Why do you need Refeeds with your Diet?
If you’ve ever been in a caloric deficit for too long, you are all too familiar with the fact that they aren’t fun. When doing the psmf diet, you are well aware the caloric deficits that it requires. The concept of cutting calories to lose weight is as basic as it gets (less in, more out, greater loss). But, while on a cut, you are also aware of the fact that once you reach a certain threshold (the lower calorie levels) that your body isn’t going to work as efficiently and the metabolism naturally slows down as a means to prevent the body from going into starvation mode. This is where the beautiful concept of refeeds comes into play. Yes, that one day where you basically “refeed” your body, from having been in a deficit for so long. Not only will this restart the metabolism and help you lose more, but will also help you break up your meals for tastier options.
What is a Refeed?
As the name implies, refeeds are where you are giving the body back (refeeding it) a few of those calories you have cut throughout the course of a week (ten days, or another period of time). You are basically increasing caloric intake for the day, and focusing on giving your body more carbs (not fat intake), in order to replenish the lost energy it is experiencing.
In the simplest terms, a refeed day is one which you are eating more calories than you have allowed yourself on the days you are cutting. If this sounds like a crazy cheat day you’ve had in the past, it is, but it also isn’t. Unlike a cheat day, you aren’t eating as much as you can possibly stuff down your face from the moment you wake up till you fall asleep. Instead, you are focusing on replenishing your body with carbs (as a source of fuel), while eating foods you enjoy ( the concept of the cheat day), in order to help regulate the metabolism, and in order to effectively make your cutting period a little less dull.
Why refeeds differ from “Free Meal” days
With the refeed, you are actually paying attention to your macronutrients for the day. You are going to eat a far higher calorie content than you have been doing on your cut days (a much-needed increase for most), but at the same time, you aren’t simply eating two large pizzas, two tubs of ice cream, and pop tarts all day (although some people will calculate certain foods they love into the refeed day/window). You are actually going to consider your macros, and attempt to reach those targets, in order to replenish the body of the deficits it has been experiencing while on a cut.
Why are refeeds important?
It is not only physically, but also psychologically beneficial for you to incorporate refeeds with your psmf meal planning. Just think of it. If you’ve ever cut or restricted yourself from eating things you love you simply go crazy. And when you finally did eat that pizza or ice cream, it wasn’t a couple slices (it was the whole pie, and an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s). We’ve all been there. So, on the psychological side of things, it gives you something to look forward to. You know there are only a few days until you can have those pancakes, so you won’t go crazy with the broccoli, brown rice, and chicken.
On the physical side of things, you are basically going to increase leptin levels which have been depleted for so long. This helps you:
– Reduce those cravings when you do go back to the cut.
– Helps jump start the metabolism.
– Helps you regain energy levels when you have been in a deficit for so long.
– Helps regulate your system (basically zeros things out so you can start fresh when going back to your cut).
It will help refill those lost glycogen levels, also helping you improve those workouts which you have been dragging through the past few days. So, you feel re-energized, you avoid those midnight hunger pangs and cravings, and your body will immediately start shedding those lbs again when the time comes for you to go back to your cutting phase until your next refeed day.
What should you consume during Refeeds?
On the refeed day, you are increasing caloric count; but, it isn’t simply about throwing in an extra couple thousand calories and eating anything you want. Instead, it should focus on reaching certain macros for the day. So, let’s take a simple example. When cutting, most individuals should be reducing caloric intake by 25 to 30%. So on cut days, you are eating about 1000 calories; now, on your refeed days you are going to jump up about 30% from this number (taking you anywhere from 1500 to 1700 for the day).
You should not simply look at the calories; yes, you will be a surplus for the day but remember those benefits mentioned above, they will come into play. When calculating macros you want to hit protein, fat, and carb levels. In terms of protein, you should get about 1 g per lb. You are going to eat as little as possible in terms of fat grams (strive to keep it under 50 g for the day) and the rest of your calories come from carbs (so yes that pasta, bread, and even certain sweets are all “on limits” for the day.”
So why should your refeed days be structured around carbs as the primary source of calories? The reason being is they give you that boost of energy you’ve been missing. Those reduced leptin levels are instantly going to spike back up on this day. Foods which are rich in carbs are also far more filling and fulfilling. So you are not going to feel deprived, and you are going to enjoy each of the meals you are eating during the day.
Are there certain foods which you should eat on the refeed day?
Yes, remember the majority of your food is going to come in the form of carbs; with this in mind, you also have to watch those fat levels when consuming foods. Good options to incorporate into your refeed day would be:
– Pasta, high grain meals.
– Fruits and starchy veggies.
– Pancakes and similar hearty breakfast foods.
Basically, those foods you aren’t eating on your cut days, are mostly allowed to be consumed on the day you are refeeding the body. They are going to give you that much-needed boost in energy while providing you the macros which are needed to help restore the lost glycogen levels and boost the leptin levels lost during cut days.
How far apart should these days be?
You will want to use the PSMF Calculator to determine your refeed schedule on the Psmf diet. Once you enter your information, this will determine how often you will need to do the refeed based on the rapid fat loss handbook. It will vary for your category, so you will want to make sure you know when your refeeds will be.
It is also important to consider your total body fat percentage when determining how and how often you should do your refeed days. If you are at a level of 20% or higher, it is a good idea to do the refeed every couple of weeks (or every three weeks while you are dieting). For those who have a very low body fat percentage, maybe 10 to 12% or lower, you might benefit from spacing your refeed days a little closer together. You can possibly get by with doing these once a week, and still see the killer results you want to see when trying to lose weight and define those muscles.
Don’t let refeeds become a cheat day
You’ve been dieting for so long and have been doing so well. If you allow your refeed to become something too out of control (whether that is increasing calories too much, or simply going crazy with fats and sweets) this is going to kill the progress you’ve made. It is not going to work as well, and you are not going to see the loss you are hoping for when trying to shed some pounds you have put on.
It is important that you keep your macro count in mind as you are preparing for your refeed day. If you are new to this concept, it might be a good idea to track (using an online tracker) in order to ensure you are properly managing fat intake and are getting a sufficient source of your calorie needs for the day from carbs. Like anything else in life, and like any other diet you have tried in the past, if you aren’t doing things properly, you are not going to see the desired results.
In terms of the frequency, it is also important that you follow the rules as to when and how often you are refeeding the body when you are on a cut. So don’t do them too frequently, but don’t space them too far apart either. Remember, this is just as much a psychological game as it is a physical one. So if you are continually changing things up and playing tricks on your mind and body, it is not going to want to work with you when you are trying to attain certain goals. Therefore, you have to make a schedule, and you have to stick to it if you truly want to see the results when you are cutting and incorporating refeeds. It will help you stay on track and stay mentally sane when you are depriving yourself of foods you love during your cut. Here are some psmf tips to keep you on the right track.
Besides PSMF, do they work for everyone?
As is the case with any other diet, cut, lean gain, or bulking program you have done in the past, the refeed day is simply something you should try and see if it is going to work for you. There are certain people who live by it when they are cutting or even when they are on maintenance in order to keep their sanity. On the other hand, there are some people who swear by the cheat day every few weeks (or once a month), and there are others who choose to do the cheat meal (maybe on the weekend or when going out a few times a week).
There is no cut and dry formula which is going to work for every single person, even if they are trying to attain the same goals when they are on a cut or bulk. So you simply have to go through a trial and error phase when you are deciding to incorporate refeeds into your diet. And, even if you do so, there might be some tinkering you have to do on these days (trying certain foods, combinations, frequency at which to do the day, etc), in order to really get it right, and to see the results you would like to see when you are trying to slim down.
There are so many different approaches one can take when it comes to dieting. Due to the simple fact that each of our bodies is different, macro content differs for each individual, and every person’s metabolism works differently, the results of a refeed, a cut, or bulk, are going to work out differently for every individual who tries them. The concept of refeeds is extremely popular for many reasons. For those who are considering going on a cut, or if you are currently doing so and in a caloric deficit, this might be exactly what your body needs to finally see the results, and to help you maintain your sanity for the duration of the time which you are cutting calories in an effort to lose weight.