All About Reverse Dieting: Could It Really Benefit Your Weight Loss?

Weight loss is a very frequent fitness goal, whether for aesthetic or performance reasons. While you may have completed a good diet and lost some weight, you may be unsure what to do next.

According to some research, if you do not rebound appropriately after a weight loss program, you will acquire a lot of weight.

You might wonder if all the restrictions are worth it if you worked hard in the kitchen and the gym for months to reach a certain weight, only to quickly gain it back. 

Fortunately, reverse dieting allows you to recover from a time of caloric restriction in a long-term manner, and it could be the key to long-term weight loss success.


What Is Reverse Dieting?

A reverse diet is the polar opposite of a traditional diet. Instead of gradually reducing calories over several weeks to lose weight, a reverse diet involves gradually and meticulously replacing the calories you’ve lost, usually from carbohydrates and fat. 

The reverse diet’s purpose is to gradually increase your food intake back to maintenance levels or slightly higher without gaining a lot of weight. 

In principle, reintroducing calories in this manner should help you avoid any detrimental metabolic adjustments you may have had while dieting.

It appears simple enough, but there is a proper and wrong way to do it in the world of nutrition, as with everything else. Bulk is not a reverse diet.

The purpose of a reverse diet isn’t to regain a lot of weight after dieting, and it doesn’t imply cramming your face with anything calorie-dense.

A reverse diet is a more gradual and controlled strategy to restore your body’s baseline efficiency. A reverse diet still requires you to keep track of your food intake.

Although it may not be as carefree as eliminating all thought from your eating habits, it may be the ideal option for you if you’ve completed your weight loss and want to enjoy more calories and thus improve your gym performance.

Benefits Of Reverse Dieting

  1. You, Will, Have More Food

    Adding calories back in means you can eat more. You may keep fat gain to a minimum while improving your quality of life and overall mood if you gradually add these calories back in.

  2. Good Mental Health

    It might be mentally exhausting to have your caloric intake restricted for a lengthy period. At times, it can make you feel sluggish, weary, and angry.

    Reverse dieting allows you to safely exit a caloric deficit, providing psychological comfort, especially if you’ve been dieting for months.

  3. Consistent Weight Gain

    Following a diet, it’s usual to revert to your former eating patterns, drastically boosting your calorie intake. This frequently leads to fast weight gain.

A well-planned reverse diet, on the other hand, can help you gain weight steadily and consistently without such large swings in the scale.

Slow and gradual changes will prepare you for whatever nutritional program you choose later, so don’t be afraid to try it.

How To Reverse Diet Without Gaining Weight?

It is feasible to avoid gaining weight following a diet, albeit challenging. But first, let’s discuss why, in the first place, avoiding a diet is the best option. 

Long-term adherence to restrictive diets, which often require consuming a very low-calorie intake, is difficult. When your body detects that you’re in a large calorie deficit, it activates processes to avoid rapid weight loss.

Furthermore, ignoring sensations of lack and hunger is challenging. As a result, it’s understandable that adhering to a low-calorie diet, especially one that restricts several foods or entire food groups is difficult.

The unsustainable nature of these diets might lead to “yo-yo dieting,” in which a person loses and gains weight repeatedly. If you can avoid dieting in the first place, you’ll have a better chance of long-term success. 

Instead, concentrate on developing healthy lifestyle habits that you can maintain over time, such as:

  • Avoiding sugary beverages in favor of water or other low-calorie beverages consuming more fruits and veggies.
  • Consuming extra fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Dining out and/or processed meals in moderation.
  • physical activity daily.
  • Including strength training in your exercise routine.
  • Sleeping for 7–9 hours each night.
  • Stress management and positive coping strategies (for example, journaling, meditation, therapy).

A reverse diet could be a wonderful alternative for you if you’ve been on a restrictive diet and want to get out of it without gaining weight.

How To Start Reverse Dieting?

You’ll need to log your calories and macros and do the math. While you’ll be able to eat more once you’ve finished dieting, you’ll almost certainly gain weight.

Always keep in mind that you’re preparing for long-term success rather than quick remedies.

Let’s have a look at some tips before you start reverse dieting:

  1. Calculate Your Calorie Intake

    Calculate the number of calories and macronutrients you’ll need to stay at your current weight. Protein, carbs, and fat are your macronutrients.

    Numerous online calculators can assist you with this stage. Simply enter your sex, age, exercise level, and other pertinent information.

  2. Determine Your Objective

    Decide how quickly you want to raise your calorie intake. Most people gain weight when they reverse their diet. Fat accumulation is unavoidable once your maintenance or TDEE calories are exceeded.

    You can, however, use ways to reduce fat and, presumably, increase muscle in the process. Keep in mind that the faster you increase your calorie intake every week, the more likely you are to gain weight.

    If you’re willing to put on some more weight to raise your calorie intake faster, go for it. It’s preferable to go slow and steady if you want to restrict the amount of fat you accumulate.

  3. Consume More Calories

    After knowing your schedule and target, gradually increase your carbohydrate and fat intake every five to seven days.

    If you want to be more cautious, a 5% increase in carbs and fat is a decent place to start. If you want to get there faster, go a little higher.

  4. Monitor Your Progress

    It’s critical to keep track of your progress so you may make modifications as needed. If you notice that you’re gaining weight too quickly, either stop increasing your macros for the week or reduce them.

    You can increase them if you’re happy with your progress. It’s a process of trial and error.

  5. Know When To Stop

    When you should stop is entirely up to you and your objectives. When most people meet their calorie objectives, they tend to stop.

    If your current calorie intake is 1000 and your target is 2000, keep going until you hit that figure. It’s critical to emphasize that this isn’t about slimming down or bulking up.

    It’s all about revving up your metabolism for long-term success. Although it may be difficult to anticipate some fat gain during the reverse diet, you can always cut again thereafter. This is a marathon, not a race.

How Long You Should Reverse Your Diet?

Throughout the reverse dieting process, which can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months depending on your starting point, goal, and the rate at which you increase calories each week, you should expect to gain some weight.

It’s quite rare for someone to lose or maintain their body weight over a month, especially when calories exceed 2200 for females and 3300 for guys.

Therefore, how comfortable you are with weight gain is a final factor to consider when selecting whether to stop your reverse diet.

If you’re worried about gaining weight, you might set a weight limit for yourself and stop reversing once you reach it.

Does Reverse Dieting Fix Metabolism?

To avoid all of the problems that come with having a slow metabolism, we may reverse diet to increase the number of calories our bodies can burn, allowing us to return to a regular caloric intake without gaining weight.

A reverse diet could boost our metabolism in the following ways:

  • Increasing our muscle-building potential.
  • Increasing our capacity for movement.
  • Increasing the thermic effect of the food.

According to the findings, there is anecdotal evidence that reverse dieting works. However, no recent research on the effects of reverse dieting on metabolism is available.

While several studies have shown that prolonged dieting causes metabolic adaptation, they all agree that more research is needed to see if reverse dieting reverses this metabolic adaptation.

Researchers in one study put patients on a 6-week diet, which resulted in an 800-calorie deficit. Following the dieting phase, researchers gradually increased the individuals’ calorie intake week by week for 8 weeks.

During weeks 1-4 and weeks 5-8, the reverse dieting strategy added 150kcal and 200kcal, respectively.

However, this study had certain drawbacks, such as the fact that only two patients finished it and the initial dieting phase was only 6 weeks long.

6 weeks is probably not long enough to reflect the metabolic slowdown required to reap the full benefits of reverse dieting.


Reverse diets are significantly less complicated than they appear. A decent reverse diet will help you get your nutritional practices under control.

It could work for you if you’re at the end of a long, arduous weight loss program or have just been diet-hopping for far too long.

Rather than reverting to your previous eating habits, reverse dieting can help you achieve success in the kitchen, which will pay off in the gym.

Getting back to a healthy calorie intake without all the fat that comes with the end of a diet can make all of your hard work worthwhile.