In my last newsletter, we discussed the changes to make when you stop losing fat despite doing everything right.
For some people, they have cut their calories so low and increased their exercise so much, that the idea of going any further would leave them existing virtually on air alone, and with no time to do anything other than exercise.
This is where reverse dieting can be transformative.
If your diet is overall very good, but you are eating very few calories and seem to gain weight by going over on your intake just once, it is worth taking a deep breath and trusting in the idea of reverse dieting.
But the first question to answer is: is this really you?
Mostly, I find people know. You know if you deserve to have gained, or just not lost, weight. If you’re genuinely existing on very little food yet the weight doesnt come off, you know.
But, as an incredibly rough guide, you should be eating about 30-40 calories per KG of lean mass. If you are way under this, then reverse dieting is worth trying.
Don’t guess your numbers. You need to spend a couple of days tracking your average daily intake (at least your calories and daily grams of protein) and you need to know your lean mass.
There are calculators online to work out your body fat percentage (use the Navy method), then just take that percentage off your weight in kilos to get your lean mass.
Then, check you are eating 1g protein per KG bodyweight. Protein is worth 4 calories per gram. Do your maths and work out how many calories that leaves you to play with in order to get to the 30 calories per KG lean mass.
Add 100 calories to your current daily intake and stick with that for two weeks before adding another 100. Keep going until you reach the 30 calories per KG lean mass. You may gain a small amount weight at first, but trust the process. Once you reach the 30 calories per KG lean mass, you may need to back off the extra calories and perhaps add 50-80 at a time for two or even four weeks before adding more.
The aim should be to eat as much as you can while still losing weight. This will get you further than you imagine, but obviously you will reach a ceiling at some point – usually soon before you hit the 40 calories per KG lean mass.
This should be obvious, but please don’t choose chocolate brownies to fill these extra calories – remember the food you eat must be nutrient dense.
At the same time, you need to make it a priority to gain muscle. Reverse dieting won’t work if you don’t do this. We’re not talking anything major, just use exercise to build muscle, rather than to lose fat.
Start doing resistance training. Muscle is energy hungry – it demands more calories to just stay around and so will increase your resting metabolic rate and make your body need those extra calories, and more. As your body gets used to having more energy around, it will start to re-speed up the processes which it had slowed down when you were under eating.
By allowing your body some more fuel, increasing the demand of fuel and overall speeding up your metabolism (i.e. your bodies processes), you will burn more calories and begin to lose weight. It may take a short while for your body to get to grips with the idea, but it will.
Reverse dieting can be a little confusing because of all the numbers, and it can also be somewhat nerve wracking as you are back-tracking on what you have experienced for a long time.
I can support you on your journey to losing weight and getting healthy – whether the route is through reverse dieting or not. Get in touch and we can discuss the right approach for you.