If you’ve been dieting for what seems like forever, whether it be for a fitness competition, a special event, or even just to hit your goal weight, it might be time for a break. I mean, dieting is exhausting, isn’t it? But, how do you take a diet break without piling on all the pounds you just lost? Try a reverse diet!
What is a Reverse Diet?
Some call a reverse diet, the ‘diet after a diet’. It’s a way to gradually increase your macros (or calories) after a season of eating in a considerable caloric deficit. A reverse diet is often recommended after a fitness competitor completes her time on the stage and wants to get back to her ‘everyday’ weight. Reverse dieting can be super useful for regular people too!
Have you ever dieted in anticipation of a big event? Let’s say, for a girls’ trip to Cancun or a 20-year High School reunion? You’ve spent weeks and weeks watching your intake, drinking water, and hitting the gym. You look and feel great and your confidence is through the roof! Once the event is over you no longer need the strict diet and exercise program you’ve been following. You’re also really proud of your progress and want to maintain the look you’ve worked to achieve.
If that sounds familiar, then a reverse diet might be for you! A reverse diet calls for many of the same practices you use to get lean: watching your intake and maintaining your fitness. However, you get to slowly incorporate more food. Carbohydrates and a little fat to be specific. Great, right?
How a Reverse Diet works
Reverse dieting is a slow caloric increase based on careful monitoring of your body changes. Eat a little more, let the body settle into its new weight. Eat a little more, let the body settle in. Over the long term, you’ll raise your caloric intake to a pretty decent level without seeing significant spikes on the scale.
Another benefit? A reverse diet helps you avoid the uncomfortable bloating that inevitably comes when you binge following a rather strict caloric deficit diet. Those are the worst, aren’t they? After months of restricted eating, it might be very tempting to eat all the things. With a reverse diet plan, you can incorporate more of your favorite foods while maintaining your results.
Reverse dieting is good for the hormones
Dieting takes a toll on the body. Staying low-calorie for too long can put undue stress on your body systems, including your hormones. And you know how I feel about hormone health. The body (hormones included) needs a break and some time to refuel. A proper reverse diet does just that.
A good macro nutrition coach will likely build in a reverse diet phase every 14-16 weeks to ensure the body gets a little break without undoing all your hard work and progress. A proper reverse diet allows your body to recover without the significant weight gain that can come alongside an unmonitored binge.
Reverse dieting isn’t a free-for-all
Reverse dieting still requires that you track your macros and/or watch your intake. The beauty is that you’re still in control of how much you’re eating. This enables you to either maintain your weight or increase it slowly, rather than completely undoing all the months of hard work you’ve put in. Some people can intuitively eat their way through a reverse diet, but most still require the structure of macro tracking, food weighing, or calorie counting.
It’s tempting to say, “I’ve hit my goal, bring on the cake!” but if you’ve been on a diet run for a while, the body will grab onto all those excess celebration calories and you’ll soon see a spike on the scale. A reverse diet gives you increased flexibility without the uncontrolled weight gain. Let’s eat more food while keeping your awesome results, okay?
Reverse dieting is a great option for all kinds of people. From competitive fitness athletes to everyday women with a goal, reverse dieting is beneficial for body, mind, and soul. If you’ve been in a caloric deficit for a while, are starting to feel frustrated with the restriction, or are seeing a plateau in your results, a reverse diet might be the thing you need to shake things up.
Over the course of my health journey I’ve done my fair share of reverse diets and trust me when I say, each time I’ve done one, I’ve felt insanely good while still maintaining my results. My clients too! Reverse dieting might just be the solution you need to the dieting rut you’re stuck in today.
If you’d like to learn more, please sign up for my FREE Faster Metabolism Blueprint to help you determine whether or not your metabolism has slowed down and whether you need to make nutrition changes to your diet.