Taking a break from calorie counting

So I’ve been tracking religiously on MFP for 120 days now and have lost 24lbs. It might just be my funky mood tonight, but I wondered if anyone had experience or opinion on taking a break from tracking for a day or two, maximum 3 (honest, guv). I’m kinda wondering if it would be a good idea or not, especially as I’m so close to 2 stone down, and I still have my eyes on the prize of getting to 19st by Christmas (20st 2lbs now). Would it help me or hinder me? A bit of a reset, freshen up and then another big push? Or could it derail me completely?

I would, instead of not calorie counting, have a ‘refeed day’.

When I have one of those, I allow myself 50% extra calories for just that one day.

The idea is that the body suddenly thinks the old you is back, then gets a shock the next day when it isn’t & kicks into fatburning mode again…


Mind if I chime in on this fellas?

Cosmo, I think what you’re describing is a need for a mental break, which I’d defo advise if it’s starting to get to you (or even an alternative approach if you’re struggling with this method)

So yeah it might be a good to have a few days off (even a week or two) to have that much needed mental or rather ‘diet break’ for sanity reasons, for a day, week, month etc, whatever YOU feel you need

So, ‘Diet break’ aside

Like Darren said, a re-feed can sometimes be beneficial, but a re-feed is a little different to just taking diet break

2 reasons why:

1 - When you’ve been dieting for a while you’re glycogen (stored carbs in liver & muscles) get depleted & can make muscle look smaller, so have a re-feed replenishes these stores & can help you perform better (until the stores are depleted again) & can make the muscles look fuller (IF you’re very lean)

2 – When you’ve been dieting for a long period of time, you’re metabolic rate adapts & can slow down (usually 5-10% but even upto 15% in sever cases), in this case a re-feed, meaning going upto your NEW maintenance calories or above to allow for the hormones that help regulate our metabolism ‘upregulate’ so to speak, the catch is this takes a few days at the least (3-4) to start, so it’s really recommended to do this for at least a week or two (if not a month)

This can obviously also happen by accident just by taking a diet break for a week or 2, but it’s more planned when we’re talking re-feed for the purpose of helping to stimulate those hormones responsible for helping to regulate the metabolism.

So for yourself, it seems like you need a ‘mental break’ right now, in which case, I’d say just take a few days off

Any extra calories will only replenish those empty stores (water weight) so it’s unlikely you’d gain fat, especially if you’re staying at around your maintenance

FYI, You’ll probably that the scale goes up during this time, due to the excess water weight (rememeber, those stores are currently empty & will get filled, which obviously weighs) but this is NOT fat (well, not unless you go nuts)

Hope this help mate?



Thanks for the answers, guys. Really helpful. I was in a bit of a funny mood last night and didn’t help myself by watching videos on Youtube of competitive eaters stuffing their faces with McDonalds breakfasts. Bizarre.

Anyway, I think I’m going to keep on track for a bit more. I would like to get to the 2 stone off milestone, which I’m very close to now, and then I might just take a few days of not counting. I won’t go mad with the eating, it will just be nice to not obsess over calories (even though it’s pretty much a habit now after 17 weeks). I’m going to be hitting a natural “re-feed” in 10 weeks anyway (Christmas). The key with that is being able to get back into the saddle on 2nd January without having done too much damage. As you’ve said, most of that weight will probably be water weight, and going by what you’ve said, it won’t do me any long-term harm.

Cheers, C.


Just keep this in mind mate,

A diet break over a few days will mostly be water weight,

a re-feed over a few weeks at maintenance will initially bring water weight but then will stable-ize as you’re simply ‘maintaining’ (& will up regulate metabolic dependant hormones)

but taking a ‘break’ over the holiday seasons, especially things like Christmas which is usually based around food/drink almost always leads to excess fat gain, just be careful not to use Christmas as an excuse to go off the rails

Water weight fills up your empty stores (about 300-600g in muscle & 80-100g in the liver) once they’re full, you’re just eating excess calories = weight gain

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Yep, that would do it @CosmicHerb70 ! :grin:

actually, I think that just describes most Maccy D’s in the morning pretty much…

I do this ‘refeed’ at the end of the ManvsFat football 14 week period…

Amazing. Anyone else thinking they’ve missed their calling here? :laughing:

It’s been a week since your post, how are you feeling now?

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Better and more focussed. I am getting mostly positive encouragement but one person is being doubtful and negative (they say it’s reverse psychology). I am using that to motivate me in a “I’ll show you” kind of way.

I walked up Roseberry Topping on Sunday. It’s a big steep hill in North Yorkshire. I saw it as an important milestone in my fitness journey. Now I am concentrating on getting to 19 stone before Christmas. Watching more videos on YouTube about health and fitness rather than the mad eating ones.

Hey and thanks for checking in with me. Appreciate it!

You need to take a short break between losing weight. Otherwise you will enter a state of obsession. You need to work slowly and never aim for perfection first time. You will end up being unhealty and stressed over weight even when you are not fat.

Moe’s post has inspired me to post an update, and seeing as it’s pretty much exactly a year since I started, I thought I would.

I have had 2 breaks now, 1 around Xmas for a month or two, and then I started on WW in Feb, and had another mini-break of a week or 2 (but still tracking) at the end of May. Overall I’ve lost 4 and a half stone, 63lbs, 28.5kg in the year since I started this attempt.

I’m finding the break every 2 stone a good thing overall. I think the trickiest bit for me is getting back into it after the break, but so far so good.

Just found this thread. Wondering if you have a routine that you do to get back into the swing of things after a break?

Hard to put a finger on it really. I found that if I keep tracking all my food it helps me stay aware and I keep weighing myself as usual once a week. I have set my next target to aim at and after a few weeks of disappointing weight loss, I found my focus again.