What Are The Benefits of a Refeed Day When Dieting
Have you been dieting for too long that you start dreaming of doughnuts, chocolate treats, spicy food, and pizza? If you are trying to get fit, then you are no stranger to cravings. The more you limit what you can and can’t eat, the harder it is to curb those cravings.
But, during the refeed day, you don’t have to go the extra mile to redefine your needs of consuming your favourite food. Instead, you get to quiet those cravings and keep your body on the right track. Here is how refeeding when dieting can benefit your system and the best types of foods you can go for.
Refeed Day – What Is It Exactly?
Refeed day is a day on which you can eat more calories after exposing the body to a strict calorie deficit. Regardless of whether it came from you exercising or diet, experts explain.
The goal of a refeed day is to counteract the negative impact of a calorie deficit, such as exhaustion, lethargy, regular hunger, and reduced hormone levels. Even though it sounds quite like a cheat day, a refeed day is completely different.
Refeed day focuses on controlled and thoughtful planning when eating food. While cheat days provide unplanned and uncontrolled eating. That means people can eat as much as they like. Refeed is all about emphasising the calories you get from carbs over those from protein and fats.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Refeed Day During a Diet?
Many people wonder, will eating foods on a refeed day make me gain more weight? While it is normal to feel worried when breaking your diet, a refeed day will be the least of your worries. The temporary calorie surplus is beneficial for the body in more ways than one. Here is a quick look at some of the benefits a refeed day can offer.
1. Can Help With Weight Loss
Whenever you are trying to lose weight, there will come a time when you will experience zero fat loss results. That’s partially because of the survival process known as adaptive thermogenesis. People who steadily lose weight but no longer can drop the excess pounds from a restricted calorie intake need a change of pace. It is even harder to keep the weight once it has been lost.
According to studies, 80% to 90% of people who lost some of their weight managed to get it back. Refeed days can help avoid weight loss plateau. So, even if you stick to your diet, you can still obtain the desired results. Refeeding can give them that.
By eating excess calories, mainly in the form of carbs, you can experience a temporary leptin increase. The leptin release could prevent adaptive thermogenesis from getting in the way of your fat loss process. It may sound counterproductive, but it does have its perks.
When you consume more food, you can stimulate the metabolism to start working again. However, more large-scale studies are necessary to know exactly how refeeding can affect leptin levels.
2. Could Reduce the Likelihood of Binging
When you don't let yourself eat the food you like, it gets easier to succumb to the cravings. That's what a refeeding day is all about. You get to purposefully enjoy your favourite meal by allowing yourself to manage those cravings.
That's exactly what makes it easier to cope with binging and reduce the feelings of food deprivation. It is a worthwhile strategy. For ideal results, you should be eating most of the extra calories from carb-rich meals, such as pasta, potatoes, rice, whole grains, bananas, etc. You can even enjoy fat and protein with every meal.
3. May Provide the Body With a Quick Energy Boost
Once you’ve had your fill, your body will become more energetic than usual. This is a normal outcome after a long period of strict calorie restrictions. Experts estimate that a refeed day might be a practical way of boosting physical performance and supplying the system with energy.
Because you will be focusing on your carb intake, you can restore the glycogen stores and gain ideal athletic performance when working out at the gym. Individuals who always lack the energy to do something productive when on a strict diet can use the benefits of refeeding to its full potential.
What Does a Refeed Day Do For Mentality?
Refeeds can have a positive influence on your mental health. People who finally get to eat their favourite meal can feel extremely happy. The reason for that is relatively simple. There are two types of neurotransmitters in the brain capable of altering our mood.
You have excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. The excitatory, for example, norepinephrine, can stimulate our mind and body. If you are amped for a long period of time, the neurotransmitter can make you unhappy.
While inhibitory neurotransmitters, like serotonin, exert the exact opposite. They counteract the excitatory neurotransmitters and improve your mood. However, these neurotransmitters don’t get triggered out of thin air. Stimulation starts after you’ve consumed food.
Foods as turkey, spinach, and chocolate can trigger dopamine and serotonin release. Plus, when you know you are getting extra food, you might even feel much happier. These are all key factors for those who want to take care of their mental health when dieting.
What Type of Food Should You Have on a Refeed Day?
If you want to add refeed days to the eating routine, you should dedicate some time to planning your meals. This is to make sure you don’t go overboard. It is also a good idea to adjust the meals based on what your body needs.
When it comes to the foods you can eat, experts suggest adding protein, carb-rich foods, and fat. Carbs should be your top priority. Even though there aren’t specific guidelines on how much or how little you should be eating, you can increase the daily calories by 20% to 30%.
Are There Calorie Restrictions?
With refeed days, it is easy to overindulge in your favourite treats and goodies. But, unless you manage and plan everything accordingly, you can’t expect to reap the benefits. Overall, individuals who focus on a calorie deficit might want to consider doing a refeed day once every two weeks.
However, this can vary based on your weight loss goals and the percentage of body fat. People with less body fat can have more refeed days. For ideal overall health and reproductive support, it is a good idea to have a body fat percentage of over 15%.
For instance, if the body needs 2,000 calories a day to keep a healthy weight, you can eat 400 to 600 more calories on your refeed day.
Mistakes People Should Avoid
Just because you get to eat more calories, it doesn’t mean you can eat anything and everything. Whenever a refeed day starts, some people make the mistake of eating too much fiber. This could make their stomach grumble and affect their mood.
The idea is to not supply the system with foods that could cause bloating or cramps. Otherwise, it is difficult to enjoy the mood-boosting properties of a good refeed day. Bear in mind that starting a refeeding day can be challenging. Those who are not ready tend to lack energy, motivation and can't seem to drop the excess pounds.
To make sure that the body is always ready for a refeed, create a schedule and stick to it. Have a refeed day at the exact time. This will help the system get accustomed to the food intake and let you improve your training and weight loss. So, take it slow and encourage your metabolism to give you the results you need.
A refeed day is supposed to be a temporary break from the calorie deficit. Not something that will throw your weight loss efforts out the window. The idea behind it is not to consider it a cheat day but something that is planned and prepared to give your body the boost it needs.
Refeed days are all about stabilising your hormone levels and avoiding adaptive thermogenesis. That is how you can manage fat loss and take good care of your physical performance. But, refeed days are also packed with psychological benefits. People tend to feel happier when consuming bountiful meals, and their morale goes up. With a refreshed state of mind, it will be much easier for you to find the motivation to stick to your diet.
Have you tried a refeed day before? How did it feel the first time around? Did it hinder your weight loss progress? Share your experience in the comment section below.