Author: Troy Theodosiou

A diet break is exactly what it sounds like – a planned break from a diet, where you take time off and eat at maintenance rather than eating in a caloric deficit to lose weight.

Eating in a caloric deficit takes its toll, both physically and psychologically. You feel hungry all the time, crave high-calorie foods and fat loss slows down. When this happens, most people turn to cheat days or cheat meals. Unfortunately, this can offset a lot of the progress you’ve made.

What are some of the benefits of taking a diet break?

Mental Reprieve

By taking a 1-2 week diet break, you give yourself the ability to recharge and mentally prepare yourself to get back on the diet train.

Boost Leptin Levels

It gives your body the ability to raises its Leptin levels. Leptin is the hormone responsible for regulating energy expenditure and food intake. Basically, it works to let you know when you’re full based on your available energy so you don’t overeat.

Better Training Performance

Having more food can positively impact your training and this is a big plus, especially if you are a natural athlete.

While entering a short diet break will not be sufficient to pack on a lot of lean mass, it can still allow you to perform better and recover some of the strength you lose while dieting.

How to easily set up your own diet break:

Calculating Maintenance Calories

Bodyweight in lbs x 14 = maintenance calories

Setting Macronutrient Ratios

  • Protein = 0.8–1g per lb of bodyweight
  • Fat = 15–30% of daily calorie goal
  • Carbohydrate = remainder of daily calorie goal

I believe diet breaks are a powerful and important tool you should be using to manage your dietary efforts. If anything, they will make your diets much more sustainable, and much less psychologically difficult.

Resources:

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9_EHg-2v58

The MATADOR Study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5803575/