Take a Break to Lose More Weight

It sounds crazy, but taking a break from your diet can help you lose more weight.

According to a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, people who dieted for two weeks, then paused cutting calories for two weeks and repeated that pattern lost more weight and fat than people who dieted continuously.

This approach is extremely effective when you hit a dreaded weight-loss plateau. Stopping and restarting your diet a few days later is sometimes the best way to bust through a plateau or recharge your motivation.

However, for best results, do not use your diet break to eat anything and everything you want.

Consider your diet break a chance to relax a little and stop counting calories eaten or calories burned. You should continue to eat as smart and healthy as possible without overthinking.

So, how long of a break should you take? There doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut formula. 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 a few signs that you may be ready for a diet break.

  1. You step on the scale several times a day.
  2. You exercise too much.
  3. You eat too little.
  4. You feel depressed over your lack of progress.
  5. Your unhappiness with your diet is affecting your life.

Jim Cowan, a personal trainer and nutrition planner who prescribes diet breaks for his clients, notes, “Too many dieters fall into the trap of dieting for long periods of time. What usually happens is this: as the weeks move on, the pounds stop coming off.”

Cowan urges dieters to plan ahead for a break. A rule of thumb can be 10 weeks on, then two off.

Or, you can simply listen to your body.

“If you have ever been on a strict diet before, you know that your body changes and your mind starts to play tricks on you,” Cowan said. “The longer you diet, the more you think about food until it is almost unbearable.”


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.


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