The truth about reverse dieting

The truth about reverse dieting

What happens when you’ve lost weight and inches after a particularly successful eating plan, and it’s time to crawl back into the world of regular eating?

Unfortunately, it is a fact, nearly universally acknowledged, that any weight you lose while you are on a diet almost inevitably returns to haunt you, and it’s a question of when, not if. Enter reverse dieting, which Healthline helpfully calls “the diet after the diet,” because it involves increasing your calorie intake over a specific period. 

With reverse dieting, you gradually add between 50 to 100 calories to your weekly intake or the amount you need to keep your current weight, until you’re back to your pre-diet intake. Healthline says reverse dieting is a process that takes place over a four to 10-week period, and the theory is that increasing your calorie intake gradually will also help boost your base metabolism. A more active metabolism is expected to help your body burn more calories through everyday activities like walking or fidgeting, thus maintaining your recent weight loss.

The results of reverse dieting are mixed

Good Housekeeping says that there is very limited research surrounding the effects of reverse dieting, but there are signs that the eating plan’s proposal to add a small caloric surplus could actually lead to a metabolic increase without fat gain. Reverse dieting can also reduce the risk of binge eating after an extended period of eating a restricted amount of calories.

Reverse dieting is seen to be a success, particularly with fitness competition pros, because they usually restrict food intake before they compete and then gain weight rapidly after, since they have a difficult time readjusting to normal eating habits. But reverse eating may not work for non-athletes, and while some publications suggest that reverse dieting will help ex-dieters establish a longer-term, healthier lifestyle, there is no current research to show that reverse dieting can help you actually lose more pounds.

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