What is Reverse Dieting and why is it important?
Lets talk dieting. Diets work by reducing the amount of calories consumed over time. Therefore, it puts your body in a caloric deficit. This means that you are burning calories faster than you are consuming them. Over time this will result in weight loss. Now there are many different way to do this, but we will talk about that in another post. What I want to talk about today, is what to do when the diet is over.
Im sure a lot of you have dieted and dropped weight. But what commonly happens after? Most people go back to eating the same way they did before, or stop exercising as much and they put all of the weight back on and most of the time they overshoot and weigh more than they did before. Sound familiar?
Lets talk about your body's adaptations to an extreme diet. We have many important hormones, but three big ones are Ghrelin, Leptin and Cortisol. Our bodies like to stay in a state of homeostasis and we all have whats known as a set body fat percentage. This is essentially the body fat your body likes to stay at and maintain during homeostasis. Ghrelin is your hunger hormone. A good way I remember this is it sounds like Goblin. As our bodies drop body fat through dieting, or body slowly begins to release more and more Ghrelin, causing you to become hungrier and hungrier spiking cravings even for foods you never craved before. The next hormone, Leptin, is your satiety hormone or your fullness hormone. Due to the restriction of calories, your leptin levels drop, causing your stomach to feel like a never ending pit for food, allowing you to eat way past a full stomach. Lastly, there is Cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone released when your body is in stress, causing access fat gain or making it very difficult to lose fat. Cortisol is involved in other things as well, but for now ill keep it there.
So to summarize, as we diet, our Ghrelin increases (hunger), our Leptin decreases (fullness) and Cortisol also increases (stress). When you stop dieting and start eating normally, your hormones don't just go back to normal levels. it takes, at minimum, the length you dieted for, to come back to normal. And that is if you have not been YoYo dieting for a long time which unfortchunently most people have. This causes you to not only put on body fat, but put it on quick and leave you with unnormalized hormones (and a slow metabolism) at a higher body fat percentage than when you started. Doesn't sound good does it? This is where reverse dieting comes into play and is, in my opinion, more important than the diet itself.
So what is reverse dieting? A reverse diet is the gradual increase in calories after a diet and is important because it increases metabolism and levels your hormones all while minimizing body fat gain. This can take anywhere from a few months to years depending on your dieting history and body fat percentage. Every person will have a different plan for a reverse diet because everyones starting point is different.
Are you tired of dieting just to gain it all back?
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