As you go about your weight-loss diet plan, one thing that you will want to make sure that you start doing from time to time is taking a short break. This can seem daunting, like it will set back your hard-earned progress.
However, failing to let yourself off the hook once in a while will come back to haunt you. By taking a break, you’re actually supporting your long-term healthy eating goals in a number of ways.
• Diet breaks give time off to your brain too. They are a great way to reduce the mental tension caused by restricting eating and fighting off hunger for a long period of time.
• They restore muscle glycogen. If you choose to eat carb-dense foods, you will restore energy stores in the muscle cells, improving your workout performance.
• They jumpstart your metabolic rate. By temporarily increasing your calorie intake, your metabolism will rise. Your body will be more apt to shed fat when it doesn’t think it’s starving.
• You’ll satisfy food cravings. You can indulge in the guilty pleasures you’ve been salivating over.
• They’ll increase energy levels. After a diet break, you’ll feel far more energetic as you go about your day to day living.
• They improve sleep quality. Being on too low of calories can take its toll on your sleep quality.
• They’ll increase your motivation. After a diet break, you’ll find yourself far more motivated to stay the course with the rest of your diet plan.
• They improve your spirits. Constant dieting can have a negative effect on your mood, and even one cheat meal can help to reverse this.
• They’ll improve your nutrient status. With more food coming in, as long as you make smart choices, you’ll take in a higher dose of many vitamins and minerals than you have been getting on your diet.
• They help build lean muscle mass. After dieting, your body is primed to build muscle when you strength train during your break. Whereas you have to restrict calories to shed fat, you’ll have to increase calories if you want to switch your focus to building muscle.
The Bottom Line
A diet break is not going to move you further away from success as long as you don’t let it go on for more than a week. Using well-timed breaks is a great strategy to increase your weight-loss success rate and develop long-term healthy eating habits.
Don’t let yourself be scared out of taking a few days off here and there. If you’ve had the self-control to stick to your plan for this long, you’ll have the self-control to return back to it in a few days. Make sure to take one break for every 5–8 weeks of dieting.