The time has come.
You've hit 800-1000 calories per day and you just can't seem to shift anymore weight.
It shouldn't but it does.
Biggest thing I say to everyone is why start so low?
If you're on 800 calories where are you going to go?
You can't do triple sessions in the gym.
You can't reduce any more calories.
You're stuck in a rut.
Maybe you've been there. Maybe you're there now.
In order to come out of that and continue to see progress it's also important to understand what happens to your metabolism when you've been in a deficit for an extended period of time.
Naturally, as you're in a deficit your metabolism will begin to slow.
You'll eventually burn fewer and fewer calories in a day.
That's why, if you've ever learnt about energy balance, it's super important you stay within that caloric deficit.
You can do this by constantly re-evaluating your food intake over time, to ensure you stay within that deficit.
And for some, that's pretty challenging in itself.
But not only does your metabolism slow, but so does a lot of things.
When you're in a deficit, your body will naturally set out to burn less and increase its intake. Basically, it wants to quit the deficit and return to a state of metabolic homoeostasis.
When losing weight and being in a deficit, you're in turn doing something your body doesn't want to do.
And that's why it's so tricky for some as it can lead to complications further down the line. You need to be intelligent, with the sole goal of improving your body composition (think fat and muscle) instead of simply 'losing weight' any which way, whatever the consequences.
This is what you need to watch out for, when looking to lose fat.
Your metabolism slows down.
Your basal metabolic rate, the amount of energy you burn at rest will lessen.
Hormones such as leptin, ghrelin, testosterone and thyroid hormones are unfavourably affected by the reduction in calories.
You burn less through exercise
If you reduce your body weight, you'll also reduce the amount of calories you burn during exercise too. A heavier body requires more energy to move it.
You burn less through random activity
When we're in a deficit, we'll actually decrease the amount of twitching or toe tapping we do in a day.
NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis) can burn up to 2000 calories a day, and if you begin to move less and fidget less, that number drops, resulting in less of an energy expenditure.
You can increase that number however by walking more, taking the stairs, doing more chores.
The Thermic Effect of Food Decreases
TEF accounts for roughly 10-20% of total daily energy expenditure.
TEF is the amount of energy required to absorb, eat and digest food.
And if you're eating less in a day, the total amount of energy burnt through TEF also decreases.
The good thing is though, the adaptations don't last.
Just like you can create unfavourable adaptations, you can create favourable ones.
And you can do that through reverse dieting.
Ever come off a diet and suddenly put on a lot of weight in a short period of time?
That's because you're overeating and your body is ready to regain weight.
The worst possible thing you can do, during this period, is to dramatically increase calories.
Sad thing is, that's exactly what you do!
What you need to do is find a suitable way of increasing your food back to your normal intake without gaining all the unecessary fat.
And that right there is reverse dieting...
Apart from that, why is reverse dieting so good?
Well, you get out of the dieting mindset for starters.
It's easy to fear change. It's easy to fear doing something different because you'll undo all your hard work.
Reverse dieting helps because it'll show you that you can relax a little with your diet but not put on the weight at the same time.
You'll get to eat a little more too.
Which is just brilliant.
Not loads, but a little bit and any increase feels fantastic. I'm not saying for you to do what you normally do, but restaurants are easier to navigate, social events are easier to attend.
Basically you just start living a little more free.
Your energy will increase too.
With more food comes more energy, and we all want more energy. To be honest it sucks when you've been dieting for a while and life gets that much harder.
So you have all these benefits but how do you actually reverse diet?
Step 1: Hit The Weights
Working out 3-4 x a week is massively important to boosting your metabolism by building muscle.
Step 2: Slightly tweak your macros week by week. You can do this by adding 5% of your calories back on to your daily t
You can do this by adding 5% of your calories back on to your daily totals each week until you reach your TDEE,
For instance, you finish your diet on 1350 calories. You'll add 68 calories each week.
Your protein would remain the same but you would instead add those calories from carbs the first week and then fats the second week.
It could look something similar to this...
6 Week Reverse Dieting Plan
Week 0 1350c 125P 100C 50F
Week 1 1418c 125P 117C 50F
Week 2 1489c 125P 117C 57F
Week 3 1589c 125P 144C 57F
Week 4 1668c 125P 144C 66F
Week 5 1752c 125P 165C 66F
Week 6 1839c 125P 165C 75F
This in itself is quite cautious. But depending on how much you weigh, you may not need any more fats in your diet and instead can focus on just adding carbs the subsequent weeks.
You can carry this on for quite a while and in fact, you may not add much weight at all.
In fact, you may potentially lose weight, mainly from water retention.
It's also worth noting that the increases in macro's may not necessarily have to be from 'healthy' foods. As you begin your reverse diet, you're more than capable of adding in the odd treat here and there into your daily intake, just as long as you keep to your macros.
In summary, reverse dieting helps those that lose the weight but aren't sure what to do next to avoid the post-diet weight gain.
If I've forgotten anything, or you have more to add, please drop a comment below
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