We see the common occurrence of weight regain during post diet phases all the time, and the simple answer is that it’s due to eating more foods that you probably were restricting during that time right? But what is really causing you to feel hunger and lose self-control? Before we can understand this, it's important to understand what happens during the diet phase on a physiological level to allow a better plan of attack when we are no longer in a deficit of calories. When being on a diet, calories are required to go below your basal metabolic rate (BMR) in order to see fat loss. Depending on the aggressive nature of the diet, losing the weight can effect other physiological implications taking place. The immediate response we feel is hunger, which is caused by the hormone ghrelin. Leptin, the other hunger hormone, is usually decreased when calories are brought back up to maintenance. So how can a diet break help? When taking some time off from a fat loss period, you may be able to help improve metabolism by improving its efficiency to function. What is important to understand is that the brain is the anabolic head quarters. Most of these hormones that are affected due to the signaling to the brain are inefficient. While some hormones are stored in other parts of our body, the brain can allow them to be increased or decreased once metabolic functions are out of alignment. The visual above shows what can happen when being on a maintenance or diet break. Depending on your goals, the length of time can vary, but after you are done with this phase, it becomes more about your goals for the next steps to take. 📝Take home message: when your in a deficit for so long, and your progress is stalling, this is usually a good indication that a diet break is necessary at this time rather than continuing with a fat loss phase. The benefits of a diet break include: recovery metabolically, hormonally, and will allow you to get leaner post diet break.
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