Stop Dieting and Lose More Weight
Have you gotten to a point in your diet where you feel like shouting, “Gimme a break?” Well, that’s pretty much what you may need to do: Stop your diet and take a break.
Some experts will actually tell you that stopping and restarting your diet may be the best way to bust through a weight plateau or to simply recharge your motivation.
No one is telling you that a diet break is a free pass to start eating anything and everything you want. A diet break is more a chance to relax a little and stop counting points, carbs or calories. You should still eat smart and healthy, but you don’t have to think about it for a stretch of time.
How long of a break should you take?
Well, that varies. But don’t quit for too long or you’ll totally lose your resolve to shed weight – and in no time the pounds you lost will pile back on.
Here are five signs you may need a diet break:
- You step on the scale several times a day.
- You exercise too much.
- You eat too little.
- You feel depressed because your weight isn’t budging.
- Your dieting unhappiness is hurting your life.
Stopping and restarting a diet is a proven way to keep a dieter mentally engaged.
According to Women’s Health, “… researchers aren’t sure why going on and off with a diet works better, but it may simply keep your body from catching on to what you’re trying to do. Plus, maintaining a diet for the foreseeable future can be tough mentally—and having breaks built in may make it easier to stick to a diet when you’re actually on it.”
A study published in the International Journal for Obesity notes that dieting alters a series of biological processes in your body, leading to slower weight loss (and maybe even weight gain). When you go on a diet, your resting metabolism decreases to try to preserve body fat, making it harder to lose weight.
For a randomized clinical trial, researchers split obese participants into two groups who followed a 16-week diet that cut their normal calorie intake by a third. One group stayed on the diet for the full 16 weeks, while the other group followed the diet for two weeks, broke it for another two weeks and just tried to eat healthier, and went back on and off the diet in two week periods for a total of 30 weeks (to make sure they did 16 weeks of actual dieting).
The researchers found that people who dieted off and on lost more weight that those who were all-in for 16 weeks. Not only that, they gained less weight back after the dieting period was over.
There you have it. The next time your mood – and your body – tell you it’s time for a dieting break, take one!
John McGran has been writing about health and weight loss for several national companies since 2000. He brings his knowledge of diets — and his passion for dropping pounds — to Meal Plan Map because he believes it is the future of smart, stress-free eating and improved health.