Even the most determined dieter can cave in to cravings. One method to overcome this is to take a day off your diet plan during the week. This may not be the best choice for everyone. A look at some of the reasons you may or may not want to take a day off when dieting.
Some claim that taking a day off when dieting is the only way to stick to a diet. There is even a new “Day Off Diet” based on this premise. This is actually good reasoning in theory, but may not be the best solution for most dieters.
Taking a Day Off Your Diet May Help Boost Metabolism. Often people think that eating too much can slow down your metabolism. This can occur if you are taking in a lot more calories that you are burning off. What really slows down your metabolism is eating too little. Your body needs food to maintain its life support systems above all else.
When you eat too little, your body will save as many calories as it can just to survive. You may lose energy and even stop losing weight. Taking a day off your diet can help give your body the extra calories and energy it needs for more than basic functions. This is especially important if you are very active or exercise vigorously every day.
Your Hormones May Stay in Check if You Take a Day Off Your Diet. For most people, weight loss decreases the hormone leptin in the body. Leptin is produced in fat tissues in the body that tells your brain there is enough calories in store in the body. When leptin levels decrease, it triggers cravings so that you will eat and keep fat stores at the level your body is used to.
Decreased leptin levels not only cause cravings, but can decrease energy levels and slow down metabolism. You can read more about this in my article Leptin and Maintaining Weight Loss. Taking a day off when dieting can keep leptin levels at a higher level than if you were to maintain a strict diet every day.
Taking a Day Off When Dieting May Prevent Weight Loss. Depending on how much you binge on your day off, you may find you lose weight slowly or not at all. If you take in several times the calories on this one day that you allow yourself every other day, it could go to fat stores in your body. Although this will help with leptin levels, it doesn’t do any good for fat loss and weight loss.
If you aren’t burning off those extra calories you bring in, they won’t just disappear. So although you may have less cravings with a planned binge day, you may still be tempted to have an all-out binge-fest on those planned days.
Taking a Day Off When Dieting May Blow Your Diet Completely. Weight loss takes a lot of motivation and self-control. If you allow yourself one day a week to go all out on your food intake with no consideration of the types of food you are eating, this could increase your desire for specific foods you are trying to avoid.
For a lot of people, this one day break could trigger a desire to binge more frequently. You could find yourself giving in to cravings more frequently, even on days when you are planning on sticking with your diet. Pretty soon, the diet goes out the window.
Should You Take a Day Off When Dieting? Choosing this method is completely up to you. If you know you are prone to give in to binges, this is not the best way to go. Highly restricting calories and types of foods you eat can make a one-day-a-week binge sound tempting, but it might also be a way to set yourself up for failure.
It is better to make small, gradual lifestyle changes to lose weight slowly and without completely depriving yourself from the start. You can still indulge on occasion without blowing any restrictive diet. You can read more in my article Attitude on Indulging Is a Weight Loss Barrier. By making small lifestyle changes in your eating habits, you can avoid having to make the decision on whether or not you should take a day off when dieting.
Jolynne M Hudnell; Leptin and Maintaining Weight Loss; Associated Content/Yahoo!
Jolynne M Hudnell; Attitude on Indulging Is a Weight Loss Barrier; Associated Content/Yahoo!