The inverted diet can cause confusion because of its name. The initial assumption may be weight loss by eating more instead of eating less. Instead, reverse dieting is about how to add calories back in after finishing a diet.
An inverted diet is basically the opposite of a typical diet. Instead of slowly cutting calories over several weeks to try to lose weight, this diet allows us to slowly and methodically add in the calories we’ve taken out, usually from carbohydrates and fats.
The goal of reverse dieting is to slowly bring nutritional intake back to maintenance levels or slightly above, without gaining a lot of fat in the process. Adding calories in this way should, in theory, help stave off any negative metabolic adaptations you may have experienced while dieting.
It sounds simple enough, but like everything you do in the world of nutrition, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. The goal of an inverted diet isn’t to gain back a bunch of mass after dieting, and it doesn’t mean gorging yourself on everything that has calories. It is more of a slow and controlled approach to get the body back to baseline efficiency over time.
How is it done?
If we have any experience losing fat for bikini surgery or gaining weight in a weightlifting competition, the process of a reverse diet should be fairly intuitive.
Determine how to track
Unfortunately, relying on memory isn’t going to cut it. To successfully reverse diet, we need to track intake to account for what we ate for the day. Most nutritional tracking apps work well and can provide additional useful information, but whatever method you’ve used to get down to your current weight is probably sufficient.
To gain weight slowly and steadily without regaining excess fat, your caloric benchmarks need to be well calibrated.
If we’ve been on a diet, we need to know roughly how many calories we’ve been eating, but make sure we’ve consistently tracked calorie intake and body weight for a week or two to get a true picture of where our nutrition stands.
Once we’ve determined that current caloric intake is maintaining weight, it’s time to add some additional nutrition to start the weight gain process. We’ll try a very conservative increase in your current intake (some sources recommend a very modest increase of one to five percent) to start the diet inverted.
Protein is arguably the most important macronutrient for an inverted diet due to its effects on muscle maintenance and hypertrophy. Establishing protein intake should come first, and we should aim for between 1.8 and 2.4 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Dietary fat follows and is essential for healthy body function. We’ll cover the bases by making dietary fat account for 20-35% of your total caloric intake. The rest of the leftover calories should come from abundant sources of carbohydrates. However, there is some flexibility. If we want more fat or protein and less carbohydrates, we can modify the macros as long as we reach the minimum doses.
Evaluate and control
The easiest way to monitor the inverted diet is to weigh yourself daily and take a weekly average. Although a noticeable increase in body weight is to be expected, especially if we are taking in far more carbohydrates than we were previously used to, we can adjust the total intake as needed if we feel we are gaining too quickly.
If we are monitoring progress with the scale, we will make sure to always weigh ourselves in similar conditions, ideally in the morning after going to the bathroom and before having consumed food or water.
This diet is a magic pill, but a well-planned reverse diet can go a long way to alleviate aggressive weight gain.
we eat more food
Adding calories back means getting to eat more food. As long as we slowly add these calories back in, we will be able to keep fat gain to a minimum while maximizing overall quality of life and mood.
If the idea of eating more while staying lean sounds intriguing, so is the diet in reverse. Whether the goal is to lose body fat or gain muscle, taking breaks from your nutrition plan gives your metabolism a chance to rebalance itself. They’re called “diet breaks.” Reverse dieting is a form of “diet break.”
Suppressed caloric intake for an extended period of time can be mentally draining. It can make us feel sluggish, tired, and irritable at times.
The reverse diet allows us to safely get out of our caloric deficit, which should bring some psychological relief, especially if we have been dieting for months.
Steady weight gain
A common mistake at the end of a diet is to go back to old eating habits, significantly increasing the number of calories you are consuming. This usually results in a rapid weight gain, or rebound effect.
However, a well-thought-out reverse diet prevents this and can help you gain weight steadily and reliably without such dramatic swings on the scale. Slow and moderate adjustments will prepare us for whatever dietary protocol we set out to follow.
Who should do a reverse diet?
An inverted diet is not suitable for everyone. If we just cut calories a bit for a couple of weeks, we probably don’t need a reverse diet. If we stopped drinking sodas or eating refined sugars and this led to a caloric deficit that caused us to lose weight, chances are we don’t need a reverse diet. This eating plan is for those who have been in a severe caloric deficit for a long period of time.
Bodybuilders/physique athletes would benefit from reverse dieting after finishing contest prep. These competitors often lower their calories to very low levels so they can lose as much weight as possible.
This significant decrease in calories can negatively affect metabolic rate and make them more susceptible to post-show weight gain. An inverted diet can greatly minimize this by slowly adding calories.
If we are used to jumping from one diet to another, an inverted diet is perfect for us. The cycle between restriction and indulgence can negatively impact metabolic stability, making it difficult for us to truly assess nutritional needs. A controlled inversion diet should provide a much-needed baseline from which to make informed nutritional decisions.
those who are stuck
Even if we’ve been eating a really meager amount of calories for months, the scale may not be moving anymore. If we’ve reached a weight loss plateau, taking a step back might allow us to move forward.
A controlled increase in calories can do a lot for your metabolism over time, as well as provide some much-needed mental relief. Although an inverted diet will slow your weight loss progress in the short term, it will be better in the long term.