Have you been dieting for quite some time now? Been diligently counting your calories on my fitness pal and weighing every single piece of food you put in your mouth? Maybe it was easy when you started, maybe you saw great results and the drive past Dunkin Donuts on your commute to work was easy.
But recently things have gotten hard. Either your will power is weakening or Pizza Hut has launched a targeted advertising campaign with the sole purpose of having your day end in a binge night of food while watching re-runs of ‘Friends’ on Netflix. It seems up until now your dieting efforts have seen great results, but now you’ve hit a plateau. There may be a reason for this difficulty arising; something more than just a weakening of the will power. You may be experiencing low leptin levels as a result of dieting and a slower metabolism. Time for a refeed day.
What is Leptin?
Leptins main function is to regulate hunger, food intake, and how our bodies expend energy. As we restrict calories eventually our leptin levels will begin to drop. As these levels drop off our cravings will begin to increase and our metabolism starts to slow. This is the natural response of our body telling us we need to increase calories in order to once again increase our metabolism. As we go throughout our days in a caloric deficit, as so many of us who are dieting do, our bodies adapt and become more efficient at utilizing the calories it is given. There comes a point in time, however, when we need to purposely and intentionally rev up our metabolism again! We do this through a refeed day.
Enter: The Refeed Day
So in an attempt to proactively prevent ourselves from dieting to the point of blacking out and waking up in the ice cream aisle at Walmart with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s smeared on our faces, we need to
structure a day of increased caloric consumption to kick up our metabolic furnace
as well as give ourselves a little mental break from the psychological toll that sometimes harsh diets can have. Now before you get carried away there killer, I am NOT offering you up a guilt free ticket to a four hour all you can eat buffet at the China House. Rather than binging out and eating everything in sight, I tend to seek out good sources of carbohydrates and proteins in order to increase my caloric consumption by around 40% on that specific day. Things like
- Brown Rice
- Sweet Potatoes
How often should I refeed?
This is a tough question with no right answer. Your body will respond differently than others when it comes to refeeding leptin levels. For those with higher body fat percentages, you can afford to go greater periods of time without a refeed; while someone in the single digit body fat percentage range may need to refeed more often. Take some time and experiment with refeed days. Remember, take it easy until you know how your body responds to this increase in calories. By incorporating calculated refeed days in our diets we can break through plateaus and continue on towards our goals of a leaner, healthier lifestyle! Questions? Comments? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – Would love to hear from you!