By: Kristi Goode
Weeks into a diet can look different for everyone. How do you know when it’s time to end a diet or how do you know if you should continue? By now you’ve discovered the ups and downs that go along with working toward your fat loss goals. These rough patches may present emotionally, mentally and/or physically.
Inevitably, there will be a time when “bouncing back” isn’t as easy. And we all know, it will happen! And the excitement from starting a new plan and the strategies that use to work don’t work quite as well. You may feel drained, progress can plateau, and you may feel like you’re going backwards!!
You start your new plan with enthusiasm, excitement, and plenty of motivation because everything feels new and fun! But as the weeks go by, there will be times that are hard. You will start to struggle and have to remind yourself of the reason you embarked on your fat loss journey.
Say hello to diet fatigue… Diet fatigue is not an "if" it's a "when"!
One option to combat fatigue is to implement a “diet break”. This can be any time from 7-21 days. Now, with that said, this isn’t a time for you to eat whatever you want, return to “old habits”, or eat more and do more cardio! It’s a structured break where you include more nutrient dense foods such as protein, fat, and carbs to your established plan. Basically, you just eat a little more of the foods you’ve been eating while on your fat loss journey!
Let’s look at some signs that you may need to implement a diet break (add more food):
Increased hunger and cravings
Harder time recovering from workouts
Moodiness and irritability
Diet fatigue is real and will sneak up on you if you don’t have a plan. Having a plan will keep YOU in control of your sustainable fat loss journey. Even though you may think that taking a “diet break’ will hinder your progress, it’s actually the opposite! A “diet break” will keep your progress moving forward. Using this strategy or putting it into practice will help you to rebound from any setbacks.
First, let’s look at some ways you can mix things up before initiating your “diet break”. You can start out by changing up your routine. What are you are currently eating? Maybe try a new recipe, swap out routine foods for new foods, make a new workout schedule, or buy some new workout clothes. Look at some ways to add variety into your routine!
If you are beyond that point, and already tried some new ideas, then maybe it’s time to intentionally add more food for 7-21 days. Adding more nutrient dense foods can do a few things:
Help offset metabolic adaptations. (Meaning that your body has adapted to your calorie deficit and your energy in is the same as your energy out. Thus, preventing any more weight loss.)
Help relieve stress. When we diet or take in fewer calories our cortisol level (stress hormone) increases.
Increase energy which in turn can aid in more regular daily movement.
Diet fatigue doesn’t mean you have to give up. Implementing a plan such as a “diet break” can give your body the rest it needs to continue moving forward. If you don’t have a strategic plan, that’s when you will revert to old habits and start “eating all the things”. Give yourself some grace, create a strategic plan for a “diet break”, and find a balance that works for you. Ultimately, this is YOUR plan and it has to be sustainable.