You start a diet. You see success. Then you hit a plateau and can’t seem to drop any more weight. In frustration, you decrease the number of calories you are eating, and wha-la , you start to drop weight again. Then after a while, you are back on that plateau which the scale does not budge. So what do you do? Drop your calories again. It’s a viscous cycle. Now, what do you do when you drop your calories so low, you can’t reduce them anymore? And why does your body do this?
Well, the last question can be answered in one word: evolution. Our bodies are amazing. And more often than not, when you listen to it and not your head, it will tell you what it needs. In this case, it’s telling you it needs calories, it’s trying to survive. It doesn’t care if you want to be “thin” or if you want to fit into those jeans of yours from 10 years ago, it’s trying to keep you alive. So, as you decrease your calorie intake, your body will slow down on its energy usage thus needing less calories to function.
Now back to the original questions: what do you do when your calories are so low that you can’t reduce them anymore but want to drop more weight? Answer: Reverse diet, which is adding calories back into your diet. Yes, you need to eat more. Now that is something you probably didn’t want to hear, but it has been proven to work. The body needs to readjust to a new higher maintenance level of calories before you can go back to cutting calories. The time spent in a reverse diet will vary on the person and how fast that person’s body will adjust to the new calories. Now, as you start the reverse, don’t jump too quickly in calories, go slowly. This will give the body time to adjust without gaining all your weight back. The increase in calories will come from fats and carbs as you should already be at a high level of protein that works for your size. Now, as you increase your calories, do not increase your calorie output, ie. cardio. When you increase your calories and increase your cardio at the same time, you will still be in the same calorie deficient which is what needs to be changed.
If you are not sure if reverse dieting is what you need, then get with a fitness coach. They can work with you on finding the right path for you. If you want to know more about reverse dieting or have questions, please feel free to contact me at renee@bodyandmindstrong or you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.