A diet break is a short period (usually 5-14 days) during a multi-week fat loss program during which you bring calories back up to or above what the estimated maintenance calories are for the individual. Usually it also can involve having a bit more freedom in food selection.
Implementing a “diet break” is a relatively common practice in contest preparation or for longer-term fat loss programs in general. The reasoning for utilizing a diet break revolves around two ideas:
- It provides a psychological break for the client who now gets to have a little more satiety and perhaps a few “cheat foods” to help them stay motivated and compliant when going back to the caloric deficit.
- The higher calories are thought to help mitigate metabolic rate slowing down due to being in a caloric deficit for an extended period of time, thus making it easier to keep losing fat without having to use super low calories and potentially causing metabolic suppression.