Benefits Of Diet Breaks
Diet breaks have become very popular over the last couple of years but the truth is people like Lyle McDonald have been using them for over 10 years.
First off a diet break is an extended period of time (I say 3+ days) spent going from a calorie deficit to maintenance (or a slightly above). Essentially giving your body a break from dieting 😉
Diet breaks are very beneficial for undoing some of the adaptation that occurs when in a calorie deficit.
When you are in a calorie deficit for an extended period of time your metabolism adapts by regulating hormones like Ghrelin, Leptin, Testosterone, Thyroid and Cortisol while also dropping your daily calorie expenditure via NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)
All of this drops your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) meaning you are not burning as many calories.
Your bodies main priority is to protect you from dying, so it will fight against fat loss by down regulating your metabolism.
This adaptation process is what can cause plateaus for people trying to lose body fat and make it harder and harder to lose body fat as time in a deficit goes on.
Diet breaks work to restore your TDEE by up regulating your metabolism via your hormones and NEAT. They will also decrease your stress levels, hunger and improve your energy levels and performance.
Basically undoing the adaptation that occurred.
You do need to be at calorie maintenance for at least 3 consecutive days to see these improvements so a one or two day refeed won’t cut it.
Also if you have been in a deficit for a long period of time you’ll probably need weeks to months of a calorie maintenance to restore things properly.
Strength Lab - Personal Training, Body Transformation Coaching and Competition Preparation
Personal Training Camberwell, Melbourne