Reverse Dieting: the beginning.
Welcome back to my blog!
I know, I know! You’re probably wanting to know how my show went.
But, I am going to do these posts a bit out of order. The reverse dieting topic is fresh on my mind, so be patient with me. I’ll have not only a testimonial of my prep with my team, SoBoss, and coach, Jessi, but also a recap of my show day experience coming later this week. What I want to write about and share with you all today is on the topic of Reverse Dieting.
What is reverse dieting?
Reverse dieting is a process you follow typically after a long period in a caloric deficit. During this time, you slowly begin to increase your caloric intake with the hopes of minimizing fat gain as you restore your strength and metabolism. A proper reverse diet may also result in a higher metabolic capacity, meaning you can maintain your weight on a caloric intake.
Choosing to reverse diet is a personal choice, however as you can see above, the results of a proper reverse diet can be highly beneficial to your body.
Why am I choosing to reverse diet?
I just spent 15 weeks in a caloric deficit prepping for my first NPC Bikini Competition. My body is exhausted both mentally and physically. However, I know this time is vital for improvement and restoration. I personally do not want to rebound. By rebound, I mean I do not want to put back on all of the weight I worked so hard to lose in a short period of time from not controlling my intake. As an athlete, I would like to properly reverse to build my metabolic capacity. Whether I want to compete again or not, this is important to me. If I can maintain on a higher amount of calories, I know I will be able to perform better (as well as enjoy life a little more without the constant worry of gaining excess weight). If I do choose to compete again, a successful reverse diet will minimize my fat gain making my next diet easier and better. If I am able to increase my metabolic capacity, I will also be able to cu ton higher calories. This is something I want. So the choice to reverse diet was simple, however unfortunately, the actual act of reverse dieting is not.
How did my first week of reverse dieting go?
Rough. Terrible. Horrible. Hard. Exhausting.
My first week reverse dieting was not what I thought it was going to be. I struggled. And, not just one day…all week. To be honest I still am. Perhaps I over indulged too much on Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps I didn’t prepare as well I thought. Just because you decide to stick with a coach post show for your reverse diet, it does not mean you will be as successful as you were during prep.
To be completely honest, I failed miserably the first week on my reverse diet. I snuck cookies, banana bread, and other treats here and there even though I knew they didn’t fit my macro.
I mean look at this chocolate chip banana bread! How was I going to avoid this:
My body felt hungry. Mentally I felt like I had lost all will power and desire to stick to my diet. I knew I shouldn’t be going over my macros. I felt guilty but I also felt weak and did not care. Sure, I was upset because I felt bloated and fat. I felt disappointed in myself and did not want to let me coach down or myself. I didn’t want to lose control. But, that is exactly how I felt. I felt like I was losing control.
Now, let me clarify. I never felt the urge to binge. It was not that. I just felt like I wanted to enjoy things that I couldn’t during prep. When I felt hungry, I didn’t really see a reason to not satisfy my hunger. I knew I had my days of over indulgence and that I should be sticking to my macros for a successful reverse diet but I just felt like I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the idea of stepping on a stage to keep me dedicated.
I knew I was losing control. But, I wanted all week to prove that I could overcome my challenges. I was embarrassed to tell my coach. I was embarrassed that I was failing.
Like, gosh darn! I knew this would be hard – everyone said it would be harder than prep. A part of me believed them, and honestly, a part of me brushed that off. Mistake.
Know these things:
1. It is harder than prep.
2. You may lose control.
3. You will most likely make mistakes.
4. You are not alone.
5. No one is perfect.
6. We are all human.
7. Gaining weight is hard, but necessary.
8. One week off track will not set you back 10, 12 or even 15 weeks of hard work.
9. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
10. Never be afraid.
11. Never be embarrassed.
12. You are not a failure.
13. Struggle is inevitable.
14. You did not lose your will power.
15. You did not lose your strength.
16. You may feel weak mentally and physically but you are not.
17. Giving up is not an option.
18. You will succeed. If not now, if not today, remember tomorrow is always a new day to start over. Do not give up.
What did I do wrong?
Go in with prep mentality. I went into my reverse diet all wrong. I told myself I wanted to stop relying on things that kept me sane during prep. Things I relied on when I got cravings, etc. I didn’t have on hand diet drinks or sugar free jello. These were staples for me when I felt weak during prep. When I was out of macros and needed something. I should not have cut these out immediately. Go into reverse dieting with the same mentality and routine as prep – eat similar meals, etc.
Remove temptation. I do not recommend having a million extra goodies or post show treats lying around if you will feel more tempted than before. During prep, having this stuff around was no big deal for me because I had a reason not to eat it. But, after my show there was nothing really I felt keeping me from eating a darn slice of banana bread. Nothing. So give it away…to friends at your show, take it to your office, etc. Do not give yourself extra reasons to fail.
Never be afraid to ask for help. If you kept your coach, they are there for a reason! Ask for tips, advice, and be honest. If you had a bad week or day, let them know. Do not hide your mistakes because this sets you up for continued failure. I find that when I try to hide what I did it sets me up to continue doing it because I can get away with it figuratively speaking. If I own up, it allows others to know I am struggling and need their support.
Do not expect perfection. I wanted so badly to be perfect on my reverse diet. I mean that is pretty much the only image many popular fitness social media icons portray. So, I expected to be strong. I expected to hold on to my stage leanness because I wanted to and I wanted to be perfect on my reverse diet. I mean, I would immediately have more calories…so why wouldn’t I be able to be perfect? If you accept that a slip up may happen, moving past it will be easier. I believe because I expected to do so well, I felt even more guilty and ashamed of doing so poorly. I wanted to be the perfection I saw on social media. But, in all reality how many girls can do this? It is hard. We are human. If you aren’t perfect do not beat yourself up. Do not put yourself into a cycle of over eating, then performing extra exercise and then restricting. My mentality started shifting here this past week. I added in only 1 extra set of cardio before I knew I needed to reach out to my coach. I did not want to make this a pattern.
Set goals. If you do not have a show in the foreseeable future, set goals for why you want to stay dedicated and motivated to your plan. Your coach cannot be a crutch. They are guidance, but ultimately the choice to push through during your reverse diet is up to you. Only you. Set goals that are fitness related or not. Set goals to keep your mind focused. Stay focused on something other than food. Keep your mind busy with intellectual journeys. New adventures. Anything.
1. You are strong.
2. You are powerful.
3. You are motivated.
4. You are determined.
5. You are not your mistakes.
6. You are not your failures.
7. You are human.
8. You will overcome obstacles.
9. You will succeed. If not today, tomorrow.
10. You will be okay.
11. Everything will be okay.
So as I continue on my reverse diet, I have decided to take it day by day. I am working to hit my macros, but have not yet been 100%. Each day I feel stronger. Each day my will power doesn’t feel so distant. Each day I find talking about my struggles and being transparent encourages me to improve. I do not seek perfection but improvement. Each day, as I thrive in the gym, as my strength and love increases in there, I remind myself that this is what is important. My health is more important than hitting numbers. Yes, I want to hit those numbers for a bigger goal. A future goal. But, it is not something I will let consume my mind. Each day I strive to be better than the day before and nothing more.
If you have any questions about reverse dieting, any hesitations or want to know more comment below! If you too are struggling and need support, comment below and we can get in contact. Any and all support will be extremely beneficial! :)