Category Archives: Weight Issues

8 Weeks to 40 – Week 7 Recap & Change of Plans

FitQuestMom Abs Day 50 10.26.15 Wk7

Date:  10/26/15

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 134.8 (down 0.5lb from last week; 9.0lb total)

Last Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

This Week’s Macros:

Time to increase…I’ll explain in the comments below.

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1595 calories 130C / 145P / 55F

Friday 1832 calories 195C / 155P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1578 calories 110C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Workout Plan:

I am still doing Ashley Kaltwasser’s (aka AshleyKfit) Glute & Ab Program.  At the end of this week I will decide if I will do the same workout one more week or if I will begin my next workout program.  I just purchased Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building e-book (her e-books are $5 off now through Halloween with code NOTRICKSHERE) and am excited to begin her workouts (LOVE her).

Comments:

I planned on completing an 8 week cut (aka diet) to lean out for my 40th birthday, but I am stopping it at the end of week 7.  Below is Day 1 vs. Day 50:

Gretchen Tseng FitQuestMom 8 Weeks to 40 years old

FitQuestMom Day 50 Collage Blog 10.26.15

People always ask me how you know when to end a cut (if there isn’t a particular date or show you are working toward) and I always tell them that they will just know.  I am glad I have reached the point where I do not need to achieve a certain scale weight to know I have reached my goal…I know by how I look when I see myself in the mirror, how my clothes fit, and how I feel in general.  Something just told me that it was time to stop.

This was a 50 day process for me and as you can see I only dropped 9.0lbs, but I feel my physical transformation was somewhat significant.

Last year I completed a cut as well and really like the graphic below because it shows me 1 year apart (top pictures were 10/23/2014 and bottom pictures 10/20/2015) and at the SAME EXACT WEIGHT. My weight in the top pictures was 134.1 and in the bottom I weighed in at 134.2 (crazy how close those weights are).

FitQuestMom before and after 10.23.14 vs. 10.20.15

Again, SAME WEIGHT one year apart and I think I look very different. I actually have a little bit of a booty now in the bottom pictures (hard to see due to lighting) which I worked HARD on through my Reverse Diet last year and I don’t look so “flat.” My core is a different shape for sure.  These changes happened slowly, but when you are consistent with your training and your nutrition the changes do happen. Notice I said consistent, not PERFECT all the time. I had mess-ups and vacations mixed in there.

I am excited to begin my 2015 Reverse Diet and hope it is the last one I do.  Last year 13-14 weeks into my Reverse Diet I decided to not track very closely and allowed myself to eat as much as I wanted to.  I didn’t go crazy, but made the conscious decision to eat more than planned and allowed that to push me into a more significant caloric surplus which I consciously used in the gym to fuel HARD workouts in order to try and build more muscle; specifically my booty which was so flat once I completed my cut last year.

This year I want to approach my Reverse Diet differently and maintain my leanness while working to slowly continue to tweak my shape.  I know my body well enough to know that when I Reverse Diet I continue to lean-out (because I increase my calories S-L-O-W-L-Y).  If I were to increase my calories at a more rapid rate this go-around I would put on some body fat like I did last year, however my goal with this Reverse Diet is to maintain the body composition I currently have while increasing my metabolic capacity.  If I lose weight during this Reverse (I did at the beginning of my last Reverse), I will simply make my next caloric increase more rapid.  If I start to put on weight I will hang out at my current calories until my body stabilizes.

I plan on documenting the next 20 weeks of my Reverse Diet for you so you can follow along on the process and see what Reverse Dieting is all about.  I have to admit that Reverse Dieting is fun for those of us eaters out there, but I also feel that it is important to let you know that it is NOT EASY.  Many people would go so far as to say that Reverse Dieting can be much harder than dieting because your metabolism begins to rev-up and you actually get MORE hungry oftentimes than you were when you were dieting to lose fat.

When I Reverse Dieted before and my metabolism increased it was normal for me to sweat at night and get REALLY hungry by the end of the week right before it was time for my next increase.  I find that when you know to expect this it is easier to deal with.

The last time I Reverse Dieted I was not carb-cycling, so I expect that my Friday Refeeds this go around will help me get through that end of the week increase in hunger.

I planned out my 20 week Reverse Diet schedule the same way I do for my clients and if all goes according to plan this will happen:

BEGINNING MACROS:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1595 calories 130C / 145P / 55F

Friday 1832 calories 195C / 155P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1578 calories 110C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

ENDING MACROS:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 2146 calories 225C / 145P / 72F

Friday 2383 calories 280C / 155P / 65F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 2129 calories 200C / 145P / 79F (rest day)

I am excited to begin this next phase of my fitness journey and even more excited to bring you along with me.  Time to change to a new swimsuit for my Reverse Dieting progress pictures …I am guessing you guys are getting a little sick of the last one…imagine how you will feel after 20 weeks of the next one!

Feel free to ask me questions along the way either on the blog or through Instagram (where I am the most active as fitquestmom).

Happy Monday everyone!

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Click HERE for the Day 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 2 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 3 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 4 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 5 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 6 Recap

Click HERE for my Week 1 REVERSE DIETING Recap

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Filed under 8 Weeks to 40, Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

8 Weeks to 40 – Week 6 Recap

fitquestmom Day 43 Collage Blog 10.19.15

Date:  10/19/15

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 135.3 (down 0.3 from last week; 8.5lb. total)

Last Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

This Week’s Macros (Staying the same):

I am keeping them the same macros as last week.

Workout Plan:

I am still doing Ashley Kaltwasser’s (aka AshleyKfit) Glute & Ab Program.  Each week I work on either upping the sets, reps, or weights.  I make it a point to always challenge myself…I try to never have an easy workout.

I also stepped out of my comfort zone (yes, I get shy) and went to a local gym for a hiit type class called Conditioning with Kandace, who is the VP of Marketing for Bodybuilding.com.  She was out of town for her boyfriend’s power-lifting meet (he won!), so I will get to meet her and take the class from her next week.  In Kandace’s absence the class was run by three Bodybuilding.com ladies who did a great job.

I had a lot of fun meeting other fit-minded people and it made me push myself to the point where my calves are still on FIRE ( the class was on Saturday morning).  I love working out at home, but also plan on incorporating some more group classes into my routine for a nice change of pace and added challenge.

Conditioning with Kandace

Overall it was a good week.  I felt pretty “skinny” a lot of the week (I actually got down to 134 on Wednesday) and considered ending my cut early.  I ultimately decided to give it at least one more week and re-evaluate where I stand next weekend.  There is a chance my 8 Weeks to 40 cut becomes a 7 week cut.  If I decide I am happy with where I am at the end of this week then I will head straight into my Reverse Diet (which I will also document).

Below is an ab progress pic from this morning upon waking.  I don’t know that I expect a lot of weight loss this week, but I do expect that my body will become a lot more lean.

Day 43 FitQuest Abs 10.19.15

 

Feel free to contact me with any questions about the cutting/leaning-out/dieting process or nutrition in general.

Happy Monday everyone!

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Click HERE for the Day 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 2 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 3 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 4 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 5 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 7 Recap

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Filed under 8 Weeks to 40, Education, Exercise, Fat, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

8 Weeks to 40 – Week 5 Recap

Day 36 FitQuestMom 8 weeks to 40 years oldDate:  10/12/15

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 135.6 (down 1.5 from last week; 8.2lb. total)

Last Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

This Week’s Macros (Staying the same):

I am keeping them the same macros as last week since they are still working for me.

Workout Plan:

Last week I began Ashley Kaltwasser’s (aka AshleyKfit) Glute & Ab Program.

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It was a good week for me.  I feel like I am in the groove now and there aren’t as many hunger issues.  One thing that may have helped was my switching to a new workout program.  I think I have been over-training for the last few months and my body may have needed a little rest.

I decided to purchase Ashley Kaltwasser’s Glute & Ab Program and I have been really happy with the workouts.  In no way is this a plug for the program because I have absolutely nothing to do with it…I purchased it, they did not send me it.

When I first downloaded the program I was concerned that it would not be hard enough because there were less exercises than I am used to doing, but like I said, I have been pleasantly surprised.  Work smarter, not harder right?!?!?!

9.3.15 vs. 10.12.15 FitQuestMom Abs

That being said, there were MORE ab exercises than I have been doing and man was I sore last week.  There is a reason why her abs are so flipping amazing!  I feel like my abs have leaned out quite a bit in the last week.  This point in a cut is always fun because it seems like you see more results daily.

My hammies were also really sore and that is an are of my legs that is notoriously difficult for me to build (yay…sore there is good news)!

I am entering week 6 now which means I have just under 3 weeks left until my 40th b-day and I am more motivated than ever.  Posting these updates has been a big help in keeping me accountable.

Have an awesome week everyone!

______________________________

Click HERE for the Day 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 2 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 3 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 4 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 6 Recap

 

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8 Weeks to 40 – Week 4 Recap

Day 28 Collage A Blog 10.05.15

Date:  10/5/15

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 137.1 (down 2.1 from last week; 1.4lbs. from the week before)

Last Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

This Week’s Macros (Staying the same):

I am keeping them the same macros as last week….Why mess with something if it is working???

 

Confession time…I broke and used the rest of the Coffeemate in my fridge.  I couldn’t waste it, right?  So how do I explain the fact that I bought more?  By telling you that I am human.

I have been chewing gum crazy for years (like more than a pack a day) and gave it up a few weeks before I began my 8 Weeks to 40 plan and I have managed to NOT chew ANY gum since then which I consider a victory!  I have also managed to stay away from frozen yogurt for the last 4 weeks and if you look through my Instagram feed you will see plainly that it was a weekly habit and one that was overflowing with candy toppings.  I have decided that I can give myself some grace and break my Coffeemate habit at a later date.

I did experience some hunger again this week, however that is to be expected and will be rectified soon when I begin my Reverse Diet in a few weeks.  I was also a little sluggish on some days, but that seemed to coincide with the days when we had grey Fall weather (that ALWAYS gets me).  I’m a girl of the sun…I don’t care if it is cold as long as the sun is out.

As I mentioned above I am planning on keeping the same macros this week.  Oftentimes people have this odd itch to switch-up their macros and speed-up the weight loss.  I want to preserve my muscle and keep any fat loss nice and slow so I do not dip in to that muscle I have been working so hard to build.

I’m half way through my planned cut and excited to see what the next 4 weeks bring.

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Click HERE for the Day 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 2 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 3 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 5 Recap

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8 Weeks to 40 – Week 3 Recap

Day 21 fitquestmom Gretchen Tseng 9.28.15

Date:  9/28/15

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 139.2 (up from last week…see below)

Last Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

This Week’s Macros (Staying the same):

I am keeping them the same as last week’s.

Diabetes Walk Fitquestmom

As you can see from the above stats, my weight actually went up 0.7lbs., but I don’t think that is actually an accurate number for the following reasons:

  1. I went out of town this past weekend (for my niece’s Juvenile Diabetes Walk).
  2. I did not sleep as much as usual (raises cortisol).
  3. I was able to still hit my macros while out of town.
  4. The majority of my protein this past weekend came from my husband’s amazing pulled pork, which also happens to be pretty salty.
  5. I drank 3 diet sodas yesterday (I am NOT a soda drinker) because I was getting tired while driving home from our road trip and I needed the caffeine…that’s the only time I ever drink soda…super rare.
  6. Since I was in the car for 7 hours yesterday I did NOT drink my gallon of water.
  7. Lastly, um…how do I put this?…My bathroom habits weren’t normal this weekend.

FitQuestMom Abs 9.28.15

I took above ab progress picture this morning after my workout and despite the number on the scale I SEE the progress.

I think it is important for everyone to remember that we lead busy lives and we need to LIVE them and enjoy them.  It would never cross my mind to not eat my hubby’s amazing pulled pork (it’s soooo good!) because it might affect the number on the scale, or to not allow myself the freedom to have a soda (or three) on a rare occasion, etc.  It all evens out in the end.  Consistency is what really matters over the long term.

 

Click HERE for the Day 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 2 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 4 Recap

 

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Jamie Eason Middleton’s From Flat to All That Workout Logs Weeks 11 & 12

Showmetheweigh-headerv2

Sorry I am so late getting these last workout logs up for you!  These are the final two weeks of the From Flat to All That workout series.  Jamie mentions on the BodyBuilding.com site that she and her husband plan on going through the entire program a second time, so you may want to consider doing that as well.

Click HERE for the week 11 & 12 workout log I created.

Click HERE for Jamie’s 1 page summary of the workouts.

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Click HERE for the week 1 & 2 free workout log.

Click HERE for the week 3 & 4 free workout log.

Click HERE for the week 5 & 6 free workout log.

Click HERE for the week 7 & 8 free workout log.

Click HERE for the week 9 & 10 free workout log.

Click HERE for the week 11 & 12 free workout log.

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8 Weeks to 40 – Week 2 Recap

Day 15 Collage Blog

Date:  9/14/15

Height: 5’9″ (Um…apparently I shrank.  I just went to the Dr. last week and I am no longer 5’9 1/2″)

Weight: 138.5 (down 1.9lbs. since last week / 5.3lbs TOTAL)

Last Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1515 calories 120C / 135P / 55F

Friday 1736 calories 180C / 146P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

This Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

 

This past week was a good one, though it was the first week I experienced some hunger.  My goal during this 8 week “cut” is not to lose a ton of weight.  My weight loss has been a bit ahead of schedule, so I am actually adding in a little more food this week and will see how my body responds to that.

If by Friday I am still losing weight at a more rapid rate than I would like, I will make my refeed larger than planned.

Have an awesome week everyone!

 

Click HERE for the Day 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 3 Recap

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8 Weeks to 40 – Week 1 Recap

Day 8 Collage 9.14.15

Date:  9/14/15

Height: 5’9 1/2″

Weight: 140.4 (down 3.4lbs)

Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1515 calories 120C / 135P / 55F

Friday 1736 calories 180C / 146P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

 

This past week went very well.  I am feeling great, wasn’t hungry, and plan on keeping the same macros this week.

I lost 3.4 pounds which was awesome, but it is important to keep in mind that a good portion of the weight lost was water since I indulged the weekend before and was retaining water from all of the extra carbohydrates I consumed.

I do not anticipate that I will lose the same amount of weight (nor do I want to) this week and if I do I will need to increase my macros because I want to ensure that the weight lost is not hard-earned muscle.

I have seven weeks left in my planned cut and I am thinking that I want to end-up somewhere between 132-135 pounds.  I may allow myself to get slightly more lean in anticipation of the Reverse Diet I plan on doing after this cut…time will tell.  I am not stuck on any set-number because I want to focus more on how I look versus a number on the scale.

Have an awesome week everyone!

Click HERE for the Day 1 Recap

Click HERE for the Week 2 Recap

 

 

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8 Weeks to 40

Gretchen Tseng FitQuestMom muscle buildingI am a person who thrives on goals and loves something to work toward.  In fact, when I don’t have a goal I feel like I am just treading water.

Recently I have found myself feeling a little ho hum when it comes to my fitness and nutrition routine.  A quick look at the calendar last week made me realize that in a few days I would be 8 weeks away from 40 years old.  Bingo…new goal.

I have spent the last year working hard to add muscle to my frame (see picture comparison above).  As you saw in my last post about Reverse Dieting, when I originally began IIFYM/Flexible Dieting and got back into lifting weights (really heavy for the first time) I was able to achieve a very lean look, but there wasn’t a lot of muscle under there and I had very little “shape” to my body.  Now that I have put a lot of effort into trying to build the muscle and my metabolic capacity I am pumped to do an 8 week cut to reveal that hard-earned muscle.

Thus, my 8 Weeks to 40 plan.  Who doesn’t want to feel their best on their 40th B-Day???

I began my plan last Monday (after letting myself eat like an idiot over the Labor Day weekend…it was fun) and plan on updating all of you every Monday with progress pictures and how the last week went for me.  I know there is a lot of curiosity around macros and weight, so I will be fully open with you and share those with you.  Please understand that everyone is very different and it would not make sense for anyone to jump right in and eat my macros thinking they will get the same results.  We all start in different places metabolically, so there is no way my macros are right for anyone or everyone.

I make no judgement when it comes to what other people choose to eat (that is why flexible dieting is so great), but for the next 8 weeks I am going to be a bit more strict for myself than usual because I want to FEEL my best too.  I suffer from multiple auto-immune issues (one of which is hypothyroid) and really want to focus on eating those foods that make me feel my best…yep, that means no froyo for me.

So here are my rules for myself:

  • I will stick to my macros every day
    • Will reevaluate weekly based on results
      • Don’t want to lose weight too fast
  • I will post my results weekly
  • No candy, processed treats (unless I make a healthy version myself at home), artificial sweeteners (yep, coffee creamer is out…I’ve been meaning to break that habit anyway)
  • Will complete my planned workouts (I workout M-Sat and rest Sundays)

Now something I feel like I want to make perfectly clear is that fact that I am NOT unhappy with how I look now.  I feel like I am in pretty darn good shape for an almost 40 year old and I do not place my value in how my body looks.  I have a lot of fun with fitness and nutrition and enjoy taking care of myself.  There are worse hobbies out there.

Am I going to be any happier when I am leaner?  Nope.  Happiness does not come from how your body looks.  Sure it is fun to fit into your clothes, etc., but I have finally come to the place where I understand that my family and friends don’t love me any more or less when I am a different size.

When I am done with my 8 week plan I have every intention of Reverse Dieting again for at least 20 weeks.  It will be awesome timing (if I do say so myself) with the holidays coming up and I will make sure I take you along for the ride with weekly updates on that as well.  Like Hana DeVore mentioned in my article on Reverse Dieting, that process can actually be harder than trying to lean out since systematically increasing food actually ramps up your hunger in a major way.  I will be counting on you guys to keep me motivated and accountable throughout my Reverse Diet.

With that being said, let project 8 Weeks to 40 begin.  Below you will find my baseline pictures and stats from Day 1 (Ignore the paint samples on the wall…they’re killing me…we have decided to redo our bathroom and won’t be painting it before then).  I’ll update you on this week’s progress this coming Monday 9/14/15.

Gretchen Tseng FitQuestMom 8 Weeks to 40 years oldDate:  9/7/15

Height: 5’9 1/2″

Weight: 143.8 (A lot of that is water weight from my weekend of indulgence)

Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1515 calories 120C / 135P / 55F

Friday 1736 calories 180C / 146P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

 

Click HERE to see how week 1 went for me.

Click HERE for Week 2

 

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What is a Reverse Diet?

There is a great deal of confusion when it comes to Reverse Dieting.  What is it and why do people do it?

Reverse Dieting can be done for a few different reasons:

  1.  To increase the amount of calories someone is able to maintain weight on so they can diet down at a later date
  2. To increase the amount of calories someone is able to eat while keeping their current body weight and composition
  3. To increase the amount of calories someone eats in order to gain muscle

Let’s go into detail about number 1 above:

Oftentimes clients come to me wanting to lose weight and once they turn in their introductory questionnaire and food logs to me (this happens prior to my creating their nutrition program) I see that they have been maintaining their weight on very few calories. If they are consuming on the low end (1200 or below in my opinion) and not able to lose weight, I do not want to reduce their calories any further because it will damage their metabolism (and let’s face it…eating that little is too hard to maintain and usually results in a cycle of restriction followed by overeating).  At this point I am forced to discuss Reverse Dieting with my client.  There are times when a client does not want to go through the process of Reverse Dieting and I let them know that their health and well being are more important to me than the income I would get from coaching them through a metabolically damaging diet.  If they decide to pursue nutrition coaching with someone else, I understand.

Once a client grasps the importance of Reverse Dieting we begin.  From their food logs I am able to establish a starting point and from there we slowly work their calories up week by week which generally allows them to maintain their current weight.  No two bodies are the same, so it is important to understand that there are times when a client will actually LOSE weight during this process (these clients are referred to as hyper-responders and this is not the body’s usual response), and also times when a client will gain some weight throughout the process.  It is important to always keep in mind the fact that the Reverse Diet is being done with one main goal in mind; to increase metabolic capacity so that once you are done you can lose weight while eating more calories.  For example, a client might come to me eating 1100 calories and then take 5 to 6 months increasing their calories to 2200 at which point they are able to diet on 1800 calories and lose weight.

In this situation and in most situations it’s worthwhile to take the time to try and repair your metabolism and increase the amount of calories you’re able to eat on a daily basis. How long someone has to Reverse Diet depends upon how long they have been dieting.  It is generally thought that the time spent Reverse Dieting should equal the amount of time the client has spent living life in a caloric deficit.  Someone who has spent YEARS yoyo dieting may have to invest more time Reverse Dieting.

I also have clients who come to me wanting to lose weight and we diet them down until their calories get down to the 1200 mark at which point we Reverse Diet their calories back up for 20 weeks and then begin the process all over again.  Some clients have a lot of weight to lose and prefer to lose as much weight as they can prior to beginning their Reverse Diet.  For example, a client may come to me with 50 pounds to lose and eating 1600 calories a day.  We may begin their weight loss on a diet / macros totaling 1400 calories, they will lose 15 pounds and then hit a plateau, so we reduce their calories / macros to 1200 calories where they will lose another 10 pounds.  Once they hit another plateau we will begin the Reverse Diet and bring their calories back up before beginning another weight loss phase.

Let’s go into detail about number 2 above:  

Then there are the people who have achieved the look that they want and have the body percent fat percentage that they are happy with, so they choose to Reverse Diet slowly in order to maintain their current look on more calories.  Who doesn’t want to be able to eat more on a daily basis?

I have personally gone through the Reverse Dieting process twice.  The first time was when I dieted down for a High School Reunion (the ultimate motivator, right?).  In the picture below you will see my starting point at the top and where I was 13 weeks into the Reverse Diet on the bottom.

Gretchen Tseng fitquestmom Reverse Diet wk 1 vs. 13

At the time I shared my progress on my Instagram account:

“I am 13 weeks in now and am so glad I am investing in my metabolism this way.  

In the top two pictures my weight was 130.6 and my macros were 1543 calories 155P / 125C / 47F and now my weight is 133 and my macros are 1844 calories 155P / 180C / 56F.

Have I been perfect along the way?  Nope.  I’ve had a cheat meal every week, went on vacation for almost two weeks (where I tried my best to track, but stopped and indulged at the end), and have had a couple of candy gone wild incidents which left me feeling disgusting, but I jumped right back in and NEVER restricted myself…I stuck to my current macros.

I plan on continuing this reverse at least through April / May (which will be a full 20 weeks).  This is seriously one of the best things I have ever done for myself.” 

That being said, Reverse Dieting is fun, but it is also a process where if you are looking to maintain your current physique you need to be very precise and follow as closely as possible (no unplanned binges) or your body will put on weight. It is a ton of fun to eat more week to week, but like I said, it required vigilance.  As you read in my Instagram caption above, I wasn’t perfect and I did put on some weight.  Had I been on track the entire time I am almost positive I would have stayed the same weight.  I actually ended-up liking the fuller look in the bottom pictures since looking back I felt a little too lean in the pictures at the top.

Let’s go into detail about number 3 above:

In order to gain muscle you need to eat in a caloric surplus and put a lot of work in at the gym lifting heavy.  When I say that I don’t mean eat gluttonously or you will likely gain a lot of fat with the muscle you are working so hard in the gym to build.  This is where a sensible and controlled Reverse Diet works best.

I follow Hana DeVore’s Instagram Account.  She is a 3 time NPC Nationally Qualified Bikini Competitor for Team FitBody Fusion and she has definitely put the work in Reverse Dieting in order to keep her metabolism healthy and to help increase her muscle mass between competitions.  It is so inspirational to watch her compete while taking care of herself.  So often bikini competitors are put on strict meal plans and extreme levels of cardio to diet down for the stage after which they go nuts with  cheat meals and put a TON of weight on post show (20 pounds in 2 weeks is not unheard of).  Hana does NOT do this because she works hard to Reverse Diet and has a coach (Jami Bernard) who has her best interests at heart.

Hana DeVore Reverse Diet

Above you see Hana’s 7 month transformation.  On the left she was 6.5 weeks out from one of her bikini competitions eating 1350 calories and on the right was 7 months later and 7.5 weeks out from another bikini competition eating over 2000 calories daily.  By eating more calories and continuing to work hard in the gym she was able to build muscle while staying relatively lean.

Below you can see her July to October glute gains thanks to Reverse Dieting (remember you have to be in a caloric surplus to add muscle) and continued training in the gym.

Hana DeVore Glute Progress

I asked Hana about her experience with Reverse Dieting and she said:

“Before I met my coach, I was only eating about 80 grams of carbs per day and doing a ton of cardio, simply because I thought that was what I needed to do to get a lean, ‘toned’ physique. Jami slowly rebuilt my metabolism to the point where in my offseason I could eat up to 300 grams of carbs a day while barely gaining any body fat. I also meticulously reverse dieted in between each competition to avoid rebounding, in order to build my strength back up, and to make the next prep that much easier. Reverse dieting can actually be a tougher process for some than prepping for a competition, since boosting your metabolism can definitely boost your hunger as well. But if you can stay in control and closely monitor your progress, you can get some really amazing results. And of course being able to eat more each week is always fun!”

Another great example of Reverse Dieting can be found on JoSandiFIT’s blog.  She documented 15 weeks of her Reverse Diet with weekly blog posts.  Click HERE to read those posts.

I hope this post has helped clear-up any confusion as to what a Reverse Diet is and why someone would want to go through the process.  As you can see, there are many reasons to Reverse Diet.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

If you are interested in working with me, click HERE for information about the nutrition coaching programs I offer.

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