QU: Suz what is reverse dieting?
Ans: The concept of reverse dieting is one that acknowledges that the body just enjoys and loves homeostasis and equilibrium: in that it wants to find ‘a kind of’ balance. In dieting (often for a show) the person has dieted beyond the amount of weight loss that they envision for a day to day life, and so there is the question of how to healthily get back to a ‘homeostasis’ for day to day life. The answer is to reverse diet.
Reverse dieting isn’t ‘bulking’; nor is it just increasing calories and hoping for the best. Reverse dieting is being as systematic as someone who is dieting, but with the intention to put on weight (and to minimise the amount of the weight that is put on as fat). The process has the same look as dieting but in reverse. Small incremental increases in calories and macronutrients based on the feedback obtained as a result of weighing, measuring and photos.
If you think about it, dieting for a show, your body is decreasing the amount of energy required for day to day life, and is reducing the fat and muscle (which is metabolically active) which makes you lighter on the scales and leaner in your measurements. If you were to maintain this same diet, you would reach a point (depending on the deficit) eventually where you are maintaining at that very small level of calories. The goal for better health, stronger lifts and energy is to be able to eat as much as possible whilst maintaining your weight. So by increasing calories in the first few weeks the body suddenly realises that its not time to lose more weight, and tries to find where it can maintain weight with the energy balance that is coming in. Add too much too quickly and the body thinks ‘quick, the proverbial drought in food is coming and we need to store all this excess for the next diet time’…. And therefore more fat is put on. Add too little and the body still loses weight! So it is a fine balancing act!
The benefit of this is that often people can at the start put on some of the muscle that was lost in the dieting process (if they did no extreme dieting), that people don’t have major fluctuations and that mentally the idea of control is intrinsically powerful (often bodybuilders, myself included, enjoy the systematic stuff).
HOWEVER!!! It certainly doesn’t mean it is a walk in the park, in fact people advocate it is even more challenging than the dieting itself because as you are releasing the reigns a bit, it can become quite difficult to find that discipline with less of a finish line in mind.