No one should be living in a constant state of dieting, and let’s be real, most women are. What a miserable way to live right? Always trying to be in a calorie deficit to lose those pesky pounds you just can’t get rid of. But we would argue that the majority of people living to diet, never really reach their goals and are most likely frustrated as hell!
First, if we are living in a calorie deficit for too long, our body will start to resist change. This is why we run into plateau’s, our bodies are designed to survive and if they sense they are starving, they will give us the middle finger and try to hold onto body fat in order to live! The longer we diet, the more resistant they can become, so this is why implementing different protocols to “trick” our bodies or give them a nice break, can make all the difference in the world for progress!
Second, we all just need a little mental break sometimes. Not only a mental break, but we need to be able to socialize, enjoy the foods we love and have those moments where we aren’t focused on food or stressing about it. If we can take breaks from dieting, we can actually make more progress in the big picture. I like to compare these little breaks to a good night’s sleep after a long day. If we don’t rest and recover our body after a stressful day, eventually we are going to get too wore down and be forced to sleep. The same goes for our bodies, if we put too much stress on them with dieting, we will be forced to do something different, alleviate stress on our body and will usually be at a time we didn’t plan for it, which can often lead to unwanted fat gain! It’s ideal to plan these breaks in so that we can get the results we want!
There are several different ways we can implement these breaks for our body and what’s appropriate each person can vary. Depending on what your goals are and what your life looks like, one may work better for you right now, but then down the road that can change! Understanding the different options gives more flexibility and the chance to decide what will work best for you!
This option is probably our least favorite of all the options, but it can work for some! This would mean that during your diet phase, once a week you choose a day to eat whatever you want. You don’t track, you just eat as you see fit. Now, you can probably already imagine how this could go sideways! If you are an “all or nothing” type of person, a cheat day can easily turn into an all-out binge fest and that’s definitely not what we’re going for!
Our goal at Flex Fuel is to create a healthy relationship and mindset around food, being able to enjoy foods we love while not feeling like we need to go crazy overboard because we are so restricted on other days. While a cheat day can give you a small mental and physical break, it also leave more room for error, and if you are that person that might go a little crazy with it, the after affects can be not-so-fun on digestion and energy if you are filling that day will low quality foods and a big surplus of calories.
If you are someone who feels they can truly enjoy the day, enjoy more calories and foods you love without going bananas, this very well could work for you!
This is below a cheat day on the freedom scale. Instead of having an entire day of no tracking and eating whatever you want, it’s condensed to one meal. This creates a little more structure in your day, so you track all day, aside from the one meal you choose not to, and eat whatever you want! This can end up being a happy balance if you are someone who really wants that mental break from tracking once a week but doesn’t necessarily need a full day of it! Again, making sure you aren’t someone that wants to totally binge in one sitting is important, because that can be an unhealthy habit to start! This can be a nice little break for your body and mind.
Something to be aware of with the cheat day and free meals is if you are someone that is scared to eat in fear of gaining weight, these will most likely not work for you. Some people it is naturally engrained in them to under eat, so having the freedom to eat whatever you want, may work against you! Make sure you are in a healthy mindset before trying these out!
These are a great way to implement higher calorie days into your week in a controlled, structured way. These days you still track, but they are intentional higher calorie to give more freedom in your diet and give your body a break from those low calorie days. This is like a mini-vacation for your brain and body and can help prevent binging, while allowing you to enjoy the foods you love! Refeeds usually consist of solely increasing calories in the form of carbs, the amount of calories you increase will be dependent on how big a calorie deficit you are in on the other days! Implementing a calorie increase in a controlled manner can also prevent more room for error and potential, unwanted weight gain.
A diet break is taking a full blown break from tracking, dieting and anything to do with it! This is a minimum of a week where you eat completely intuitively. Again, you want to make sure that you aren’t under eating, but this is important to give your body a break, let it recover physically from a calorie deficit and get your mind out of the “constant dieting” cycle. It’s important for us to know that we can take a week (or more- depending on the person) off of dieting and not totally back track! This is where having a coach comes in handy, so that this doesn’t turn into a free-for-all, let’s go buck wild, break…. but it serves as a substantial break, allowing your body and mind to recover and recharge!
The amount of time in a year that you should be dieting varies from person to person, but if you are in a dieting phase and haven’t implemented any of these options, or are not seeing the results you want, now very well could be the time to try one out! If you aren’t sure which option is right for you, we would love to talk with you and help you figure that out!
Remember, life should not be one big diet! We need to give our body and mind breaks, it will always take us further in the long run!
Give your bod a break!