Your Diet is Over, Now What? | How To Reverse Diet

2 women running in place

For many people, fitness plans appear to be something that has a start and an end date, as if you just have to do the right things for your body just for a certain period of time…

This is the reason you see trends like 90-days fat loss challenges and 30-day strong core challenges.

The truth is that such trends are not really sustainable and won’t yield consistent results.

When it comes to dieting there are many factors to acknowledge if you want to make your results last.

In this article, we are going to break down the process of dieting and weight loss, how it affects the body, and what you should do once you reach your goals.

What Is Dieting?

A diet is a sort of nutrition regimen that typically puts your body in a caloric deficit.

This means you are eating less calories than your body needs to maintain its weight.


When you are in a caloric deficit, your body starts burning fat to compensate for that deficit of energy. (1)

And while this may mean losing weight or changing body composition, for the body it is controlled starvation.

Metabolic adaptations

During a period of time eating in a caloric deficit, your body recognizes that there isn’t sufficient energy.

To deal with this problem, the body slows down all of its processes to ultimately preserve energy. (2)

The longer you are on a caloric deficit, the slower your metabolism gets and what was once your caloric deficit, eventually turns into maintenance calories.

Taking diet breaks of 2 weeks every 2-3 weeks of dieting can be used as a tool to mitigate the decreases of your metabolic rate.

These are periods of eating at maintenance, where no significant changes in weight should be observed.

Your Post-Diet Approach

Throughout your diet your metabolism slows down and you lose weight.

At one point, you will reach your goals. What is the next step after this?

The short answer is continue what you were doing in the first place.

That is, being active, eating good food, recovering well, and staying hydrated.

But, due to the fact that your metabolism is slower at the end of your diet, there are things you have to do in order to avoid sudden weight gaining.

Yo-Yo Dieting

A lot of people who lose significant amounts of weight gain all of it and more back in TWICE AS LESS TIME as it took them to lose it.

This is because people think of losing weight as a process with a start and end date.

The truth is weight loss is about a shift in habits, which is sustained over the long term and made a functional part of your self-care routine.

How To Keep Weight Off

Here are our best tips to keep weight off after losing it:

  1. Slowly increase your calories

By slowly upping your food intake, you will signal the body that it is safe, has energy, and can speed up its processes.

If you give the body too much energy (food) too suddenly, you will gain more fat.

On the other hand, if you increase food gradually and keep activity high, your metabolism will increase.

  1. Gradually increase training intensity

During a period of weight loss, your training intensity and effort output are slightly lower, due to the deficit of energy.

After you have reached your initial goals you can transition into adding more food to your daily nutrition plan but also increase training intensity.

This means, increasing the working weight, but also the number of sets, repetitions, and times you reach muscular failure.

  1. Monitor, adjust & stay consistent

Keeping good track of your nutrition and workouts after your diet is over is essential if you want to keep the weight off.

Conclusion

Weight loss is a gradual process, to which the body responds by slowing down its metabolic processes.

As you diet down and exit the diet, you are in a state where your metabolism is just slower and you are more prone to gaining all the weight back.

This is why, you have to utilize something like a reverse diet, where you gradually increase your caloric intake, training intensity while keeping track of your progress and adjusting the plan along the way.

In doing all of this, you maximize the possibilities for you to lose weight and keep it off, creating a new set of behavioral patterns & habits.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6086582/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18025815/