When you are on a long fat loss journey, it is a good idea to take regular breaks.
Obviously though, you do not want to just pile on the weight that you have lost.
This is particularly pertinent at this time of year.
The first thing to remember is that scale weight alone is not a reliable measure of body fat.
If you eat extra carbohydrates then your body will store them.
An extra 100g of stored carbohydrate = 3 – 400g of stored water.
This equates to 1/2 a kilo or 1lb of bodyweight – not body fat.
This could be enough to freak you out and put you off the idea.
However, diet breaks are important.
The longer we maintain a calorie deficit, the more adaptations take place.
“Starvation mode” is a myth, but the following things do happen:
- You fidget and move less, so your NEAT goes right down.
- Your body ramps up your hunger.
- Your satisfaction after eating is lower.
- You burn less calories through exercise as your body becomes more efficient.
Taking breaks and eating at maintenance for a while, will reverse these adaptations.
If you do not have a lot of weight to lose, then a break every 8 weeks or so.
If you have more to lose then every 12 – 16 weeks.
You will want to work out a new maintenance level, based on your new weight.
I recommend Kevin Halls Bodyweight Planner which you can find here;
When you have a figure, you may decide to track calories, or you may decide to use portion control.
Do not over-complicate it.
It may be as simple as an extra snack each day.
Or a slightly larger portion at your evening meal.
The food you eat should not be wildly different to the food you eat on your diet.
Remember to eat to about 8 or maybe 9 on the fullness scale, do not eat until you are stuffed.
Monitor your weight and your other measurements.
The best way to decide on the duration of your break should be how you are feeling.
Enjoy having some more food.
Enjoy sleeping better.
Enjoy training better.
When you start to feel recovered, you can take yourself back into your deficit.
You will then enter a new weight loss phase, refreshed and ready to go again.