a break from dieting

Why Wednesday – Why You Need a Break Sometimes

A coworker told me recently that she took a break from Weight Watchers. She was feeling burned out and didn’t feel like counting her points, or making healthy food choices. So she took a week off. She said she saw a gain on the scale. I believe she’s back at the Weight Watchers program and doing well but she said she felt bad about taking the break.

I’m here to say that sometimes you NEED a break.

For me, my lifestyle changes were less about being on a “diet” and more about changing bad habits so I don’t feel like I’m restricting myself. I don’t feel burned out with what I’m doing. I have in the past.

When I first reached my goal weight (150 pounds) I needed a break. I had been so “good” for two years, restricting certain foods, counting my calories in a strict way, and I just needed a break from it. I thought I had it down–I thought I could stop counting my calories and maintain my weight loss. I was wrong.

I stopped counting my calories for about 6 months or so. I was going through a hard time, felted really stressed and I had started taking Celexa. I took the Celexa for 10 months. That in combination with no counting my calories packed on the pounds. I saw the scale creeping up slowly but ignored it. I was also training for Hood to Coast. I ended up gaining 15 pounds.

This was an eye-opening experience. I realized that I’d have to count my calories probably forever (and I also realized that medications can alter my chemistry in a drastic way). I started counting my calories again, stopped the Celexa, and a year later finally lost those 15 pounds.

15 Pounds Heavier

Since that experience I realized that every once in awhile I need a “reset.” Instead of stopping ALL good habits for an extended period of time, I just do it for a day or two. I’ll stop counting my calories for a day or two and it’s the mental break that I need. Then I’m right back at it.

Sometimes our exercise routines can get just that: routine. If you’re starting to dread your workouts, you feel more stress about working out than you should, you don’t feel better after working out, you might be burned out.

  • Take a break. Don’t workout for a few days. If you split your Rest Days like me (Monday/Thursday for example), make them back-to-back instead. Add an extra Rest Day.
  • Put on your calender one weekend a month where you Rest/Stop Counting Calories. But make sure you start back up on Monday! Don’t fall off the wagon completely.
  • Change your routine. If you normally run, try lifting weights instead.


I was feeling stressed and burned out before my vacation. The trip to Arizona was a WONDERFUL reset button for me. I got my physical activity in but I did different things! I ran in the desert twice. I swam outside. I hiked A LOT. It was the perfect way for me to do something different and enjoy my activities.


So don’t beat yourself up if you need a break. A break keeps you on track.

QUESTION: Do you have a reset? How do you stay on track while taking a break?