Working out and meal planning are my respites, my happy places. It has not always been that way. When I was 17 and started my fitness journey my only knowledge of weight loss was to sweat and cut calories. I did 1 to 2 hours of cardio a day. I ate two bowls of cereal and an apple with peanut butter. That’s all. By the time I left my job as the manager and fitness coach at Kosama I was eating 800-1200 calories a day, teaching a least one class a day, taking one fitness class a day, working out on my own at night, and running 3 to 4 times a week. In workouts alone I was burning more than I ate, not even factoring in the energy my body needed to.. umm… LIVE! I was to a point where I was gaining body fat because my body was storing everything it could for energy. In the summer of 2014, I was so exhausted and frustrated that I spoke with professional who suggested upping my calories from this 800-1200 calorie range to 1500 calories and dropping all cardio and high intensity training. I tried it. Long story short- I ballooned. I quit. I started training for a half marathon, upped my cardio, dropped my calories. Again. In 2015 I came across authors like Tom Venuto and Mike Matthews and read about "reverse dieting." Reverse dieting is "a controlled, gradual increase in total daily calorie intake with the purpose of increasing metabolic rate and health." Basically, my metabolism adapted to the calories I was eating. It learned to survive in that extreme calorie deficit. This was a way to increase my calories slowly with minimal weight gain.
After researching reverse dieting for months, I put it to the test in December by increasing my carbs by 10 g every week and my fat by 1 gram every week. I have worked my way from 1200 calories to 1650 calories a day. I have gained 0 pounds. I’m more defined. I have more energy. I sleep through the night. My workouts are insane! I am happier. My moods are more stable. And I can EAT! This is the start of my metabolic reset. It is going to take me a long time to get my metabolism functioning at the level it should be but I could not be happier. If you are interested in reverse dieting and how it could help you check out the resources below or comment and I can point you in the right direction. Resources: Matthews, Mike. "The Definitive Guide to Reverse Dieting." Muscle For Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2016. <http://www.muscleforlife.com/reverse-diet/>. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):807-19. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.109173. Epub 2015 Sep 23. Norton, Lay. "BioLayne Video Log 24 – Reverse Dieting." Biolayne. N.p., 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 31 Jan. 2016. <http://www.biolayne.com/nutrition/biolayne-video-log-24-reverse-dieting/>.