy when you go back to dieting.
3. BETTER TRAINING
Having more food increases your energy levels. Consuming complex carbs during a break can help you recover some of the strength you lose by dieting.
4. AVOID STRESS-BASED FOOD CRAVINGS
Stress can often make your weight loss journey plateau. Going on a diet can easily lead to stress, which can easily cause you to overeat.
It increases your body’s production of the stress hormone, which is known as cortisol.
Cortisol determines your body’s response to stress, but studies show that one of its effects is increasing belly fat storage.
Stress can trigger food cravings and increase the chances of comfort eating. By going on a break, you can preempt this because you control your food intake.
5. PROTECT MUSCLE MASS
A calorie restriction diet can lead you to lose muscle mass.
When you break a diet, you can help you retain your muscle mass.
A study found that diet breaks can help protect your lean mass more than an unbroken diet. Going on periodic breaks helps you preserve your metabolic rate during weight loss.
6. PREVENT DISEASE
An effective weight loss regimen can help prevent chronic illnesses.
Going on a crash diet helps you lose water weight, which could easily make you dehydrated.
Taking a break helps restore your glycogen, which is usually depleted during a diet. When your body depletes glycogen, the adjoining water exits the body.
According to US News, a 2013 study found that not getting a steady supply of carbohydrates, fats, and protein can contribute to insulin resistance and potentially type 2 diabetes.
Going on a break ensures that you keep your insulin at an optimal level.
7. REDUCE CHANCES OF BRAIN FOG
Going on a diet can increase the chances of brain fog. This is a symptom of conditions where you can suffer from memory lapses, lack of mental clarity, poor concentration, and an inability to focus.
It is also known as mental fatigue.
Brain fog can interfere with work or school. But it can be prevented if you are undergoing a diet. You can experience brain fog because you could trigger a Vitamin B-12 deficiency during a diet.
Vitamin B-12 enables healthy brain function.
Sources of Vitamin B-12 include meat, eggs, and milk products.
These are foods that may be removed from a restrictive diet. If you take a breather from your diet, you can consume them and restore your Vit B-12 levels and reduce brain fog chances.
WHAT SHOULD I EAT DURING DIET BREAK?
When you break, it’s not an excuse to indulge in unhealthy food choices.
You still need to be conscious of what you’re putting in your body, or you will undo all the progress you have made.
Your food choices should include lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables. Ensure that you avoid processed foods as much as possible.
You can still have the occasional ice cream, but you should plan accordingly.
According to Men’s Health, you should be eating consciously during your pause.
Since you’ll be at a lower calorie maintenance level after each weight loss cycle so you should make sure you eat less than what you ate before you started your weight loss journey.
To ensure accuracy, look at your average weekly weight lost over the last month. To lose 400g, you need to eat about 3500 calories less than your burn.
If you are averaging 400g lost per week, you should add 500 calories per day more to be at your estimated maintenance.
WHEN SHOULD I TAKE A DIET BREAK?
A diet break is only necessary if you are doing a calorie deficit diet.
After the initial 12 weeks of your diet, a 2-week hiatus is advisable.
If you work out at least 4 days a week, a 2-week break works better than a cheat day or cheat weekend.
HOW LONG SHOULD BE YOUR DIET BREAK?
The frequency of your breaks depends on your level of body fat.
If you have a body fat percentage of more than 25%, consider taking a break every 12-16 weeks.
If the body fat percentage is 15-25%, take a breather every 6-12 weeks and if your percentage is less than 15%, take a recess every 4-6 weeks.
Your break should be between one to two weeks.
SIGNS YOU NEED A DIET BREAK
You should consider going on a break if you experience the following symptoms after or within four weeks of your diet:
-Your rate of fat loss v weight gain has slowed significantly.
-You are experiencing higher levels of fatigue than when you started your diet.
-You’re noticeably losing muscle strength when you do daily activities or during your workout.
-You’re falling ill more frequently since you began your diet.
The break is essentially supposed to make it easier for you to stick to your meal plan.
In the study mentioned earlier, where people reported faster weight loss while doing diet breaks, the participants monitored themselves, which leaves a lot of room for error.
Diet breaks can help you maintain your weight loss regimen long term better than a continuous diet.
It is important to note that you could feel a little bit heavier when you start your break. Your body is holding more water, and your gut content increases.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]