Unfortunately, as you successfully finish a restricted diet you’ve put a lot of effort and self-discipline into, you will probably encounter the biggest problem in the world of weight loss – the rebound weight gain. There seems to be a correlating trend in metabolic damage and post-diet or post-contest rebounds, because rapid increases in body fat after a long period of dieting are catastrophic for the metabolism. But they are detrimental to the psyche as well – who wouldn’t be left depressed and hopeless after his intense fat loss journey leads him right back at the start line? To do it all over again will be a hundred times harder than it was the first time, and the threat of rebounding again may push you to simply quit, taking a great toll on your confidence.
This common problem actually has a simple, yet unpopular solution, and it’s called reverse dieting. Reverse dieting is a diet protocol developed by nutrition experts that’s perfect for people who have been at a caloric deficit for a certain period of time. ANY certain period of time, actually. Whatever the reason for your dieting, this approach can help you increase the intake of calories while maintaining the levels of fat. At the beginning of the program, many people will even experience a further loss of weight, since the body has already adapted to the initially drastic calorie deficit and most probably has slowed down the metabolic processes.
Reverse dieting will help you spark up your metabolism after an exhausting diet by gradually increasing the amount of carbs, proteins and fats you consume daily.
Phase 1: Increase the daily macro allowance
Consuming proteins is important both for satiety and maintaining your leanness. Relying on the macro-nutrient numbers from your current eating plan, trim the protein intake at around 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. In order to gain tolerance, continue by increasing the carbs by 10 grams and the fats by 1 gram in the first week.
Phase 2: Increase the percentage of fats
Don’t be surprised if the first phase takes longer time to complete. If the first week led to a body fat gain, continue with the same regime for another week. If there hasn’t been any fat gain during the first week, opt to increase the intake of carbs by 5% per week and the intake of fats by 1 gram per week. But for those who have been on a low-fat and high-carb diet it might be better to increase the fat intake by a greater number.
Phase 3: Assess progress
Assess your progress at the end of each weak, and if you didn’t experience any body fat gain, increase consumption of fat and carbs by the same numbers again. Low GI foods will work best for you initially, but you should progress to consuming more different types of carbs later.
Maintaining your weight
Naturally, repeat the process of increasing the numbers each week until you reach your desired calorie intake and are able to maintain your weight without increasing the body fat. Be careful – if your body fat gain is bigger than 1% per week, hold your macros intake for another week. Continue to increase them after you’ve made sure that your body has fully adapted. If you don’t get there in a few weeks, try taking the numbers one step back. Keep it up for a week and then asses your progress again. The point here is to eventually find out what level of macro intake you need in order to maintain a stabile percentage of body fat. Then you can decide if you want to stay at that point and make slower gains, or move forward with the same method and make greater gains but with the addition of body fat. Long-term success is a game of patience, after all.
This program requires a decent level of self-discipline and patience with yourself, but it’s most definitely worth it. The goal of reverse dieting is to bring your calorie intake back up to a healthy and sustainable level. In other words, to increase the metabolic capacity while sustaining a maintenance weight at the same time. By having this kind of a structured post-diet plan, you won’t experience the typical rebound weight gains or cause great damage to your metabolism.And the best thing about it might be the long-term effects, which means that your future diets can include a higher caloric intake, making them a lot less difficult.
It’s important to remember that the numbers proposed here should be used as a guide that can be adjusted to individual needs, so keep a close eye on your progress and find what numbers work best for you.