You may have heard the term “reverse dieting” before, but do you know what it actually means and when it should be implemented? If not, then you’re in luck babes because I’m here to guide you through it!
What is reverse dieting?
Reverse dieting is a strategic process during which you slowly increase your calories from a deficit up to your predicted maintenance after a prolonged fat loss phase. It is a highly personalized process which requires weekly check-ins, adherence to your calorie target, and collection of data (measurements, weight, photos). The goal of reverse dieting is to maintain your end progress while increasing your calories back up to your predicted new maintenance.
When should you reverse diet?
If you have finished a fat loss diet phase and have reached your goal weight, then reverse dieting is definitely something you should familiarise yourself with in order to maintain all the hard work you’ve put in. This is especially important to do once you’ve finished an LSF program or challenge!
Reaching your goal weight shouldn't mean you throw all your healthy habits out the window and eat everything in sight. Instead, you need to ease back into a normal routine which your metabolism needs in order to maintain the conditioning you've achieved and continue to improve!
Why should you reverse diet?
1. Greater metabolic capacity
Over a prolonged time of eating in a calorie deficit, your body starts to adapt and your metabolism slows down in an effort to conserve energy. Reverse dieting helps to boost your metabolism back up and normalizes your hormone levels.
2. Maintain results
Progressively increasing your calorie intake in conjunction with monitoring your progress allows your body to gradually adjust to a higher calorie intake and avoid fat gain. You also give your metabolism a chance to utilize the extra calories better, as opposed to storing them.
3. Transition back to a normal diet
Reverse dieting is also very beneficial for your own comfort and mentality. Getting back into your regular eating routine after being in a calorie deficit can be quite overwhelming and difficult to adjust to an increased volume of food. For some, coming out of a diet can lead to binge eating. Gradually increasing your calories allows for more food flexibility which may reduce the desire to binge eat.
How do you reverse diet?
Reverse dieting typically involves incrementally increasing your deficit calories by 50-100 calories per week. It’s important to record your progress and increase more or less depending on how your body responds. You can increase your calories in large increments to begin with and move onto smaller increments once you get closer to your predicted maintenance calories.
What can I expect during a reverse diet?
More food freedom and food flexibility, what’s not to love about that! Although this is definitely the plus side, it’s important to understand that it is completely normal to experience weight fluctuations.
These would be mostly attributed to the fact that you are eating more food. This can result in increased fluid retention so don’t get too caught up in the numbers. For this reason, it’s important to monitor how you’re feeling, how you look, as well as your measurements. Keep in mind that scales alone aren’t the best measure of progress, especially for us females!
Remember, reverse dieting can be a great tool to maintain and boost your progress. The challenge isn’t always in getting the weight off, but also learning how to keep it off.