Reverse dieting to fix your broken metabolism
We all know maintaining a very low calorie diet for a very long time can be damaging to our bodies, both mentally and physically. Whether you're a competitor, or just someone desperately trying to lose the same 10 to 20 LBs over and over again with no response from your body, extremely low calorie diets have been known to cause "metabolic damage", and impair your ability to jump back into a normal eating pattern. Bottom line, hitting the body with excess calories after being in a big caloric deficit WILL LEAD TO FAT GAIN. Solution -> reverse dieting.
If you're eating 1200 calories a day for awhile, chances are you've been undereating, you hit a plateau, and the endless amounts of cardio you're doing are getting you nowhere. Many people eventually reach this point, and almost anyone doing 1 or more crash diets will definitely hit this point. Best way to get over the hump is to start a reverse diet, which is a process of adding gradual calories back in to your diet, roughly an increase of 100 to 150 daily each week (generally from carbs and fats), until you hit your maintenance calories. If done properly, you will not gain any weight, and will in fact start to lose more weight as you start eating more. You can continue to increase until you start to notice a small weight gain - this is when you have reached your maintenance level. Your protein levels can stay roughly the same, work on increasing your carb and fat intake:
reverse diet example: Starting level -> 1200 calories
week 1: 1300 to 1350
week 2: 1350-1450
week 3: 1450 to 1550
week 4: 1550 to 1600 (can increase slightly more if you are still feeling good and not noticing any weight gain)
week 5: 1600 to 1750
week 6: 1750 to 1900 etc....... (the amount you can increase depends on your current caloric intake, and your weight when you start your reverse diet)
Essentially, you can look at a reverse diet as the process of eating more (increasing daily calories) without gaining body fat. It is the process of repairing your metabolism from being in a low-calorie state for an extended period of time. If you raise the amount of calories you are able to eat without gaining weight, the next time you try to cut and once again lower calories, your body will feel more comfortable with dropping fat (ie. it's easier to cut down from 2000 calories than it is from 1200 or 1000 calories - any lower and you'd wither away).
Words to the wise: If you're not sure how to set up your reverse diet, do some research. Learn what types of foods you should be adding back in. Don't panic, you won't gain any weight. Just think that if doing an hour of cardio each day isn't leading to any more weight loss, something must be wrong, right?
As always, feel free to comment your thoughts, experiences, and opinions, and message me directly with any specific questions.
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