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Reverse Dieting— what to do for 1 week vacation?

rachelbornstein13rachelbornstein13 Member, Premium Posts: 11 Member Member, Premium Posts: 11 Member
I’ve reversed diet to the point I’m eating 2050 calories a day☺️

I do weight training 4x/week with 1-2 days of cardio.

I’m about to fly out to see my friend for about 9-10 days, and we will not be going to a gym nor will we be staying in various Airbnb’s. I don’t plan to exercise other than go out for some walks here and there.

This week and next week (leading up to my flight), I am doing an intense 4-day split for my weight training so I can work muscle groups a lot harder and longer by giving them more attention each day. It’ll help me have a more peace of mind when going on vacation and becoming more sedentary.

Depending on my weigh-in on Sunday, I may or may not increase to 2150 calories, and then I would spend that week eating 2150 and working out right before I leave.

My question is— should I aim to hit 2050 (or 2150 if it changes) calories everyday on vacation? Or should I eat less? How much less?

I know that after my reverse diet I would like to cut again, but I want to be able to have my deficit be at around 1900-2000 calories (so I guess my goal for reverse dieting is eating 2400-2500 calories?). I’m trying to improve my body composition by building leaner muscle and burning the skinny fat on my belly. I’ve only gained 2-3 lbs since February of increasing calories, which I know is mostly muscle— I’ve gotten so much stronger since then!! I’m so proud.

I’m just unsure what to do for vacation.
edited May 26

Replies

  • rachelbornstein13rachelbornstein13 Member, Premium Posts: 11 Member Member, Premium Posts: 11 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    If it were me, I'd relax, enjoy the vacation, try not to eat consistently at an extreme, and try to do active fun things when good choices are available. I don't think you'll torpedo either your weight loss or your reverse diet in a couple of weeks if you keep things reasonable, and - who knows - you might even see some of the benefits that can come from more formal "diet breaks" (like hormonal adjustments, say). It would also be a chance to experiment with eating more intuitively, thinking about hunger, nutrition, and satiation, just to see how that works out.

    I'd log - even it I had to estimate a lot - if I thought that would be the least anxiety-inducing (therefore more enjoyable) route, or if I were trying to figure out my real-world TDEE under varying conditions, or something like that.

    Have fun on your vacation, and plan to get immediately back on your regular more disciplined routine immediately when you get back home. I predict everything will be fine.

    (Caveat: These are just based on my experiences over 5+ years of maintenance after a good sized loss, active through all of that. I can't cite scientific studies to support it, just my opinions/biases.)

    A comment or two on this passage:
    I know that after my reverse diet I would like to cut again, but I want to be able to have my deficit be at around 1900-2000 calories (so I guess my goal for reverse dieting is eating 2400-2500 calories?). I’m trying to improve my body composition by building leaner muscle and burning the skinny fat on my belly. I’ve only gained 2-3 lbs since February of increasing calories, which I know is mostly muscle— I’ve gotten so much stronger since then!! I’m so proud.

    A couple of things to consider: A slow cut, when you reach that point, is more likely to preserve the muscle you've built, and - under favorable conditions - maybe even possibly continue to let you build a bit, just more slowly. 500 calories for a pound a week isn't the only possible deficit, though things that are slower take longer to be clear on the scale (a phenomenon I'd bet you're familiar with, from the reverse dieting practice! 😉).

    250 calories daily is half a pound a week, and if you really have your counting practices dialed in well, slower is reliably achievable plus pretty painless IMO. (I've lost 12-15 pounds over a similar number of months, effectively something in the realm of 100-150 daily deficit most of the time, eating 1850 calories + exercise calories for 2000-2300 or so gross calorie intake most days, and haven't noticed a hit on exercise performance. I'm at about 125 pounds now, trying to stay around there, to give you a gauge of size.)

    As an aside, remember that getting stronger comes from two training effects: One is adding mass, and that's the more likely route if you've been a long-term consistent lifter (I didn't see where you indicated how new this routine is). The other is neuromuscular adaptation, essentially better recruiting and using existing muscle fibers (which can happen pretty fast for new lifters - really gratifying - and leads some to believe they've added more mass than they have, when taking place in a context of a bit of visible pump, and water retention for muscle repair). Both are gratifying, and useful.

    OK, final comment: You have every reason to be proud. Good show!

    Have a fun vacation!

    Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply!! My friend and I are going to do a mix of cooking at our AirBnb's and eating out. One of these special dining places is for a 4-course fondue meal jejeje. I'm so ready for that and I'm soooo happy I have been reverse dieting so I won't feel very guilty indulging in this (also, I can "cycle" by eating only 1800 calories one day and then use the extra 200-300 calories the next day for my fondue night (so 2400-2500 calories available to me muahahaha). For cooking, we are trying to make dishes as simple, cheap, and healthy as possible (protein, vegetables, carb). I am also bringing many servings of my mass-gaining protein powder lmfao.

    Thank you for the tip about cutting again. To give you information of my background, I have been weight training for TWO years... but restricting myself to 1500 calories. I was in that deficit for way too long, and though I could lift well, I didn't see any change in my body composition. I wasn't even consistent in hitting 1500 calories— my mind would sometimes tell me "don't exceed it" and I would have MANY days I only ate 1300-1400 calories. It just wasn't enough food in relation to how much energy I needed to weight train and build muscle. Before those two years, I was living in Spain and didn't do any weights— just bodyweight training in my room. Then before that— the last 4-5 years previously— I did too much focus on cardio and pilates. I didn't know about macro counting— just total calories. But yeah I'm learning and growing— mentally and physically. I'm seeing through all the BS in dieting fads and false advice on "helping" women get fit. Coming back from Spain, I invested in adjustable dumbbells which was a huge game changer. I realized I had the "skinny fat" condition when I got a dexa scan and my BF was sitting at around 30%— most of it in my tummy (I don't gain the weight in my legs). So that is when I basically turned my whole fitness life around towards macro counting and lifting.... but I still was restricting to 1500 calories.

    Around January I started thinking and researching more about eating more to build muscle, and I learned about reverse dieting. February I set out on this journey!!! It's actually fun to experiment with my body and see for myself what is working/not working. I don't 100% depend on a TDEE calculator/Macro calculator. It is a nice base to have, but actually weighing myself every week and taking note of my caloric goals for the week helped me BETTER see what is happening. (:

    Strength wise, I am lifting so much heavier on my upper body and i've gotten quite a bit of compliments going out on my arms!!! I also bought 2 sets of 10lb plates to add onto my adjustable dumbbells. Now the heaviest for each dumbbell can reach 69lb/hand.

    Once I reach my desired caloric intake (I honestly think I am borderline entering the "Bulking" range past my TDEE, but I will see how far my body can go), I will do a smaller cut like you suggest. Losing .5 a week instead of 1lb. I also heard that it's smart to find your desired caloric intake, and STAY at that (maintenance) for a bit of time BEFORE cutting again. What are your thoughts?

    edited May 27
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,576 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,576 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    If it were me, I'd relax, enjoy the vacation, try not to eat consistently at an extreme, and try to do active fun things when good choices are available. I don't think you'll torpedo either your weight loss or your reverse diet in a couple of weeks if you keep things reasonable, and - who knows - you might even see some of the benefits that can come from more formal "diet breaks" (like hormonal adjustments, say). It would also be a chance to experiment with eating more intuitively, thinking about hunger, nutrition, and satiation, just to see how that works out.

    I'd log - even it I had to estimate a lot - if I thought that would be the least anxiety-inducing (therefore more enjoyable) route, or if I were trying to figure out my real-world TDEE under varying conditions, or something like that.

    Have fun on your vacation, and plan to get immediately back on your regular more disciplined routine immediately when you get back home. I predict everything will be fine.

    (Caveat: These are just based on my experiences over 5+ years of maintenance after a good sized loss, active through all of that. I can't cite scientific studies to support it, just my opinions/biases.)

    A comment or two on this passage:
    I know that after my reverse diet I would like to cut again, but I want to be able to have my deficit be at around 1900-2000 calories (so I guess my goal for reverse dieting is eating 2400-2500 calories?). I’m trying to improve my body composition by building leaner muscle and burning the skinny fat on my belly. I’ve only gained 2-3 lbs since February of increasing calories, which I know is mostly muscle— I’ve gotten so much stronger since then!! I’m so proud.

    A couple of things to consider: A slow cut, when you reach that point, is more likely to preserve the muscle you've built, and - under favorable conditions - maybe even possibly continue to let you build a bit, just more slowly. 500 calories for a pound a week isn't the only possible deficit, though things that are slower take longer to be clear on the scale (a phenomenon I'd bet you're familiar with, from the reverse dieting practice! 😉).

    250 calories daily is half a pound a week, and if you really have your counting practices dialed in well, slower is reliably achievable plus pretty painless IMO. (I've lost 12-15 pounds over a similar number of months, effectively something in the realm of 100-150 daily deficit most of the time, eating 1850 calories + exercise calories for 2000-2300 or so gross calorie intake most days, and haven't noticed a hit on exercise performance. I'm at about 125 pounds now, trying to stay around there, to give you a gauge of size.)

    As an aside, remember that getting stronger comes from two training effects: One is adding mass, and that's the more likely route if you've been a long-term consistent lifter (I didn't see where you indicated how new this routine is). The other is neuromuscular adaptation, essentially better recruiting and using existing muscle fibers (which can happen pretty fast for new lifters - really gratifying - and leads some to believe they've added more mass than they have, when taking place in a context of a bit of visible pump, and water retention for muscle repair). Both are gratifying, and useful.

    OK, final comment: You have every reason to be proud. Good show!

    Have a fun vacation!

    Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply!! My friend and I are going to do a mix of cooking at our AirBnb's and eating out. One of these special dining places is for a 4-course fondue meal jejeje. I'm so ready for that and I'm soooo happy I have been reverse dieting so I won't feel very guilty indulging in this (also, I can "cycle" by eating only 1800 calories one day and then use the extra 200-300 calories the next day for my fondue night (so 2400-2500 calories available to me muahahaha). For cooking, we are trying to make dishes as simple, cheap, and healthy as possible (protein, vegetables, carb). I am also bringing many servings of my mass-gaining protein powder lmfao.

    Thank you for the tip about cutting again. To give you information of my background, I have been weight training for TWO years... but restricting myself to 1500 calories. I was in that deficit for way too long, and though I could lift well, I didn't see any change in my body composition. I wasn't even consistent in hitting 1500 calories— my mind would sometimes tell me "don't exceed it" and I would have MANY days I only ate 1300-1400 calories. It just wasn't enough food in relation to how much energy I needed to weight train and build muscle. Before those two years, I was living in Spain and didn't do any weights— just bodyweight training in my room. Then before that— the last 4-5 years previously— I did too much focus on cardio and pilates. I didn't know about macro counting— just total calories. But yeah I'm learning and growing— mentally and physically. I'm seeing through all the BS in dieting fads and false advice on "helping" women get fit. Coming back from Spain, I invested in adjustable dumbbells which was a huge game changer. I realized I had the "skinny fat" condition when I got a dexa scan and my BF was sitting at around 30%— most of it in my tummy (I don't gain the weight in my legs). So that is when I basically turned my whole fitness life around towards macro counting and lifting.... but I still was restricting to 1500 calories.

    Around January I started thinking and researching more about eating more to build muscle, and I learned about reverse dieting. February I set out on this journey!!! It's actually fun to experiment with my body and see for myself what is working/not working. I don't 100% depend on a TDEE calculator/Macro calculator. It is a nice base to have, but actually weighing myself every week and taking note of my caloric goals for the week helped me BETTER see what is happening. (:

    Strength wise, I am lifting so much heavier on my upper body and i've gotten quite a bit of compliments going out on my arms!!! I also bought 2 sets of 10lb plates to add onto my adjustable dumbbells. Now the heaviest for each dumbbell can reach 69lb/hand.

    Once I reach my desired caloric intake (I honestly think I am borderline entering the "Bulking" range past my TDEE, but I will see how far my body can go), I will do a smaller cut like you suggest. Losing .5 a week instead of 1lb. I also heard that it's smart to find your desired caloric intake, and STAY at that (maintenance) for a bit of time BEFORE cutting again. What are your thoughts?

    Honestly, I'm not the best person to be answering super-technical questions about eating strategies, in a super-technical way. I tend to think that human bodies are pretty adaptable, but tend to get better at things we train them to do via regular repetition.

    So, I have kind of a relaxed attitude, but try to avoid extremes. (For example, I think persistent undereating (or yo-yo-ing) kind of trains the body to expect famine, and conserve energy - not "starvation mode", the mythical state where someone can't lose fat no matter what, but adaptive thermogenesis that dials-down things like fidgeting, hair growth rates, and other subtle stuff and so lowers TDEE - kind of the reverse of reverse dieting, y'know? 😉)

    From my casual reading about it, there seems to be some science behind the value of "maintenance breaks" during long or extreme weight loss, which would be similar to the "find your desired caloric intake, and STAY at that (maintenance) for a bit of time BEFORE cutting again" scenario you mention.

    There's a lot of discussion of that sort of thing in this thread:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10604863/of-refeeds-and-diet-breaks/p1

    What's there is much more complete and well-informed than anything I'd say.
  • steveko89steveko89 Member Posts: 2,116 Member Member Posts: 2,116 Member
    Here's some further information on maintenance periods in conjunction with long-term dieting or between cutting and/or massing phases. RP was the first place I've seen this discussed in a clinical sense, beyond anecdotal user experiences like the (very good) thread that Ann linked above.

    https://renaissanceperiodization.com/the-importance-of-maintenance/
    edited May 27
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