Reverse dieting is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of decreasing your calories like you would on a diet, you slowly and strategically increase calories over time with the goal of increasing your metabolism and fat-burning potential.
During a reverse diet you will often shift away from cardio and emphasize weight training as a way to tell your body to partition the excess calories towards building lean muscle instead of storing it as fat.
The end goal? To break through a weight loss plateau without having to resort to even lower calorie dieting so you can enjoy a more sustainable lifestyle that leaves you feeling energized and performing well.
When you reduce calories and your body size shrinks, your metabolism slows in response. This is what leads to you feeling like you have to eat like a bird in order to see consistent fat loss. It also is what ends up leading to post-diet regain when you're faced with things like birthdays, holidays, and vacations tempting you to eat, well, like an actual adult human.
This probably seems like a bunch of BS if you subscribe blindly to the weight loss creed: when you eat more calories than you burn you gain weight and when you eat less calories than you burn you lose weight.
But what this over-simplified rule fails to account for is metabolic adaptation. Basically, when you create too big of a calorie deficit or when your eat in a calorie deficit for a long period of time, your body starts making adjustments that slow or completely inhibit weight loss:
But luckily, your metabolism can go the other way. As you reverse your diet and start adding calories back in, your basal metabolic rate increases, you can engage in harder workouts, your non-exercise daily activity increases, and digestion returns to normal so you're absorbing fewer calories.
Now keep in mind, this doesn't give you permission to go hog wild on your diet. That will inevitably lead to unwanted fat gain. But if you go slow, and only increase your calories by 10-20% at a time, that's where the magic happens.
Also, just like weight loss and metabolic adaptation doesn't happen overnight, neither does metabolic healing. If you've been living in a deficit for the last 8 months, expect it to take around the same amount of time to fully recover your metabolism.
It can be terrifying to eat more when eating just 1200 calories isn't getting the scale to budge. But think about your weight loss goals like climbing a mountain.
You're trying to get to the top, but you've gone as far as you can following the calorie-deficit trail. Now the only trail left is the reverse-dieting trail. It does lead to the top, but it first takes you a little ways back down the mountain before you can start climbing back up to the peak.
Click here to book a free consultation with me! We'll see if reverse dieting is the right next step for you, and if it feels like a good fit I'll be there to guide you through the whole process, step-by-step.
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