What is it?
Reverse dieting is often utilized after an extended period of time in a calorie deficit. More often than not your metabolism will slow down after being in a calorie deficit for so long and reaching low levels of body fat, which then reduces your the amount of calories your body needs to maintain weight. Basically by reverse dieting you are doing the exact opposite of what you did to get to that point in the first place, by gradually adding in calories (usually in the way of carbohydrates or fats) over time to allow your metabolism to increase and get your daily intake of food up without gaining unwanted body fat.
Who should do it?
Anybody who has been in a calorie deficit for an extended period of time and wants to build their maintenance calorie intake up with minimal body fat gain.
Why should you do it?
The main reason why someone would reverse diet is to give their body and metabolism a chance to recover and build back up while keeping body fat gain to a minimum. The beauty of this is that you are able to build up your food intake to a much higher rate while staying relatively lean. This gives you a much improved starting point for the next time you wish to cut down as you will be eating a lot more food while staying relatively lean. Meaning you will be able to lean out without dropping your calories as low.
How to implement it
There are a number of ways to reverse diet and ultimately it comes down to how fast you want to reach maintenance calories and how much body fat you’re willing to gain in the process. My suggestion would be:
Add either 10-20g of carbohydrates OR 5-10g of fat to your current intake to begin with. From here you need to monitor how you are feeling, looking and the changes on the scales after 1-2 weeks. If your weight has either: Dropped or remained the same, then you just repeat the process. If your weight has increased and you notice you have filled out a little bit then just keep your macros/calories the same until progress plateaus. Then you can add more calories and once again repeat the process. For somebody that has been doing a large amount of cardio and wishes to cut back on that amount then the process is the same. Slowly reducing your cardio over time in accordance with your calorie increases until you are happy with the amount you are doing.
As you can see it’s a relatively easy process although it can be draining and slow for some especially if you’re coming off a contest prep. In my own experience I have even found reverse dieting to be just as hard if not harder than the dieting itself as you no longer have the need to be at a low level of body fat. Although, the reward for taking the time to build your metabolism back up by far outweighs the original struggle as you will find yourself in a much better position down the track when you decide to cut down again or even the fact that you will be eating so much more food while staying lean.
If you have any further questions regarding reverse dieting feel free to leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.