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Please keep questions on topic, write clearly, concisely, and don't post diet calculations.

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Adam
Adam

Dear Mr. Andy,
I was on a long diet break. Started on the 4th of February around 195 pounds and took the break at the 31st of may 173pounds.
Before the diet break I ate around 1500 calories a day. My maintenance was 1950.

My question is, do I go back to eating 1500 or do I start at like 1800

Adam
Adam

Thanks a lot

Sherron
Sherron

Hey Andy!

Let me start off by saying that your knowledge and wisdom is second to none. I’ve been following you and your site for years! Love what you do!

I’ve been dieting for almost 5 months now (since Jan 1). I’ve lost around 50lbs. I haven’t really stalled or had to make changes to calories. So far in that 5 months, I’ve had back to back weeks where my weight loss fell short of my target only twice. The most recent was the last 2 weeks but so far this week, my average is on pace to be well above my target. (Swoosh?) I take your advice where you say to wait 4 consecutive weeks falling short of the target weight loss to make changes and I haven’t had that happen yet. I’m still progressing and strength has dropped only a little. I feel great mentally and physically! I’m about 20lbs off from my goal!

I was planning on taking a deload week in a couple of weeks and start a 2 week diet break at the same time just because I’ve gone so long in a deficit and lifting heavy (double taxing my CNS). Again, I feel great mentally and physically with very little strength loss. Do you think I should go with the 2 week diet break and 1 week deload or wait until I hit a wall so to speak (if do hit one before I reach my goal ha!)? Anything else you think I should or shouldn’t do, please let me know. Thank you for all that you do!

Sherron
Sherron

Thank you Andy. I’m going to wait two weeks to start the diet break since I have to travel for work for a few days. It will be easier having the diet break then instead of trying to take all of my meals with me etc.

Anna Cassel
Anna Cassel

Hi!
So I tend to diet break during friday and saturday .. could also be described as cheat days. My deficit during the weekdays are still going well and still gives a weight drop every week.

According to my nutrition program, I should have a 7 day diet break now, but I’m assuming that might be for those who actually diet correctly with no cheat days ..

Do you think I should go with the diet break or skip it and keep dieting? Mentally I’m feeling alright.

Jay
Jay

Hello,

Thanks for the article. So I have a specific question. I am now almost at the end of my diet and I will go on a vacation for 4 days where I will eat a lot and enjoy myself. I am unsure what to do after I get back. I am thinking right now that I am going to diet again and to do the reverse diet as planned. But at what macros do you think should I go into the diet again.

Thanks for your help,

Jay

Chad
Chad

Not sure if this article is aimed at weight lifters, I don’t even go to the gym.
Been Dieting for about 5 months now, I was 340 pounds ~5 months ago, now I’m at 285, but I’ve noticed lately that even on my 1300 cal a day diet, I am not really losing weight. Been reading up and I’m not sure, but it seems like some thing that your metabolism really slows down.
For ref- I am 32 yrs, 181cm height, male, and broad build.
Would a diet break actually increase my metabolic rate? Don’t know my fat%, but it seems to be around the 20-25% range according to a fat calculator I found online.
I’ve had no problems psychologically, I tend to stick to the my imposed calorie limit every day, give or take 30 calories. So unless there is a physiological benefit, I don’t think this would work for me.

Gabie
Gabie

Hi Andy,
Thanks for all the info! I have been on a diet for 4 weeks, and plan on being on it for another 2. I’m happy with my weight and physique, but i’ve been cutting for a photoshoot and have been on very low calories. I’d like to start reverse dieting so I can get my calories up to a respectable number (2K+). Do you recommend I start reverse dieting after the 6 weeks (adding 100 cals every 2 weeks), or should I take a break first? There’s so much information out there, i’m overwhelmed!
Thanks in advance,
Gabie xx

Jesus
Jesus

Hi Andy,

I am currently on a diet break. Start weight was 208lbs and currently at 182 before break. Been dieting for about 3 months. Took the diet break after platued at 182. Currently gaining about a pound a day and im around 186 after 6 days of break. I’m feeling really down about the weight gain even though I’m sure it’s alot of water weight as you mentioned in your artical. But I’m really anxious to get back to my diet and lose weight again. Does it really have to be 14 days for your leptin levels to return to normal? I’m thinking about going back on diet after 12-13 days.

Thank you,
Jesus

Hannah
Hannah

Thank you for the article it has been most helpful :).

I have been progressive overloading each week and am always up on lifts despite dieting. I notice I am losing fat however worried it won’t have much muscle to show underneath despite getting stronger. I haven’t ever bulked and didn’t really plan on. Are diet breaks something you can just continue doing throughout the year? Or does there come a stage you need to take your body completely away from a diet for say 1-3 months?

Elena Terziyska
Elena Terziyska

Thank you Andy!
That was a very helpful article! Amazing!
I have one question, I’ve just finished a competition prep and went on a huge bender post comp for a week, still roughly tracking and calculated that my daily calories are within 100kcal of my maintenance level.
However, what do you suggest for the week after that?
Would you be dropping calories again and slowly bringing them up?
I’m doing reverse dieting, finished prep on roughly 1300 kcal a day and ate around 2100 kcal in the first week after.
I’d like to increase my calories as much as possible but also not adding a lot of fat.
I’m female, 37yrs old, 172cm, currently 62.5 kg

Thank you once again
Elena

Cameron J Hamill
Cameron J Hamill

Excellent article! Thanks very much. I’m a 41′ year old male with about 16% Body Fat. I’m going to go on a 14 day controlled diet break.

I’ll still count calories and will aim for about 2000 to 2100 calories per day average. I need a mental holiday from my diet.

I have learned a lot from your brilliant article. Thanks very much once again.

Ali
Ali

If you come off an extreme deficit and want to do a controlled diet break, so you slowly increase your calories for a week, can you still execrise and maintain a “deficit” overall, to ensure no fat regain and partial weight loss throughout the week, or should you just flat out be conversing as much energy as possible?

Katy
Katy

Hi Andy,
Loved this article—really answered my questions.
I do have one last question, though. Am I still allowed to eat clean and do HIIT while I’m diet breaking?

Ben
Ben

Hi Andi!

I‘m since 6 months close to my target condition about 9%. After 3-4 weeks i always feel tired, hungry and my bench press goes massive down (about 20%-30%). I implement 7-10 days diet breaks an deloads then everything is ok. My question is why only my bench press is so bad, it seems like an indicator for a break or deload (all other exercises are progressing)

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

should a person reverse diet into a diet break if they don’t know their maintenance. I’ve been in a 500 cal caloric deficit using the tdee calculator on the tdee website. However, I’m pretty sure my deficit was kower. I lost weight pretty quickly without changing too much other than nutrition. I’ve lost about 12 in a matter of 6+/- weeks. I started working out (mostly weight training) 3-5 days a week and currently work out 5-6 days a week with 1-2 days of them being cardio/HIIT.

I’m feeling hungrier, moodier, and more food obsessed/less satisfied with meals. So, it’s time for a diet break. However, because I don’t want to put on weight and am unsure of my maintainrnce—would it be wise to reverse diet into my break?

Also, I’m 5’3″ female- went from 145 ish to 130ish. I’m relatively muscular. I don’t see a lot of veins but I’m relatively toned. I’m sure a good portion of initial weight loss was water weight because I wasn’t tracking anything for about a year.

Melissa Flint
Melissa Flint

I am a female competing in 8 weeks. I am trying to build a little more muscle in glutes and legs. Should I wait closer to competition time, like 4 weeks out to start trying to lean down so I don’t lose muscle I am trying to build?

Rachel
Rachel

I’m forced out of the gym for a week due to injury – should I coordinate this with a diet break or alternate a diet break week with a gym reset week? (For reference, in week 11 of a cut)

Luke
Luke

Great information, about to start a diet break and this was perfect, simple guidance. Kudos.

Cody
Cody

Regarding a diet break, let’s say you go to maintence for 4-6 weeks instead of traditional 2 weeks, should you return to original calories you were cutting with or adjust it.

Matt
Matt

Hey Andy,
This was an awesome article; exactly what I needed to read! I’m planning on taking a break to maintenance calories pretty soon and I was just wondering when I go back to dieting, should I stay at the level I’m at now, or should I lower my intake? I’m at 11x body weight now, and was wondering if I should stay at that, or if I should go down to 10x after the break. Thanks a bunch.

Devon
Devon

Hey Andy,

We hear a lot about purposeful and strategic diet breaks. Their importance and necessity when you have been running a deficit for some time. However, we hear very little about the implementation of resuming your diet/cut there after. My question is with the understanding that the break help offset metabolic adaptation when dieting what caloric value/deficit should you resume there after? If you were at 1800kcal before you took the break should you naturally start much higher when you resume dieting? If so, how much higher?