Why Should You Reverse Diet?Apr 28, 2020
According to an Instagram poll, 60% of you don’t understand reverse dieting.
I’m pretty surprised at this because I feel like reverse dieting is discussed a lot these days!
Whether you’re hearing of the process for the first time or you’re more confident in your reverse diet knowledge, I want you to fully understand the reasoning behind implementing a reverse diet from both a biological and a psychological perspective.
What is Reverse Dieting
First, I want to set the stage and define what reverse dieting even is and why it’s so important.
A reverse diet is a slow and strategic increase in food intake (and often a decrease in cardio, too) following a dieting phase or chronic undereating.
The purpose of a reverse diet is to “reverse out” the negative implications of dieting, such as:
- Downregulation of your metabolism
- This is when thermogenesis decreases to conserve energy, your cells become more efficient (need less input to produce energy), and you move less (you might not realize it - but if you’ve been under-eating for a while, you probably move your hands less when you talk, fidget less, and maybe even blink less!).
- Hormonal adaptations
- Leptin, the hormone in your body that signals when you’re feeling full after eating, gets reduced. You also experience thyroid hormone reduction, which affects your metabolic rate, and you’ll see an increase in ghrelin (the hormone that tells your body that you’re hungry).
- Psychological burnout
- You cannot diet forever. Eventually, your willpower will deplete, leading you into the dreaded cycles of the “what the hell” effect.
- Lack of energy
- This might look like cognitive impairment or brain fog, an exacerbated “afternoon slump,” and/or having zero interest in exercise.
- In extreme cases, you might end up with an underactive or non-functioning thyroid, loss of your menstrual cycle, or even osteoporosis.
I honestly think that if more folks understood and *effectively* utilized reverse dieting approaches in their weight loss journeys, we would have:
- Less of the “diets don’t work” (...fixed mindset...) messaging
- Huge decreases in yo-yo dieting
- Reduction in global obesity (a girl can hope ok)
- HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, STRONGER freaking people
I’m pretty biased on this.
I’ve seen hundreds of people increase their energy, muscle mass, and quality of life while decreasing fat and improving their negative relationships with food and exercise thanks to reverse dieting (check out our client testimonials to see some of these transformations!)
And I’ve successfully completed many reverse diets myself.
Why You May Benefit from a Reverse Diet
One of the biggest reasons I cite for reverse dieting is that you cannot diet forever!
It’s not healthy for you to diet constantly. It’s hard on you both psychologically and physically. If you’re constantly dieting, your body will get pissed off and eventually, you’ll give up.
Hello, yo-yo dieting!
With reverse dieting, the idea is to relieve your body of the negative symptoms, downregulations, and adaptations from dieting or undereating.
Keep in mind that some degree of adaptation is normal when dieting. That is why you will need to continue decreasing your calorie intake while increasing your daily energy expenditure as you progress through a diet.
Slowly increasing your calorie intake during a reverse diet (as opposed to a sudden large increase) will minimize your fat gain after you complete your diet phase. This slow increase in calories is extra important because your body will be predisposed to store fat and energy.
NOTE: in some cases, fat gain is necessary to restore proper functioning.
More Great Stuff That Comes From Reverse Dieting
If you aren’t yet convinced that reverse dieting is a good idea, here are some other perks that come along with it a reverse diet:
- As your body is relieved from the stress of dieting or undereating, you might even lose weight as you increase your food and decrease your cardio (this is what always happens to me, so I’m speaking from experience)
- You’ll experience better training sessions, get stronger, and build more muscle
- You’ll learn that you’re able to maintain your weight without doing tons of cardio
- It’ll be easier for you to fit in treats and eat more in general without gaining weight
- You’re typically happier, healthier, and more energetic when you’re not in a caloric deficit
Reverse diets are an individual process
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: everyone responds to reverse dieting differently!
Just because your BFF lost 10 lbs during her first reverse diet doesn’t mean your body will do the same.
I understand that a reverse diet may seem daunting, but you aren’t alone. At KJO Coaching, we’ve got an incredible team of coaches who can guide you through the reverse dieting process. If you’re ready to experience the benefits of reverse dieting and get some guidance through the process, apply for coaching today!
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