Reverse dieting is popular for weight loss. It is also a technique that bodybuilders and competitive athletes rely on for increasing their energy levels, while maintaining their weight loss and body composition. Reverse dieting is essentially an eating plan which involves increasing your calorie intake gradually over a period of weeks or months. It is usually followed after being on a calorie-restricted diet. Those who want to get back to regular eating habits without extra weight gain, resort to reverse dieting. The eating pattern is such that it gives a boost to metabolism and helps your body burn more calories throughout the day.
Reverse dieting for weight loss: How does it work; health benefits
Most diets work on the principle of burning more calories than consumed. This requires decreasing calorie intake and even increasing workout duration and intensity, in order to burn more calories. Now this may help you in achieving weight loss temporarily, but over time it may slow down your metabolism in order to conserve energy in the body.
A slow metabolism can adversely affect your weight loss and overall health. Also, this can be problematic when you want to resume normal eating habits and still want to maintain your weight, or at the time when you hit a weight loss plateau and are unable to do anything about it.
This is where reverse dieting plays its part. It involves increasing calorie intake by 50 to 100 calories more that the number of calories you are currently consuming for weight control. This will not only allow you to eat more, but will also help you enjoy after weeks or months of being on a calorie-restrictive diet. You can have a wide range of healthy meals with the increase in your calorie intake.
Also read: This One Dieting Mistake Can Ruin Your Weight Loss Goals
Reverse dieting benefits
This can be continued for anywhere between 4 to 10 weeks, until you reach your target of pre-diet intake. Your protein intake can be the same throughout the period of reverse dieting.
1. Increasing your calorie intake can help in giving a boost to your metabolism and enable your body to burn calories through non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which includes basic actions like walking, fidgeting and talking.
2. Reverse dieting can help in normalising leptin hormone, which is responsible for regulating your appetite and body weight.
3. Gradual increase in calorie intake can help you feel more energetic. Mood swings and difficulty in concentration may also be reduced.
Also read: Decoding Health Consequences Of Extreme Dieting
Weight Loss: Can reverse dieting help?
According to healthline, there’s limited research if reverse dieting can help you lose weight or not. Having said that, an improved metabolism (one of reverse dieting health benefits) can automatically aid your weight loss regime. It can normalise hormonal levels and boost burning of calories.
What’s more is that with reverse dieting, there’s scope of lesser binge eating, which is a common side effect of highly restrictive diets.
Also read: Quick Weight Loss: Dieting Or Lifestyle Management, Know What You Should Stick To
Reverse dieting: know the challenges that follow
1. Counting calories may be difficult to execute and keep count on. 50-100 calories is a small increment is difficult to measure portion-size wise. Adding even one snack in your diet can hinder your progress on reverse dieting plan.
2. Reverse dieting solely focuses on calorie intake and does not take other factors in consideration – such as sleep cycle, stress levels, hormone fluctuations and exercise routine.
3. Weight loss benefits of reverse dieting lack sufficient research and scientific backing.
If you have reached a weight loss plateau or are finding it difficult to continue with your low-carb or keto diet, you can give reverse dieting a try. Let us know in the comments below how it works for you.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.