What is a reverse diet? The dos and don'ts

When it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle, you might think ‘eating clean’, limiting the number of calories you consume and exercising excessively is the way forward. That’s the messaging we’ve received from the mainstream health and fitness industry over the last few decades. But everyone’s bodies are unique and function in different ways – so weight management should look different to each of us too. The truth is that traditional dieting methods just don’t cater to the diversity that exists across the human species. However, there’s a method that’s been used for years by elite fitness professionals to keep their bodies at optimum performance level that does offer the versatility that many people need – and that’s reverse dieting.

Maybe you’ve seen a blog about it, or heard a recommendation through a friend. If you’ve discovered the wonders of reverse dieting, it’s likely that it’s a new concept to you. It also means that you probably don’t know where to start – which is where we come in. If the question of ‘what is a reverse diet?’ still one you don’t fully know the answer to, this dos and don’ts post will help you to make the best decisions moving forward in your reverse dieting journey. Let’s get started now.

So really - what is a reverse diet?

Before we dive in, a quick recap for those of you who are new to the term. Reverse dieting is a type of diet that does exactly what it sounds like – it helps you build the foundation of losing weight by doing the opposite of everything we associate with dieting.

In place of strict calorie deficits and extensive fitness programs, reverse dieting opts for strategic increases in calorie intake covering the main macronutrients – carbohydrates, fats and proteins – until you hit your body’s optimum energy balance equation known as your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). This method helps you to lose weight by increasing your body’s ability to turn food into energy, a process more commonly known as metabolism. A hugely important factor when it comes to how effectively your body can burn calories – and many of us have damaged our metabolism over the years by going on fad diets and cutting back on calories. Restricting your diet in such an extreme way often sends signals to your body about survival mode and as a result this slows down your metabolism as a biological response for survival and can set the foundation for future weight gain. If you’re looking for more in-depth information on the reverse dieting process, check out our ultimate guide to reverse dieting for more guidance.

So, now we’ve answered the question of ‘what is a reverse diet?’ – let’s look at what you should (and shouldn’t) do when it comes to reverse dieting.

Do...reverse diet the right way

Firstly, it’s important to mention that reverse dieting is a highly technical, science-backed method of weight management – so it needs to be done the right way. Guesswork and estimates won’t cut it here: reverse dieting needs to be carefully planned out.

And while there’s no one singular way to reverse diet thanks to how vastly different each of our bodies are, all reverse dieting plans need to be carried out well. When it comes to addressing the notion of ‘how to reverse diet properly’, the best approach is an individualized one. The nutrition coach you work with (which we’ll cover later on) should define a customized plan that caters to your body’s individual makeup and needs – that’s how you’ll get the best results from reverse dieting.

Don't...give up too soon

It’s understandable that reverse dieting might feel a little alien at first – but it’s really important that you don’t give up on this process before you start to see results. Unlike fad diets that provide that instant gratification, your body needs time to adapt to reverse dieting – just because you don’t see instant results, it doesn’t mean it isn’t working. So hang in there and trust the process! You're building up your caloric budget that will help improve your well being and set the foundation for fat loss.

Do...use reverse dieting for weight loss that lasts

If your reasons for starting reverse dieting are for weight loss purposes, you’re likely to have a lot of success with this method. Because reverse dieting is centered on boosting your metabolism, the vast majority of people who reverse diet find that over the long run they lose weight and are able to keep it off regardless of whether that was their intention or not. This is because their bodies burn calories much more in-efficiently. Unlike a car that you want to run as efficiently as possible, when your body requires more calories to keep it going, it allows for a larger caloric budget and more freedom and flexibility with food and people are able to then lose weight eating more food than before they start the reverse diet.

So if you want to use reverse dieting for weight loss that will last beyond a few months or weeks, your sustainable health goals are finally within reach.

Don't...expect instant results

Reverse dieting is more of a lifestyle change than it is a diet. While fad diets like juice cleanses, and traditional diets that are centered on ‘clean eating’ and lots of exercise, simply aren’t sustainable ways of living for most people, reverse dieting does offer longer-lasting results. After you build your body back up to optimum performance levels, you can enjoy your life without worrying about rapid weight gain or fluctuations – but this takes time to achieve.

That’s why your mindset needs to be focused on the long-term gains of reverse dieting, not the instant rewards.

Do...go to a professional

The support and expertise you get from a nutrition coach is incomparable when it comes to reverse dieting. Lack of information and insight that we have in the mainstream media surrounding reverse dieting, together with the technical nature of the process, means that many of us aren’t aware of how reverse dieting really works. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you work with an experienced nutrition coach who can help you reverse diet in the best way for your body.

Plus, questions like ‘how long should you reverse diet for?’ and ‘how can I use reverse dieting to build muscle?’ will all be answered, and more, when you have an expert on hand.

Don't...start without a reverse dieting plan

Without a solid reverse dieting plan, you’ll struggle to track your progress and see where you’re at in your reverse dieting journey. Plus, this process can support a wide range of health goals – from using reverse dieting for weight loss or muscle building – making it even more important to have a good reverse dieting plan in place.

By ensuring that you work with an expert who really knows their stuff, you’ll easily avoid this ‘don’t’ – as defining a plan is a vital part of any good nutrition coach’s services.

Ready to start your reverse dieting journey?

Hopefully, after reading this post you’ll have a better understanding of how to reverse diet properly – and if you need support with defining your own reverse dieting plan, we can help at The Macros Clinic.

Our coaches are fully qualified and trained to provide personalized nutrition coaching to clients looking to reboot their bodies and achieve their health goals in a healthy, sustainable way. Book your free 30 minute consultation with no obligations or hidden fees today.

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