It was nearing the end of summer in 2013, and I was 6 weeks away from my last competition of the year.
I had been dieting for beach trips, pool parties, and fitness competitions since January.
But I still needed 5-6 more pounds to get the last level of conditioning to do well in my competition.
I had been at around 1600 calories per day for several weeks, and my weight loss progress had stalled.
So I decided to do one last adjustment for a short period of time in order to burn as much as possible during the final few weeks before the competition.
I brought my calories down to 1450 (my stomach growls just thinking about it).
Two more weeks went by, and my weight still did not budge.
I was tired, hungry, burned out, and disappointed.
My metabolism it seemed, had slowed to a near halt.
Fast forward to today, and I am eating between 3000 and 3500 calories per day.
You might be thinking that since I was maintaining my weight at 1450 calories, and have now more than doubled that, I must have gained quite a bit of weight since then.
Nope. I am up, but only about 5-8 lbs.
So, how did I more than double my caloric intake without gaining a ton of weight?
It wasn't easy and it did not happen overnight.
But here is how I did it, and how you can also raise your metabolism so that you can more easily lose weight, enjoy foods you love, and feel healthy.
First off, regular exercise, resistance training in particular, is very important. If you want to increase your metabolic rate this is the first step.
Increasing your lean body mass (aka adding muscle) will increase your metabolism. Resistance training is the best way to do this.
You'll be leaner at a higher bodyweight, just by virtue of the fact that more of your weight will be muscle if you are resistance training.
And of course, the regular exercise from resistance training will burn calories while you do it, just as any other form of exercise would.
And no, you don't need to looks like a body builder to get the effect. Even just adding a little extra muscle and regularly training will go a long way.
The next step, is nutrition.
There are two parts to this one. The first part is to get to where you are consuming mostly nutrient dense foods and your protein intake is at at least 0.6 grams per pound of bodyweight. So if you are 100 pounds that would be 60g of protein per day at a minimum.
This means plenty of fruits, veggies, and lean protein servings. Some examples are strawberries, apples, blue berries, kale, broccoli, carrots, chicken, greek yogurt, lean beef, etc.
If you are not sure what foods to eat, email me and I'll send you a full grocery list of nutrient dense 'healthful' sources of various types of foods.
The next part is a little more advanced, and only appropriate if you have 1) Already been dieting for a while and 2) Got the exercise and first part of the nutrition down already, and 3) Are willing to track and portion control your food intake with a high degree of accuracy for a sustained period of time.
If you are new to working out or improving your nutrition, haven't already lost a significant amount of weight, or havn't got the prior things I've mentioned down, don't start the next part yet, as it will not be very effective.
What most people do when they finish a diet is either binge, bump their food intake up back to where it was before they dieted, or just try to stay on the diet infinitely.
Rarely will any of these options work out.
If you are at the end of a long fat loss diet, and feel you are getting to the point where you can no longer sustain it, the only option is to bring your caloric intake back up.
The way to do this without gaining back a lot of weight or body fat is to do so slowly and steadily. Increasing your daily intake by 30-100 calories every 1-3 weeks is a reasonable pace.
This process is called reverse dieting.
This is what I did after my competition. Some weeks I went up 30 calories, and some I went up 100. Some I didn't go up at all. Over time though, I got my intake up quite high, to the point where I felt like I could eat pretty much anything I wanted (within reason).
I monitored my weight while I did it and made sure that I didn't bump up so high that it went up more than I was comfortable with.
I recommend if you try this to also watch your weight and make your adjustments based off what happens with it. If it goes up you can wait an extra week or two for it to stabilize before making the next adjustment.
Most people will be able to get their food intake up to fairly high level if they do this long enough.
Keep in mind, the reverse dieting technique is a method to increase your metabolic rate once you have already lost all the weight you want to lose, or can lose. It should be done at the end of a diet, not to start.
It is also important to reiterate that you will not lose weight from reverse dieting, but you can build your metabolism up, which makes it easier to maintain weight or fat loss. It also makes it easier to lose weight again in the future.
Well, now you know how I got to the point where I could eat ~3500 calories per day without gaining a ton of a weight. If you have any questions feel free to email me.
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