3 Signs You Need to Take a Break from Your Diet
When we first start a diet, its easy to stay on track. Motivation is sky high, you still have tons of energy, and all of a sudden, you see the number on the scale going down. Then, inevitably, things start to get harder. The scale stops moving, you’re hungry, and the only thing you can think to do is judo chop your calories even further. While this may be the answer in certain cases, its also possible that the solution is the exact opposite; you need to bring calories up to maintenance for a few weeks. Today, I’m going to lay out 3 signs that more food is exactly what your diet needs.
1:Your energy levels have plummeted
Being in a caloric deficit is by nature going to lead to lower energy levels. You’re probably going to feel a little more sluggish than normal, and this is completely fine. However, if your energy levels are lower than a teenagers iPhone battery after 4 hours of snap chatting (aka, you feel completely lethargic), it might be time to bring calories up for a few weeks. You see, when you spend time in a caloric deficit, certain hormones that regulate movement and hunger start to increase. This leads to less calories being burned and more desire to eat, which is obviously not helping anyone’s weight loss. When you bring calories back up for a while, your body relaxes back into its normal state, you stop feeling so exhausted, and you can go back into your diet without these effects happening immediately again. Give this a try, but when the time comes to get back to dieting, I’d suggest you try starting a little higher calorie and see if you are can make progress from there.This may help prevent the energy drain from happening as quickly the next go around.
2: You aren’t losing weight eating at your Basal Metabolic Rate
While the scale isn’t super accurate at tracking fat loss day to day, if its been 2 weeks and it hasn’t budged, it may be time to take a break from dieting. As I mentioned above, your body is great at manipulating hormones to bring your total daily energy expenditure down. This means that, as the diet goes on, you have to keep cutting calories if you want to keep seeing progress. This is completely fine, but at some point you hit a wall where cutting more calories simply isn’t healthy. I consider this point to be your BMR, or basal metabolic rate. Your BMR is the number of calories you burn simply by being alive and having your organs working. There are plenty of BMR calculators online for you to find out what your number is, and if you find that you are eating at or below BMR and still not losing weight, its time to bring calories back up. Like I said earlier, doing this will allow your metabolism to bounce back and leave you in a state where you can diet at a higher number of calories again. While your metabolism will eventually dip again, you can simply repeat this process as many times as you need to until you have reached your goal body fat percentage.
3. You’re near your goal body fat percentage, but you still don’t like the way you look
In natural trainees, there are really only 2 things we can change that will effect the way you look: fat mass and muscle mass. If you have been dieting religiously and have gotten pretty lean, but you still don’t like the way you look, it may be more beneficial for you to switch to a muscle gaining phase. This will allow you to pack on some size so that when you diet down again, you will have more muscle definition and won’t look as skinny. This mostly applies to brand new trainees who haven’t built a solid foundation to unveil when the fat comes off. Now, by no means am I saying you have to build muscle first, I’m just saying if you are too skinny for your own liking, losing fat isn’t going to be the answer. Switching to a slight calorie surplus for several months will give you the opportunity to bulk up a little, which may better suit your overall goals.
Dieting is always going to be challenging, but if you feel like you’re just grinding every day with no results, it may be time for a break. If any of the scenarios above sound like you, give it a try and I guarantee you’ll be happier with the results once you start the diet back up. Thanks for reading!
PS: like what I have to say? Want more helpful fitness information? Check out my site platebyplatefitness.com! I post useful tips and tricks to get you into great shape without sacrificing your lifestyle.