The Re-Feed Day: God’s Gift To The Dieter
The Re-Feed Day: God’s Gift To The Dieter
If you’re having trouble going from “lean” to “shredded,” then the refeed day might be just what you need.
For most of us, the beginning of a diet is an exciting moment. For the first couple of months, it’s usually smooth sailing: you exercise regularly and maintain a proper calorie deficit and your body fat percentage progressively drops.
But, Inevitably, progress eventually slows. Your energy in the gym begins to wane and your workouts get harder and harder. Your goal, which seemed in the bag just a month ago, now seems unattainable.
If you’re like most people, this is where you lose heart and binge. And then binge again. And again.
But there’s hope. And it DOESN’T involve dropping your calorie intake to dangerously low levels or losing your muscles with excessive cardio.
Instead, the “trick” is something you’ll relish: occasional overfeeding. Yes, that’s right–eating a bunch of food. Not just anything and everything, though–there’s more to it than that. This weight loss aid is known as “refeeding,” and here’s how it works…
What is a Refeed?
A Refeed is generally defined as a planned increase in calorie intake that occurs when dieting. A Proper Refeed can yield a myriad of psychological and physiological benefits:
-Decreased risk for binge eating via hunger regulation
-Increased motivation from boosted testosterone, dopamine (a hormone responsible for reward and pleasure), .
-And, Leptin release. Leptin regulates hunger, your metabolic rate, appetite, motivation, and libido, as well as serving other functions in your body.
When you’re in a caloric deficit and lose body fat, your leptin levels drop. This, in turn, causes your metabolic rate to slow down, your appetite to increase, your motivation to dive bomb, and your mood to sour.
On the other hand, when you give your body more energy (calories) than it needs, leptin levels are boosted, which can then have positive effects on fat oxidation, thyroid activity, mood, and even testosterone levels.
The Total effect of a proper refeed day is you feel better both physically and psychologically, you’re much less likely to fall down the slippery slope of “just one more cheat day,” and you can even experience a nice acceleration of fat loss over the following 3 to 5 days.
Nonetheless, the caveat to this is that it requires self-control(self love as I like to refer to it).
If you abuse these periods of overfeeding then you will simply gain too much fat as a result to make them effective weight loss aids. Research has shown that an all-out binge can increase your metabolism by three to 10% for merely 24 hours, but the sheer amount of calories eaten will negate this negligible increase in metabolism, making the after effects of a typical binge not worth it.
Fortunately, you can avoid these problems by devising a refeed day relative to your unique metabolic needs.
The Re-Feed Day: God’s Gift To The Dieter:
First, you should determine how frequently you need a refeed day.
If you are fairly lean or in the deeper phases of dieting, you are more susceptible to metabolic adaptation and mental lethargy. By cutting calories, you expend less energy, chiefly because you move less—this is referred to as adaptive thermogenesis. Thus, begin with one refeed day a week and adjust as needed.
However, if you are in the early periods of dieting are still above 10% body fat (guys) or 20% (girls), start with one refeed day every 2 weeks and see how your body responds.
After determining how often you should reefed, it is a good idea to set a caloric goal for each refeed.
Most of us are pretty horrible at estimating our caloric intake. We are not programmed to do so. As a matter of fact, we are biologically prone to eating large amounts when food it is available, specifically foods high in energy:
“Because of the scarcity and unpredictability of food in nature, humans and other animals have evolved to eat their physiological limits when food is readily available, so that excess energy can be stored in the body as a buffer against future food shortages.” –Pinel JPJ.
A form of energy regulation will keep you from overindulging and help you attain the benefits associated with a refeed day.
To do this, take your current daily calorie intake and increase it by 30%. This will provide enough of a surplus to confer the benefits of refeeding without adding too much body fat.
Next, break the calories into the following macronutrient profile:
1 gram of protein per pound of body weight
As little dietary fat as possible (most recommendations are stay at or under 20 grams)
THE REMAINING CALORIES COME FROM CARBOHYDRATES!! (woop, woop!)
Why so many carbs, you wonder? Because eating carbohydrates is the most effective way to increase leptin levels. Second to that is eating protein (high-protein meals also raise your metabolic rate). Dietary fats aren’t very effective at increasing leptin levels, and alcohol actually inhibits it.
Eating a bunch of carbs has further benefits that relate to glycogen, which is a stored form of glucose responsible for fueling your workouts.
While dieting, your glycogen stores progressively decline and with them your strength. Increasing carbohydrate intake is an easy way to fill them back up and improve your performance in the gym.
I hope that this article has granted you ideas for how to incorporate refeed days in your nutritional regimens while dieting, and how to structure them for your unique psychological and physiological disposition.
If you’re not using refeed days by now—or not strategically manipulating them—now is the time to start. Perhaps you will be amazed by just how useful a refeed day can be.
The refeed day is an effective way to stay on track in your dieting, avoiding the dreaded binge, and even accelerate fat loss.
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