Mary Therese has been with us here at Strive Fitness for over a year now. She came to us as the typical female, one who has tried every diet known to man.
I started my first diet when I was around 12 years old and a relative told me I was too fat. I have dieted on and off most of my adult life. I have gone to meetings, checked in online, gone to specialty clinics, taken diet pills, eliminated complete food groups, bought expensive shakes, done 3 day diets, 14 day diets, cabbage soup diets and so on.
After several of our challenges we found that Mary Therese was maintaining here weight at around 1200 calories (not surprising her diet history). I reached out to her and brought up the idea of a reverse diet. Basically our goal was to take a break from DIET MODE and focus on the long term goal of weight loss. We wanted to gain as little weight as possible so I told her this was going to take a couple of months
Oh, hell no!” was my first thought when he told me we were going to increase my calories and I may actually gain some weight. But he said that we would monitor it closely and he wouldn’t let things get out of control. I had more than a moment of panic because I knew I absolutely COULD NOT eat more than my 1400 calories a day because I gain weight.
I thought about it a little longer and decided that I was not looking for a quick fix – something that I still remind myself of fairly regularly. I wanted something for the long haul.
During the course of about 20 week reverse diet, we increased her calories little by little. We started with getting her protein where it should be (about 1 gram per body weight) and then increased her carbs and fats up a little each week.
Like many people, she was really edgy about gaining weight during this process, so we monitored her weight everyday through daily weigh ins and calorie/macro tracking. Anytime her weight went up, we stayed at those numbers and then continued with the process when her weight stabilized.
I learned the importance of meal prep as well. I had dabbled in it before, but making sure I have the right foods readily available really makes a difference when you decide you have certain amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats to hit. I also found a couple “go to”restaurant meals – especially by the few places near my office – so when the opportunity comes up to go out to lunch, I can still join my co-workers and continue to enjoy life.
It was slow – but over the past 20 weeks, I had averaged half a pound a week in weight loss. But more importantly, it was mostly fat loss and I had not lost performance in the gym. Most of the afternoons, I was not feeling sluggish. I eat more. That was a huge “ah ha” moment. Because although I thought it was “only” 10 lbs., my next thought was if I keep going, in a year it would be 20. And I was pretty happy about that.
We ended our reverse diet goal right before summer and right before her vacation. She did amazing and over the course of 20 weeks; she lost 10 lbs, gained performance, lost body fat percentage all while eating more food.
She can now maintain her weight at 1900 calories and her body is ready to lose weight during out next challenge, which Mary Therese will describe the amazing outcome:
By October, I was more than ready mentally and physically to go into diet mode again. We set my macros at 1400 / day; formerly what I was living on, so I knew it wouldn’t be that tough to keep that up for the scheduled 6-week plan. Again, protein was key. However, this time around I was also able to fine tune my nutrition because of the incredible videos Derek puts together and the online support group. I learned about the importance of timing my starchy carbs (still working on that), and more important – how to use My Fitness Pal as a planning tool as opposed to just a logging tool. That was a game changer for me. I don’t do it always, but when I do, I have the best results. My gym habits did not change during that 6-week period. But, by taking the time to increase my daily calorie limit, I was able to lose just over 10 lbs. and 6% body fat in that period. To say I’m very happy with those results is a huge understatement.
My current game plan is to try to strictly follow maintenance through the holidays and not put that 10 lbs. back on. It has been a problem in years past. By mid-January, I hope to be ready for another diet period and drop a bit more weight.
Going back and forth between cycles of losing and maintaining, but having the plan to do so as opposed to it just happening to me, has helped me with the psychological aspect of dieting. I do not feel like I’m depriving myself. Pre-planning my meals has allowed me to plan for my ice-cream or pizza and still fit it in. I still feel like this is something that I will be able to follow for life.
It was amazing to see the final result of all the hard work and dedication Mary Therese put in over the past year. She not only lost weight during the reverse diet, but she also maintained the weight loss over the summer. The final result was losing more weight during our 6 week challenge and winning as the overall winner, dropping almost 6 % of her body fat