What is Refeed? And How You Can do How You Can Do It?


Refeed Day: What Is It and How Do I Do It?

Nutrition and food are without a doubt the most psychologically taxing components of a health and fitness regimen, especially as the weeks grow into months and the months into years on the road to achieving your health and fitness goals. I didn't always have access to a refeed meal. I was very consumed with recording and weighing everything I ate when I initially started my fitness adventure. It was tense, oppressive, and not at all enjoyable. As a Professional Fitness Athlete competing in many competitions each year and required to keep my body fat below 10%, I developed a very unhealthy relationship with food.

I had phases of overrestriction and binge eating, as well as yo-yo dieting and a concentration on calories rather than nutrition. It took a long time to conquer this... I made a big mindset shift and conquered this after hundreds of culinary failures and over 40 professional competitions. I can now have a weekly refeed meal and stay in the game without deviating from my athletic objectives or nutritional emphasis. It is impossible to live a healthy lifestyle while obsessed. It entails developing a positive relationship with food as part of a well-balanced lifestyle. You have a chance to win this battle as well. Let's see if this is the ideal supper for you.

What does a refeed day entail?

A refeed day is a day when you purposely overeat calories following a period of being in a calorie deficit – whether that calorie shortfall was caused by eating fewer calories, increased physical activity, or both.

A refeed day is designed to counteract the negative consequences of being in a calorie deficit, such as decreased hormone levels, increased appetite, lethargy, exhaustion, and reaching a weight loss plateau. Although this sounds a lot like a cheat day, they are not the same thing. Cheat days entail one day of unrestrained and unplanned eating. On most cheat days, you can eat everything you want in infinite quantities.

A refeed day, on the other hand, necessitates careful planning and portion management. Unlike cheat days, refeed days allow only a minor increase in calories, and the type of food counts, as most refeed days prioritize carbohydrate calories above fat and protein calories. While refeed days differ from person to person, the basic goal is to consume in a controlled calorie surplus.

What is a refeed day, and how does it work?

You might be wondering why a momentary calorie excess would cause weight loss, but the reasoning behind it addresses one of the most common issues people have while trying to lose weight: a weight loss plateau or slowdown.

A change in hormones occurs as you reduce your calorie intake and begin to lose body fat, signaling to your body that you're in a calorie deficit. Your body will begin to look for ways to reduce it as much as possible at this point in order to limit weight loss.

A hormone called leptin, in particular, begins to drop. Leptin is a hormone generated by fat cells that informs your body it has enough fat stores to assist regulate your appetite and promote calorie expenditure.

Low levels of this hormone, on the other hand, alert your brain that you're about to go on an uncertain period of calorie restriction. As a result, your body receives signals to consume more calories while burning less. Adaptive thermogenesis is the name for this process.

Thermogenesis that adapts

Adaptive thermogenesis is a weight-loss-slowing mechanism in which your body's metabolism is altered to boost energy intake while decreasing energy production. Your body releases several hormones and stimulates food desires during this process to encourage you to consume more calories.

You can also modify the rate at which you burn calories. Exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) and non-exercise activity thermogenesis, for example, may decrease (NEAT).

NEAT covers any energy consumed for daily chores such as walking, fidgeting, and general movement, whereas EAT involves focused physical exertion. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and the thermic effect of meals are also factors in your energy expenditure (TEF).

You may feel less energized about exercising, take the elevator instead of the stairs, and move less in general as a result of the changes that occur when you lose weight. The combination of a decrease in the quantity of calories you burn and an increase in your calorie intake reduces your chances of maintaining your weight loss.

Though this may appear to be a negative, it is an evolutionary process that has helped humanity survive famine and starvation.


Days for refeeding

When you're trying to lose weight, you may find yourself in a calorie deficit most days, causing your leptin levels to drop gradually.

You can temporarily enhance your leptin levels by increasing your calorie intake on a refeed day every week or so, which may help maintain your body's fat-burning process running more efficiently.

Carbs, rather than fats or proteins, are the main focus of refeed days due to their superior capacity to boost leptin levels. As a result, on your refeed day, you're likely giving your body the best chance to balance its leptin levels by consuming carb-rich foods.

Advantages that could be gained

Refeed days may have some advantages.

It might be able to keep you from hitting a weight-loss snag. The primary goal of refeed days is to avoid reaching a weight-loss plateau. People who are attempting to lose weight may see fast benefits at first, but this is frequently followed by a period of no weight reduction. This is due in part to a survival mechanism known as adaptive thermogenesis.

Your leptin levels briefly rise when you feed your body excess calories, primarily in the form of carbs, which may prevent adaptive thermogenesis from interfering with your weight reduction. More research is needed, however, to fully comprehend the effects of temporary refeeding on leptin levels.

It's possible that it'll help you avoid binge eating.

Food restriction, according to most studies, leads to overeating or binging, which is why cheat days have become popular in the fitness world.

Cheat days, on the other hand, are designed to allow you to eat as much as you want, which can lead to a twisted relationship with food and stifle your progress. Refeed days, on the other hand, are designed to gradually and consciously increase calories, potentially reducing bingeing.

Adding a refeed day to your diet plan may help you avoid bingeing by allowing you to eat foods that are generally forbidden on many diet plans, especially carb-heavy ones. It may also aid in the satisfaction of cravings and the reduction of feelings of deprivation.

A refeed day combined with a too restrictive diet, on the other hand, is unlikely to help. As a result, choose an eating routine that allows you to eat a variety of meals that you prefer.

It has the potential to improve physical abilities.

Physical performance may benefit from refeed days.

Your body's ability to retain glycogen is restricted under calorie restriction. Glycogen is a long-chain carbohydrate stored in your muscles and liver and used as a fast energy source during exercise.

Refeed days emphasize carb consumption, which may help replenish glycogen stores and improve performance in the gym, on the track, or on the field.


Drawbacks that could occur

Despite the potential benefits, there are several drawbacks to consider before implementing a refeed day.

A scarcity of research

Though the concept of refeed days makes reasonable, there hasn't been much research done on the subject. Furthermore, adaptive thermogenesis is still a hotly debated topic among scientists, casting doubt on the efficacy of refeed days.

Furthermore, the human body is extremely complex and can easily adjust to variations in dietary intake. Your metabolism is mostly determined by genetics and age, and does not vary significantly after one day of being in a calorie excess or deficit.

It likely takes more than a single day to effectively boost leptin levels enough to assist weight loss, just as it takes several days to weeks of calorie restriction for leptin levels to decrease and adaptive thermogenesis to occur.

It's easy to go too far.

Even if you have a well-planned refeed day, you may find it difficult to limit your consumption once you begin. You may feel powerful desires that overpower your good intentions depending on the strength of your calorie restriction during the week.

As a result, if you're attempting to lose weight, it's probably better to stick to a daily calorie deficit of no more than 500 calories, which can be achieved by a combination of increased exercise and a little reduction in calorie consumption.

Although this balanced method may take longer to lose weight, you are less likely to gain it back in the long run.

The 7 Steps to a Perfect Refeed Meal

Step 1: Work with your coach to figure out how often you can have this meal. The thinner you are and the more regularly you train, the more a refeed meal will benefit you.

When I begin a fat reduction program with a client, I like to have them follow a low-carb diet for 14 days before allowing them to eat a refeed meal. Refeeds will be every 2 weeks to every 3 days, depending on your body fat percentage and workout program. It all depends on how much fat you have on your body and how sensitive you are to insulin. The more body fat you have, the less frequently you'll need to refeed; the thinner you are, the more frequently you'll need to refeed.

Step 2: Make a list of what you're planning to eat ahead of time. Either look up the menu before going to the restaurant or prepare what you'll cook ahead of time; this way, you won't be rushed and end up choosing a dish that doesn't work for you or makes you feel bad if you fail.

Step 3: Calculate your carbohydrate intake. It's a bit of a challenge the first time around. It's best to assess how you look and feel the morning following your refeed. You should feel rejuvenated and a little bit flatter, tighter, and slimmer when you wake up in the morning. DO NOT STEP ON THE SCALE, AS YOUR WEIGHT WILL HAVE INCREASED BY 4-6 LBS DUE TO WATER WEIGHT.


Examine the following with your eyes and a mirror:

  • If you feel leaner when you wake up, you're on the correct track! You can try eating a little more carbs (20 percent) the following time and reassess.
  • If you wake up the same, it might go either way, so boost your carbs by 20% more than the previous time and reconsider.
  • If you wake up with a softer feeling, you may have had a little too much. Reduce carbs by 20% next time and review; otherwise, you may have refed too soon, when your body didn't require it.

If you wake up bloated and unwell, it's because you ate something that didn't agree with you; avoid that food the next time. If you eat something to which you are allergic, your stomach will inflate, inflammation will increase, and you will retain more water. Artificial sweeteners should be avoided at all costs; if you must have sugar, go for the real thing because it is far better for your digestive system. Your greatest bets are rice and gluten-free products!

Step 4: Make the best decision possible. And don't worry if you can't keep track of everything; make the best guess you can and continue in the game without binging. Choose a meal that is high in carbs, moderate in protein, and low in fats because this is an indulgent dinner, not a blowout. The fact that it's a refeed meal doesn't imply you may eat whatever you want. We're still concentrating on fat loss, high-quality carbs for recovery, better health, and achieving your ideal physique. If you can stomach dairy, use this meal to eat foods you haven't been able to eat before, such as rice, sweet potato, a lean burger with a gluten-free bread, quinoa, or gluten-free pizza.

Step 5: There will be no more eating once your butt exits the chair. This isn't a day to slack off! Choose your food, sit down to eat it, and when it's done or you leave your seat for any reason, it's finished! STAY IN THE GAME by remaining alert and focused on your objectives. Enjoy yourself, but don't lose sight of your objectives!

Step 6: To assist drain extra sodium, drink 1-2 liters of water after this meal.

Step 7: Make sure you've exercised the day before you eat your refeed meal, and it's best if it substitutes your last two meals. When you start your day with a refeed, it can be quite challenging to stay on track with your nutrition.

Step 8: Start with your protein. As with every meal, you must meet your protein requirements first, so consume your protein first. Women still want at least 100 grams of lean meat, and males want at least 200 grams of lean meat. You'll feel full, which will help you avoid overeating. A lean burger with gluten-free bread (if available), baked sweet potato fries, salad or vegetables, and a small dessert is usually my go-to dinner.

When it comes to refeeding, how often should you do it?

When it comes to refeeding, how often should you do it?

a few of times per two weeks Most people in a calorie deficit should include a refeed day once every two weeks, though this can vary depending on your body fat percentage and goals. For those with lower body fat percentages, the number of refeed days may need to be increased ( 2 , 3 ).

Is a cheat day a refeed day?

Cheat Day vs. Reefed Day After a period of calorie restriction due to dieting, a refeed day is used to refill your leptin levels. Cheat days are days when all dietary restrictions are lifted and you can eat whatever you want.

Is it necessary to refeed when cutting?

Yes, refeeding is necessary when reducing since our metabolism slows down over time as a result of a lower food intake, but refeeding can assist decrease the severity of this. Refeeding when cutting can also aid with diet adherence, energy levels, and mood.

Is it necessary to refeed on a rest day?

Refeeding on a rest day is a smart option since the extra calories we consume will go straight to restocking our energy stores instead of being burnt off before we can utilise them properly. Furthermore, refeeding on a rest day can improve hormone function and motivation.

On a refeed day, what should I eat?

To Increase Leptin, Eat Carbs On Your Refeed Day. Carbs should be emphasized during a refeed since they contain more leptin than fat, according to study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. So, when individuals say they're refeeding, they're simply saying they're consuming more carbs.

How do you tell whether you need to refeed your carbs?

You've been following a low-carb and/or calorie-restricted diet for a while and are noticing various indicators of hormone imbalance. Menstrual irregularities and sleep9 disturbances are two examples. You may require more than the occasional carb refeed depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Do refeed days aid weight loss?

Refeed days, on the other hand, may help you lose weight by boosting the amount of glycogen (sugar stored for fuel) in your muscles. Additionally, momentarily boosting your insulin levels with extra carbs may help you maintain muscle mass while losing fat.

After a refeed, how much weight do you gain?

1-5lbs After a refeed day, you will feel fantastic. You'll probably gain 1-5 pounds of food and water weight as well. Don't be concerned; it should fall off in a couple of days. The weight you've put on isn't fat.

What happens if you don't get enough carbohydrates in your diet?

Hypoglycemia occurs when the level of sugar in your blood falls below the usual range (70-99 mg/dL) due to a lack of carbs. When your body starts burning fat for energy, it is said to be in ketosis. Hypoglycemia can cause hunger as a symptom.

How do you know when it's time for a refeed?

You intend to take roughly 25% fewer calories than your TDEE of 2250 Kcal. You begin the diet and lose fat at a rate of roughly 1.5 pounds each week. You weigh 238 pounds after two months (8 weeks). You've reached a stalemate and are feeling sluggish, so you need a refeed day.

Last Word

Refeed days are intended to provide a reprieve from calorie restriction for a short period of time.

The idea behind refeed days is to boost your hormone levels, particularly leptin, in order to avoid weight loss plateaus induced by adaptive thermogenesis. They may also help you lose weight and improve your athletic performance.

More research is needed, however, to fully comprehend the purpose and significance of refeed days in weight loss. Furthermore, they may not be appropriate for people who have a history of disordered eating. If you've hit a weight-loss snag, you might want to consider adding a refeed day to your schedule.

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