Refeed Days During Weight Loss

When those pesky pounds won’t come off!Man contemplating nutrition choices

So, you are eating primarily unprocessed or minimally processed foods. You are on a low-carbohydrate or low calorie diet, and you plateaued. You are not losing those last couple of pounds of fat anymore.

To be honest for most people this does not really happen. Their nutrition leaves plenty to be improved upon. But if you are one of those driven people who knows the caloric amount and their macronutrients of every meal then re-feed days might be your solution.

There are two ways of handling refeed days. You can have infrequent but big refeeds, or you can have more frequent but moderate refeed days. The goal is to never let your body settle into homeostasis, which is a fancy word for not letting your body settle into relatively stable and constant conditions.

Infrequent, big refeed days:

You will have one refeed day every one or two weeks while maintaining a low caloric or low carb diet on the other days. During that day you will eat a significantly  higher amount of carbs and calories than on any other day.

  • You need to be committed to a strict plan every 7 to 14 days.
  • No deviations off the plan on regular days.
  • On the 7th or 14th day you will eat  high calorie foods normally not in your diet
  • Calorie restriction during refeed days = 3-3.5x your normal regular intake. Example: if you are normally taking in 1000 kcal then you would take in 3000-3500 kcal.
  • You need to exercise that day so that the energy will go towards recovery and building muscle
  • Make sure to do measurements regularly to confirm that your strategy is working

Frequent, Moderate Refeeds

This is easier if you have a hard time sticking to your strict diet for a longer period and are highly active

  • Refeed days every 3-4 days
  • Similar diet to usual but adding some high quality carbohydrates to each meal
  • Food should be high quality and low glycemic
  • Total intake should be about 1.5x of their low caloric, or low carb plan.
  • You need to exercise on those days to ensure that the higher energy intake goes towards recovery and muscle building
  • Take regular measurements to make sure it is working

If you are doing great with your nutrition, these two ways are a way to jumpstart your weight loss again. Please don’t forget. You need to be on point, no deviations. For that reason athletes in physique, bikini, or bodybuilding competitions are most of the time the only ones who are consistently  using refeed days.

I hope you have an awesome day,

Michael

References:

Berardi, J. & Andrews, R. (2013) The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Precision Nutrition.

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