So, what is reverse dieting exactly? Basically, when you’re prepping for a show you’re on a very regimented, strict diet to get you as lean and dry as possible for the stage. Normally, on the weekend of the show you are eating high fat, high carb foods to help fill you out and pump you up for the stage. Then, right after the show, most athletes treat themselves, and shock their bodies with a major carb load. Now, reverse dieting is when after all the fun and games of post show celebrations are over, you go back to restricting your calories (mostly calories from carbs and fats). For example, my reverse diet started with 120 g of protein, 50-60 g of carbs, and 30-40 g of fat. Every week I slowly increase the number of carbs and fats. This will allow my metabolism to stay strong, and my body to stay lean. Since I’m so sensitive to carbs and fats right now, the pump I get off so little carbs is unreal! I can really see the benefits of sticking to a reverse diet, and that’s what motivates me to stick to it, but try fitting all the deliciousness that exists into those macros?!? LOL you unfortunately can’t 😦
Coming back from a show is hard… super hard. After my first time doing a show, I was warned about the rebound effect, I was warned about how getting “fluffy” affects your self-esteem, but I didn’t realize how much it would impact me until I was so far into a dirty bulk. Last year after my show I was given a reverse diet plan, but I did not follow it like I should have. When you follow such a strict diet and workout regime to prep for a show, then you get to eat whatever you want post show, it’s really difficult to stop eating. It is more mentally challenging to stay close to your reverse diet after a show then prepping for a show in the first place!
There are many reasons for this. first of all, when you’re prepping for a show, there is a lot less thought and emotion placed on the food you’re eating. This is because, everything you’re eating is for the show. Being ready for the stage is your ultimate goal, so you eat whatever you need to, to be ready for the show. Secondly, your coach tells you what you’re allowed to eat, and what you’re not allowed to eat. All your meals are pre-planned with exact measurements. Literally all you have to do is make sure that you have all the meals that are on your plan, and nothing else. But when you’re done a show, you suddenly have choice when it comes to food! This is both exciting and overwhelming LOL Now you have to pre-plan, and measure all your food to make sure that it fits the macro-nutrients that you’re allowed to have for the day. Now you’re completely responsible for your reverse diet. You need to make sure that you stick to your macros without going over so that you can make “lean gains” and avoid the rebound effect, which basically means you want to avoid getting fat…
This is a lot harder than you think! I did not put much thought into how hard reverse dieting was going to be, or how much coming back from was going to effect my self-concept, and my overall self-esteem. I would honestly say that reverse dieting and coming back from a show is more mentally taxing than anything I’ve ever done… I also think you need to go through it once to really understand how challenging it is! At least, I had to go through it once before, to know that I would do it completely different the second time around. After my first show, I went crazy that weekend and had the time of my life eating and drinking whatever I wanted. Then my coach sent me my reverse diet plan, with a list of macro-nutrients that I was allowed to have, and a list of foods with their basic macro-nutrient breakdown. It was very detailed, and very useful. I glanced at it and thought, “Ok, no problem. I got this! Shouldn’t be too hard to pack this tomorrow…” I was wrong LOL Wow! It was so stressful and overwhelming my first day! I was like… what do I eat? Is this right? Did I measure that right? It took me forever to pack my meals for the day because I kept double checking to make sure I was hitting my numbers properly. I really wanted to be successful with my reverse diet, but even though I made sure that I measured my food properly, and always had my meals prepped, I would still find myself hungry. I didn’t realize that this was supposed to happen, or I guess I didn’t realize at the time that the hunger would be worse post show and that was a good thing LOL
After my first show (November 2014), I would literally find myself binge watching Orange is the New Black with a bag of rice cakes and almond butter, and before I knew it I watched like 3 or more episodes in a row, and the entire bag of rice cakes would be gone… Crumbs and almond butter dribbled all over my shirt LOL it was disgusting! I was a mess! But I literally couldn’t stop myself!! I felt so hungry all the time and I couldn’t shut my brain off from telling me to eat more. Before I knew it, it was New Years Eve, and I was trying to find a dress to wear, and some of my clothes didn’t fit anymore, and others just didn’t feel as good as they used to. I no longer felt like myself, I didn’t feel good in my clothes anymore, and I no longer felt cute. I turned into the whiny chick that everybody hates, asking “Does this dress make me look fat? Do you think I’m fat?” I hated this version of myself! This was not me, I hated feeling so insecure about my body. I swear I haven’t felt that way since First year university when I put on the dreaded “freshman 15” LOL
Eventually, I got over myself and stopped crying about how fat I got. I started to focus more on the fact that I wanted to do Figure in October more than ever. Plus it was the dead of winter, sweaters, and sweatpants were my best friends, and I had a boyfriend at the time so I guess you can say I got quite comfortable with being comfortable LOL Looking back, now that I am coming back from my second show, I’ve realized that I don’t want to be “comfortable” I want to be happy. I want so much more for myself! Reverse dieting is hard, I’m super hungry, and sometimes I really wanted to not count my macros and just EAT! But then I remind myself that I’m better than that. Food isn’t everything, but my happiness, and self-concept is. I don’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself, and wondering how I got fat? And why do I feel so shitty? I want to wake up, look in the mirror and be proud of what I see. I worked so hard to get into Figure and to lose the 40 lbs I needed to do to be ready for the stage on October 10th 2015, and I refuse to let all my hard work go in vain. It is hard to stick to any diet but you need to remind yourself everyday the reasons why it is so important! I have several reasons for staying true to my reverse diet. Not only will it help me mentally and emotionally, but it is not good for your health to have your body weight fluctuate so drastically. This reverse diet is so important for my overall health, my confidence, and my business. I am a Fitness Professional, and I want to be a Pro Bodybuilder one day. I have so many aspirations for myself in this industry, and I know that by sticking to this reverse diet, and maintaining my physique as much as possible during the off-season, will only help to open more doors for me in the future. Plus, I will have much more quality gains in terms of muscle growth if I stay fairly lean this off-season. I have BIG plans for bodybuilding in 2016! Watch out guys! And stay tuned! Cause you’re in for one hell of a ride!
I’ll keep you guys posted during my off-season journey. The goal is to gain no more than 15 lbs!