When I first heard about reverse diet, I was confused by the terminology. My initial hypothesis was that it somehow meant weight loss through eating rather than reducing. On the contrary, anti-dieting is all about how to increase calories after the diet is over. This is a summary of how to lose weight, and my views on why it is necessary and why if you want to lose weight safely and consistently.
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How reverse dieting works
Reverse dieting is essentially something to do after restrictive diet. Suppose you reduce your daily calorie intake to 1,200 euros in order to lose weight, and then you lose some weight. Those who support anti-dieting recommend gradually increasing your weekly calorie intake by 50-100 calories in about 4-10 weeks, rather than simply returning to the pre-meal diet. Advocates of this method claim that this method can help increase metabolism, normalize hunger hormones and reduce the risk of overeating or rapid weight recovery.
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What does the research say about reverse dieting?
There is no research on reverse diet. Some studies used to support this practice are based on the negative effects of dieting on metabolic rate and hormone balance. But this is very different from a controlled study, which compares a group of reverse diets with a control group to check the results of changes in metabolism, hormone levels or other factors.
Why not diet
The main reason why reverse dieting is not necessary is that strict or low-calorie diets should be avoided from the beginning. Although a low-calorie diet may cause some people to lose weight, it can also cause physical and emotional side effects, including undernutrition, irritability, low mood or depression, fatigue, and obsessiveness with food and weight.
In addition, calorie counting is tedious and stressful for many people. A study found that eating a 1,200-calorie diet and monitoring calories can increase the level of cortisol, a stress hormone known to increase abdominal fat. In the same study, people who were not required to restrict calories but were asked to track calories experienced increased perceived stress levels.
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How to lose weight without strict dieting
Traditional weight loss methods focus on calorie intake, which is outdated. Together with my private practice clients, I focus on food quality, meal balance and timing, as well as factors such as adapting to hunger and fullness and addressing emotional eating.
In terms of quality, it has been proven that replacing processed foods with whole foods increases calorie burn after meals. This means that changing things like pastries or sugary cereals to oatmeal with berries and nuts in the morning can have a positive effect on weight loss, even if you don’t care about calories. It has also been shown that processed foods affect gut bacteria in ways that affect weight control. This is one of the reasons why only eating more vegetables, increasing fiber content and adjusting the meal time can reduce weight without depriving food.
When my clients who struggle with emotional eating begin to discover healthy coping tools that do not involve food, their calorie intake will automatically drop. This is not based on rules or numbers, but a shift in the relationship with food. In other words, dieting is not the only way to lose weight, and certainly not the most successful or sustainable way.
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Bottom line: After a strict diet, continuous monitoring of calories for one or two months through a reverse diet (especially a small increase that requires precise tracking) will increase stress. Moreover, there is no evidence that anti-dieting helps maintain weight loss in the long term. Healthy weight loss comes from sustainable lifestyle changes that can fully nourish your body. No diet is required for any weight loss method you use. It should also optimize your overall health, not harm your health.
Cynthia Sass (MPC, RD) is healthNutrition Contributing Editora New York Times A best-selling author and a private performance nutritionist, he has consulted for five professional sports teams.
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