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Reverse Dieting: Why Eating More Can Help You Lose More Fat

Has your fat loss has plateaued but you’ve cut your calories as low you dare go?  Is your goal to build muscle while putting on little to no body fat? Then you may want to take a look at reverse Dieting.

Reverse dieting is a relatively new concept that is the exact opposite of most diets. While most diets recommend you cut calories, with reverse dieting you actually increase your calories.

Read on to find out if reverse dieting may be the ticket that finally helps you bust through that plateau you’ve been stuck at.

Reverse Dieting Restores Your Metabolism

Instead of working against it, reverse dieting  takes advantage of the way your body’s metabolism and hormonal systems work.

If you’ve been losing fat steadily for the last few months and then notice that your fat loss has suddenly come to a screeching halt, you’re not alone.

Millions of people experience this, your diet and workout progress has stalled, you’re terrified of cutting even more calories and denying yourself of even more food, but you’re still not where you want be with your fat loss goals.

So, you cut more calories, are always hungry and start focusing on MORE cardio, only to yield little to no results. You feel upset, confused and even frustrated, because it just doesn’t make sense.

Eating less, cutting carbs, counting calories and working out is supposed to cause fat loss, but all of your efforts won’t budge the scale.

Your lack of progress is due to your body working against you. When you diet, you create a calorie deficit, this calorie deficit, even if minimal, affects your metabolism by naturally slowing it down.

The more you restrict your calorie intake the faster and greater it will slow down.

Our bodies adapt to their environment, when you give your body less fuel, its engine (metabolism) slowly begins to compensate for this deficit by using less fuel.

Your body will slowly down regulate your metabolism to thrive on that calorie deficit, if you do it long enough. By entering “starvation mode” your body will begin to slow your metabolism to protect its limited energy resources (body fat and glycogen).

Ultimately, your weight loss results from that deficit are going to come to a screeching halt.

Reverse Dieting Stokes Your Metabolism

Reverse dieting pulls your body out of metabolism shut down mode by slowly increasing the amount of calories you can eat and still maintain your current weight. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could maintain your weight at 2500 calories instead of 1800 calories?

Plus by increasing your calories to higher level you are giving yourself a more effective ‘starting’ point to start cutting calories from again.

When you are able to begin dieting at around 2000 calories instead of 1500 calories, you give yourself a higher peak to work from. This allows you to eat more whole losing more fat in the long run.

Extreme dieting may yield fast results but those results are quickly followed by a roadblock that halts all progress and encourages roller coaster dieting. This process of dramatically and chronically slowing the metabolic rate down is often referred to as “metabolic damage,” and fortunately, it can be resolved.

How to Begin Reverse Dieting

Reverse dieting is as easy as it sounds. Instead of slowly cutting out calories, you slowly add calories back in to your diet. I suggest adding about 50-100  calories per day back into your diet.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are eating 1500 calories a day now and weigh 160 pounds. We’re going to assume that this person is getting .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight now.

Week 1- 1600 calories  130g protein – 172g carbs – 43g fat

Week 2- 1700 calories  130g protein – 197g carbs – 43g fat

Week 3- 1800 calories  130g protein – 222g carbs – 43g fat

Week4 – 1900 calories  130g protein – 247g carbs – 43g fats

*If you are not  currently eating .8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight than add these additional calories in the form of protein until you reach that level,  then add the additional calories each week in the form of complex carbohydrates and/or healthy fats.

You may need to play with the ratios a bit to find what works for your body. I find upping the carbs for the majority of people has the greatest overall effect.

Although, there are some people that do not function well on high carbs. In this case bump up the fats and reduce the carbs.

100 calories = 25 grams of carbs or 11 grams of fats. Just add and subtract as needed.

I know the thought of eating more when you’re trying to lose weight is terrifying, you’ve struggled to reach the point you’re at and I know your are scared of gaining weight back.

Food is NOT your Enemy

Most people approach dieting as if food is the enemy. And trying to convince a client that they need to eat more calories to lose fat is very tough sell. After dieting and struggling to lose weight for so long, many people don’t understand or believe that increasing your calories CAN and DOES in many cases, help you lose more fat.

I myself am proof of this. In fact, over the past week I’ve added 400 calories daily to my diet and ended up losing 1 pound (not the intended effect since I was trying to gain weight but hey, it just goes to prove my point).

There are also some other benefits you’ll experience, especially if you’ve been in a calorie deprived state for a long time:

  • Your energy will be boosted
  • You will become excited about training again
  • Your constant feeling of hunger will subside
  • You will no longer feel denied of food.
  • Sleeping will improve
  • You will be able to cope with daily stress better
  • Heightened mental clarity

Then, the best part happens, you’ll start to see the number on the scale dropping once again. The fear of eating more and gaining weight is a valid fear, people believe that food is the problem and continue to deprive their body of it in an attempt to keep their weight loss progressing.

Few people have the courage to go against their logic and take a rewarding risk. Yet, the few that do find the scale dropping instead of raising.

You too could enjoy food again, while losing weight if you only muster up the courage to give reverse dieting a try.

Reverse Dieting is Counter-Intuitive

Reverse dieting is definitely a counter-intuitive approach and I’m sure you may still have quite a few questions that I’d be happy to answer. However, before closing this article I would like to divulge deeper into and emphasize a few important facts about this extraordinary weight loss method.

Reverse dieting is not a cheat sheet to weight loss, it is a slow paced and methodical process.

Patience is key to success when reverse dieting. Also keep in mind that raising your caloric intake may cause a bit of weight gain, but weight and fat are not always the same thing.

Did you know that muscle is denser and therefore weighs more than fat? Any weight gain you notice while reverse dieting is likely a form of water retention, known as muscle glycogen.

This weight increase is a positive weight gain, muscle glycogen feeds your muscles, promotes their healing after workouts, boosts your stamina for working out and increases your strength.

If you do notice an increase in your weight, it will likely happen in the first few days after you increase your calories. Then toward the end of the week you will notice the scale dropping again, don’t be afraid to weigh yourself, but pay more attention to the way you look and feel, than to what the scale says.

Continue adding in calories each week until you see a true weight gain (bodyfat) over a consecutive two week period, at this point you have found your body’s true caloric maintenance level.

From here you can cut out 15-20% of your calorie intake and begin losing weight that will stay off without being deprived of food.

If you’re still on the fence about trying reverse dieting, just add in 100 calories to your diet this week and see what happens, I’m sure you’ll be pleased by the result.

You have nothing to lose, you can stop at any time. There’s nothing to buy, no special tricks or anything, it’s simply using your body’s natural functions to achieve the results you want.

If your fat loss progress has shut you down, I recommend giving reverse dieting a try. It’s counter-intuitive, but I think you’ll be shocked at the results.

Let me know what you guys think and if you want to know more about reverse dieting by leaving me a comment below!


  1. I am trying out reverse dieting after a bikini competition. I competed at 133lbs. I’ve been adding in 5-10 grams of carbs per week since my show and now I’m at about 138 pounds. 5 pounds in two weeks. I’m definitely not stoked about the weight gain, but being on higher calories does allow me to push harder in the gym and feel better overall. I was doing refeed days in my contest prep. While reverse dieting out of contest prep should I continue to have refeed days until my daily carbs are higher?

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