To hear the TikTok gals tell it, there is a hack that will allow you to Eat more! Without gaining weight! And it’s great that You are sick of dieting! Not to mention, all of these goals can be achieved with a simple trick called “Not Dieting Anymore”. No, it needs a strict name and protocol: reflects Dieting.
The basic idea of a reverse diet is to slowly add a few calories to your diet each week. So, you would normally maintain your weight at 2,000 calories a day, but you would eat 1,500 calories to lose weight. You can then “reverse the diet” by eating 1,600 calories per day the next week, 1,700 calories per day the week after that, and so on. In the end you will get to 2000 calories, or maybe more.
This is not a trend that originated on TikTok. The term appears It comes from bodybuilders, whose sport requires them to engage in intense cycles of bulking (gaining weight to gain muscle mass) and cutting (losing as much fat as possible before getting on stage). While this process can create impressive bodies, it is also in tune with your metabolism and overall health.
Reverse dieting is one approach to go from extreme cuts to maintenance or gain: Instead of just going out the day after a bodybuilding show, you might prefer slowly Increase your food intake as you find your maintenance calories again.
This idea spawned the current trend of influencers promoting the reverse diet as a cure for all diet-related complaints. But it doesn’t work that way.
The science behind reverse dieting
Some From the claims you’ll hear from skinny women flexing their abs on TikTok, and from bodybuilders saying to just trust them, bro, We are TRUE. between them:
- Your metabolism adjusts to the diet, so over time you have to eat less and less food to maintain weight loss (this is known thing).
- After dieting for a long time, you may eat an extremely low amount of calories.
- Eating more will allow your body to stop being so stingy with calories, and can increase the number of calories your body burns..
- After increasing your calories, you may one day be able to lose weight again while eating more Food than you are in the depths of your diet.
There are also a number of lies and half-truths that come out. You may hear that increasing your calories too quickly after a diet will make your body pile on fat, or that you can add 1,000 calories and still lose weight, or something from hormones something from cortisol. (Scroll long enough on a fitness TikTok and someone will explain that all your problems are caused by cortisol. Have a drink.)
Anyway, this is where the “reverse diet” comes in. Supposedly, the cure to all of these ills is simply that you need to add 50 to 100 calories to your diet each week. The process is slow and takes patience, but stick with it and it might look like you too Este Girl (imagine me nodding my head to refer to the before and after pictures you’ve colored behind me) gets 2,400 calories instead of 1,200.
so what In fact It’s true about the reverse diet, and why does everyone love it? Let’s take a closer look.
When things go right, “reverse dieting” is just “not a diet” but with more rules.
After reading all these points above, you might think, okSo why not just stop dieting? You’ll be able to eat more, your body will burn more calories, and from there you can either diet again or – crazy idea here – just not diet anymore. Heck, you can give earn weight attempt.
This is actually the real answer. Just stop dieting. The world will not end. You can eat food again, and you’ll be fine. So why reverse the diet?
As Eric Trexler, a researcher in nutrition and metabolism, put it hereA native Reversing the goal of dieterss to seamlessly transition from calorie deficit, to maintenance, to First mass after a bodybuilding competition without gaining any more fat from it need to. One problem with this approach is that after dieting bodybuilders that hard, they need to to restore fat. You can’t stay seriously curvy forever, and that’s true whether you’re a fathead or a TikTok girl.
The reverse diet is often described on social media as a way to continue dieting while eating more calories. It’s true that if you’re in a 500-calorie deficit and you’re only adding 50 calories a week, you’ll still be in the deficit for a very long time — 10 weeks, at that rate. Trexler notes, “This will only delay even the most basic and immediate aspects of recovery [the dieter’s] Life is unnecessarily difficult.”
Reverse dieting is not a cure for chronic dieting
There are two things going on here, I think. One is relatively harmless. theWe say you were on a diet And you are ready to start gaining weight. Instead of eating an extra 1,000 calories each day (to go from 500 calories to a 500-calorie surplus), you can eat a few hundred extra this week, add a few hundred more next week, and so on. You won’t be as surprised by the changes in your weight (eating more means there’s more food in your stomach, so the scale may go a little higher than that) and it may be easier to know roughly how many calories you should be eating going forward.
But that is not how it is described on social media. Skinny women tell chronic dieters that they can eat more and still stay skinny, if they follow a strict reverse diet protocol. But the exactingness and expectations can be harmful on their own.
For an extreme example, check out this video Nutritionist and Eating Disorders Specialist. Describes a woman who was getting help for an eating disorder. The woman was such a low weight, with linked Health issues, which the dietitian says she “needs to address.”[ed] To gain weight immediately. But instead of following her care team’s instructions that would see her gain a pound a week, she secretly put herself on a reverse diet protocol. By adding just 50 calories each week to the very low amount she was already eating, she took it. Three months for a full pound of body mass—delaying her recovery by three months.
And here’s where I think we need to take a closer look at why reverse diet posts are so popular Social media angles that focus on weight loss. While eating more seems healthier – it’s a good start! A strict reverse diet is just another method of restriction.
The reverse diet is sometimes just a way to restrict more
Let’s say, as in many examples on TikTok, that you’re someone who’s currently eating 1,200 calories (officially Hunger diet) and no longer lose weight. Even if you are a petite woman who doesn’t exercise at all – maybe because you don’t have the energy? A healthy amount of exercise daily Probably calories 1600 or more. So you’re supposed to eat 1250 next week? Then 1,300 the week after that? At this rate, it will take eight weeks To get the number you just have to be maintenance for you. Even if you don’t have an eating disorder, you’re creating the same problem for yourself as the ED patient in the dietician’s case study.
What is more worrying Takes Is that 50 or even 100 calories is a very accurate amount. If I aim to eat 2,000 calories a day, some days I’ll probably get 1,950 calories and some days I’ll get 2,100 calories. Over time it balances out. But if you try to hit accurately 1850, not 1900 (because 1900 is next one goal of the week) You will have to keep track of your food precisely. This is a lifestyle in which you’ll weigh toast before and after spreading peanut butter, and you wouldn’t want to eat at a restaurant, because how many calories are in each menu item? What if they’re heavyweight with willow?
In my scrolling through #reversedieting TikTok, I found women who say they have to miss family meals and deal with their boyfriends’ concerns while on their reverse diet. They clearly haven’t taken it a step too far from the diet. For these people, it really is It seems that the “opposite” is mainly a way to expand their diet. You could eat in the maintenance period for those eight weeks, but you restrict it instead. so what? Reverse dieting is often touted as a way to increase calorie burning So you can go on a diet again.
Even when influencers are shown to be gaining muscle and eating real healthy numbers of calories (assuming the numbers they reported are correct), it’s still all couched in the language of being skinny and skinny, and featuring photos of their muscles. Prioritize being thin Even while gaining muscle It is some backwards nonsense. It’s nice not to be able to see your abs while you’re trying to make yourself look bigger. Ace Strongman, GF Caron famously put it“Abs are not a thing of strength. They are just a sign that you are not eating enough.”