One of the biggest mistakes I have noticed amongst people who are on their Weight-loss journey is that they try to lose ALL of their weight in one go. They never stop or take a break.
When we are in a caloric Deficit or Caloric Restricted state or simply when we are eating less food, a lot of negative or bad things happen in our body.
I am mentioning a few of them below:
- All the Bad hormones in our body Rise and all the good hormones drop down.
- Our metabolism drops.
- Our energy levels drop.
- Our libido/sex drive drops.
- Chances of muscle loss increase.
- Our Strength in the workouts decreases.
- Our adherence to diet decreases and cravings start to come up.
In short our body becomes Catabolic. This usually happens when an athlete is in a caloric restricted state for a long period of time, say more than 16 weeks. I don't recommend more than 16 weeks of Cut/Fat loss phase to anyone. I, personally, do only 12 weeks of cut then take a diet break for 8 weeks and then start the cut again.
Diet break: As the name suggest, diet break means taking a break from dieting. This is achieved by gradually increasing calories every week or every 3 days (reverse dieting) with the goal of maintaining Bodyweight. Diet break not only gives you a mental break, it also brings up those GOOD hormones which aid in fat loss and were suppressed during dieting. Here is an example, let's assume a male client trying to lose 20 kg of bodyweight.
If this client tries to lose all of his 20kgs in one go, he is going to be very disappointed because he just made an already hard task a whole lot harder. Below are the different options which can be applied in above situation:
- 12 week cut followed by 8 weeks of diet break. Then repeat. One cycle will take 20 weeks.
- Lose 5 kg, and then maintain this new body weight for 4-8 weeks, repeat.
- If someone finds dieting very hard, they can choose to cut for 3 weeks and then take a 1 week diet break. Then repeat.
- You can also choose to cut for 2 weeks and then take a diet break for 2 weeks.
There are plenty of ways you can include diet breaks in your weight-loss plan. There are a few things to remember though.
1) Diet break does not mean that you don't have to count calories and track your bodyweight. Like I mentioned before you are too slowly increase calories and the goal is to maintain the current bodyweight for the entirety of Diet-break (fluctuations of +/- 1 kg are acceptable).
2) Diet break does not mean that you should stop training. You will still train but training volume will be lesser than Cutting phase.
So, that was it on Diet breaks.
PS: if you have any questions, you can mail us at linkBy:
Amritpal Singh Randhawa
Specialist in Fitness Nutrition from ISSA