If you are following a strict fitness plan, refeed days are something you have to incorporate into your regime every now and then. What exactly is refeed day? Refeed day is the day when you increase your caloric intake in order to increase leptin levels.
Leptin is a hormone in the body that regulates hunger and satiety and also energy expenditure.It is secreted by fat tissue, so the more weight you have the higher your leptin levels would be. When you are on a specific diet, your leptin levels fall down and after a while, you will start having cravings for the foods that your body is missing.Along with this, your metabolism will slow down because of the new calorie intake and it will like to ”make do” for the fuel given and it will be impossible to lose fat.
How much and when should you refeed yourself?
Everything depends on several factors: your diet, how much time you have been dieting and your fat levels. People who have a really low-fat level need to do their refeed days much more often, especially women. Women who are dieting need to consider refeed as a must because it can cause problems hormones, bone density, and menstruation. If you are following a really strict diet, for example, Paleo diet or extreme low-carb diet you will need to do a more intense refeed day because your body will be exhausted. Refeed day can last from 12h-2days.
In some cases when your body fat is extremely low, it can last for up to a week with a slight increase in carbohydrates. When it comes to the calorie intake, it should be 20-50% more than usual diet days. Your food, however, should still be coming from good sources-mostly good carbohydrates, protein and fats. Refeed day is not the same as cheat day or cheat meal. You will need a healthy source of carbohydrates. However, you can incorporate a small amount of the food and carbohydrates that you have been craving. Carbohydrates restore the leptin levels in the body.When they are in check, you will have a better energy and mental clarity and better performance.