What is Reverse Dieting & Does it Work for Fat Loss

Today I want to have a conversation with you about the importance of reverse dieting, and exactly how it can help you to blast off plateaus.

Ok so picture this, you’ve been dieting for some time now and at first everything was going well. Your body has been changing and you’ve been seeing some great progress.

So naturally, you keep going.

But then slowly over time, all signs of progress stops. It screeches to a halt. And you’re left wondering if there’s something wrong with you.

You try everything to make your body respond again… But nothing is working. You’re tired, frustrated and ready to quit.

Or maybe you’re in a place where you HAVE in fact gotten to your goal weight. Congrats! And after some time of dieting, you are in fact ready to maintain your weight.

However, you want to get to maintenance calories without gaining weight. And you need to know how to do that the smartest way possible.

This is exactly where reverse dieting comes in.

What is Reverse Dieting Exactly?

So, just as you would take calories down slowly as you lose weight to create a deficit, reverse dieting follows the same principle. But of course, you do it in the reverse.

When the goal is to raise calories, you start where you currently are, and every few weeks take calories UP until you get to the goal caloric level that you’re aiming for.

How to Reverse Diet Successfully

The good thing about reverse dieting is that there are no rules really.

Just like dieting in general, you want to listen to your body. You want to simply make all moves based on biofeedback:

  • Weight
  • Measurements
  • Pics
  • How your clothes fit
  • How you feel

Typically when I’m setting up a reverse diet for a client, I’ll continuously raise calories about 100 to 250 calories every two to three weeks. Along the way, simply watching how the client’s body responds, making moves from there.

Once we reach the desired caloric level, we simply chill out there for a while depending on a client’s goals.

When to Use Reverse Dieting

As I mentioned at the start of this article, there are two instances where reverse dieting can really come into play.

The first being the situation where you’ve been spending a ton of time in a caloric deficit, and you’re no longer seeing results.

Reverse Dieting to Boost Fat Loss

To understand why reverse dieting works here you need to understand how fat loss works in the body.

Here’s the thing, the body hates being in a caloric deficit. It sees it as you dying. Well, maybe not that extreme. But it definitely assumes on the cellular level that you are in starvation mode.

Quite honestly, your body doesn’t give a shit about you simply wanting to see your six pack.

So what it does is essentially slows down your metabolism. Doing so in the hope that you’ll slow down, preserve the calories you do consume, and stop deteriorating.

Sometimes the remedy for this isn’t to simply lower calories further, or to burn more. Don’t get me wrong, that does indeed work. And in the beginning of a diet, that’s the right move to make.

What is Reverse Dieting & Does it Work for Fat Loss

However, when you get to that point of diminishing returns where lowering calories further puts your health at risk, or have you eating a super low amount for YOUR body and lifestyle… Another strategy is desperately needed.

This is exactly where reverse dieting can swoop in and come to the rescue.

Using this dieting tactic, you can easily start to boost your metabolism by reversing some of the negative effects of dieting.

Hormones that regulate metabolism will be boosted again once you increase calories. And you sort of can trick the body in that way to feel like everything is back to normal again.

The goal here is to get close to maintenance and stay there for about 2 to 4 weeks. In some cases, particularly when you’ve been dieting for a long time, you might need to do it for longer.

Reverse Dieting to Maintain Weight Loss After Successfully Dieting

Once you’ve successfully reached your weight loss goals, it’s going to be important for you to get to a point where you can simply live your life and enjoy eating like a normal person.

And along the way, you want to be able to establish and KEEP the habits that will keep the weight off for good. There’s no better way to achieve this than through reverse dieting.

You know, the reason why a lot of folks end up failing at dieting and gaining every pound back is that they don’t grasp a sense of how to eat now that the weight is off.

This is also why I’m such a huge advocate for losing weight slowly. Whatever you have to do to drop the pounds is exactly what you have to do to KEEP them off.

By reverse dieting back up to your new maintenance levels, not only can you prevent sudden weight gain in the process, but you allow your body to slowly acclimate to the caloric increase.

And, you get to relearn your body in the process as well. Developing the eating habits and food choices that you can maintain in the long run as you adapt to your new reality of living in your dream body.

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