Reverse Dieting… What is reverse dieting? Reverse dieting is essentially the opposite of dieting. It involves the intentional, and progressive, increase in your weekly caloric intake, over a designated period of time, to allow your body time to adapt and slowly raise your metabolism. When reverse dieting, you will be reversing the steps of dieting, one small step at a time.
Why should you reverse diet? When you are trying to lose weight, you “should be” slowly decreasing your caloric intake, creating a calorie deficit, so that you begin consistently burning more calories than you are consuming on a daily or weekly basis. Over time, your body adapts to the lower calorie intake by slowing down your metabolism. This process can become an issue when you are dieting for an extended period of time. You may end up hitting a weight loss plateau, where you are eating such a low amount of calories that you cannot lower them anymore without leading to periods of binge eating. We like to refer to this as the “yo-yo diet”, where you drop your caloric intake extremely low, obtain immediate results, stop seeing those results and get discouraged, and eventually, binge eat. The process of reverse dieting can be helpful because we are slowly introducing more calories, allowing your body time to adjust.
When dieting, the slower you decrease your calories each week, the better. The same is true of reverse dieting. You will slowly increase your caloric intake, minimizing the fat gained during the reverse dieting process. When reverse dieting, you generally want to increase your caloric intake by approximately 150-300 daily calories, each week, until you reach your maintenance level of calories. This varies with each person based on their activity level, their recovery methods, and the length of their diet. The goal when reverse dieting is to increase your caloric intake, without increasing your body weight, or body fat.
The baseline protocol for reverse dieting is to consume the majority of your calories before and after training. This maximizes your body’s ability to maintain muscle mass, and replenish glycogen (energy) stores. You also want to ensure you are consuming at least your body weight (in lbs) in high-quality protein (grams). For example, if you weigh 185 lbs when you begin your reverse dieting process, you want to consume at least 185g of high quality, lean protein. Finally, eat a fruit and a vegetable with every meal. This ensures you get a wide variety of micronutrients and high-density vitamins and minerals with each meal.
Reverse dieting is an essential part of any successful diet program. Once you achieve your results or have been in a diet phase for the recommended amount of time, it is imperative that you increase your caloric intake back to maintenance slowly and methodically to improve, and maintain, your results over time. If you have any questions about nutrition, dieting, macronutrients, or reverse dieting, ask a coach and we can help out!