Check out timeline of entire fat loss phase here: Fat loss phase calendar view
Macros averages 1 month post show (Aug 31- Sept 25)
Macro averages 1 month prior to show (July 30- Aug 27)
Based on this data, calories have increased about 25% from pre-show to post-show
Body weight has increased from 141.6 to 147(ish) during the month post show
**I hit low for the cut 2 days before show at 138.6 but am using show day weight as our “baseline” for reverse
That is an increase of 5.4 pounds over the course of 4 weeks… about 1.35 pounds/ week (on average)- which is just under 1% of bodyweight gain/ week
**A reasonable target body weight gain for reverse diet is similar to that of weight loss target during fat loss phase 0.5%-1%/ body weight change/ week. Goal of this rate is to maximize muscle retention during fat loss and limit fat regain during reverse phase.
Other things to note:
Steps were 15k/ day during weeks leading up to show. Currently have been intentionally keeping steps around 8k/ day.
Was doing 8 training sessions/ week leading up to show (2x/ day MWF). Currently have been doing 5 training sessions/ week after 1 full week off from the gym post show.
Mood has been fluctuating a lot which I think is to be expected after any event- especially an event at the end of a fat loss phase **remember dieting is a stressor! Documenting the process is something that helps me navigate these ups and downs as it tends to keep me grounded during the fluctuations :))
Navigating post show hunger (and post fat loss phase hunger) has been an adventure! Following the show, my appetite was incredibly low- likely due to some personal stressors. I didn’t track Sunday or Monday after the show, but I remember making myself eat even though I wasn’t hungry. On Tuesday, I finally felt hungry and decided to take advantage of it and get a solid high calorie day under my belt- hit around 3500 (500+ grams of carbs)- and then hit around 2200ish daily during the rest of that week. Calorie targets were 2500 during week of the 6th, then 2700 during week of 13th and finally around 2800 during this last week.
Something I thought alot about during the fat loss phase was the relationship of food palatability and satiety. While I did eat lucky charms almost every single day during the fat loss phase (and more than 1 box of lucky charms daily on the 3 days leading up to the show), all of my other meals were relatively low in palatability- most meals were made up of chicken or ground beef, potatoes or rice, and carrots and/ or zucchini. Fat came primarily from ground beef or nuts (walnuts, almonds or pistachios). As my hunger response has increased during the reverse diet, I have continued to lean on the same types of foods to hit my calorie targets as opposed to incorporating lots of different types of foods right away. I have intentionally not incorporated highly palatable foods because I understand that my brain is primed to overfeed currently (as we know the metabolism is sensitive to underfeeding). **This is why you hear all the time “diets dont work” because after any period of underfeeding (read: dieting/ fat loss) our metabolism’s job is to get us to overfeed** Guess what makes overfeeding ALOT easier- incorporating tons of hyperpalatable foods. Guess what makes overfeeding more difficult? High volume foods that are relatively low in palatability. I have found that I’ve been able to experience the mechanical feelings of satiety (read: physically feeling my stomach is full) despite my brain telling me I need to continue eating. It took me a while to sort through what was happening- even though intellectually I understand it- because my metabolism doesn’t care how smart I am. Lols. It just is trying to help me recover after what it interprets as a period of famine!
Some practical takeaways:
- Fat loss is difficult. Reverse dieting is also difficult and requires a different set of skills than fat loss.
- When starting a reverse diet, try simply increasing the portions of the foods you are already eating. Consider waiting 4ish weeks before enjoying more highly palatable foods.
- If you’ve increased your energy output (via steps or cardio) during your fat loss phase- consider decreasing this volume. Cardio training is an effective tool to use at the end of a fat loss phase (sometimes) but if you continue– then that volume of training will be your new baseline and you’ll need to increase from there.
- When reverse dieting, focus on variables that will improve with more energy (especially if the scale going up stresses you out). WE MUST RECOVER FROM DIETING- just like any other stressor. As much as we want progress toward our goals to be linear (and to happen with the snap of our fingers)- what’s more realistic is progress in step-wise fashion. In terms of the scale- weight should decrease during fat loss- then increase a bit during reverse. Remember muscle is the key to metabolic health so arguably the “work” is done during our building phases (maintenance/ surplus phases)- and then during fat loss we’re just peeling back layers to see what we’ve been building. CHRONIC DIETING DOES NOT BUILD MUSCLE. CHRONIC DIETING DOES NOT BUILD MUSCLE. Eating food and strength training builds muscle :))
Cheers to GROWING SEASON!