I often get asked … “what is reverse dieting?” so I want to address it here. What’s even more important to understand, is why you would want to do it:
For athletes coming off competition, or dieters who have lost a significant amount of weight, reverse dieting can be the answer to the dreaded rebound weight gain and associated depression.
Once you’ve lost weight, reverse dieting helps you keep it off. If you consume too many calories too soon after weight loss, the body will quickly store these calories for the next time you expose it to an extreme calorie deficit. This is referred to a yo-yo dieting in the weight loss world, and rebounding in the competition world. This can lead to rapid weight gain and potential long-term metabolic adaptation. Increasing calories incrementally, a reverse diet allows your metabolism to reignite and catch up to the surplus calories. The goal of the reverse diet for those that are at their target weight, is to increase calories with minimal weight gain. If done properly, it allows an easier transition from contest or competition shape to offseason maintenance eating.
Everyone can benefit from reverse dieting to accelerate fat loss and avoid a fat-loss plateau when dieting.
Reverse dieting can also be used to increase an individual’s metabolic capacity and stretch the ability to intake calories while holding at a maintenance weight. Using this strategy, and by assessing progress weekly and tracking increases in body fat in comparison to lean muscle mass, anyone can recover their metabolism and increase calorie intake with minimal increase in body fat. Once a person has reverse dieted, weight loss phases become much more effective and sustaining weight loss is much easier.
This strategy can recuperate essential metabolic hormones such as T3, testosterone, and leptin, which become down regulated during extended dieting. By making small and calculated increases to calories, the metabolism is often able to adapt to the increase with a corresponding uptick in metabolic output and thermogenesis. The incremental additions in calories enable the individual’s metabolism to burn more energy as a result of increased energy input.
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