Your Diet is Over, Now What? | How To Reverse Diet
For many people, fitness appears 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 why you see trends like 90-days fat loss challenges, 30-day strong core challenges, etc, etc.
Well, the thing is that such trends are not really sustainable and won’t yield consistent results. Especially when it comes to dieting, there are many things 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 desired shape.
What Is Dieting?
A “diet” is a sort of nutrition regimen, that puts your body in the so-called “caloric deficit”. This simply means you are eating less food 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 for you this may mean looking better and feeling good about yourself, for the body it is controlled starvation.
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
Now, as you just learned, throughout your diet, your metabolism slows down and you lose weight. At one point, you will reach the desired body shape… And then what? Well, the short answer is – Keep doing what you were doing in the first place! That is, being active, eating good food, recovering well, and staying hydrated.
Nevertheless, 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.
Most people who lose a lot of weight, gain all of it and some 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.
And the truth is that it really isn’t. 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 The Weight Off
Here are our best tips to keep the weight off after losing it:
- 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 quite some fat.
On the other hand, however, if you increase food gradually and keep activity high, your metabolism will skyrocket!
- 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 desired shape, however, you can transition into adding more food to your daily nutrition plan but also increasing training intensity.
This means, increasing the working weight, but also the number of sets, repetitions, and times you reach muscular failure.
- 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.
Quite simply, your main goal is to avoid spikes in weight gain – Just like you avoid weight loss spikes during fat loss periods.
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.