When I began my fitness journey, things seemed simple.  I did my first prep based on following guidelines versus a meal plan.  I was to have six meals, choose a protein source at each, a ½ cup of carb at each, and 1 cup of veggies at each meal.  Results came in, and I wondered why anyone would ever choose NOT to eat this way.  Between my quick physique changes and my “beginner’s gains,” I had enough change to fuel my motivation fire and entice me to stick to the plan.  Fast forward four years, I find it a huge drag to eat only those items day in and day out.  My results are slower and harder to see after training for this amount of time, and the wide array of foods available at gatherings and parties seem to look better and better.

Enter flexible dieting.

As I learned more about different principles of fat loss and muscle gain, I realized how much goes into each.  The basic eat x, and yield y wasn’t cutting it (no pun intended) and I searched for ways to get faster results.  I also wanted to find dietary relief that would increase my adherence to the program even when results were slower than I would prefer.

That is when I stumbled upon the concept of refeeds.  When we diet, we lower our leptin levels.  Leptin is a hormone and is synthesized primarily by our fat tissue.  Leptin’s primary function is to regulate hunger and how many calories are burnt resting or active.   Did the alarm sound in your head yet? It should have.  When you have low leptin levels, you feel like you MUST have that piece of cake.  NOW.  When they are regulated, you can walk right past the dessert table like it isn’t even there.  Ok, maybe that is unrealistic, but you get my point.

Leptin can lower when you are on a hypo-caloric diet for a long time.  If you have been in a calorie deficient, experiencing slower fat loss, and noticing increased cravings, you may have low leptin levels.  And then born was the cheat day, although not all the components of a cheat day are put to good use by your body.  I want to take a minute to tell you some helpful guidelines for a refeed as well as how often you would likely benefit from such days.

How do I refeed and how often?

Although I would love to say you should eat all of the Oreos in one row every other day, unfortunately, that is not the case.  How often you refeed would depend on your body fat levels.  Those with lower body fat levels will need to refeed more frequently than those with higher body fat levels.

When I was at my leanest, I did a refeed one time per week.

If you are dieting extremely hard, which I do not recommend, then you will need to have a higher caloric refeed.  I would take about 50 percent more than the calories needed for maintenance to refeed for a 24 hour period and plan them in regularly taking into consideration your diet and body fat levels.  The majority of those calories should be good quality carbohydrates despite the intense cravings for the lower quality carbohydrates and fats.

In alignment with my beliefs, I would incorporate some of the foods you are craving, although if you were my client, you would be enjoying those in moderation and regularly through flexible dieting (hint, hint.)

If you have been extremely low calorie for as long as you can remember, this is when you need to CLICK HERE and check out my article to answer the question of if it is time for you to begin a reverse diet.

Having a coach help, you select particular amounts for you is always helpful.  If you have questions, I would be happy to take the time to answer them for you! Simply leave them in a comment or complete the form below

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