The purpose of calorie intake recommendations is to give you a daily number of calories that someone of your weight, height and age would need to eat in order to lose, maintain or gain weight. So for example if you are a 25 year old female, 5’4, 140lbs who works out 1 hour 4 times per week and you are maintaining or gaining weight on 1400 calories, something is wrong. Your metabolism is not functioning like it should be for someone of your age, weight and height. The good news is, it is reversible.
So now that you know how to track your calories and macros and know a bit more about IIFYM, it’s time to discuss reverse dieting. Reverse dieting is the last piece of the puzzle and is what allows us to eat as much food as possible without starving ourselves. If you have been on a low calorie diet for an extended period of time (or are eating significantly less than the calories calculated in part 1) then you probably have some degree of metabolic damage. This is because calorie intake (and specifically carbohydrate intake) is a big part of what fuels your metabolism. When you restrict calories and carbohydrates, your body adapts by requiring less energy to perform the same amount of work. Metabolic hormones such as T3 and leptin are also suppressed, further reducing your metabolism. This is a big reason why many people gain the weight back once they stop dieting.
Reverse dieting usually starts with working out how many calories per day you have been eating lately on a regular basis.
Step 1: Track your current calorie intake for the next few days to see how much you eat on average.
Step 2: Look at your average daily calorie intake. If you find that you have been eating less than you should be then we will need to re calculate your macros to fit your current lower calorie intake. This can be done using the IIFYM calculator by inputting your current calorie amount under ‘custom’ in step 2.
Step 3: You then want to slowly increase your calories each week by 30-50 calories until you reach your calorie goal that you calculated in part 1. This same weekly calorie increase can also be performed for those of you who are wanting to transition from fat loss to maintenance calories or maintenance to muscle building.
For exercise, weight training is also going to play a major role here. After a few weeks of reverse dieting your calorie intake will be higher, you will be eating more, performing better, have more energy and will be well on the way to repairing your metabolism. You may also notice that you look leaner due to the added muscle. I recommend weighing yourself after 2-3 weeks. The scale shouldn’t have changed much, but if you find that you have gained more than a few pounds, keep your calorie count where it is until your weight stabilizes before increasing it again. Yes this can be a long process, and yes it can be tedious, but I guarantee you it will be worth it in the long run. You will be able to eat more than you thought possible while achieving amazing results.
Reverse Dieting Success Story (@brianna___sky)
“I know, I always go on and on about the importance of eating, and my experience with IIFYM and reverse dieting, but I just love it. Share what ya love, right? 2 months ago I began the process of reverse dieting and the IIFYM lifestyle. Before that I was eating 1200 calories a day of a strict/clean diet and working off about 600 of those calories with hours of cardio. Bad. After watching @biolayne’s videos and reading up on damaged metabolisms, I realized I had destroyed my body. I decided to make a change! I began IIFYM and reverse dieting. I began eating the things I used to enjoy that were considered “dirty” (in moderation) and adding more and more calories into my diet each week. Those calories were coming from carbs and fats, things I would dread before. Now, two months later, I am the same weight as I was before and I am eating 1850 calories (only going up from here) that consist of nutrient-dense foods AND treats. I do way less cardio than before, and mainly focus on lifting and boxing. I am seeing results in my body that I wasn’t seeing before. The thing that makes me happiest is that I am able to eat a lot and not have guilt. My current relationship with food makes me proud of how far I have come after suffering from athletica anorexia and orthorexia.
You can achieve results by eating properly, and though the amount you’re eating may seem like a lot, it’s what your body needs. You need to be healthy, mentally and physically, to go further and reach your goals. The guilt with food and exercise can be hard to get over, but you have to stay strong and realize its the best thing for you. In the end you should want to be healthy, not just skinny. Find good role models that are realistic and relatable to help you stay mentally sound. But in the end you should be your number one role model.”
If you have any questions about reverse dieting, please feel free to email me. I would be glad to help!