Long time, no writing… well, I’ve been here and posting my videos but I haven’t written in a minute.
This post is all about the Reverse Dieting journey I am about to embark upon. What is “Reverse Dieting” you may ask? It is basically just eating and slowly increasing your calories higher and higher so your metabolism can adapt to a higher caloric intake without causing insane weight gain. While weight gain may happen, it’s winter so I don’t care too much and I can use that to fuel my workouts even more!
The reason for reverse dieting is when you’re eating at a low calorie level and that’s what your body is used to maintaining at, so when you eat more, you gain weight, and if you want to cut calories, it’s pretty hard to do since you’re already eating very few. It is a way for your body to naturally boost it’s metabolism so you can eat more and creating a new “maintenance”.
Typically, you can use an online calculator to find your “maintenance” calories, otherwise known as your BMR or Basic Metabolic Rate, but that isn’t always accurate if you’ve been eating too low or too high of calories for too long which is why I tracked daily.
Your body adapts to what you have been giving it thinking it can either burn more or needs to conserve. I spent December tracking my calories and macros every day as well as my weight to see if I was losing or gaining weight over the month. I tracked using My Fitness Pal and a doc that I made here. My body has been thinking it needs to conserve energy and calories since I was unknowingly not giving it enough just eating intuitively which is what has lead to a plateau in my body composition.
After a bit over a month of tracking, I discovered that while I thought I was eating close to 1,800/1,900 calories a day, I was actually eating much less than that on average. If my body was used to the 1,800 calories and I was eating less, I would have seen my weight go down… but I didn’t, it remained pretty stable throughout the month. This means that my body and my metabolism has been used to about 1,400 calories a day plus the amount of calories I burn. If I were to just start eating 1,800 calories like my online TDEE says I should right off the bat, I would gain weight pretty quickly and most likely in the form of fat and not muscle. Since I want my extra calories to go to muscle, that is why this will be a longer and slower process.
This also means that if I decided to cut calories and meals today to try and lose weight, my calories would get to a very low level which isn’t healthy or maintainable, especially when I want to use extra calories for a good workout.
Starting this week, I will be slowly increasing my calories in order to get my body to feel comfortable eating 1,800 calories a day… maybe even 2,000 calories! Tracking each day also allowed me to see my macros and how they affected how I felt and my weight each day. I’ve learned that I can never be keto because I felt the best after days that my carb intake was higher and on days I didn’t have even 1,400 calories, I felt extra bloated like my body was trying to hang on to anything that I did eat.
While I’m more focused on my metabolism and I don’t follow an “If It Fits Your Macros” life, I do want to keep my macros around 100 grams of protein each day which would be about 20% of my caloric intake and eat around 45-50% carbs and the rest as (healthy) fats. That won’t ever be perfect and that’s not the goal I’m currently aiming for, but after tracking, I’ve learned that it is what made me feel the best!
In the future, when I am more comfortable with my calories, I can take time to experiment with different macro ratios or even carb cycling!
Again, I know I may gain a bit of weight as I bump my calories up slowly but with consistent workouts I know that some of it will be muscle and it will allow me to feel and BE stronger. I’m excited to do this (I mean… it means I get to eat more) and to see how my body reacts. Once my body is comfortable with the higher calories and it becomes my new maintenance, I want to keep it at that level for awhile then possibly do a mini-cut for the summer. For now, I’ll take my average of 1,400 calories a day and aim for at least 1,600 calories a day for the next few weeks and see where I’m at. Afterwards, I’ll aim for 1,800 then eventually 2,000 calories a day to have a new maintenance!
Thanks for being on my fitness journey with me and I hope this post inspires you to see where you and your metabolism are currently at! Since I don’t have any degrees or certifications in nutrition science and training, I’ll leave a few studies and more info linked down below for you.