SO, you’ve just been through a dieting period, living on a lower calorie diet to achieve your end goal weight. Maybe you were prepping for a competition, photoshoot, wedding, event, or just a personal goal for yourself to attain. You’ve dieted down successfully and reached your goal… now what?
Or maybe you’ve been restricting calories for too long and your body is not cooperating anymore and you've hit a weight-loss plateau… now what?
I want to discuss the process of a reverse diet, when to implement it and why it is so important & beneficial for your body at times like these.
The aftermath of a dieting period can really do a number on your metabolism and this period after a caloric deficit is critical to avoid excess fat gain while restoring and increasing your metabolic rate! NO harsh rebounds here folks, we’re bringing your metabolism up to speed and also bringing you benefits to help you in and outside the gym! You’re coasting in for the long-term gains!
FIRST LETS GO OVER THE EFFECTS OF A DIETING PERIOD…
After a period of dieting your body’s metabolic rate is slowed down due to decreased body mass and fat burning hormones are down regulated from dieting.
The concept of a reverse diet is used here to restore metabolic rate by slowly and strategically adding more calories back into your diet again so you do not gain a lot of excess body fat rapidly and are set up for long-term success moving forward.
After a calorically restricted period, many people will gain that weight back if they shoot their calories up right after a fat loss period.
Dr. Layne Norton’s podcast on reverse dieting, noted that most people after dieting cant keep that weight off and 80% of people will re-gain weight they’ve lost and may even add on even more fat due to the down-regulated effects of dieting on metabolism.
Once you’ve gained that weight back, it is even harder to diet down to lose it due to the fact that you will have to bring your calories even lower to enter a caloric deficit and lose body fat.
Lets take this in an example- Say you have just dieted down, and your new maintenance level of calories is now 1300 kcals, and you would like to CONTINUE cutting down. You would have to keep reducing from this level of calories in order to further see results.
The goal of a reverse diet is to build your metabolism to a point where when you want to diet down again, you are cutting from a higher maintenance level of calories of lets say, 2800 kcals.
By reverse dieting you will allow your metabolism to fully recover, slowly work towards increasing your maintenance level and burn through those more calories more efficiently. You may even find yourself getting leaner in the process!
THIS ALSO PUTS YOUR BODY IN A MORE EFFICIENT PLACE TO...
- Put on lean muscle mass
- Enjoy HIGH CALORIE meals out and not be as affected because metabolically your body is now in a much more stable place to metabolize that meal
- Prepare you for your next cutting/dieting phase so you can diet on eating MORE calories while staying leaner!
Maybe you lose 10 lbs, re-gain 5 lbs but get your caloric intake higher than it was before.
One of the major benefits of a reverse diet is that when you get back up to your maintenance calories, you have LESS body fat than you had prior to when you began dieting and are EATING more.
Now lets say you want to diet again, this means you can now diet down on a HIGHER daily caloric intake. (since you’ve increased your maintenance level)
= A NET WIN FOR YOUR METABOLISM!
This makes your next cutting phase easier.
Apply this over multiple phases cutting and reversing phases and imagine where you will take your metabolism!
Reverse dieting is a different process for each individual depending on how your body responds. It is an important phase to go through for all individuals who have been through long dieting phases and metabolisms are down-regulated.
Look after your body for the LONG-TERM. You have this body you are blessed with for your lifetime. Take care of it, be patient with your process and most importantly love your body!
If you have any questions at all about reverse dieting or need help with getting on track with your fitness goals, feel free to message me! I am more than happy to help <3
Below is a picture of the reverse diet approach I applied on myself!
I was on a long cutting phase for about 20 weeks until my bikini competition.
I was eating around 1 150 kcal/ day and doing up to 1.5 hours of cardio a day in the picture of the left.
I successfully reverse dieted myself out of that eating around 1 900 kcals (and still increasing calories!) with weekly refeeds and doing very minimal cardio in the picture on the right. All while keeping fat gain to a minimum and increasing my strength and energy in the gym!