Reverse Dieting: What It Is and Why You Should Try It
The different terminologies involved in the world of weight management can be confusing to most. One such term that we get a lot of questions about is ‘Reverse Dieting’. Borrowed from the world of bodybuilding, this fascinating term can initially sound like our wildest dream: Eat more food while losing weight.
Too good to be true?
Let’s find out!
What is a Reverse Diet?
Reverse Diet refers to an eating plan that includes gradually increasing your calorie intake over a few weeks or months. This is done to boost metabolism and help your body burn more calories throughout the day.
A reverse diet is often described as “the diet after a diet” and is extremely important to get on to after a strict diet in order to ensure that you maintain your lost weight/fat and keep it off for good! Reverse dieting is usually followed after a calorie-restricted diet by people who are looking to return to normal eating patterns without gaining extra fat or weight in the process. Often when one completes their weight/fat loss journey, they must do a reverse diet so that they don’t put the lost weight back on.
How Reverse Dieting Works?
Most weight loss or fat loss diets (like in the MSF Meal Plan) involve decreasing the number of calories an individual consumes to create a calorie deficit. This means you are consuming fewer calories than what you’re burning. Over time, our body begins to sense the energy gap and the departure of fat, and starts to adapt to it by slowing down the metabolism to conserve precious energy.
This can be extremely problematic when you’ve hit a weight loss plateau and are unable to cut more calories or when you’re looking to return to a normal diet but want to maintain your current weight. While you can slow down your body metabolism, you can also speed it up. And this is where reverse dieting comes in!
Reverse dieting typically involves increasing your calorie intake by 50-100 calories per week above the number of calories you’re currently consuming, or your baseline calories. Increasing your calorie intake may boost your metabolism and help your body to burn more calories through non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which includes everyday actions and activities such as talking, walking, fidgeting, etc.
This period of gradually increasing your calorie intake usually lasts 4-10 weeks, or until you reach your target, pre-diet calorie intake.
Why should you try Reverse Dieting?
Weight loss or weight management is a result of practicing calorie control consistently. When losing weight, one typically needs to consistently maintain a calorie deficit. However, over time the body adapts to this energy deficit and slows down the metabolism to conserve the energy. Once you’ve reached your target weight, you should consume as many calories as the body spends in a day.
This process of resuming to a comparatively higher calorie intake can be tricky with most people ending up binging on food excessively before their metabolism catches up, resulting in putting on fat in the process. Without having control over the food portion sizes after a diet, your body can simply go into a massive surplus (because your metabolism has already slowed down - bringing your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) down); resulting in you putting on weight/fat faster than what you lost it.
Reverse dieting allows you to increase your calorie intake in a calculated way over a period while your metabolism adapts to your new eating patterns. This will cause your body metabolism to speed up, eventually bringing your TDEE up - and allowing you to consume excess calories without turning these calories into fat. Other benefits of reverse dieting include:
- The freedom to enjoy eating more food throughout the day
- Increased energy levels
- Reduced hunger
The technique of reverse dieting, when done right, has a lot to offer. If you have recently completed your weight/fat loss journey and are looking to sustain your results for the long term, a reverse diet is a must for you! If you have recently completed your weight/fat loss journey and are unable to sustain your living eating very little food as per the calorie deficit you achieved, a reverse diet is a must for you! If you have recently completed your weight/fat loss journey and wish to bring your energy levels for the day back up, a reverse diet is a must for you!
And if you are unsure of how you can start your reverse diet, then get in touch with us on Support@MitenSaysFitness.com and we would be happy to discuss how you can sustain your fat loss results for the long term!