Reverse Dieting and Plateaus

Saturday, August 31, 2019
First McDonalds breakfast in 8 months 8/29/19

Here's yet another funny term to learn about during our weight loss journey: Reverse Dieting. 

What the heck is reverse dieting?




Dieting, I get. We follow a structure of meals, we eat healthy, track our calories, count our macros, and we see the scale go down.. but REVERSE dieting? It’s like hitting your journey with that Uno reverse card and eating all the food you didn’t eat for 7 months.

I’m just kidding. That’s not what reverse dieting means. But that would be an interesting journey. The first thing I’d do is go back to Chili’s or Wingstop every day for buffalo wings. Then maybe Coldstone for their delicious Cake Batter ice cream. Perhaps even pass by a McDonalds for their salty fries. Finish it off with a chocolate milkshake from Dennys and call it a day. No?

Reverse dieting means moderately increasing the amount of calories you are eating in a day in order to build muscle and fuel your body with energy so you can burn more calories at the gym and then keep losing weight. If you are doing an extreme low calorie-deficit diet, your body might ask you for more calories in order to function well, so that’s when reverse dieting comes into play.

 You gotta eat calories to burn calories. 

I started doing reverse dieting about two weeks ago. My body was asking me for more energy. Last week, I increased my calories from 1350 to almost 1500, and this week I increased them to 1600-1700. Last week I lost .2 of a pound, and this week I gained two pounds... so far. I’m not mad about it. I’m experimenting with “I gotta gain to lose.” but it is scary to gain any weight when you’ve been constantly losing for 7-8 months. It is scary because I gave myself a break from lean meals, and had a few poorly nutritious meals. I still used portion control, but portion control or not, I had Mcdonalds for breakfast, quesadilla chicken wrap for lunch, and a whole hamburger for dinner. (And fries!). I might have had other snacks throughout the week, and then I stopped tracking my meals. The problem with doing this is not the types of meals you eat, or the pounds you gain, but how frequently you decide to eat like this. Anyone would tell you that it's okay to have "break days" or "cheat meals", but only you have control on your choices and how you choose to proceed. It is here when you need to look into your relationship with food, what you are doing, and recommit yourself to a healthy lifestyle. It is so easy to fall off the wagon. And that's scary.

Unlike normal humans who get discouraged by plateaus or upset about a gain, I get excited by this. Sure, it's scary, yeah. I have a hundred questions going through my mind at the moment. But it’s a reminder that I have to keep the body guessing and to keep trying, but in a healthy way. You know? Get off my bum and change my routine by eating healthier.

I want to keep challenging myself and trying new exercises, foods, and ways to have fun while getting fit. I see plateaus and gains as challenges. And we don’t let challenges win. Plateaus are tricky because they make you say: “What am I doing wrong? I’m doing exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 7 months but I’ve stopped losing weight! I want to give up! It's not worth the effort!” so it trips you out. I'm not surprised plateaus make some people want to give up. Instead, I encourage turning plateaus and gains into challenges to overcome. Do a different workout, change the type of food you eat. Track your calories strictly, buy a food scale, measure your food, increase your water intake. Or, do as I’m doing: increase your calories. But do it right.

I’m using Reverse Dieting to get off this semi-plateau I’ve been going through. I’m not going to do 1350 calories anymore because that shit was wild-WILD, excuse my language. I rarely curse but that shit was wild. I would do it again because it was what I needed to get my start, but I'm okay now. I’m keeping my calories at 1600 or even 1700 for another few days. Let my body gain another pound or two of muscle, bloating or water weight. And then do 1450 calories a day and hit my body with lean meals again. Give a little, take a little. Shock the body. Keep the body guessing. It’s only a 200-300 calorie difference because we don’t want our metabolism to go wild. We want to keep our metabolism burning, we want to eat calories, and we want to burn calories. And we want to monitor our weight and muscle.

Keep Your Body Guessing

We keep the body guessing by trying new methods. You don’t HAVE to experiment with reverse dieting. The way to keep your body guessing is by trying something you haven’t tried yet.

I don’t encourage any specific type of diet other than portion control, but I’ve seen people overcome plateaus by trying low carb diets, keto, egg diets, water diets, carnivore, vegan, vegetarian, and many others. I’m exploring and experimenting reverse dieting because I get to eat more, and who doesn’t want to eat more? If this doesn’t work to get off my semi-plateau, my next attempt will be to stop doing cardio by running and start doing cardio on the elliptical or take on cycling. My next try will be a low-carb diet for a week or two. If none of this works, I will just go ahead and try my definition of reverse dieting with those buffalo wings I spoke about and go back to 245 pounds just to prove myself I can lose 70 pounds again.

Ha ha just kidding. I think.

 Be healthy. Drink your water. Go to the gym. Do your squats. Kick some booty.

 And be kind to people.

 -Cabi

4 comments

  1. You weighed in early though. You may have lost those 2 lbs if you had waiting till your Sunday WI like usual. No matter what though you rock!

    So glad that so far Mr. Dorian has lost interest in FL.

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