The Reverse Diet
“Our bodies are our gardens our wills are our gardeners"
Reverse dieting. Sounds like a joke, right? Wrong! It is one of the best nutrition tactics I’ve ever discovered. To understand reverse dieting, you have to first understand that your body has a set point.
A set point is when your body is in homeostasis. In other words, it is the state in which your body likes to operate. When you go on a “diet” and cut your calorie intake, your body goes into survival mode and fights to return to its set point by sending you hunger cues, having restless sleep, and other biological feedback. No wonder everyone loves dieting, right?!
These are normal responses from your body in a caloric deficit, but with prolonged, severe dieting, your body’s survival response is to switch to fat-storing mode instead of fat-burning like you would want on a diet.
Extreme hunger plus fat-storing means your innocent cheat meal will likely turn into a cheat day → the number on the scale creeps up → you tell yourself you should cut calories further → the vicious cycle continues. The end result being that you are seriously underfed, hangry, and not seeing any weight loss because your body has adapted again and again to your calorie cuts.
If you keep dieting and restricting calories more and more, your metabolism will keep down regulating and you may never hit your fat loss goals. It can be mentally tough to increase your calories when fat loss is your goal, but when your body has adapted to diet after diet of calorie restriction, the only option is to try to reboot your metabolism by slowly adding more calories.
Some people are hyper-responders and burn fat like crazy with a reverse diet. Other people have a little fat loss while the scale increases slightly. And the less lucky people gain weight for a period of time on a reverse diet before being able to cut calories again. No matter how your body responds, it will likely be extremely beneficial to your metabolism and your overall health to get back up to maintenance level calories, especially if you are an athlete.
For more information on reverse dieting, I highly recommend this E-Book from iN3 Nutrition.
And check out my personal success with reverse dieting here :)
Caroline Ofenstein, CFL1, Pn1
Macros & Muscles Nutrition Coach
P.S. Join the VoyEdge RX Travel & Fitness Facebook group here.