FitGurlMel's Reverse Dieting Plan That Will Actually Help You Lose Weight (& Keep It Off)
by Melissa Alcantara on Jun 30, 2021
Learn how eating more calories can help you shed pounds.
You’ve worked really hard to minimize the amount of calories you eat in a day to lose weight. And you did it — you lost 20 pounds, then 45 pounds, then 70 pounds. You’re on a roll. But suddenly, after months of restricting yourself, you notice the numbers on the scale are staying the same. Why aren’t you losing any more weight? How can you get back on track?
Enter FitGurlMel’s Reverse Dieting Plan to help you lose weight and keep the weight off for good. What’s reverse dieting? It’s exactly what it sounds like — you diet in reverse. You will slowly start to increase your calorie intake, rather than eliminating more from your diet.
How Can This Help Me Lose Weight?
Eating more calories doesn’t sound like something that can help you lose weight. And you’re (sort of) right. In the beginning, you might actually gain a little weight —but don’t stop reading!
Your body is smarter than you think. When you started eating 1,300 calories every day to lose weight it worked because you were burning more calories than you were eating. However, after a while, your body noticed that you would only get 1,300 calories and nothing more. So this became your maintenance calorie number, which is the amount of food your body needs to maintain its current weight (aka NO more weight loss).
“If you’re eating 1,300 calories that’s already a problem,” says Melissa Alcantara (Fitgurlmel); premier fitness & wellness coach, author, and CEO. The reason is that’s not enough for your body to get all the nutrients it needs. According to Fitgurlmel, if you reverse diet, you will change your relationship and mindset with food which will eventually lead to weight loss. You will gain weight at first because you are eating more calories but that will lead to your weight stabilizing. And once your weight is stabilized you can begin to manipulate the amount of calories you eat to lose weight. Here’s how.
FitGurlMel’s Reverse Dieting Plan
This is going to take four to six months, so patience is key. But if you stick with it, you are guaranteed results that will actually last (no more plateaus!).
Step 1: Figure out your macros.
Macros is the nickname for macronutrients which are found in your food. There are three macros (macronutrients): proteins, fats, and carbohydrates aka "carbs". Counting macros are keys to sustainable weight loss and unlocking success for reverse dieting. To figure out your macros, download FitGurlMel’s app & take her Macros Class (included for free with your app subscription!).
Remember that people are different (height, age, weight, activity level, etc.) and so they tend to have different macros numbers to begin with, so it's best to figure out your macros (caloric intake) for you specifically.
Step 2: Make sure your macros are high-quality; get rid of empty calories
Eating two salads and two Snicker bars could stay within your macros, but that’s not a healthy option. You’re going to want to make sure that your macro breakdown is filled with nutrient-dense, healthy foods that will keep you full. FitGurlMel’s Macro Class in her app breaks down suggestions on what to eat, plus other tips to help you succeed but you can always go to her 365 Fit food guide to know exact recipes, cooking videos, and access the a la carte menu.
Step 3: Increase your calories.
The goal is to get your weight to stabilize because once your weight stays consistent it means you are ready to manipulate your macros to help you lose weight and keep it off.
If your weight is the same after 10 days of increasing your calories, increase by another 100 calories. If you gain weight in 10 days, don’t increase to help your weight stabilize over the next 1-2 weeks. Continue this for a few months (four to six) until your weight is the same week-over-week — this will mean you’ve stabilized.
Our goal here is to eat 1,500-1,800 calories (at least) a day as your maintenance calories...even more if you're a very active person. For example, Melissa is 5'6'', 36 years old, and eats about 2K calories per day and weighs about 135lbs-140lbs year-round with about 18%-20% body fat.
Step 4: Learn to eyeball your food and listen to your body
Weighing your found and counting calories doesn't need to be the way you keep the weight off and stay within a healthy level of fat. Actually, the whole point of revers dieting is to bring your metabolism to healthy levels so that your weight won't swing violently just because you had "a weekend off in Mexico..." and instead maintain good weight and good eating habits while enjoying life. Melissa walks you through the process or doing this and provides you with training to go along.
Teach Yourself to Eat More
You’ve been restricting yourself for a long time so it can be hard to allow yourself to just eat more calories. Easing your transition (with the 100 calorie recommendation) is the best way to do it. Beyond that, these tips might help too:
- Keep a food journal or track calories in an app (like MyFitnessPal)
- Try eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day if sitting down to eat big meals is challenging for you; Melissa doesn't recommend eating more than 4-5 meals per day since that puts a lot of wear and tear on your digestive system.
- Meal prep your food so you know exactly how many calories you’re eating and you remember to eat all of them, at least until your metabolism is restored to healthy levels.
- Don’t forget to workout! Burning more calories will make you want to (and need to) eat more. Best news is that cardio is not the only answer, weight training can be just as effective. Check out Melissa's FitGurl Me training plan.
Remember, eating is a learned behavior and it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. So don’t be too hard on yourself as you start to navigate this new lifestyle. “All of this fitness [and nutrition] stuff takes a lot of mental strength and energy,” says Fitgurlmel, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Take this one step at a time and remind yourself that if you do this right (despite a little weight gain in the beginning) you will achieve the body you want.
For more information on macros and reverse dieting, plus tons of workouts, nutrition plans, and personal help from Mel download her app — just $1 for the first month!