…a diet break!
“What’s a diet break? Is it like a city break? Or a weekend break? You get to go on holiday and diet?
– Matthew Bennett
It’s pretty safe to say that I have been ‘dieting’ for a good while now…
I don’t particularly like the word diet, because it really only means ‘the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats’. I generally eat clean and healthy out of habit and that’s all that my diet is. I’m not overly restrictive, and I’ll always make sure that, if I am craving something, I’ll definitely find a way to get some and make it work for me!
Anywaaaaay, moving on…
For the past 18 months, since starting this blog, I have been in a calorie deficit. I started off with My Fitness Pal telling me to eat 1200 calories, and I slowly gained knowledge that lead me to eat more, but still around 500 calories under my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) every day. The longest break I’ve had within this time was a 10ish day break over mine and Matt’s birthdays this time last year, and then another week at the beginning of June before we moved out here to Abu Dhabi.
Just some of the incredible yumminess from the week before we left the UK ^^
So, for the last 10 months, I’ve been solidly ‘dieting’ – with on average 1 free meal each week. Sometimes I had one, sometimes I didn’t. I also changed my view on alcohol consumption. This took a while to take hold, but for the past 6-7 months at least, I’ve only had a brunch or night out with drinks once a month (if it happened at all). At one point I went 12 weeks without alcohol when trying out Kayla’s Bikini Body Guide. This has turned me into a complete weakling when it comes to handling alcohol now, which makes me feel old and useless after coming from an ski/summer seasonairre!
So why take a diet break now?!
Goooood question! For the past few months, I feel like I have been at a bit of a plateau with my fat loss. I’m not focused on weight – because I know if I am building muscle that I’m going to add a bit of weight on. My plateau started me off researching and I came across this great article about diet breaks and why they are helpful, and sometimes even necessary, to aid fat loss and progression. After being in a deficit for so long, I need to put myself in a position where my body and hormones can recover – and also to give my brain a well deserved rest. Counting and calculating macros +/- 5g every day can honestly be exhausting!
How long will the diet break last?
My diet break is going to be two weeks long, starting from today. This actually works out perfectly for me – as once the two weeks are over – there are 16 weeks left until I am bridesmaid at my best friends wedding, and then me and Matt jet off for our holiday in Ibiza.
Also, my friends are visiting from the UK over mine and Matt’s birthdays, so there will obviously be a few meals out, and this diet break will totally allow for that! Ideal!
Eat what you want, when you want?
Not exactly. Though a lot of people go on a full diet break where they stop counting calories and macros completely, I can’t trust myself not to binge (it’s a pretty scary concept to me). I’m using the controlled diet break approach, where I’ll eat at my TDEE calories (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), but I won’t be tracking my macros. For me, that’s more than liberating!
My TDEE calories are 2219 (you can calculate yours here)
You can follow me on My Fitness Pal to see what I end up devouring!
Literally sat here dreaming of allllll the food I can eat lol!
Okay – well maybe not all the doughnuts. Most of the time I still want to be making healthy, clean choices – but this is also the time to indulge in the things I have been craving (and I finally get to eat my Easter chocolate!!)
What about weight gain?
It’s funny how I’m now going to talk about weight gain like 2 days after hitting a big body composition goal.
It’s pretty inevitable that I am going to put on a bit of weight. One of the articles I read said that it could be up to 10lbs (eeeeek!) but it also said this:
“1g of glycogen holds 3g of water. Our muscles are made up of roughly 70-80% water which is stored from muscle glycogen. Glycogen comes from the carbs we eat. So if you eat more carbs than normal, which you will when you take a diet break, your body (the muscles mainly) will hold more water giving you the false impression that you’ve gained fat if you rely solely on scale weight to gauge progress. It’s actually just water weight”
I have to keep reminding myself that I am setting myself up for this. It’s going to happen, but it’s really not going to cause a huge detriment to the progress that I have already made. This is going to set me up for sixteen weeks of ruthlessness before wedding/holiday!
What about exercise?
My exercise regime isn’t going to change. Well, yes it is a bit because I have now finished my three months with Isaac my PT (read The PT Diaries here) and I now have to fend for myself. I haven’t written out a plan for these 2 weeks as yet, but I will do and I will be making sure I’m getting 4-5 sessions in a week. Remember – if my sessions were to drop, then my TDEE would drop, so I need to exercise to eat those calories!
Well, after my diet break ends, I have 16 weeks left until my best friends wedding and then mine and Matt’s holiday to Ibiza. I’ve started working out a nutrition and exercise plan that will hopefully get me down to my ultimate 16% body fat goal, my ideal bikini body and a all-round happy me!!