Congratulations! You made it to the end of your “cut” or diet.
You’re now a lean, mean, fighting machine. You stuck to your guns and ate clean, minimized or abstained from alcohol, and the scale and your waistline are showing your hard work.
Did you know that some statistics suggest that 97% of the people who lose weight will gain it back, and then some? What a depressing statistic! Do you have to be one of them?
When I work with people who are trying to reach weight loss or physique goals I put even more emphasis on the maintenance than I do on the initial diet. Why? Because I don’t want my clients to be a part of that statistic.
How do I prevent my clients from regaining the weight they lost?
I put them on a reverse diet.
When we cut calories we inevitably slow our metabolisms. The goal of course is to minimize this by minimizing the time on a diet, by cycling calorie intakes, and by not cutting calories too low.
But a slower metabolism is something our bodies are designed to do when we bring in less food and have less mass to maintain.
The act of reverse dieting is exactly that- reversing/increasing the caloric intake over a similar amount of time as the original diet to give our bodies the chance to ramp up the metabolism once again.
If you went for 6 weeks on a 1400 calorie diet, started at 150 lbs, dropped 10 lbs, ended at 140, then on week 7 went right back to eating maintenance (say 2300 calories) your body is gonna get really excited and work to store those “extra” calories as fat.
Your metabolism is now working to maintain 140 lbs, but your body, the homeostatic creature that it is, wants to be at 150 lbs. So it does what ever it can to get you back up (this is known as “set point” weight)
Reverse dieting allows you to increase your caloric intake to “normal” and get your metabolism humming along at a healthy place without regaining the weight, OR you can reverse diet to get back to 150lb but gaining muscle.
So HOW do you reverse diet?
Slowly- one week at a time- generally adding in 100 to 200 calories a day depending on how much you lost, how long you dieted for, and your current activity level.
The longer you were on a diet, the slower you want to go to increase your calories.
Be mindful of WHAT you are eating too- adding in 100 calories doesn’t mean junk food. I would encourage you to add in protein first to get to 1 gram per pound of body weight, then fill in with healthy carbs, then add fats.
Be as patient with this process as you were with your diet or cut. Take the time to do it right so that you can get to a place of easy maintenance. And remember- your goal when you reach your happy place is to maintain- don’t go back to the habits that forced you to diet in the first place!
Need or want help with your diet? Check out what I offer for nutrition coaching!
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