I have a long, long history of the following:
- Eating less than 1600 calories per day
- Running my face off
- Being told I’m too fat and need to do something about it
- Being hungry all the time
- “Eating normal” and gaining all the weight back in weeks
Rinse and repeat 200 times.
For every fat person you see, I can guarantee there’s a good portion of them who have tried many, many times to take off weight, only to succeed briefly, and then fail eventually.
While I’m now at 80 pounds lost, I’m still fat. However, I do look more like I can run through a wall these days. I am distinctly noticing in the mirror my belly is shrinking, my upper body is built like superman, and my legs seem capable of lifting a small car. I feel amazing. But I still have a ways to go.
Recently, I started adding calories back in after a great plateau of sorts, and…weight is continuing to come off now.
As I’ve explained to anyone who reads these, I watch a ridiculous amount of youtube videos. One guy, Paul Revelia, talks a LOT about something called “reverse dieting”. Let me explain my takeaway from this….
As all of you pretty much know, weight loss occurs with a calorie deficit. However, that’s numbers on a chalkboard and not the reality I live. For example, for 10 months, I’ve hit 2300 calories per day. My BMR has been listed around 2500 and 2600, and with the ridiculous amount of activity I do, my TDEE is usually around 3500-4000. Yet my weight loss doesn’t approach the numbers it should be given this information. If each pound is 3500 calories, my weight loss would expect about 1 pound loss every 3-4 days. It’s about 1/3 of that.
The math suggests I should then cut calories more – or my TDEE is nowhere near 3500-4000. However…there’s something else at play here. It almost feels as if my body has adapted to the 2300 calories in and conserves as much as possible. My TDEE should be 4000, but in reality, it’s working at 2800 or so. It’s telling me my metabolism is not working to its potential because my body feels it’s in a period of starvation of sorts.
I can tell you, I’ve seen this movie before.
For people who really know me, they know the 200 diets I’ve been on. They’ve seen the insane levels of exercise I did. They would see weight loss…then a crash and burn. Then a re-gain. Rather than a 2-3 month cycle with 1200 calories on a fad diet…this time I really fixed everything and have been doing this for 15 months.
But what has really crept up lately has been my slowed weight loss numbers. Yes, I’ve been losing some inches and my muscle put on is staggering. But what is getting me is the amount of energy I’m expending. My TDEE has to be near 4,000 most days.
Please now enter youtube friends and family.
I watched a video with Paul Revelia yesterday where he’s sitting next to a 5’2″ 140 pound fitness model that he trains and he has her eating 2800 calories per day.
So I watch these weight lifter guys with 10% body fat going on a CUT at 2800 calories. My fat free mass (FFM) at this moment is equal to, or more, than these guys. Plus I have 100 pounds off fat on top of that. Yes, they go hard in the gym – but so do I.
I remember when I first started with the trainer, she put me on a macro intake of 40/40/30 and 2800 calories. I lost like 8 pounds the first month. Could not believe it. Eventually, this was taken down to 2300.
10 months later….I started adding 100 at a time back. I have another week at 2500 before I go to 2600.
And my weight loss started again, down 2 pounds this week. I also started the HIIT training, but I can tell you the extra energy is also helping my workouts in the gym.
My body was telling me that I was feeling a little run down – and the scale for 6 weeks wasn’t moving, despite some incredible workouts and perfect eating.
Enter Paul Revelia. This guy has female fitness models eating 2400-2800 calories a day. Now, what he did was slowly add calories back in. Apparently, people who do these shows drop significant weight for a show to get low body fat%. Then, immediately afterwards, they try to go back to their previous maintenance calories and BAM – they put on 10-30 pounds. He teaches “reverse dieting” to slowly add calories back in so the body adapts to the new calories without adding fat.
I believe the science is not there yet to back him up, but this is pretty ground breaking to me. He has person after person he has coached and has them stuffing their faces every day. When you see a tiny 5’2″ 140 pound woman eating 2800 calories a day and is in bikini shape with this – you then start to wonder what the fuck you’ve been doing your whole life.
Calorie deficits lose weight?
We have to be careful how we create these deficits. I can tell you this:
- My whole life I’ve been extremely active
- Most of my life I’ve been on extreme diets at least 6 months a year
- Most of my life, I’ve had small periods of binge eating with extreme periods of undereating
- Most of my life, I’ve been significantly overweight
- Most of my life, I’ve had people tell me I’m too fat and treat me poorly because of this
- Most of my life, I’ve listened to conventional wisdom and the food pyramid. Then I see in shape people eating 3,000+ calories a day.
So I’m going to repair my metabolism and have my TDEE actually hit 4000 for real. This means, if I have to, hit 2800 calories per day. Give my body all of the fuel it needs to burn fat, create muscle.
I believe, strongly, that when we create too much of a deficit from our TDEE, this destroys our metabolic processes and we eventually try and bring the TDEE in-line with BMR when these deficits are too big. I strongly believe the hormones involved here know when this number is too great, and over time, things shut down.
I can also tell you this. In the last year or so, I’ve been REALLY hungry about a dozen times. Most of these times I’m seeing when I’ve hit a plateau for a few weeks.
With the reverse dieting, Paul Revelia tends to add more carbs in at first and then brings up the fats slowly. I’ve sort of done the same with adding more pasta back into my life. This pasta has helped my workouts, for sure.
Want some examples?
Women – I need to tell you something. This might be hard to hear – but no guy I know says, “hey, I want a stick for a girlfriend or wife”. In my entire life, I don’t think any guy I know ever found “skinny” women hot. It usually revolves around the face, healthy appearance, a personality – then you have the specialists. Some guys like the boobs, the butt, the legs, the outfits, etc. But no guy I know ever said, “that girl’s ribs sticking out are sexy”.
We like a healthy look.
I can tell you, my personal preference has always been for the gym-girl type. I’m not talking about the bulked-up muscle creature. However, the woman who has a lean/athletic look. I didn’t say “skinny”.
What problem women seem to have these days is that they think to get these bodies, they need to diet down to 900 calories per day and starve themselves. This has essentially been the same problem I had most of my life where I cut calories too much. I want this post to tell you that this is not true, and your 900 calorie days are essentially what’s keeping you from your goals, not helping them.
But women are not alone with this….
Guys like me my whole life have been in the same boat. We have tried to live up to some image that we think all women want – and we starve ourselves, run ourselves 4 miles, exercise in the gym, and little happened after 30 days of success.
I’ve been turned down for:
- guys much taller than me. Could not really help my height. C’est la via
- guys much younger than me. Well, not much you can do about that
- guys much older than me.
- guys MUCH heavier than me.
- guys much skinnier than me
- guys with more muscles than me.
- guys who didn’t have a single muscle to them and were skate rat string beans
- guys who were richer than me
- guys who were broke as fuck
- guys who were more educated than me
- guys who were dumb as a bag of hammers
So – I’m married and not on the dating block – but I’m sure I fall into one of these categories for someone my wife has turned down over the years for me.
There’s not much you can do about some things – but I do think there’s something sexy about trying to be the best version of you, and I think with this, comes a certain confidence that some people find irresistible.
But how do you get there? Is the gym bod made with 1200 calories a day of salads and leafy greens, or is the gym bod made with hard work, good carbs, proper nutrition, and lots of protein at 2,800 calories?
I think this reverse dieting might be on to something here.
On another note….
You see…women now are part of this movement where we should “accept” everyone, no matter what their size, shape, etc is. If you don’t, then you are somehow fat shaming them. As I think I’ve explained above, I’ve been rejected for all sorts – not just based on my waistline. I’ve also dated like crazy since 22 and I figured out how to talk to women – so there’s many, many failures…but lots of success as well.
For example, this is about where we’ve been with society for the last 10-20 years:
So what I’m here to say is this….
- People like what they like. It’s biology. I don’t care what you like. Chase what makes you happy. If I didn’t fit your standards, there’s not much someone like me could have done about it. When you’re in your teens or twenties, you don’t really grasp this concept. You are attracted to someone like a moth to a flame, you have hormones raging, and you just can’t grasp why someone may not feel the same about you. Not a hell of a lot you can do about it – except just be yourself and someone who does dig you will eventually find you.
- People should be encouraged to be the best version of themselves. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. And people who have told me to lose weight over the years wanted me to succeed. They knew I was capable of amazing things. They wanted me to be healthy and live a long time. I think they all meant well. It’s just hard to hear sometimes when you’re in the middle of losing weight – like you’re not doing it quickly enough to make them happy.
- People should really look into this reverse dieting thing for themselves. Look at some of the people Paul is helping – he has them up to 2800 calories a day – for a woman. I can’t even fathom what he has men at. I thought my trainer was on crack when I was told to eat 2800 calories, then even 2400 and 2300. And these caloric intakes contributed to 76 pounds of fat loss and 21 pounds of muscle gain.
- Keep up with your plan. Tinker, but be scientific about it. Don’t make change for the sake of change, listen to your body. Try to always learn more. The food pyramid is a rotten, lousy scheme. It’s made most of us fat. Sugar pushed on us from kids has made us fat and diabetic and shortened our life spans by 10-30 years. We need to be proactive about our health and who better to look at than healthy people who workout a lot and eat 3,000 calories a day? lol
So, in conclusion – what we know about caloric deficits may not necessarily be true. More to come. My goal is to get back up to 2800 calories of healthy foods and maybe push to 3,000 at some point as I’m increasing my workout frequency.