How to Get & Stay Lean While Eating More Food


Reverse Dieting

There’s nothing more confusing and motivation shattering than committing to a diet, seeing some weight loss, and then all of a sudden hitting an unexplainable plateau that puts a halt to shedding the pounds. What gives?!

If you’ve ever experienced this or are experiencing it now, just know that you’re not alone. This phenomenon is known as metabolic adaptation and it’s more common than you think - especially if you have a history of dieting.

So what is it?

Glad you asked! If you’ve read 5 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight, you may already have some familiarity with this from my first point. Your body essentially turns on survival mode. It realizes your body fat is getting lower and lower and it does not like this. It has a body fat set point that it likes to hold onto and when you start dipping below this, it responds by finding ways to hold onto as much body fat as it can. How? Your metabolism slows down - your body learns how to do more work while using a lot less energy aka a lot less calories burned.

This means that if you were dieting down on X amount of calories, exercising 3x a week, and losing 1 lb a week, well maybe now it takes X+100 calories and exercising 4x a week to lose the same amount of weight per week. Annoying right? Many refer to this as a weightloss plateau. And there are two ways to tackle it.

How do I Fix It?

The first way is to tweak your diet and exercise so that you’re eating less, exercising more, or a combination of both. These are great solutions if you have more time to get workouts in or are still eating a good amount of calories.

However, if you’re already working out as much as you want to/have time to and your calories are survivable at best right now, it might be time to consider a reverse diet. A reverse diet means you will be gradually increasing your calories until you hit your maintenance level (or the highest amount of calories that it takes to maintain your current weight - nothing more, nothing less.)

The point of a reverse diet is that the calorie increase is slow enough that you will get back to an enjoyable, moderate calorie intake and avoid overshooting your everyday level to the point of unnecessary weight gain. This process allows your metabolism the time to increase rate and catch up to your higher calorie consumption. So the point here is to rev up your metabolism and prime it to support your diet in the future WITHOUT putting the weight you already lost back on.

For many, this process is HARD because it requires patience. When you want to lose weight, you want it NOW, right? The challenge here is that, if your body is just barely getting the calories it needs to function properly, weight loss will be HARDER mentally and physically.

Focus on the long run - if you want weight loss that lasts in the long term and is achieved in a way that doesn’t take over your life, make sure that your metabolism is in a good spot to support this. If it’s not, consider reversing your diet. The slower you add back your calories, the less chance of unnecessary fat gain. In other words, you can keep the body composition you have now (or something very close to it) on a lot more food.


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