Why You Need to Refeed on a Diet

Why You Need to Refeed on a Diet


Have you ever eaten so little, yet never manage to lose any weight? Have you been dieting for a over a month? It may be time for a refeed day. A lot of people misterm this as a “cheat day,” but refeeds are slightly different than cheat days because they are usually calculated, planned, and properly done.

Let’s start with Leptin.

What is this thing called Leptin?

Recent scientific evidence suggests that there is so much more than insulin control for maximum fat loss. Leptin is a hormone, the starvation hormone (most people misthink this as a fat-loss hormone), that regulates hunger and metabolism in our bodies. It is controlled by the amount of fat that is in our body.

As we diet, our leptin levels decline and thus does our metabolism and fat loss. Consequently, our cravings for sweets tends to increase. This is a result from the loss in leptin in our bodies.

Which brings us to Refeeds.

Refeeds will help our body restore leptin levels. Every person is slightly different and depending on how long you’ve been dieting, you’ll want to calculate accordingly.

On the downside, you will probably gain some fat back. But this will be burnt back off in the next week. In addition, refeeds will help you psychologically.

How often should I refeed?

If you’ve been dieting at a huge deficit for a long time, you’ll need to execute a longer refeed. Additionally, the lower your body fat percentage (lower than 15%), you’ll need to refeed more often. I generally like to have refeeds once a week. If you’ve been dieting for months, you may need to refeed for 2-3 days.

How much should I eat?

Depending on often you refeed, you want to eat anywhere from 20% to 50% surplus of your maintenance. If your maintenance is 2000 calories, then at a 50% surplus, you’d be eating 3000 calories.

If you’re over 20% body fat, you don’t really need a refeed yet. Your body fat is still high and the leptin levels will remain high. Of course, if you want to pace your weight loss and keep your sanity, you’re more than welcome to have a refeed day once a week.

If you’re between 15% to 20% body fat, you should refeed at 30% to 50% surplus once every two weeks.

If you’re between 10% to 15% body fat, you should refeed at 50% surplus once a week.

If you’re between 6% to 10% body fat, you should refeed at 60% surplus once a week. Or you should refeed at 30% surplus twice a week.

What should I eat?

Kroger - Cereal Shopping Cart

Refeeds should purely be foods that turn in the simple carbohydrate, glucose. This means sugary cereals, white rice, white bread, etc. You want to mainly look for your starchy carbohydrates that break down easy. That means you can forgo the oatmeal, brown rice, and wheat bread and opt for the white.

You should keep your protein macronutrient requirement the same and keep fats low. The goal is to supercharge your metabolism back so that your body will continue burning as much as it’s supposed to. If you refeed with protein and fats, your body won’t get that leptin pump that it needs.

When should I refeed?


Try to refeed on workout days. Bonus points if it’s leg day. On refeed days, you want to fuel your body with as much energy to synthesize muscle while recharging your metabolism.

Anything else?

Note that the scale will definitely show your refeed the same day and the next day. Most of that weight gain will be water weight (the carbohydrates will hold onto all water). Also, your muscles will be replenished with glycogen. So if you did a proper feed, the scales will show an additional 5-10 lbs. Don’t worry, though. That’ll all be gone within the next couple of days.


Be Sociable, Share!


  1. […] Make sure you have restored your metabolism via refeeds. You may gain some weight back, but it could be possible that your metabolism has come to a screeching halt. […]

Speak Your Mind