What Is Reverse Dieting (A Comprehensive Guide)

Reverse dieting: slowly adding calories to your food intake over time.


In This Article:

  • What is reverse dieting?
  • Who should reverse diet?
  • What reverse dieting IS NOT
  • How exactly do you reverse diet?
  • Is reverse dieting better than going straight to maintenance calories?
  • FAQ


Let’s pretend you want to compete in a bodybuilding show.

You don’t, but go with it.

For six months, you track every calorie and macro. You strength train, do your cardio, say no to In-N-Out, and work your butt off.

The day arrives, and you step on stage completely shredded!

(Remember: “stage” might be your wedding, class reunion, or photo shoot… reverse dieting is still relevant)

After the show, your only goal is to get a molten hot lava chocolate cake down your GI tract as quickly as humanly possible.

So you go to Applebees.

After 11,000 calories and a few laughs with friends or family, you go home and sleep like a baby.

No damage so far.

You wake up the next day, carb-loaded and looking amazing, but you are also a bit lost.

What The Hell Are You Supposed To Do Now

You are leaner than you’ve ever been.

But you don’t have a plan to follow.

So what happens next?

You eat.

Double-Doubles and strawberry shakes and everything else you missed so dearly, all under the lazy rationalization that it’s necessary “for the gains.”

Or maybe you take a less binge-y approach and simply stop tracking in favor of intuitive eating, something you read about on the internet.

However, it turns out your calorically deprived intuition just wants every gram of dietary fat that ever existed, regardless of how strong your deep breath game is or on which hunger cues you focus your zen.

You find yourself 30 or 40 pounds heavier just a few weeks post show (this actually happens)

Soggy and sans abdominals, you sink into the couch watching a Mike Vacanti Vlog on YouTube where he tells you that starting a “lean bulk” at your body fat percentage is less than optimal.

Other parts of the internet say you have a binge/restrict issue; that can’t be good.

Still others say your metabolism could be ruined forever unless you buy their $129 bottle of recurred billing nonsense.

Where did we go wrong??

This picture feels like the right way to break up a giant wall of grammatically incorrect text.

Enter Reverse Dieting

What if we didn’t eat all of the calories on earth post show?

I know, crazy.

(remember… your show might getting lean for that spring break trip, not for your own happiness but instead because you know your ex stalks you on instagram)

What if instead we applied those very same principles that got us lean – monitoring calories and macronutrients, strength training with intensity, properly resting and recovering – and we used them to maintain our new condition?

A little annoying, sure.

Tracking food on the OTR app isn’t the most fun thing in the world.

But it is certainly better than the alternative: burying your hunger cues with each bite of Reese’s puffs, Kemps vanilla ice cream, and chocolate syrup, as you rewatch season 3 of One Tree Hill and wonder if you were Keith could you have saved Jimmy Edwards.

Note: Ben & Jerry’s and Talenti are the only ice cream brands I currently endorse. However, post-show, you aren’t eating ice cream by the pint for enjoyment. You are shoveling self hate down your throat by the gallon. And we need to economical about it. So, Kemps is in play. 

Anyway, in this very moment, you decide you probably should have reverse dieted.

What Is Reverse Dieting?

To “Reverse Diet” is to slowly add calories at the end of a diet, usually with the primary purpose of maintaining your new physique and not gaining body fat.

I came across this concept several years ago watching a biolayne video log.

Since then, I have used reverse dieting on myself as well as with hundreds of coaching clients, and I am pleased with the results.

What Reverse Dieting IS NOT

This is important.

Let’s take John as an example.

John is actually a coaching client who kills it, but I’m using his progress pictures with false calorie numbers to tell a story.

I often hear people say,

I’m not losing fat because I just don’t eat enough!

If I eat more calories… THEN I will get leaner.

That’s just not true.

At least not in the short run.

It is far more likely you simply are not tracking calories with much accuracy. You are eating more than you think. Those handfuls of almonds here and there, despite having enough omega sixes to make your paleo heart skip a beat, still count.

The Instagram dream of “eating more to lose more*” is just that: A Dream.

*if you buy my ebook

Now, it might make sense to increase calories over time to increase your metabolic rate and make future fat loss easier. But increasing calories in the short term does not increase fat loss.

You don’t get leaner by eating more food.

And while John, or anyone posting progress pictures with corresponding calorie numbers, could be eating more calories with that physique, it was not the calorie increase that got them there.  

Sometime between those two photos, they lowered their intake (or drastically increased activity) to lose that body fat.

Advantages of Reverse Dieting

Having A Plan Prevents Yo-Yo Dieting

This is the main reason I have coaching clients reverse diet.

Having a plan to increase calories for 4-8 weeks generates far better adherence than an immediate adjustment of 500-700 calories (going back to maintenance).

Now, if you complete your fat loss phase and want to jump straight to maintenance and you have no problem tracking, that is fine with me.

However, in my experience, reverse dieting yields better nutrition adherence.

You Can’t Overshoot Maintenance

Going straight back to maintenance after a deficit is a popular strategy, in fact, probably the norm. And I am not completely opposed to it.

The problem is that estimating maintenance using an equation doesn’t make sense.

What YOU think your calorie maintenance is, which is probably based on what some article on the internet says (bodyweight x 15, for example), is likely going to be an overestimate. 

Here is why:

You have been in a deficit for many months. Your BMR has come down a bit. Your spontaneous movements are few and far between.

Your calorie maintenance is quite a bit lower than it was when you started dieting. 

By reverse dieting, we no longer need to estimate.

Instead, we can assess hunger and progress so that we don’t overshoot maintenance, even in a reverse diet as short as 3-4 weeks.

Again, I don’t hate going back to maintenance as a strategy.

I have seen many clients do this successfully.

The whole self-hate / ice cream thing was just me being weird and authentic as a writer. Which, if you follow me on snapchat, you know is a major key 😉

And so is training day fro-yo (high carb, low fat) | SNAPCHAT: "mikevacanti"

And so is training day fro-yo (high carb, low fat)

Increase Your Metabolic Rate

Warning: not enough science here.

So, take this one with a huge grain of salt.

There is some evidence that leads me to believe over a long period of time, slowly increasing calories (primarily carbohydrates) allows for us to stay lean while eating more food, or effectively, increases our TDEE.

The reason, I hypothesize, is that some parts of our metabolism change when we eat more food. For example, spontaneous movements (non-exercise activity thermogensis) increase in a calorie surplus, allowing us to eat more food without gaining the expected amount of body fat.

While this isn’t the primary reason I use reverse dieting with clients, I have seen others successfully add a small amount calories (20-30 per week) over a long period of time (24-48 weeks) and seemingly increase their metabolic rate without adding much body fat.

Potential To Lose More Body Fat

This one is pretty straight forward.

You are very likely still in a calorie deficit when you begin your reverse diet.

So, you will probably lose a bit more body fat.

An advantage, if you’re into that.

Disadvantages of Reverse Dieting

You have to continue counting macros in a deficit for a few more weeks.

Wait, that’s it?? 😉


Who Should Reverse Diet?

Anyone, really.

But there are two specific types of people that see disproportionate benefits from a reverse diet.

Just Got Lean | First Time Ever

If you have never been truly lean until now, you probably only know two styles of eating: Paying attention to calories and macronutrients. And not paying attention.

You don’t have experience estimating macros or eating intuitively (which, with enough practice, can also be an effective strategy).

Abandoning the strategy that got you lean will often bring back your old dietary habits.

By reverse dieting, we keep the same principles while eating more food.

Determined To Maintain New Physique

If you are determined to stay lean and not gain an ounce of body fat, you should reverse diet.

This needs little explanation; a slow increase in calories removes maintenance guesswork from the process and will allow you to stop increasing intake before any body fat is added.


Will I Get Leaner During My Reverse Diet?

It depends.

Let’s say you are 5’7″ and just lost 25 pounds.

You went from 150 to 125, and you are very pleased and ready to stop losing fat.

If you reverse diet for ten weeks, you will still be in a decent sized calorie deficit.

Week            Intake           TDEE

1                      1320              1900

2                     1400              1910

3                     1480              1920

4                     1550              1930

5                     1630              1940

6                     1710               1950

7                     1790              1960

8                     1870              1980

9                     1950              1990

10                   2030             2000

While calories have increased week over week, you have still been in a deficit the entire time. As a result, it is fairly likely you continue to lose body fat.

Here is an example where you would not get leaner:

Jenny is 5’9” and weighs 124 pounds. She has been doing 90 minutes of cardio every single day for six months. She isn’t sleeping well. While she lost weight during her first few months, she has stalled and hasn’t seen the scale move in eight weeks.

Her coach keeps lowering her calories because she still wants to be leaner. But at 1100 calories per day, she has stalled out.

This is a different kind of reverse diet. Jenny’s BMR has likely come way down. Her body is acting efficiently in an attempt to prevent starvation.

During Jenny’s reverse diet, I would NOT expect her to get leaner.

Will I Gain Fat During My Reverse Diet?

It is possible the scale will increase during your reverse diet.

Part of the reason for this is because you are eating more carbohydrates than you were previously consuming. Most carbs are stored in our muscles. When this happens, our body retains more water.

So, it is more likely those carbs are creating a scale weight increase rather than you adding body fat.

However, we can test this!

Waist circumferences measurements are highly correlated with fat gain/loss. So, if your waist measurements are staying the same, despite what the scale says, it is very unlikely you are gaining body fat.

Is Reverse Dieting Only To Be Used After A Fat Loss Diet?


Remember that discussion about adaptive metabolism and increasing your metabolic rate? That is another reason to reverse diet.

I have used reverse dieting for women who stalled out during fat loss.

Often, highly stressed, overworked, underfed women who were eating between 1000-1200 calories and legitimately not losing fat.

Again, reverse dieting to increase your metabolic rate is still shaky on paper, but in practice I have seen it work dozens of times.

How Long Should I Reverse Diet For?

If you are reverse dieting back to maintenance, 4-10 weeks is a good range.

Obviously, the downside of a longer reverse diet is that you are effectively stealing time from your next goal.

However, if you are reverse dieting to increase your metabolic rate, then something much longer probably makes sense (20-40 weeks); and plan on building muscle during this time.

Where Are The Studies?!

I’ve got no studies for you 🙁

Reverse dieting is a new concept, and I don’t have sound research outside of my personal observations and coaching experience.

Obviously, research around the components of metabolism, nutritional sciences, and weight gain/loss are at the core of this article. However, I don’t know of any controlled studies specifically testing reverse dieting.

Can’t I Just Go Back To Maintenance After A Fat Loss Diet?

You sure can. Especially if you are okay with possibly overshooting maintenance and adding a pound of body fat 🙂

You can also reverse diet more quickly, over the course of 2-3 weeks.

I Started Adding Calories, And My Scale Weight Started Dropping Faster: Why Is This?

First, that’s awesome 🙂

I see this with decent frequency, actually — being in a calorie deficit increases stress (cortisol levels). Cortisol is a hormone that impacts water retention.

When we increase calories, cortisol levels come down.

So, you probably aren’t losing body fat at a faster rate, but you see the scale drop as a result of decreased water retention.

Which Macros Should The Extra Calories Come From When Reverse Dieting?

In How To Count Your Macros (A Comprehensive Guide), we discuss setting up your intake of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The On The Regimen App also calculates your intake.

The equations I use set protein high enough to retain lean mass, and fat high enough not to miss out on the benefits of dietary fat.

Carbohydrates are the “filler” macro to reach our target calories for your goal.

So, when reverse dieting, it makes sense to increase carbohydrates the most. Carbs are also less likely than fat to be stored as fat, so it makes sense to keep a higher carb low-ish fat diet (for many people) if building muscle is your next goal.

The truth it, so long as calories are increasing, this is 90% art, 10% science. I like to decrease protein slowly, because the smaller your calorie deficit, the fewer grams protein you need.


Reverse dieting is an effective way to maintain your lean condition after a wedding, vacation, or body building show.

If you have any thoughts or questions, you know leaving a comment below will help validate my existence on earth 😉

Allie’s full set of progress pictures:

Height 5’6″ and her body weight went from 137 to 124 during our four months together.

Comments for This Entry

  • Pedro Sangüesa

    Excellent post Mike! What about the sugar post next week?

    January 23, 2016 at 11:26 am | Reply to this comment

  • Stella

    Great article, Mike! You covered ALL the bases. I'm loving the new frequency of posts! Keep it up!! :)

    January 23, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Nelson

    I've read quite a few articles on reverse dieting and this puts it in basic terms that I don't have to re-read multiple times. Basically slowly add back calories primarily coming from carbs. Looking forward to doing this.

    January 24, 2016 at 9:38 am | Reply to this comment

  • Brendan

    That was so freaking thorough! I've never, in my life, been shredded so I'll stick to some of your other awesome articles in the meantime. But, I'm glad this is here when I'll need it!

    January 24, 2016 at 10:19 am | Reply to this comment

  • Kevin Copple

    Great article Mike! I was wondering how this would work when the time comes. Thanks for everything so far!

    January 24, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Nathan Jones

    Sent this over to my friend who just had his first show and then blew up afterwards... thanks for the resource Mike. No shame in this taking 30 hours haha, exceptionally well written man

    January 24, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ashley

    Feeing guilty for calling you out for not posting this sooner. Well worth the wait! Awesome content as always :)

    January 24, 2016 at 10:10 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Tarah

    I found reverse dieting to be super helpful because like you said, my initial instinct was to eat everything I couldn't fit into my macros while in a deficit. It helped me stay on track. It would be cool to see you publish some kind of case study with your client data. You have the chance to put the data out there! Also, so glad to see you're blogging more frequently like you said you would. :)

    January 24, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Amberliin

    Thanks Mike. I love reading your stuff! Have been attempting to apply it to my life for a while now. I'd love to see your starter lifting guide for ladies trying to loose fat.

    January 25, 2016 at 12:43 am | Reply to this comment

  • Tina

    This post is extremely well written and very helpful to me. I'm in a deficit now, and hoping to avoid the post-deficit blow up. Thanks for all your info, it is truly helpful!

    January 25, 2016 at 8:49 am | Reply to this comment

  • Maggie {{ Maggie Gets Real }}

    Re: the less-science-y part about increased carbs and increased TDEE...I did some research* on that once, and I remember reading about carbohydrate supposedly having a significantly greater thermic effect than fat, and modestly more than protein. That might partly explain your theory, particularly if the main increase in calories is coming from carbs. *by that I mean I had a weeks-long, call-the-ER-you're-allergic-to-Viagra, stage-5 nerd boner over it.

    January 25, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Mike Author

      Interesting, and I'm glad you love some researches ;) TEF definitely plays a role in the increased total calorie expenditure in a surplus, you're right about that, but TEF alone can't justify the increased calories without expected body fat gain so there is something else too it too (and I hate playing internet nerd so much, but just in case anyone is reading this deep in the comments... thermic effect of food: protein > carbs > fats)

      January 26, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Reply to this comment

      • Erica

        Not sure this comment is going to go where I wanted to reply to, but I'm referencing the comments about TBE and low carb diet due to history of diabetes. Would it make sense if protein > carbs to try to add more protein before adding more carbs? Or possibly to focus on the glycemic index of the carbs? Also interested in what you think of a more evenly split 30/40/30 macros plan. Have read some research that argues that your body can learn to use fat like carbs. Just interested in any thoughts you might have.

        April 3, 2016 at 10:02 am | Reply to this comment

  • Quan

    I was always in the "Go to maintenance for a few weeks" camp but this was an enlightening read. Although if I were Keith Scott, I'm not sure if I could have saved Jimmy. The kid seemed pretty far gone.

    January 25, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Reply to this comment

  • John Fawkes

    Suppose you wanted to transition from a cut to a bulk. Would you increase calories by a hundred per week until you were at your bulking intake, or would you pause at maintenance for a few weeks to let your body stabilize and prevent yo-yo dieting?

    January 26, 2016 at 1:42 am | Reply to this comment

    • Mike Author

      It depends on a lot of factors - how lean are you, how long were you in a deficit, how large was the deficit, how ASAFP do you want to add size, how obsessed are you with your new found abs. Honestly, from a cut to a bulk so long as you're tracking and not jumping into a stupid big surplus, you can't really go wrong rev dieting aggressively vs slowly.

      January 26, 2016 at 8:21 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Michelle

    I'll admit I've never been a fan of counting anything because I used to live and die by the calories MFP said I could eat. BUT after my last competition, I decided to put reverse dieting to the test. I continued to lose pounds after my show. My strength went down as I prepped for my show, but now I'm lifting those same weights while weighing 10lbs less! Still adjusting my numbers slowly but thrilled with how this has worked out for me.

    January 26, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Daniel

    This blog was great, but your Snapchat is even better. Keep it up, my friend!

    January 26, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Madison Lazar

    I've been really wanting to reverse diet! Thanks for the post!

    January 26, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Darryl

    Well written. Makes sense that our TDEE would slow down after an aggressive cut i.e. 10-11 cals per pound goal weight. How about someone who hasn't hit their goal weight but is taking 1-2 week re-feed to reset metabolism before jumping back in an aggressive cut for another 8-10 weeks. Would you still recommend reverse dieting or let them do "maintenance" ,all be it well calculated prior to re-starting another phase of cutting.

    January 26, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Mike Author

      I'm not 100% sure what you mean. A re-feed or a diet break? If you are taking 1-2 weeks for a diet break, jump straight to maintenance before cutting again. That can certainly be effective. In depth discussion of this on a podcast... when Lyle McDonald was a guest on Sigma Nutrition - I believe late summer 2015.

      January 26, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Johnny S

    Great article, I liked learning about this concept. You continue to be my favorite resource for diet education.

    January 26, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Justice

    Good stuff Mike, I really enjoy all this in-depth and detailed way of explaining things to normal people. I've sent you emails through your "ask me anything" advert and still nada! lol I'm sure you're busy though. Question, do you or will you ever have macro recommendations for hitting your target calories? For a newb like me I like to know what sources of macros would be ideal for hitting my caloric need for the day. Love your app, wish it had this. Stay awesome dude!

    January 26, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Mimi at Tahoe

    Wow, Mike! It all sounds so scientific and yuppified! I would tell the newly slim bride 1) be careful, 2) write everything down, and 3) DON'T try to keep up with the groom! Yes, with hiking, not with food! When I realized your fee is almost as much as my senior housing rent, I found my VA "MOVE" program books in a stack of piano music and began writing down everything I am comfortably eating. Writing it down curbs the mentality of what the hell and finish the package. But I didn't try to eat less. Mike, you got me to care about protein and calories and fat. Plain yogurt, grapefruit, soymilk. I found my calorie book, which doesn't even have red leaf lettuce! VA dietician says I'll lose weight on 1800 cal/day. Uh-uh! No way! I'll get to the VA clinic next month; meanwhile I'm pushing myself to do steamed veggies and good things under about 1400, keeping track. AND I'M DOWN SIX POUNDS ALREADY! I've been on that program that gives a teddy bear for every 10 pounds lost. So boring if you're vegetarian! And I just quit! I couldn't wait to quit! Big mistake! Don't doctors have an easy does it plan to feed starving people and animals? Wildlife rehabbers sure do! They stay up all night with a bear cub, giving tiny feedings. Anyway, thank you, Mike, for your encouragement and good energy!

    January 26, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Nerdy Dani

    Sounds like a new calculator for OTR 2.0 to me!

    January 26, 2016 at 8:29 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Filipe La Ruina

    Great article! Never heard of it before. Not for me at the moment thought, trying to pack some muscle. But surely it will come in handy in the future. (and knowledge is never a bad thing anyway) You mentioned that waist circumferences are correlated with fat gain. Any plans on talking about measurements and what they can tell you?

    January 27, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Reply to this comment

  • DanielleN

    I lost 30 lbs from following iifym. My coach then changed my macros to suit reverse dieting. I have had great results - I only saw the scale creep up two lbs , but that quickly went back down once I adjusted. I am loving the extra food after being at a deficient for a while. I have roughly 5-7 lbs to go :) then it's just a matter of putting on more muscle! Reverse dieting is great. Thanks for the article

    January 27, 2016 at 8:30 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Stephen Driscoll AKA @steveo4cu

    I really enjoyed the example you used about how the person's body is preventing them from starving. Which, is essentially what happens when you keep lowering your calories. It makes perfect sense how you can use your macros and adjust them to ensure you are getting enough nutrients to ensure you can at least maintain your body. I have heard of reverse dieting before, but this article by far simplifies the methods!

    January 27, 2016 at 9:25 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jeremy

    Killer article. I really enjoyed this one because it actually makes a lot of sense to me. I've gone from 220 back to 180 where I started 14 years ago when I graduated high school and I look better now. Thanks for your hard work writing these, they help the clueless like me.

    January 30, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ileen

    So I wanted to ask you a question, I used your formula for figuring out my macros and I can't believe I can have that many carbs, it's a tiny bit scarey. I have a family history of diabetes. I myself am NOT diabetic but I follow a diet of low carb, just as a diabetic precautionary. Will following a high carb diet affect my insulin sensitivity in the long run?

    February 8, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Kevin Searcy

    Awesome article and really insightful. Loved reading this! It really helped to clarify everything that I have heard about reverse dieting and how it should be done. Definitely gained some useful knowledge. ?

    February 10, 2016 at 5:33 am | Reply to this comment

  • Philip Stefanov

    Hey Mike, Awesome & comprehensive article. I must say: reverse dieting is an absolute must after calorie restriction. I can illustrate myself as an example: the first time I ever did a cut cycle I lost a decent 40+ lbs of fat but at that point I felt so deprived that I decided to skip my reverse diet altogether and ended up putting roughly 15 lbs of fat in 2 weeks. Horrible decision on my part but I learned a valuable lesson: don't be freaking lazy and DO your reverse diet! Thanks Mike again for the great post. Cheers, Philip

    February 25, 2016 at 5:00 am | Reply to this comment

  • Chris

    Mike, thank you for shedding some light on Reverse Dieting, this is a method I am still trying to understand so with that being said I will need to read your article a couple more times. my question: will slowly increasing your macros again, by much are the increments? Lets say carbs, are you increasing it by 5-10g with each meal each week for 10 weeks?

    March 5, 2016 at 4:06 am | Reply to this comment

  • Rebecca Wright

    Love the idea, thanks for clearing up the reverse diet concept. I may try it if I can get myself down to where I want to be first lol.

    March 11, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Niko

    Hey me and my partner just finished a very low calorie diet and are now supposed to be reverse dieting but we are vegetarians and I am so lost any advice?

    April 1, 2016 at 10:27 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Heli

    Thank you Mike about the very important issue after competition ?????????✌?️? I've been doing reverse diet one week and it will continue at least nine weeks ??

    April 24, 2016 at 1:55 am | Reply to this comment

  • Anna

    Hi Mike hope you can help. I have spent many years calorie restricting and fasting 2 days per wk and was diagnosed around 6 months ago with an eating disorder. I had been hoping to do a reverse diet to boost my metabolism and start to have healthy daily calorie intake once I returned from my summer holiday. However I have just got home from a two week vacation and have gained 10lbs! Having gained all this weight do I need to diet again before I start a slower reverse diet? I'm scared that I will continue to gain weight if I carry on eating a "normal" amount of food. Thanks in advance :)

    July 22, 2016 at 8:53 am | Reply to this comment

  • Elizabeth Barton

    Hi Mike, loved this post. Very informative. I have a question as to the situation with the woman who wanted to be leaner and was losing on 1100 calories a day... and then you predicted she wouldn't continue to lose more with reverse dieting. I feel like I'm probably in a similar position. What I'm worried about is this: will my metabolism ever recover? Will I be eating so little calories for the rest of my days if I want to maintain the weight loss?! I'm only 21 and do not think eating this little of calories is at all sustainable. I would like to increase my metabolism over time! What form of reverse dieting would you recommend?

    September 13, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ivan

    Hey Mike, what plan should we follow on the OTR app if we want to start reverse dieting? Losing weight, growing muscles or recomposition? Thanks!

    October 6, 2016 at 7:38 am | Reply to this comment

  • Jules

    I currently just came off a 28 day program with 40% protein, 10% carbs, and 50% fat at 1,330 cal, and lost 6lbs body fat. I'm 5'2, 114lbs and 21% body fat. I'd like to reach 16/17% body fat. What should my reverse diet be in terms of macros?

    April 6, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Reply to this comment

  • YF

    This is the best account of RD I've ever read. Great job man!

    May 23, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Zofia Krajewska

    Thank you so much for the post! I never reall fully understoodthe concept of RD until now, thank you thank you thank you<3

    July 21, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Reply to this comment

  • B

    When following RD, how much surplus do you add weekly and how do you know you reached your maintenance caloric intake level?

    August 3, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Cassie

    I have been dieting and exercising to lose weight for 10 weeks. I started using the program 21 Day Fix and was eating about 1050-1200 calories a day (the amount varied day to day between that range.) I lost 20 pounds after doing the 3 week program once, but then started to plateau. When the plateau occurred I decided (really stupidly, I know!) to drop my calories even more, and was eating between 850-950 a day. I continued doing the 21DF workouts and used the portions as a rule of thumb to make sure I was getting enough protein because I’ve read all over the place that it helps build muscle which speeds up your metabolism and then burns more fat. But I cut out one of the carb portions and 1 1/2 of the fruit portions. I also started adding in an hour and a half of walking and occasionally a mile run to my workouts. After cutting my calories I lost another 10 pounds. I should mention that throughout all of this I have had a few “cheat” days where I ate more like 1250-1400 calories a day because I at a slice or two of pizza or drank a couple glasses of wine. But that’s only been a few days. In the past week or two I have been focusing more on Macronutrient ratios with my diet instead of the 21DF portiond and have fluctuated between 900-1100 calories a day, again still having a couple 1250-1400 days.(for macronutrients I’ve been doing 30% fats, 40% carbs, and 30% protein.) I’ve also still been doing the 21DF workouts and the walking/occasional running. I think the 21DF workouts are great because I’m getting in weight lifting 3 times a week, cardio 2 times and palates and yoga the other two days. This seems like a good combination of what works for weight lose from what I’ve read, but the calorie intake and diet is what I’m so confused about and it seems like the more I read the more confused I am. When I first dropped down to 850-950 calories per day I lost another 10 pounds but after a couple weeks I again I started pleateauing. The reason I decided to do the macronutrient ratio and increase my calorie intake from 850-950 to closer to 1100 is because I started thinking that maybe all the articles I’ve read about how too low of calories can cause a plateau because it slows your metabolism were right. I’m still 13 pounds from my goal weight and and haven’t gained weight but am plateauing at my current weight and have been since I lost the last 10 pounds. I just don’t know what to do from here. I don’t want to wreck my metabolism and become nutrient deficient, but I don’t want to add calories and then gain weight. I also don’t know how many I should add if I did do a reverse diet because my daily calorie intake has ranged from 800-1400 and hasn’t been totally consistent. Do you have any advise? Would reverse dieting help me lose more weight? Should I eat more calories or stay at 1100ish? I am so close to my goal, I just don’t know what I should do next!

    June 1, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Aleah

    Hey Mike I was wondering how reverse dieting might work for me if I’m understanding your information correctly . I am a women 170 lbs and 5’5. I have been in a deficit as long as I can remember (and I never lose my belly fat) and find it quite hard to eat more than 1300 calories though I am trying. I have been seriously weightlifting with no cardio for about 3 months now. I can tell I am getting stronger as I am going up in weight heaviness. But the number on the scale is remaining the same and my belly definitely isn’t going away. I do want to get stronger but also lose fat. Would reverse dieting be for me? I would just have to prioritize what I want done first right? Muscle vs Fat?

    August 22, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Anne

    Do you have a fb group? Why sooo much protein?

    August 11, 2019 at 1:36 am | Reply to this comment

  • skye

    hi there! i have a question and would lobe some guidance. I wasn’t well for a week, and previous to this, i was eating about 2050. I went to eating very little and then eventually went straight back to 2050 (which now i realise my mistake...) and i have gained a bit of fat. My end goal is to increase my calories as high as i can to get lean but i’m really stuck on what i should do now to resolve this issue i’m facing?

    February 1, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ali

    Hello, I’ve recently been in a deficit for about 2 months eating roughly 2000-2200 calories a day, so to increase back to my maintenance , I should aim for adding 50-100 calories a week till i reach maybe 2450-2500?

    April 26, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ali

    Hello, I’ve recently been in a deficit for about 2 months eating roughly 2000-2200 calories a day, so to increase back to my maintenance , I should aim for adding 50-100 calories a week till i reach maybe 2450-2500? Thank you

    April 26, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Caroline L.

    Great article! Do you offer training/ nutrition counseling?

    November 5, 2020 at 11:28 am | Reply to this comment

  • Emily Serrank

    Hey so I’ve been eating less then 1000 calls and I wanted to reverse diet since I have been gaining weight so I just want to ask where should I start like 900 clas or 700

    July 28, 2021 at 7:53 pm | Reply to this comment

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