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If you’ve done some research on tracking your macros (or “iifym”) then you’ve most likely come across the terms cutting, bulking, and reverse dieting. Cutting and bulking are fancy names for either trying to lose weight or gain weight. But the term reverse dieting can be a lot more confusing. So I’m here to help break past any confusion and gives you my best tips for how to reverse diet on your own. If you’re new to macro tracking, then take a few minutes to check out my post on IIFYM (if it fits your macros).
What is Reverse Dieting?
Reverse dieting refers to the idea of increasing your caloric intake slowly to find out your maintenance calories. After weeks of reverse dieting the goal is to be able to maintain your weight at a higher daily caloric intake than before. This is something that is usually done after a period of trying to lose weight and eating at a caloric deficit.
For example, if you’ve been eating at 1400 calories to lose weight and are now ready to maintain your weight, you’d want to start a reverse diet. So instead of jumping your calories from 1400 all the way to 2000 calories at once, you would take a few weeks to slowly increase your calories. This gives your body plenty of time to adjust and will hopefully reduce or eliminate any weight gain. The goal is to work your calories up as high as you can, without gaining weight. This would then be your new maintenance calories.
The most successful reverse diets are done by following macros. So instead of just increasing your caloric intake, you would slowly increase the amounts of carbs, fat, and protein you eat. This ensures that you increase your intake in a very balanced way.
RELATED POST: How to Track your Food Intake Using MyFitnessPal
How to Reverse Diet
If you’re ready to reverse diet then you’ll want to make sure you follow a few simple steps:
- Know your current macros. In order to be successful with reverse dieting, you’ll want to know what your current macros are. So if you haven’t been tracking your macros, I suggest doing that for about a week before starting your reverse. This will give you your starting point
- Increase each macro by 2-5% each week. So for example if you’re currently eating 150g of carbs then you’ll want to do the following math: 150 x 0.02 = 3. Therefore you would increase your carb consumption by 3g that week. You’ll want to do this for each of your macros.
- Analyze your weight that week and then decide on what to do the following week. If you lost weight that week, then the next week you can increase again. If you gained weight then keep your macros the same for the next week and analzye again. If you maintained your weight then maybe see if you can get away with another small increase the next week.
- Know when to stop. Once your weight starts to increase a little, then you know you’ve found your stopping point. Simply revert back to the previous week’s macros where you maintained and these are your new maintenance macros!
I realize that this might sound like a terribly complicated math problem (and I guess in a way it is). But once you get the hang of it, it actually becomes pretty easy. If the idea of trying to go through this process alone gives you anxiety, then let me help you! I offer both 4 and 8 week macro coaching programs where we can work together to help you navigate through a reverse diet.