What is Reverse Dieting?

The Secret to Sustainable Fat Loss May Be Eating More – Reverse Dieting 101

Can you really get better fat loss results by eating more? 

This question gets asked in my coaching groups all of the time. Let’s chat about what Reverse Dieting is and what you need to know if it’s right for you.

Everyone can agree that if you are trying to reduce your body fat and weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. You’ve heard that you should eat less and exercise more. But this isn’t always the answer.

What is Reverse Dieting?

Precision Nutrition defines reverse dieting as a method to slowly and intentionally increase your daily food intake in an effort to raise your metabolism. Essentially, you are doing the opposite of a typical diet. The goal with a reverse diet is to get your daily caloric intake back to your maintenance levels and maybe even slightly above, without undoing the results of all of your hard work accomplished.

Reverse Dieting may combat the body’s adaptive response to reduced calories. When you begin to lose weight, your body’s starvation response kicks in. This is the body’s response to save you from famine. Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) slows down, your energy levels fall, you naturally move less and even your digestion slows. 

Your body is amazing and will adapt the opposite way too. As you gently increase calories, your body will increase its energy output. Your BMR rises and you find yourself wanting to move more!

When should you consider Reverse Dieting?

  1. If you’ve struggled with losing weight and regaining, aka yo-yo dieting, you might want to consider a Reverse Diet. Once you reach your fat loss goal and are ready to maintain it, instead of coming off your diet and going hog-wild as most people do. Strategically and slowly adding small increased amounts of calories each week may keep you from rebounding and regaining the weight. 
  2. If you’ve been in calorie restriction for a long time and find yourself stalled, a reverse diet may be what you need to reset your metabolism and jumpstart fat loss again. If you are already eating high-quality, whole foods but very low-calorie, and feel like you are at the bottom and cannot drop calories any lower, you are someone who could consider a reverse diet. 

How do you Reverse Diet?

  1. You’ll need to have a clear way to track your food intake. If you’ve been following the FASTer Way then you know how to track your macros and should have enough data to help your coach determine the best approach for you. If you’ve never tracked macros before, consider partnering with a coach to learn the benefits of tracking macros instead of calories. 
  2. Figure out your current caloric needs, begin slowly adding back in calories in 1 to 5% increments. Notice how your clothes are fitting, your energy levels, and your workout performance. You can use a tape measure to measure your waist, hips, and other body areas to help you understand changes in body composition.
  3. Experts recommend increasing every 2 – 4 weeks. 

Reverse Dieting takes a bit of commitment, focus, and patience. But taking the time to see how much you can increase your food intake without gaining fat might just be what you need to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of yo-yo dieting!  

One of my favorite parts of coaching The FASTer Way is that our Head Trainers and Registered Dieticians strategically program our food cycle and monthly VIP challenges to help clients bust through plateaus and avoid metabolic adaptation. I love getting to tell clients to eat more, lift heavier and enjoy special treats. This is what food freedom is all about. 

Contrary to popular beliefs, you don’t always need to be in a cutting or calorie deficit phase to see positive changes in your body composition. There are different, very beneficial dieting phases you could consider. If are wondering if you need to make adjustments to your nutrition and exercise plan, watch my latest training on Dieting Phases.

If you want to learn more about the latest nutrition strategies and how to strategically manage your food choices so you look and feel your best, I’d love to work with you.  


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