What's With Your Reverse Diet?!
So what is the deal with a reverse diet?
Reverse dieting is essentially the opposite of a typical diet. Instead of slowly reducing calories over several weeks to try and lose weight, a reverse diet slowly and methodically increases calories back in that you have taken away. This helps you to maintain your physical appearance and not gain as much fat back.
Reverse dieting is NOT “bulking”. Bulking is jumping into eating in a surplus of calories. Reverse dieting is a much slower approach. Typically during bulking you will gain more fat back.
So What Do I Do If I want to Reverse Diet?
Step 1: Tracking
Keeping track of your macronutrient intake is still as important as it was during your diet or cutting phase.
Step 2: Figure Out Your Calories
If you have been dieting/cutting for a while you should roughly know how many calories you have been eating. Once you have determined your current calorie intake, it’s time to add in extra nutrition. I would aim to start to increase by 1-5%. If you aren’t sure there are also calculators out there that can help you determine this.
Step 3: Set Up Your Macros
Protein is one of the most important macronutrients for a reverse diet. Protein positively affects muscle maintenance and hypertrophy. I recommend aiming for 1-1.5 grams per pound of body weight. Protein also has a satiating effect which allows your body to feel fuller for longer.
Carbs and Fats are still important! Dietary fats should stay between 20-35% of your calorie intake. Lastly, you have some flexibility over carbohydrates. If you prefer a diet with more dietary fat added in and fewer carbs you can adjust accordingly as long as you meet the minimum dosages.
Step 4: Evaluate and Monitor
The most straightforward way of keeping track of whether your reverse diet is working is to weigh yourself daily and then take a weekly average. While there may be a noticeable increase in weight, that is expected (especially if you increase your carbs), if you feel like you are gaining weight too quickly you can always adjust your intake.
If you are monitoring your progress on the scale, make sure you always weigh yourself in the same conditions. Ideally in the morning after using the bathroom and before consuming food or drinks.
Eat more food: Adding in more calories allows you to eat more food. By doing this slowly you can reduce the amount of fat gained at the same time.
Mental Wellbeing: A Reduced caloric intake for an extended period can be mentally draining. It can leave you feeling sluggish, tired, and irritable at times. Reverse dieting allows you to leave your caloric deficit, which should give you psychological relief.
Steady weight gain: Jumping right back into your old habits typically results in rapid weight gain. A reverse diet allows you to eat more and steadily gain weight without gaining tons of fat/weight in the process.