Deficit Breaks

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  • It’s pretty easy. I’m sure everything adds up for you in your journey right now. Some way or another. It has for me in the past. Eventually, something may not add up for you and you’ll begin to question why. At first you’ll say, it falls somewhere between what’s in your stomach, intestines, bladder and water retention, and then you might start blaming the calories that your eating to be wrong, and then ultimately it will just be different, or you’ll just accept it to be different. But what do I know, having lived it myself several times. I’m probably different than everyone else, and of course, I’ve never suffered from the effects of perfectionism, and the process of being so anal about something like CICO.

    @NovusDies I honestly wish you the best with your own experiment. It’s really nice when results add up, but can be very disappointing when they don’t. I’ve been disappointed enough by it in my life to understand there is more involved than CICO, at least for me.

    I’m not saying a deficit in calories isn’t important and more importantly learning how not to overeat, I’m just saying there is a lot more to the equation for me.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    It’s pretty easy. I’m sure everything adds up for you in your journey right now. Some way or another. It has for me in the past. Eventually, something may not add up for you and you’ll begin to question why. At first you’ll say, it falls somewhere between what’s in your stomach, intestines, bladder and water retention, and then you might start blaming the calories that your eating to be wrong, and then ultimately it will just be different, or you’ll just accept it to be different. But what do I know, having lived it myself several times. I’m probably different than everyone else, and of course, I’ve never suffered from the effects of perfectionism, and the process of being so anal about something like CICO.

    @NovusDies I honestly wish you the best with your own experiment. It’s really nice when results add up, but can be very disappointing when they don’t. I’ve been disappointed enough by it in my life to understand there is more involved than CICO, at least for me.

    I’m not saying a deficit in calories isn’t important and more importantly learning how not to overeat, I’m just saying there is a lot more to the equation for me.

    This isn't a peer-reviewed human study. This is actually just some cryptic post in which you are essentially patting me on my head for my naïveté. When I grow up maybe I will have all the answers that you do.

    The thing is many people have come through MFP making claims at special requirements to lose weight and not one of them has ever proven a thing. The reason is people add 2+2 and get 22. Some people have a oddly suppressed NEAT when in a caloric deficit that throws off their numbers. Others can have odd water retention. I am one of them. I have waited almost 2 months before to get a new low weight. When it arrived I had lost everything I was suppose to lose at around 3500 calories per pound. Still others lack the patience to trust and wait. Many people fall in the last category. I was once one of them. They do something slightly different and then by coincidence or by a change that causes some water retention to release they believe the "something" is the plateau buster they needed.

    If there was a true loophole to the basic energy equation of CICO it would be in a peer-reviewed human study.

    One thing that is true is that while online TDEE and NEAT calculators work for the statistical majority of people they get some people wrong. Those people can go on to lose weight like everyone else but they have to manually correct their calorie goal with a deficit from their own numbers.
  • Again, I’m glad CICO works for you. Further, if I had all the answers I wouldn’t be using MFP. I do have personal experiences with what has and hasn’t worked for me, and resemble all of the above results, failures and successes, but mostly failures. I have learned that not all calories are created equal as far as our body is concerned. I may not be a peer-reviewed study as you so expect to consider, but I am confident and committed to this truth, my truth. Again, we live and learn. Your experience can be different from mine. I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, a dietician, or anything that resembles an expert in the field of weight loss. I am a morbidly obese person with 20 year of failures under my belt, currently size 50.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    Again, I’m glad CICO works for you. Further, if I had all the answers I wouldn’t be using MFP. I do have personal experiences with what has and hasn’t worked for me, and resemble all of the above results, failures and successes, but mostly failures. I have learned that not all calories are created equal as far as our body is concerned. I may not be a peer-reviewed study as you so expect to consider, but I am confident and committed to this truth, my truth. Again, we live and learn. Your experience can be different from mine. I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, a dietician, or anything that resembles an expert in the field of weight loss. I am a morbidly obese person with 20 year of failures under my belt, currently size 50.

    Even if you were a doctor, a nutritionist, a dietitian, or an expert you could come to the wrong conclusion. Everyone is fallible. This is why I keep things very simple and stay within the confines of peer-reviewed human scientific studies. Even if one of them came to a new miraculous revelation that a few of us can manufacture energy in a way that is less ordinary I would wait for a confirmation study to back it up.

    I do believe you can find success even with an alternate theory. People do it all the time. The internet is full of myths that have been "confirmed" by real results. I have certainly read many testimonials.

    I personally believed in genetics determining your ability to lose weight and in weight set points. I have battled my weight since I was a teen and everything kept backing up my personal beliefs. Scale results and the fact that when I lost weight I would gain more because my "set point" would be reset confirmed it for over 30 years. When I did settle on a new weight it seemed to stay there for years. I was sure I was right. I was sure my body worked differently. I was not and it did not work differently. It held me back. CICO cuts through all the noise, biases, misinterpreted results, myths, etc. My spreadsheet shows me the truth time and time again. I have eaten a number of different ways in the last 18 months and they all balance the same.

    Here in this group the conversations are limited to keeping it simple with a calorie deficit. I do not want people doubting the process each time the scale goes the wrong way... it is not helpful... for me it was not sustainable. Real proof is needed to change that rule.
  • merph518
    merph518 Posts: 701 Member
    @Satisfiedwithbetter

    Personally, I'm fine with people believing whatever they want to believe. But you should probably hold back when it comes to offering advice to others based on your personal theories. That said, your positivity has been contagious since you joined, please continue to share that. :)
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    merph518 wrote: »
    @Satisfiedwithbetter

    Personally, I'm fine with people believing whatever they want to believe. But you should probably hold back when it comes to offering advice to others based on your personal theories. That said, your positivity has been contagious since you joined, please continue to share that. :)

    Well said.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    I have changed the title from Diet Break to Deficit Break to be more sensitive to people who are not happy with the word diet.

    Since I am taking a break I should also document my experience.

    Until October 14th, when I will reassess my progress, I will not be in any type of intentional deficit. The goal is to heal and to end the weight loss fatigue I have been experiencing.

    During my 3 months of "hurry up" weight loss I have grown to really despise the process. Normally I allow myself to have a maintenance day whenever I feel the need. This usually keeps me from needing one at all. I respond better to knowing I spend so much time in a deficit out of choice not because I am forced to do it. It sounds like I am splitting hairs and I suppose I am but it works for me. I also respond better to my normal 6 day deficit system:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10735146/the-six-day-calorie-deficit-aka-banking-calories/p1

    When I started my hurry up process I cut about 200 calories from my day and instead of having full maintenance on Sunday I had half deficit. Still more food but less satisfying.

    I knew I could keep myself disciplined because so much was riding on me accomplishing everything but I also knew it would be no fun.

    This is the thread I created about it:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10762903/how-i-went-from-sustainable-to-unsustainable/p1

    I am a big believer in only using discipline and willpower to seal the cracks in the dam. I think if you use it to hold back all the water it gets exhausting and unsustainable. You need to like what you do and you need to take it easy on yourself and always put sustainability as a priority over speed. However sometimes things do not work the way it would be easiest and we have to dig deep. I can tell you right now if I had tried doing what I did during my "hurry up" for the entire weight loss I would have never lost the 230 pounds. I would have broken. I know because I recognize how I felt in many of my previous failures.

    With the skin removal weight I can only guess at my TDEE but I believe it is at 2350 while recovering and sedentary. I am shooting for a daily goal of around 2600 because I would rather be in a slight surplus than in any type of deficit. I am not afraid of regaining a little weight. I am more afraid of stalling my healing and prolonging my mental fatigue.

    I think the core of my fatigue is that I didn't have enough treats because I cut my calories and I never felt I could let "loose". I began having a less optimal relationship with food. Last night at 11:30 I raided the fridge for about 800 calories of leftover pizza. I will count it in today's calories. It felt so good to be relaxed.

    What I have decided to do is eat my core calories inside my normal routine. This means filling up my nutritional requirements with nutrient dense lower calorie food. It also means it gives me a LOT of calories to play with each day for treats and whims. I am trying to play it smart on a few things. For instance I had a piece of a chocolate silk pie that whole was 510 calories. I ate half one day and half another. So my deficit break will still require smart decision making and calorie control but I do intend to have some fun too.
  • DogMom919
    DogMom919 Posts: 57 Member
    @NovusDies Thank you for your insightful update! Continue to “do you”.... I’m sending good thoughts your way.
  • ConfidentRaven
    ConfidentRaven Posts: 1,428 Member
    I thought I would do a check in and follow up on how things have gone post deficit. I had a little trouble getting fully back on track, very similar to what I experienced when I first started. I’m back fully on track and I’ve been eating at less of a deficit than before the break. However, I’m now losing at a healthier and more consistent pace, with far less binge moments.

    I’ve set my calorie goals to lose a pound a week, but often eat to lose two a week. I’m enjoying having this flexibility and wish that I had done it this way from the start.
  • cheryldumais
    cheryldumais Posts: 1,931 Member
    I thought I would do a check in and follow up on how things have gone post deficit. I had a little trouble getting fully back on track, very similar to what I experienced when I first started. I’m back fully on track and I’ve been eating at less of a deficit than before the break. However, I’m now losing at a healthier and more consistent pace, with far less binge moments.

    I’ve set my calorie goals to lose a pound a week, but often eat to lose two a week. I’m enjoying having this flexibility and wish that I had done it this way from the start.

    The same thing happened to me after my first diet break but since I was coming into the home stretch it turned out to be a good thing. In the end the whole thing was a great experience and I finally got to goal because of it. Congratulations on your progress! You are an inspiration to others.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    I thought I would do a check in and follow up on how things have gone post deficit. I had a little trouble getting fully back on track, very similar to what I experienced when I first started. I’m back fully on track and I’ve been eating at less of a deficit than before the break. However, I’m now losing at a healthier and more consistent pace, with far less binge moments.

    I’ve set my calorie goals to lose a pound a week, but often eat to lose two a week. I’m enjoying having this flexibility and wish that I had done it this way from the start.

    Good work! You are extremely wise to mine every new experience for ways to refine and adapt. You have proven that a period of struggle is not a reason to shut down it is an opportunity for growth.
  • maiomaio71
    maiomaio71 Posts: 231 Member
    I have a question that doesn't really belong here but might kind of be relevant to this thread. I'm changing my routine and my "normal" foods to see how it affects my satiety and my weightloss. For example I've eaten 40g porridge every morning since forever. I eat at 6am and then have lunch at 1pm and porridge keeps me full for those 7 hours. I'm now trying a more protein-rich breakfast for the same calories, to see if anything changes. Have any of you made specific changes to your diet? Is anyone like me and eats the same breakfast and lunch most days? My dinners are widely varied because I love to cook and family appreciate my cooking, but the other meals are pretty much the same everyday. Does this impact on weightloss? Do our bodies become accustomed to certain foods? I'm also trying to increase my lunch calories and decrease my dinner calories to spread the distribution more evenly over the day. It's just an experiment to see if it has an impact but wondered what your experiences had been.
  • Satisfiedwithbetter
    Satisfiedwithbetter Posts: 970 Member
    First off, 7 hours on 40g of porridge is impressive! I totally agree in trying to find satiating foods, and foods that your body feels good and functions well on in the long-term. As a creature of habit, I do eat the same foods regularly for weekday breakfast and lunch, and mix dinner and weekend meals up, however on a week to week basis the meals are pretty similar. I also try to eat more early in the day to allow my body a chance to finish processing the food at night, and to hopefully start using my excess fat as fuel. Some foods just keep calling my name and don’t ever seem to have a reasonable full signal for me. I have to really watch these foods, either through portion control or by eliminating them entirely. I prefer portion control, but sometimes things are just bad for me period.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    maiomaio71 wrote: »
    I have a question that doesn't really belong here but might kind of be relevant to this thread. I'm changing my routine and my "normal" foods to see how it affects my satiety and my weightloss. For example I've eaten 40g porridge every morning since forever. I eat at 6am and then have lunch at 1pm and porridge keeps me full for those 7 hours. I'm now trying a more protein-rich breakfast for the same calories, to see if anything changes. Have any of you made specific changes to your diet? Is anyone like me and eats the same breakfast and lunch most days? My dinners are widely varied because I love to cook and family appreciate my cooking, but the other meals are pretty much the same everyday. Does this impact on weightloss? Do our bodies become accustomed to certain foods? I'm also trying to increase my lunch calories and decrease my dinner calories to spread the distribution more evenly over the day. It's just an experiment to see if it has an impact but wondered what your experiences had been.

    I am a big advocate of experimentation. Figuring out the ins and outs of how to control your hunger is highly beneficial. Even when something doesn't work you learn. Comparing a new breakfast to your normal porridge should be really interesting.

    I eat pretty similarly for 4 days a week and then it varies more on the other 3. It is not the same exact food each day but a close proximity. A typical variation is a huge salad vs a huge bowl of cooked vegetables.

  • hansep0012
    hansep0012 Posts: 383 Member
    maiomaio71 wrote: »
    I have a question that doesn't really belong here but might kind of be relevant to this thread. I'm changing my routine and my "normal" foods to see how it affects my satiety and my weightloss. For example I've eaten 40g porridge every morning since forever. I eat at 6am and then have lunch at 1pm and porridge keeps me full for those 7 hours. I'm now trying a more protein-rich breakfast for the same calories, to see if anything changes. Have any of you made specific changes to your diet? Is anyone like me and eats the same breakfast and lunch most days? My dinners are widely varied because I love to cook and family appreciate my cooking, but the other meals are pretty much the same everyday. Does this impact on weightloss? Do our bodies become accustomed to certain foods? I'm also trying to increase my lunch calories and decrease my dinner calories to spread the distribution more evenly over the day. It's just an experiment to see if it has an impact but wondered what your experiences had been.

    For me, one of the first changes I made back in March 2019 was to not eat a drive through breakfast burrito as my morning meal. At nearly 600 calories, a breakfast burrito was too big a hit for my daily calories and I was doing it five days a week. Now I eat my pre-measured baggie of cereal with 1% milk at my desk each morning. The cereal may vary but it is pretty much the same routine each work day.

    Lunch is pretty much the same because I freeze left over dinner portions and just throw a frozen entrée into my lunch bag each morning. It helps with logging, too, because the items are already in my diary and are typically smaller portions.

    Like you, @maiomaio71 , I love to cook and dinner is varied and unique. I intentionally cook for four even though it's just my husband and I so that I can get two frozen entrees for lunch put up.

    Weekends are my biggest challenge and football season is a double whammy because on Sunday my intentional exercise can get thrown out the window if my team is playing.

    On a related note, trying to improve my sleep duration I've learned that having a more narrow eating window, particularly around bedtime may help. So, I am trying to be sure that we are done eating by 18:00 each night.
  • smat52
    smat52 Posts: 36 Member
    It's a lifestyle and not a diet. You can have less calories most days and use the extras for weekends and special occasions. I've learned that if you're at a standstill to eat more for a couple of days to get your metabolism going. On WW you can roll your extra calories over to the next day and you are given extra calories weekly to use or not use.
  • conniewilkins56
    conniewilkins56 Posts: 3,271 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    One of our new members @ConfidentRaven is considering taking a deficit break. I think it can be a very important tool so I thought we could discuss it.

    I am no expert but it is a subject that interests me. I have taken one every 6 months except for recently when I postponed it for surgery.

    What is a deficit break?

    It is a period of at least 10 days or more of eating at maintenance or just slightly above it. During this period of time it is recommended that your total carbs meet or exceed 100 grams per day.

    The purpose is physical and mental.

    Physically many of your hormone levels are impacted by a prolonged calorie deficit. Your BMR also declines slightly while you are in a deficit. People with larger amount of fat stores have more protection against permanent metabolism decline so the frequency is optional. For people with far fewer fat stores a diet break every 3 months is recommended to protect against adaptive thermogenisis.

    As I understand it, it takes 7 days for your hormone levels to reset and at least 3 more days to stabilize for awhile which is why there is a 10 day minimum. Most people just take a full 2 weeks.

    Mentally the benefits vary from person to person. You would hope that it would be a period where you would relax and enjoy a little more food and get you mentally recharged and ready to resume. I think it would definitely help prevent someone from experiencing diet fatigue. Some people actually see the scale drop during the break and I believe it is because when their stress declines so does their cortisol which releases water weight.

    I think the only drawback is for people who have been too aggressive and strict with themselves. They may not want to resume their course at the end of the break.

    You would also need to understand that your scale will likely go up during and for 5ish days afterwards.

    You would think that the delay in weight loss would be a drawback but I do not consider it one. I don't think it is all that mentally healthy if a person cannot even consider taking a break for that reason. I like knowing that I can do it.

    Edited To Change from Diet Break to Deficit Break

    This is a very good post that Novus wrote about diet breaks....lots of information!
  • lauriekallis
    lauriekallis Posts: 2,760 Member
    I've been thinking about going on a deficit break. Because I've just been hungry lately. Not bingey. Hungry. I'm on my third day in a row of maintenance/near maintenance and maybe I'll just continue? My birthday is toward the end of this month - so I was considering doing a 10 day break then. But. Maybe it is already happening now? lol. Not sure.

    I was so determined to get things moving again after the holidays that I may have set my deficit higher than it should be. It also feels like it just gets harder the closer I get to my goal - whatever that will end up being. So maybe a deficit break now and a lower deficit afterwards - a more gentle approach to these last ??? 10/20 pounds would be a good idea. I just get so impatient!

    hhmmm.....

    And, this will sound odd...but parts of me have been feeling a bit too skinny lately! I've not used my arms/core muscles too much because I'm waiting for surgery and as a result I've lost a lot of muscle. It almost spooks me to see how thin my shoulders and upper torso have become. There is plenty of loose skin on my arms, and plenty of fat down below my ribcage and my thighs, but above is weirdly boney.

    So maybe aiming for maintenance while I adjust to this kinda of mixed up body is a good plan?

    Hopefull if I do this now, I can pull it off without going off track completely! I'm still going to carry on with my 7 daily goals. I've been having rice cakes lately - and they seem okay, so I've tweaked my previous "avoid refined carbs" goal to "avoiding wheat-based refined carbs". Hopefully if I stick to the goals, and just switch to maintenance calories 7 days of the week rather than 2, I can keep it together.

    Wish me luck fellow losers!
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 10,712 Member
    edited March 2021
    I've been thinking about going on a deficit break. Because I've just been hungry lately. Not bingey. Hungry. I'm on my third day in a row of maintenance/near maintenance and maybe I'll just continue? My birthday is toward the end of this month - so I was considering doing a 10 day break then. But. Maybe it is already happening now? lol. Not sure.

    I was so determined to get things moving again after the holidays that I may have set my deficit higher than it should be. It also feels like it just gets harder the closer I get to my goal - whatever that will end up being. So maybe a deficit break now and a lower deficit afterwards - a more gentle approach to these last ??? 10/20 pounds would be a good idea. I just get so impatient!

    hhmmm.....

    And, this will sound odd...but parts of me have been feeling a bit too skinny lately! I've not used my arms/core muscles too much because I'm waiting for surgery and as a result I've lost a lot of muscle. It almost spooks me to see how thin my shoulders and upper torso have become. There is plenty of loose skin on my arms, and plenty of fat down below my ribcage and my thighs, but above is weirdly boney.

    So maybe aiming for maintenance while I adjust to this kinda of mixed up body is a good plan?

    Hopefull if I do this now, I can pull it off without going off track completely! I'm still going to carry on with my 7 daily goals. I've been having rice cakes lately - and they seem okay, so I've tweaked my previous "avoid refined carbs" goal to "avoiding wheat-based refined carbs". Hopefully if I stick to the goals, and just switch to maintenance calories 7 days of the week rather than 2, I can keep it together.

    Wish me luck fellow losers!

    During recovery from surgery eating at maintenance is probably a better plan in terms of healing than trying to maintain a deficit, especially with the skin stuff .
  • lauriekallis
    lauriekallis Posts: 2,760 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    During recovery from surgery eating at maintenance is probably a better plan in terms of healing than trying to maintain a deficit, especially with the skin stuff .

    I wish I was in recovery....still just waiting. My one of my bicep heads, and 3 of my rotator cuff muscles are no longer attached - tendons are ruptured. The bicep is a lost cause - but the plan is to insert "patches" for the rotator cuff part of this injury. When that day comes (oh soon please!!!!) I'll definitely do everything necessary to speed/increase the chances of a full recovery. It seems it is only a 50/50 deal at the best. In the meantime - I'm just kinda nursing things along so they don't get worse. My calories have been running at a deficit (until the past few weeks) but the nutrition has been the best of my life. I really kinda like my arm!

    I have always been very muscular and strong because I worked physically - landscaping & construction - so this 110 pound weight loss blended with a year and a half of not working with my arms/torso has left a body that resembles ??? I don't know what.... :D

    The eating at maintenance is a challenge though! It is like "giving me enough rope to hang myself."

    I've gotten it a bet more together yesterday and today. Hopefully that continues!