Deficit Breaks

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Replies

  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    How often and when do you know it’s time for a break?....I have been doing this a few months but I can honestly say I have not felt deprived or extra hungry....I have not really denied myself any type of food but I have certainly eaten less food than was my normal!...I am so determined to lose weight and finish this journey that I hate to lose my momentum at this point but I want to do everything right....does everyone eventually need a break for a week or two?...could you take a mini break of a couple days eating at a higher calorie amount or do you need to take a longer break to reset your BMR?....this is the longest I have eaten healthy for a very long time!....it is taking me a while to realize I am really doing this!....thanks for the help and information!


    How often depends on you and where you are. Some people never take one. I took my first one at 6 months and it was mostly a precautionary thing and the fact there was a birthday and holiday in the 10 day span. I took my second one 5 months later at Thanksgiving which is my favorite holiday. I still had a lot of fat stores both times and even now so it was optional.

    The last one was a mini that I took in April. It was the first time I was feeling fatigued. At that point I had been going for 14 or so months and we had a sudden and devastating loss in our family in March. I was still losing weight but I was feeling worn around the edges and my average daily calories were creeping upwards. I took it primarily for mental reasons. It worked and when I got back I was ready to go again.

    So for the most part I have just used breaks to coincide with other events that I would have wanted more food at anyway. As I have also mentioned I have always kept my weight loss (until now) at a slower than necessary pace. I do not like how little information there is available out there for Larger Losers. I think anyone who is going to be in a calorie deficit for more than 2 years (me for sure) needs to play it smart. After the first few months we need to make sure we get balanced nutrition and keeping our bodies in a permanent deficit doesn't strike me as a good idea.

    The one time everyone should start eating maintenance is if you are ill or in recovery. You don't have to take a full break but you need to stay at maintenance while your body fights off infections or tries to heal. This does not include things like a stomach flu or food poisoning for obvious reasons.

    The BMR question is a good one. I have been trying to find a reliable and definitive answer on that myself lately. I am believing more and more that my wife with her thyroid problem could benefit from a more regular break to improve her weight loss but she doesn't want to take 10 days off every 3 months or so. I am trying to find the minimum reset and as soon as I do I will report it here.

    It is recommended to take one every 3 months when you are down closer to goal. The impact of losing weight on a body with less fat stores is much more pronounced. I have not fully researched the difference because I am not there yet.

    For anyone who wants to dig into this further Lyle McDonald/bodyrecomposition.com is, I believe, a very trustworthy source of information and a good place to start.



  • conniewilkins56
    conniewilkins56 Posts: 3,239 Member
    Thanks for the information...I think I will keep going the way I am while I am enjoying the ride!...down the road I might feel differently and decide a break is needed....i compare it to a rest park along the highway!....if I need to stop to get out of the car and stretch my legs then I will but if not I am going to keep driving and enjoy the scenery!.....thanks again!
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    Thanks for the information...I think I will keep going the way I am while I am enjoying the ride!...down the road I might feel differently and decide a break is needed....i compare it to a rest park along the highway!....if I need to stop to get out of the car and stretch my legs then I will but if not I am going to keep driving and enjoy the scenery!.....thanks again!

    Seems like a good plan. The thing about weight loss taking a lot of time is that a lot of things happen during the course of it. A lot of those things are just what happens in the course of a life. Some of those things are what is happening internally as we undergo a fairly significant change in body composition. It is no small thing to be a Larger Loser. heh.
  • hansep0012
    hansep0012 Posts: 383 Member
    @NovusDies It is no small thing to be a Larger Loser. heh.

    LMAO

  • ConfidentRaven
    ConfidentRaven Posts: 1,428 Member
    edited September 2019
    What is a diet break? It is eating at maintenance calories for 10-14 days. Less time will not provide the full benefits. The break should be high in carbs. It is not an excuse to eat everything in sight. Some people find that they never need a break, others take them on schedule, and others only take one at plateaus. Just like our diets it’s not a one size fits all sort of thing. If you don’t want to take one then don’t, if you do need one take one responsibly.

    Will you gain weight? Sort of. If you eat at maintenance it is likely that you will put on 2-5 pounds of water weight. This weight should in most cases drop off in a week, two, or less depending on physiology/hormones etc. If you eat above maintenance calories you can gain more, and it’s likely that it will take longer to drop. I’m almost a week post break and I have lost all that I gained plus a tiny amount.

    When do you know you need a diet break? Here’s a short and probably incomplete set of situations to help determine if you need a break:

    You’re in a plateau, a real one that has lasted at least a month and you are not in the first month of a calorie deficit or new exercise regimen.

    You’re eating less and less, but losing less and less, while still far from the top end of your healthy weight. If you’re close to your goal/healthy weight this may not apply.

    You’ve been following an overly restrictive diet for months.

    You’re binging/cheating/whatever you call it, more and more often.

    You have less and less energy, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, or are sleeping more without explanation.

    Check with your doctor if you’re having non weight loss surgery, or are sick (more than a cold/flu) about staying at a calorie deficit.

    You’ve been eating at a calorie deficit for two-four months (depending on weight loss goals) or more and are likely to continue to do so for some time.

    You’re going on vacation, moving, or anything that would make it difficult to follow a calorie deficit for an extended period of time.

    I hope this helps answer some of the questions.
  • conniewilkins56
    conniewilkins56 Posts: 3,239 Member
    Thanks and yes this post was very helpful!
  • hansep0012
    hansep0012 Posts: 383 Member
    @ConfidentRaven - thank you for posting the diet break items, for some reason seeing the points you made, in that particular format, made sense to me - Thank You!

    Since I've been at a plateau for 6+ weeks and still have a considerable amount of weight to lose I am going to go into maintenance calories through the end of September and see if this helps me reset.

    Because I've been actively in a calorie deficit since March, six months, wow (!) and lost 26 pounds (another wow!) this sounds reasonable to me. The heads up about the water weight is much appreciated, too. I'll try not to freak out.
  • ConfidentRaven
    ConfidentRaven Posts: 1,428 Member
    hansep0012 wrote: »
    @ConfidentRaven - thank you for posting the diet break items, for some reason seeing the points you made, in that particular format, made sense to me - Thank You!

    Since I've been at a plateau for 6+ weeks and still have a considerable amount of weight to lose I am going to go into maintenance calories through the end of September and see if this helps me reset.

    Because I've been actively in a calorie deficit since March, six months, wow (!) and lost 26 pounds (another wow!) this sounds reasonable to me. The heads up about the water weight is much appreciated, too. I'll try not to freak out.

    @hanseo0012 Your gain may vary. I'll warn that at the end of week 1 I was 8 pounds higher than my previous low. I tried to keep in mind that I'd had a lot of sodium and that there were some hormones at play. By week 2 weigh in things were a lot better and as I said I've dropped all the weight already. Because you're doing less a deficit than I was you might see more or less loss intially when you return to your losing calories. I hope it does help your plateau. If for some reason it doesn't I'm sure that a lot of people, including myself, can help you figure out what to try next. Congratulations on 26 pounds lost!
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    hansep0012 wrote: »
    @ConfidentRaven - thank you for posting the diet break items, for some reason seeing the points you made, in that particular format, made sense to me - Thank You!

    Since I've been at a plateau for 6+ weeks and still have a considerable amount of weight to lose I am going to go into maintenance calories through the end of September and see if this helps me reset.

    Because I've been actively in a calorie deficit since March, six months, wow (!) and lost 26 pounds (another wow!) this sounds reasonable to me. The heads up about the water weight is much appreciated, too. I'll try not to freak out.

    Just keep in mind that a diet break may not be the first place to turn during your first 6+ week plateau. The first place would be how you are logging. Tightening up there can help you see if you are eating more or less than you realize. I would suggest using a food scale and reading this thread:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1234699/logging-accurately-step-by-step-guide/p1

    An interesting article:

    https://weightology.net/do-dietitians-accurately-report-their-food-intake/
  • ConfidentRaven
    ConfidentRaven Posts: 1,428 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    hansep0012 wrote: »
    @ConfidentRaven - thank you for posting the diet break items, for some reason seeing the points you made, in that particular format, made sense to me - Thank You!

    Since I've been at a plateau for 6+ weeks and still have a considerable amount of weight to lose I am going to go into maintenance calories through the end of September and see if this helps me reset.

    Because I've been actively in a calorie deficit since March, six months, wow (!) and lost 26 pounds (another wow!) this sounds reasonable to me. The heads up about the water weight is much appreciated, too. I'll try not to freak out.

    Just keep in mind that a diet break may not be the first place to turn during your first 6+ week plateau. The first place would be how you are logging. Tightening up there can help you see if you are eating more or less than you realize. I would suggest using a food scale and reading this thread:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1234699/logging-accurately-step-by-step-guide/p1

    An interesting article:

    https://weightology.net/do-dietitians-accurately-report-their-food-intake/

    I'll admit to not thinking about that angle. There is also the idea that calories do go down as weight is lost so be sure to check that your calorie goal is accurate.
  • Excellent food for thought!
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    hansep0012 wrote: »
    @ConfidentRaven - thank you for posting the diet break items, for some reason seeing the points you made, in that particular format, made sense to me - Thank You!

    Since I've been at a plateau for 6+ weeks and still have a considerable amount of weight to lose I am going to go into maintenance calories through the end of September and see if this helps me reset.

    Because I've been actively in a calorie deficit since March, six months, wow (!) and lost 26 pounds (another wow!) this sounds reasonable to me. The heads up about the water weight is much appreciated, too. I'll try not to freak out.

    Just keep in mind that a diet break may not be the first place to turn during your first 6+ week plateau. The first place would be how you are logging. Tightening up there can help you see if you are eating more or less than you realize. I would suggest using a food scale and reading this thread:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1234699/logging-accurately-step-by-step-guide/p1

    An interesting article:

    https://weightology.net/do-dietitians-accurately-report-their-food-intake/

    I'll admit to not thinking about that angle. There is also the idea that calories do go down as weight is lost so be sure to check that your calorie goal is accurate.

    Good catch. I meant to mention that but I am still dragging because of the massive recent water loss (15.2 pounds in 7 days).

    About every 10 pounds you need to go back through MFP's guided set-up and let it recalc your calorie goal since it does go down with your weight loss.
  • hansep0012
    hansep0012 Posts: 383 Member
    Checked out the link https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1234699/logging-accurately-step-by-step-guide/p1 and learned how to better gauge if any entry is accurate, so that was good! I also learned that the rating method has changed since the user posted the guidelines, asterisk is gone, check mark is in.

    pn129ow9pkcx.jpg
  • hansep0012
    hansep0012 Posts: 383 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    hansep0012 wrote: »
    @ConfidentRaven - thank you for posting the diet break items, for some reason seeing the points you made, in that particular format, made sense to me - Thank You!

    Since I've been at a plateau for 6+ weeks and still have a considerable amount of weight to lose I am going to go into maintenance calories through the end of September and see if this helps me reset.

    Because I've been actively in a calorie deficit since March, six months, wow (!) and lost 26 pounds (another wow!) this sounds reasonable to me. The heads up about the water weight is much appreciated, too. I'll try not to freak out.

    Just keep in mind that a diet break may not be the first place to turn during your first 6+ week plateau. The first place would be how you are logging. Tightening up there can help you see if you are eating more or less than you realize. I would suggest using a food scale and reading this thread:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1234699/logging-accurately-step-by-step-guide/p1

    An interesting article:

    https://weightology.net/do-dietitians-accurately-report-their-food-intake/

    The last two or more weeks I've intentionally "tightened up" my logging by using my food scale and with deliberation assessing my food intake. I've also attempted to more objectively gauge my exercise as well as not eat back the exercise calories calculated thereby making it a no-brainer (if I don't eat back the calories then it matters not if they are accurate).

    My food and exercise diary is public so this is an invite to peruse and provide feedback. If you'd rather not post on the Group page please send me a friend request - either way is fine with me. I appreciate your support!

    Pam
  • ConfidentRaven
    ConfidentRaven Posts: 1,428 Member
    @hansep0012 A couple of questions, what is your calorie goal without exercise? I saw several different ones and wondered which one was correct. How far from your goal weight are you? Do you weigh daily or once per week, if once per week which day is your official weigh in day?
  • conniewilkins56
    conniewilkins56 Posts: 3,239 Member
    My calorie goal started out at 1690 and has now gone down to 1490.... it’s not fair that the more you lose,you lose more food.!....lol.....I could raise the calories but I am still ok at this amount....all the discussion about food breaks and eating extra calories makes me hungry!
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    hansep0012 wrote: »
    Checked out the link https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1234699/logging-accurately-step-by-step-guide/p1 and learned how to better gauge if any entry is accurate, so that was good! I also learned that the rating method has changed since the user posted the guidelines, asterisk is gone, check mark is in.


    The green check marks can have information that is out of date. Really the best way to verify if an entry is correct is to compare it to the label or look up the item on the USDA site. I use as many of the USDA entries as I can.

    Today I had Pacific Cod so I searched for 'USDA raw cod' and then scrolled down until I found:

    Fish, cod, Pacific, raw, USDA

    I want only entries in grams and I want to weigh my fish before I cook it so I need the raw entry. I know from experience that the 100g for 69 calories matches the USDA site.

    For what I eat I have only found a couple of incorrect entries that were USDA based. To me they are typically more reliable than a green check mark.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    My calorie goal started out at 1690 and has now gone down to 1490.... it’s not fair that the more you lose,you lose more food.!....lol.....I could raise the calories but I am still ok at this amount....all the discussion about food breaks and eating extra calories makes me hungry!

    lol

    It can be rude at times. It can also be a nudge forward. When you get your new calorie count it can force you to change another habit to get you more ready for the end.

    I started out very heavy and I could eat just about anything I wanted and stay in a deficit. Every 10 pounds though I have lost calories and had to keep amending my habits. I still eat things like fried chicken strips and fries but I can't do it as often as when I started. My behavior is being adjusted but slowly. That is until I get my surgery and within half a day I will lose around 150 calories... rude!
  • hansep0012
    hansep0012 Posts: 383 Member
    @hansep0012 A couple of questions, what is your calorie goal without exercise? I saw several different ones and wondered which one was correct. How far from your goal weight are you? Do you weigh daily or once per week, if once per week which day is your official weigh in day?

    @ConfidentRaven - Thank you for your reply!

    I started back in March with a calorie goal of 1400 for a 2 pound rate of loss that included eating back exercise calories as per my RD suggestion.

    In July my progress stalled so I attempted to not eat back exercise calories and kept the 1400 daily goal.

    By mid to end of August still no scale action so I reduced the rate of loss to 1 (or was 1.5?) pounds and got a new calorie intake of 1600.

    As of this week my calorie goal reflects maintenance at 2100.

    I am 102 pounds from goal weight (SW 265 CW 242 GW 140).
    I have been weighing daily up until this week, this week I've weighed in about every 2-3 days.
    My profile has been regularly updated with my most current weight (and the re-calc done).


    I think the only answer is the obvious - I may think I'm accurately tracking but I must be maintaining because my CICO has me stagnant for loss. It also occurred to me that since my shoulder injury in August, my deliberate exercise each day has been a real challenge and I am relying more on my step count versus treadmill, golf, tennis, etc.

    Appreciate any insights that strike you.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    @hansep0012

    I took a peak at your diary. It doesn't look like you use a food scale. I don't want to get really preachy about it because some people can lose weight fine without one. However, if you are having trouble with consistent calorie counts and maintaining a deficit I suggest you consider getting one and using it for at least a few months. I may or may not be able to stop using mine but I am kind of lazy now and use it all the time. Some people might think it is harder. I think it is easier than formulating guesses even though I am good at guessing weights now.

    This thread shows how far off you can be without one:
    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10634517/you-dont-use-a-food-scale/p1

    This thread gives common tips to using one:
    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10498882/weighing-food-takes-too-long-and-is-obsessive/p1