Reverse Dieting: The Diet After The Diet



Sports Nutritionist and Dietician, Tara Kaff says Australians are guilty of undereating and urges people to go back to basics when it comes to nutrition and food.

From the Keto Diet to Paleo, Intermittent Fasting and the Five-Two diet, it seems every year there is a new diet thrown in our face promising to make us the ‘healthiest’, skinniest version of ourselves.

Tara Kaff is an Accredited Nutritionist and Amazonia Head Dietitian in Sydney. She says, with so much nutrition information at our fingertips these days, it’s more important than ever to ensure your information comes from a credible source.

Tara Kaff, Clinical Dietician and Sports Nutritionist

It seems, every influencer and their dog are preaching a new and exciting way to eat or creating meal plans promising fat loss. However, Tara says, “these people are not giving individualised advice, which can lead to some pretty risky medical ramifications.

“Something I see a lot is that lots of people give out diet plans that will cause that person to severely under-eat which essentially facilitates that yoyo-dieting effect. They will get a plan that is very low in calories, so they will see results in the short term, but in the long term they will most likely put all that weight back on”, she says.

Yoyo dieting is also referred to as ‘weight cycling’ and occurs when individuals fall into the pattern of dieting, losing weight, and then regaining it once the diet is over, only to then go on another diet to lose the weight they regained.

Essentially it is a process that causes one’s weight to go up and down – like a yoyo. According to several studies, this is extremely common, with over 30% of women falling into the trap.

“In the case of a six or eight week challenge, people get given this really low calorie diet, so they lose 5kg, but then they go back to their regular pre-challenge diet, and they don’t factor in that their metabolisms have adapted to that low calorie diet”, says Tara.

In some cases, Tara says this can be rectified by reverse dieting. Reverse dieting is the process of gradually increasing your calorie intake to boost your metabolism after a diet. For this reason, some call it the diet after the diet.

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✨REVERSE DIET UPDATE✨ WEEK 1 vs WEEK 5 3 lbs lighter 1500-1600 calories on the left (week 1) 1850 calories on the right (week5) : Ok, so I’ve been getting tons of questions about my reverse diet. And as promised I will answer some general questions and give a little back story. ⭐️BACK STORY⭐️ I was in a caloric deficit with the fear of getting fat for a very long time. Not seeing my abs pop was a no go for me and the only way I knew how to do that was to always eat less and less and less. So I stopped counting calories and stopped weighing myself so that I can start living a normal life. I got better at eating more but was still under eating and not getting the results I should be when taking my training and food into consideration. Why was this happening? Does this sound like you? 💀PROBLEM💀 When you’re in a caloric deficit (more calories out than in) for a long period of time your body gets used to this, your metabolism starts to slow down to take into account your new lifestyle. 🤔Why🤔 Your body is always in survival mode, it could give 2 shits if you wants abs or not. So it will find ways to adjust. Here are some examples 1. Rate of weight loss decreases although calories decrease 2. Constant fatigue and irritable 3. Trouble sleeping 4. Loss of period 5. Low sex drive 6. Weight gain : My coach and mentor @coachmarkcarroll has been helping me Reverse Diet which in short means taking my calories up very slowly for minimal weight gain until metabolism is restored to healthy levels. Today he just added another 100 calories to my day 🙌🏽 taking me up to 2000 calories 😳😆. : 1️⃣ starting calories and weight 5 weeks ago was at 146 lbs taking in about 1500-1600 calories 2️⃣current calories and weight as of today 143 lbs taking in 1850 calories. 3️⃣if you have been under eating and have found that you are no longer losing weight a reverse diet might be for you. 4️⃣my goal is to reach 2300-2500 calories as my maintenance. : I’ve never been happier and healthier in my life and although I may gain weight in this process it’s a small sacrifice for a healthier sustainable lifestyle. Stop starving and start eating! : : : #fitfam #fitness #weightloss #fitmom #weightloss

A post shared by Melissa Alcantara (@fitgurlmel) on

Tara says, when it comes to finishing a weight loss diet plan, “most people who have dropped their calories really low, will go straight back to what they were eating  before, which is usually an extra 500-1000 calories.”

However, Tara says that with the reverse diet approach, “once you get down to your preferred bodyweight, you slowly (and over a long period of time) increase your calories by between 50-100 calories per week or fortnight, then your body will slowly adapt to the increased calories and will be less likely to put that weight back on.

“So many people are undereating these days, and that number is just increasing.”

With so many diets being pushed to consumers, many people go from diet-to-diet and are constantly restricting their calorie intake to the point where many women find it difficult to eat the recommended daily intake of 2,000 calories per day (give or take).

Tara says, “The reason these people can only eat 1,600 calories a day (for example) is because their body has adapted to them eating that much. So, when they increase their food intake from 1,500 to the 2,000 calories they should be eating, that 500 calorie increase is going to lead to weight gain.

“No-one should be eating 1,500 calories as their maintenance because that is pretty much what we should be eating if we were couch potatoes” she says.

Tara says, her best piece of nutritional advice is to come back to basics and eat in a balanced and maintainable way. She believes food and nutrition has been over-complicated, and it’s important to understand that food is there to be enjoyed in moderation rather than be restricted.

In essence, don’t spend 95% of your life trying to weigh 5% less.

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Tara Mckenzie


Like many of Bondi Beauty's readers, Tara has two main passions; health and beauty. As a group fitness instructor you'll either find her dripping in sweat during a HIIT class or with a full face of bronze makeup. If you meet Tara in person be prepared to act excited as she tells you all about your star sign and why you should start carrying a rose quartz around in your purse.

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