We recently asked how long you’ve been on a diet and often hear people eating very little and frustrated they still can’t lose weight.
I’m sure you’ve heard “eat less, move more” and the way to weight loss is caloric deficit. If you’ve been chronically under eating and your weight won’t budge you may think the answer is to eat less – but how can you eat less when you’re already eating very little?
So then you think you need to move more, hit the gym harder get more steps in – BUT the scale still doesn’t move (and you feel drained, maybe have some nagging injuries, are irritable and not sleeping well)
Here’s the thing – your body requires calories just to function properly. Most active people need at least 1,800 – 2,200 calories (if not many more – just for your body to function). You may be under eating and think you feel ok but in reality your body is down shifting to preserve energy.
That’s dumb right? – if I eat less I should lose weight? Well our bodies are actually very smart, it comes from our ancestors. Think cavemen, food wasn’t readily available and when it was the body stored food as energy in reserves so it could continue to function until more food would come. When we chronically under eat we’ve trained our bodies to run at the amount of fuel we’re give it; your body stops caring that you want to lose fat, it’s primary job is to keep you functioning.
Does this sound like you? Under eat all week, over consume on the weekend and back to under eating. Our bodies think those extra calories won’t last and store them.
The answer to weight loss is a caloric deficit (eat less, move more) but first you need to be at maintenance level calories.
A reverse diet may be the solution. If you’ve been eating under your maintenance calories for quite some time you gradually increase your food intake over time. In the same way losing weight doesn’t happen as quickly as many of us would like, reversing back to maintenance must be gradual as well.
We slowly increase your calories telling your body it’s safe and food isn’t scarce while at the same time your metabolic rate (metabolism) increases adding back lean mass.
Do not go from eating 1,200 calories to 2,200 immediately, if you jump too quickly you may see weight gain in the form of body fat. We recommend working toward hitting a protein goal of about 1g per pound of bodyweight, then we’ll fill in the rest with carb and fat goals. Over time we’ll gradually increase to get to maintenance calories.
If the overall goal is weight loss (without losing muscle), after some time consistently at maintenance calories, then we’ll purposefully go into to a caloric deficit (often even more than where you started before the reverse) and successfully lose weight.
As with any diet, reverse is not a magic answer, it’s an experiment. Many people have success gradually eating more without gaining weight and at the same time feel, sleep and perform better – some even lose weight by eating more!
Need some help finding out if this is the right answer for you? At Locomotive Fitness Co we are ready to take your questions! Shoot us an email at [email protected].