I’ve been weight lifting on and off for the better part of the last 18 years. As with any program, the nutritional component is by far, the most vital. In those 18 years, I’ve experimented with many different diets, meal plans, eating schedules, fasting, IIFYM….you name it, I’ve more than likely tried it.
As I mentioned in my last post, every plan or diet you see marketed to you daily will likely work so as long as you’re committed to it, however, the degree for which a plan is sustainable as it relates to ones’ lifestyle, varies. They all work for the same reason-they create a caloric deficit. Meaning, simply, you expend more calories than you consume. The issue for me is, after returning to a routine, I last “dieted” on “X” calories at a body weight I’ve far exceeded since my last go round with dieting. The following is a breakdown of what I did to prepare myself for my ultimate goal of fat loss. Consider this the “work before the work.”
The last time I consistently dieted was 2015. I’ve fallen off since then and have failed to remain consistent with my training and nutrition. As such, I had no baseline, calorically, for which to draw a new plan from. In fact, I feel I may have damaged my metabolism in the process.
Having realized that I would be starting this up again with 1) substantially more body weight since I last trained and 2) NOT knowing how much calories I’ve consumed regularly through weeks at a time for the past 3 years-I decided to take MANY MANY steps backward in order to set myself up for huge leaps and bounds forward in my fat loss goals.
Enter the REVERSE
Part of my plan for the past 6 months was to gradually eat more calories from week to week until I reached a healthy maintenance level for which to diet down from. A level high enough to start at my body weight and a level that would allow room to lose the amount of fat I want to lose without suffering through very low calories. To put simply, losing those last 20 lbs. sounds alot better and sustainable with 2500 calories per day versus 1500 calories along with many hours of cardio to continually create a caloric deficit to continue losing fat.
While some weight gain is inevitable, the key was to keep it minimal and I achieved that. To do so, I slowly added calories to my intake on a weekly basis so my body got used to the increased intake. I reversed for 12 weeks till I reached a level that I was satisfied with and maintained that intake for another 12 weeks to further establish this “baseline” for which to diet down from.
Slow, sustainable fat loss
At my age, I’m in no rush to lose a lot of weight, in a short amount of time. This may have applied in my 20s but if there’s anything the past 5 years has taught me-it’s patience. Especially as it relates to my holy grail-FAT LOSS. And Reverse dieting to repair your metabolism and create a higher set point-calorically requires LOTS of patience. I realize in the ‘fast results now’ culture that exists in the fitness industry, this may not appeal to everyone. But for me and what I know what I started from back in November, this was the only way for me and now I’m at that place where I’m reducing calories again….only at a much higher intake to start when I was 30 lbs. lighter when I last dieted down successfully.
Next up- the training component!