Be prepared for one of my geekiest posts yet.
So… what the heck is reverse dieting and why would you want to do it?
“Over repeated bouts of calorie restriction, your metabolism takes a beating. When you drop calories too low for too long, your body intervenes on several fronts. Most notably, it reduces the number of calories you burn throughout the day, often priming your body for surprisingly rapid weight gain.”
~ Breaking Muscle
It isn’t easy to admit your past mistakes to yourself, let alone the internet – but I’m up for the challenge.
Some of us have more extreme histories than other’s in terms of our attitude towards food, our bodies, exercise and health.
So I’m not going to suggest my experience is particularly exciting, but it definitely isn’t a tale of complete body acceptance or nutritional perfection.
Where I am today is, IMO, the best place I’ve been in terms of all those things on my checklist:
But there has been a… plateau.
Now, I know hitting a plateau is nothing to bitch and/or moan about, especially when someone is scoring pretty high on that checklist above.
However, when you’re a type-A overachiever by nature, and each day your aim is to level-up in some way – no matter how small – a plateau is a right pain in the ass.
I felt like I was doing every thing right: I was working out consistently, not too much, not too little.
I was eating a low-carb, mostly whole food diet that kept me satisfied – with room for the occasional treat.
But ever so slowly… my jeans were getting more snug. What the…?
After giving it some thought, I figured maybe – just maybe – my macros had snuck up. Maybe an extra HIIT session could replace easy-breezy yoga day.
So, I gave this a try. I’m all for experimenting.
I think it was 3 weeks into my new regime when I realised I was actually gaining weight.
Not a lot. 1-2 lb on averages but enough to PISS ME RIGHT OFF.
It was around this time I was getting into Periscope, and had become somewhat obsessed with Christine Hronec’s ‘scopes. I loved her morning ‘coffee & cardio’ sessions, and how motivational her words were.
She never made a hard sell on her scopes, but had mentioned she offered consultation calls and plans on her site.
Now, it took quite a bit for me to step off my high horse and finally pay for someone to advise me on something I had ‘figured out.’
But I’m so glad I did. I purchased a consultation call, and we had a lovely chat on Skype.
Let’s face it: everyone loves a therapy session 😉
Straight away, Christine had me eating MORE – not less.
I returned to doing a more gentle workout routine and set out a plan to eat 300 kcal more a day.
This was definitely not an overnight job. I had read enough online about reverse dieting to know that upping your calories straight away isn’t the best approach for everyone-for a 5.3″ girl I figured it was worth playing it safe, to allow my body to adapt.
So, over a period of 5 weeks I ramped up my macros, and didn’t add any crazy cardio to my routine.
Results? Well, that pesky couple of pounds has vanished and I’m seeing some ab definition again!
Best of all, I have more ENERGY.
I wasn’t complaining about low energy before, but I know the difference between feeling like I want to throw in the towel half way through a workout, to actually leaving the gym with enough energy to skip out the door.
Plus, the psychological load is much more manageable. Knowing I have another epic meal to look forward to, without feeling like I need to ‘ration’ my macros (weirdly, for the first time ever I find it harder to reach my fat and carb macros than I do protein… just me!?)
Now, all this isn’t to say reverse dieting is for everyone. There are many pitfalls and it’s not all plain sailing. I’m not a personal trainer or a dietician.
But if you’re in that ‘tried everything and hitting a plateau’ it might be something worth considering.