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What Is A Reverse Diet? – Explained Here

What Is Reverse Diet

You started a keto diet and lost a lot of weight. Now what? How do you keep your body from regaining weight? Should you go back to your old eating habits or try something like intermediate fasting? The answer may be as simple as reverse dieting.

Reverse dieting stops your body from gaining weight after an intense diet or period of calorie restriction. The strategy requires dieters to slowly increase their calorie intake at a rate of 50 to 100 per week in order to repair their metabolism.

Read on to learn more about how the reverse diet works and what you can do to prevent fat gain post-diet.

What Is Reverse Dieting?

Dieting is always a short-term measure. Restricting your calorie intake endlessly can have harmful mental and physical effects. That makes weight regain one of the biggest problems among dieters.

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Reverse dieting is an interesting solution to this problem. It involves increasing your daily calorie intake slowly over many weeks or months. You can do this in increments of 50 or 100 calories per week.

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What this does is slowly acclimatize your body to the idea of consuming more calories. It repairs your metabolism so you can eat more food without rapid weight gain. This type of controlled calorie counting is the safest way to bring your body back to normal after months of calorie restriction.

How Does Reverse Dieting Work?

While diets like keto are a quick way of losing weight, they definitely have some negative effects. For one, they slow down your resting metabolic rate. This makes it harder for your body to burn fat in the long term.

By gradually adding calories per week you can coax your metabolism back in shape. The ideal rate is 50 to 100 calories per week and experts suggest that most of these calories come from carbs.

That’s because eating more carbs increases the production of certain hormones, specifically leptin. This chemical can not only increase your resting metabolic rate but also reduce your hunger.

To give you an example, say you’re eating 1800 calories a day at the height of your diet. When you decide to end your calorie deficit through a reverse diet you’ll start consuming 1850 calories a day. After a week you would shift to 1900 calories. After the second week, you’d shift to 1950 calories, and so on until you’re back to your maintenance calories. That’s the point where you’re not losing or gaining weight.

Who Can Benefit From Reverse Dieting?

Many people struggle with overeating after a period of dieting. People who have a tendency towards binge eating habits should definitely consider reverse dieting as they return to normalcy after a cut. A number of bodybuilders use this method when trying to regulate their weight gain. Plus, at the end of the day, there’s no harm.

Many critics will argue that there is no scientific research to prove that reverse dieting is helpful in maintaining weight loss. And while it is true that the research is this field is still in its initial stages, it is equally there that there is little evidence against reverse dieting. 

The worst thing that can happen to a person who has put in months of work to lose weight is for them to gain it all back in under a month. Here you have a potentially successful method that many researchers and bodybuilders do advocate for. And it makes sense!

So why not regulate your caloric intake after your low-calorie diet as a precautionary measure?

Benefits of Reverse Dieting

Since eating fewer calories results in a slowed-down metabolism, it seems intuitive that eating more food would speed it up. Of course, there are a number of benefits to reverse dieting.

Feel Full and Reduce Hunger

Getting to eat more food after a period of cutting calories will make you feel full. Your body will automatically enjoy receiving a greater number of calories, regardless of whether you increase them from 1800 to 1900 or 2000. That’s why a gradual jump will let you capitalize on that pleasure for longer.

Until you reach your maintenance calorie needs, reverse dieting lets you exercise control over what you eat and how often you increase your food intake. This is a huge plus for people who love eating but struggle to stick to a fixed plan. Counting calories may be difficult long-term, but it can help you prevent weight regain.

When you reach a stage where it becomes difficult to maintain a certain calorie bracket you can gradually increase your calories to give yourself a reprieve. This tricks your brain so the increase itself makes you feel fuller and less hungry.

Increase Energy Levels

How many calories you’re eating on a daily basis has a significant impact on your energy levels. When you’re practicing reverse dieting it automatically boosts your energy output so you can get more done in the same amount of time.

Returning to higher levels of food will improve your mood and reduce unhealthy cravings. With a reverse diet, you’re still on a calorie-restricted diet so you’ll be more mindful of the foods you’re eating and how much sugar you’re consuming. People on reverse diets are less likely to binge eat sweets, and can instead take their time building healthy habits around food and fitness.

With reverse dieting, you can have a higher level of energy and a fuller feeling, without any of the guilt that you may normally associate with eating a larger portion of food. Many dieters struggle with the guilt of going back to a regular diet after a period of restriction. But with reverse dieting, you can rest assured that any food increase is preemptively planned and moderated, so there’s no risk you will gain weight.

Drawbacks of Reverse Dieting

As with any strategy, reverse dieting does have some drawbacks. These may be worsened depending on how you go about your diet. So what negatives can come with a poorly thought-out reverse diet?

Body Fat Gain

It is entirely possible for a person to practice reverse dieting and still gain body fat. One reason behind this may be an incorrect assumption about your maintenance calorie needs. If you scale your caloric count too high you may start gaining body weight.

Alternatively, it’s also important to consider water weight. When you’re on a keto diet, a huge portion of the fat loss is due to water weight loss. When you go back to eating the same amount of carbs as before you’re going to regain this water weight, and potentially some extra as well. This is not the same as fat gain so don’t worry about your weight averages.

Not A Holistic Approach

Another criticism of the reverse diet is that it isn’t a holistic approach. The strategy only focuses on calorie deficits, which is one aspect of weight loss. In order to lose weight in a healthy manner you need to pay extra attention to the types of foods you’re eating and the nutrients you’re receiving with each meal. A balanced diet will include a meal plan with nutritious foods that leaves room for the occasional splurge.

Since reverse dieting doesn’t make room for other activities like exercise, going to the gym, walking, weight lifting, or running it’s harder to integrate. After all, your caloric needs will always depend on your activity levels, and any diet plan needs to consider all aspects of your life in a comprehensive manner. 

At the end of the day, reverse dieting may not be in tune with the holistic needs of your body. You also need to be wary of developing eating disorders, which can be a huge risk when you’re on a restrictive diet.

Final Thoughts

All in all, reverse dieting helps with minimizing fat gain after you stop a restrictive diet. In order to do it right you need to start by filling out a body composition test. That way you’ll know exactly how many calories you need to maintain your ideal body weight. You can also use a TDEE calculator for faster results.

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Then you simply increase your calories in increments of 50 or 100 until you reach your resting calorie amount. Don’t forget to track your daily food intake to help regulate your nutritional needs, as well as, your caloric needs. Make sure you’re being safe no matter which type of diet you choose to pursue.

And definitely consult your physician or a health care professional if you have any serious medical conditions. Remember, these diets aren’t for everybody. What works miracles for someone else may not always work for you. So definitely do your own test runs and keep monitoring the results!

Now that you know exactly what reverse dieting requires and how it works you can choose whether or not to pursue this strategy. As far as scientific evidence goes there’s nothing to deter you from picking a reverse diet, along with no serious harms.

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