Let's talk reverse dieting AKA eating more food to see results.
Most people have tried so many different diets with either no success or temporary success (lost the weight only to gain it all back, and even more sometimes...).
It’s a constant roller coaster of weight loss and restrictive eating to binging and weight gain.
You decide to diet and cut out carbs and eat 1,200 calories a day. Sure, this works initially because you decrease your calories drastically. After you lose the weight, you go back to previous eating habits and the weight comes back on. So you begin to diet again and this time cut even MORE calories. You eat a low-fat yogurt for breakfast with blueberries, salad for lunch with no dressing, and dinner is broccoli and chicken. You feel like you’re doing everything right by eating cleaning, working out regularly, and drinking water. But the weight just won’t come off again and now you’re stuck… or for some of you, you may even GAIN weight eating 1,000 calories a day. What the heck?!
It breaks my heart to see so many people, especially women, put themselves through this tortue. So that’s why I’m writing this to remind you guys to STOP THE ENDLESS DIETING. And take back your health!
So what can be done about breaking this statistic?
Enter periodization of your diet including weight loss, maintenance, and muscle gain phases. Prioritize one over the others for a certain period of time (like no more than 12-14 weeks in a weight loss phase) and then know when to pull back to maintenance and give your body a break.
Enter reverse dieting.
90% of clients come to me wanting to lose weight and expect me to reduce their calories to lose that weight. Majority of these clients are already currently under eating. Under eating doesn't seem like a huge deal when you just think about eating less calories but your body needs a certain amount of calories to support daily life, functioning of organs, to breathe, to exercise, to work, to be a human! When someone constantly eats very low calories under their bodies maintenance calories, it drives them into adrenal fatigue or metabolic adaptation which can ruin your hormones, your sleep, decrease energy levels, cause deficiencies, poor skin/hair health, loss of menstruation, decreased performance, etc. The list goes on & on. In order to restore your body to a healthy place, you will need a reverse diet. The reverse diet calls for slowly building up calories (energy) over time to ideal maintenance calories and fueling yourself properly with whole foods, cutting back on stressors like exercising if overtrained, or a combo of both.
There tends to be three different responses to a reverse diet and I’ve seen all 3 of them in my clients.
Weight loss (not the most common but it does happen for some!)
Weight maintenance (but biofeedback improves like increased energy, better sleep, better mood)
Weight gain (common but usually minimal like 2-10lbs over an extended period of time… usually those who have a long history of extreme dieting AKA metabolic adaptation)
Regardless of which type of responder you are, you are EATING MORE FOOD!! Who doesn’t love more food right?!
Most of the time, a reverse diet is a longer period of time than one would typically spend on a "weight loss diet". Tends to be longer than most want it to be. but a necessary period of time to fully recover your body, improve metabolism, regulate hormones, etc. Typically, it’s anywhere from 4-12 MONTHS. From my own experience, I reverse dieted for over a year before I felt better in all areas of biofeedback (sleep, mood, energy, workouts, sex drive, etc.).
You MAY gain weight. Yes, I said you may gain weight. But preparing yourself of that up front saves you a lot of stress during the process. Can't bare to gain weight? Have fun being stuck where you are at, frustrated, and never able to lose the last 10 stubborn pounds of body fat. OR, face your fears and commit to healing your body NOW so that you can diet to lose weight LATER.
Want to know if you’re in need of a reverse diet? Use the questions below and if you answer “YES” to more than one, this may be the next step for you!
Have you went on an extreme diet, slashed calories, followed a diet plan/template? (yo-yo dieting)
Has your weight loss stalled even while cutting calories and increasing exercise?
Has progress in the gym stalled or slowed?
Do you need to consume more than 1 cup of coffee a day just to stay awake?
Is your hair thinning, falling out, dead or brittle?
Are your bowel movements irregular? (constipation, not daily)
Do you have extreme cravings for carbs, sugary foods, salty foods?
Do you struggle to fall asleep? Stay asleep? Wake often in the night?
Has motivation tanked? Dreading going to the gym or only going because you “have” to?
Has your sex drive decreased significantly?
Have you cut calories or eat very little but still have belly fat? Even gained weight from reducing calories?
Example Client Scenario: Client A weighing 145lbs went from 1,200 calories and 2+ hours of exercise a day with high stress -> 1,950 calories with only 60 minutes of exercise 5x/week over 3 months. In those 3 months, her body weight STAYED at 145lbs but her body fat went from 35% to 26%, she started sleeping through the night, she had less cravings for sweets, she noticed her hair falling out less, she had more energy during the day and didn’t need a second cup of coffee, & started to notice a huge change in her body composition (more toned regardless of scale not moving).
I KNOW it sounds like a crazy concept, but our bodies are incredible things! They are very adaptable, so with small increases and consistency with quality food, your metabolism will heal and adapt and speed itself up over time (AKA eating more, but getting your body healthy enough to be able to lose weight eventually).
You can't lose weight if your body isn't healthy.
If you are a chronic under eating, your body is in STARVATION MODE aka hoards calories consumed as fat because it doesn't know when it will be fed enough again.
You must EARN the right to lose weight by having a healthy body and metabolism first.
If this resonated with you at all, please reach out to me! Hire a coach to help you take back your life & finally put an end to endless dieting! Fill out the coaching application on our nutrition coaching tab of the website to get started.
Are you with me on this journey to improved health and #TeamMoreFood?!