John McGran, chief editor at Diet-to-Go, has been covering the fields of diet, fitness and health since 2000. He writes from the perspective of a dieter rather than a dietitian.
When you get to a point with your diet where you feel like screaming, “Gimme a break!”… well, that’s exactly what you may need to do: Stop your diet and take a break. The experts will tell you that stopping and restarting your diet is sometimes the best way to bust through a weight plateau or to simply recharge your motivation.
No one is telling you that a diet break is a free pass to start eating anything and everything you want. It’s more a chance to relax a little and stop counting points or calories. You should still eat smart and healthy, but you don’t have to think about it for a stretch of time.
How long a break should you take? Well, that varies, but don’t quit for too long or you’ll totally lose your resolve to shed weight – and in no time the pounds you lost will pile back on.
Here are five signs you may need a diet break:
- You step on the scale several times a day.
- You exercise too much.
- You eat too little.
- You feel depressed because your weight isn’t budging.
- Your dieting unhappiness is hurting your life.
Personal trainer and nutrition planner Jim Cowan says, “Too many dieters fall into the trap of dieting for long periods of time. What usually happens is this: as the weeks move on, the pounds stop coming off.”
Cowan says you can plan ahead for a diet break – maybe 10 weeks on, two weeks off – or you can simply listen to your body.
“If you have ever been on a strict diet before, you know that your body changes, and your mind starts to play tricks on you,” Cowan says. “The longer you diet, the more you think about food until it is almost unbearable.”
Cowan says it is extremely important to take a break from dieting once in a while.
Stopping and restarting a diet is a proven way to keep a dieter mentally engaged. With the economy hardly back in tip-top shape, no one can afford to waste food they simply will not eat.
And there’s nothing so stressful as looking into your fridge and seeing a bunch of diet foods or frozen meals stacked up and just waiting to be eaten – or, worse yet, to toss out perfectly good food because you no longer have room to store it.
For more helpful insight from Diet-to-Go Chief Editor John McGran, check out these articles:
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