Losing weight and keeping it off is not an easy task! It’s often one of the most challenging aspects that the majority of us struggle with when it comes to long term, sustainable weight loss and weight maintenance. Often times, many people find that losing weight is the easy part – but managing that weight loss and learning how to prevent weight regain after a diet is more times than not, extremely difficult and a scenario that many struggle with.
Unfortunately, a recent study showed that within the first year of weight loss, nearly 80% of people will have relapsed to their pre-diet weight. Within 2 years that number increases to 85% and within 3 years, over 95% of people will have gained their weight back.
Why is that?
It’s likely due to a number of factors. These may include the rapid re-introduction of calories and/or carbohydrates (for those who do low carb/keto diets); it could be because positive changes in eating behaviors and habits weren’t addressed or a main point of focus during said diet (which, in my personal opinion is one of the most important factors in keeping your weight off long term). This list is likely extensive.
But diets aren’t necessarily the only problem; it’s the “how” and “what” you should be doing after your diet is over that’s just as – if not more – important than the diet itself when it comes to keeping your weight off long term.
This is where reverse dieting comes into play. A reverse diet is single-handedly one of THE most important things you can do coming off a diet. You can’t (and shouldn’t) stay on a low calorie diet forever. Even if you achieved your fitness goals through a conservative calorie deficit (verses extremely low calorie), your body wants and needs to be fueling itself efficiently with the “right” amount of food, calories, and macronutrients.
But a big mistake people make after a dieting phase is rapidly re-introducing too many calories in a short amount of time (usually unintentionally), reverting to old dietary habits and basically, eating too much food too fast, resulting in weight regain over time.
If you’ve spent months dieting on 1500 calories and jump back to eating 2,000-2,300 calories overnight because your diet is over, you can see how this sudden increase in calories can backfire. So how do you approach being able to eat more food without gaining the weight back?
In simple terms, the goal of doing a reverse diet is to slowly work you back up to your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure)/maintenance calories, to repair any metabolic adaptations that have happened as a result of dieting and to slowly reintroduce more calories over a slow period of time.
Reverse diets aren’t only suggested as a method to prevent weight regain. A revere diet is also appropriate for those who have spent years eating on low calorie diets and find that they can no longer lose weight at that calorie amount. About half the women I work with need to do a reverse diet before a fat loss phase, simply to give their body a break from dieting and to repair their metabolism and get their bodies functioning optimally again before dropping their calories back down.
If this sounds like you, I’d highly recommend looking into my personalized macro calculation.
For more in-depth, hands-on coaching and training, check out the Forever Fit Formula.