I’ve been getting this question A LOT lately! First off, if you are new to macros, check out my introduction to macros blog post here.
Basically, a reverse diet is used to reset your metabolism after you have been through a period of weight/fat loss. The goal of a reverse diet is to slowly increase your carbs and fats (and therefore total calories) while maintaining the weight and tone you worked so hard for during a fat loss phase.
For example, I am upping my carbs by 8 g and fats by 4 g (that’s about 50 calories) every 3-4 weeks …see what I mean about a slow process!? I have 8 sets of macros to get through and if each one takes 3-4 weeks, this reverse diet will take about 6-8 months to complete!
There are several reasons to go on a reverse diet. The first being that your body has been at a caloric deficit for a long time and it’s time to get back up to maintenance calories. Remember maintenance means that mathematically you will stay at your same weight – you will be increasing calories, but you should not gain weight.
Another reason you might go on a reverse diet is to give yourself a dieting break. If you have been eating low carb or low calorie for a while you might find yourself unsatisfied because your calories aren’t high enough. This can lead to binge/restrict cycles. A reverse diet can give you a mental break from the “diet” lifestyle so that you can succeed in your weight loss goals over time.
Lastly, the reason that I am on a reverse diet is so that I can maintain the weight loss I achieved in my body fat loss phase and keep the lean, toned look until I am ready to do another cut and put on more muscle. Because I am training my body to maintain the same figure while increasing the amount of food I eat, the next time I decide I want to do a cut I won’t have to decrease my calories as much.
Let me give you an example with numbers to show you what I mean. When I started my macros body fat journey, I was eating about 1,450 calories per day which put me at a 20% deficit. After reverse dieting, my maintenance calories will be 2,050 per day. When I decide to do another cut and use that same 20% deficit, I will be able to eat 1,640 calories per day instead of just 1,450 and still see results. That’s 200 more calories per day and the SAME fat loss results. Make sense?
Josh and Julie Ledbetter from Ledbetter, Inc. helped me calculate my reverse diet macros. I highly recommend them because they stick around to answer your questions and teach you how to adjust your macros as you progress, and you don’t have to pay for recalculations every time!
I’m planning to move to my 3rd set of reverse diet macros on Sunday and will keep you guys updated on how it goes!
Edit June 1, 2018 – I have now finished the reverse diet! Read about my overall thoughts and what I achieved during the reverse diet phase here.