Adding back calories

So you have been dieting for a while and maybe even miraculously achieved your target weight goal. I know it has been a hard journey with many a slip but you are here now. Congratulations! If you have been following mindful eating which involves cutting your overall calorie intake by at least 500 calories a day and also minding your total carbohydrate count, chances are you are eating in the vicinity of about 1400 calories a day.

Having achieved your goal, the key question is how do you add back the calories and go up to the 1800/2000 calories  that is recommended world over for women and men respectively. A lot of people celebrate when they reach their goal and somehow believe that their metabolism has now changed and it is now fine to eat anything they want. After all, I just lost that 50 [pick your number] pounds didn’t I?

What happens actually is that as you cut back on your calories your body adapts to the lower calorie intake and adjust to run your body on the calories you are eating through a process called metabolic adoption. Therefore as soon as you reach your goal, if you quickly add say 500 calories or more to your diet, your body has not adjusted to the change and quickly converts this into fat.  This is what is commonly known as a yo-yo diet where you see people losing a lot of weight and then putting it back on in no time.

The journey back unfortunately has to follow the same principles as those you used going in. Therefore ideally you should add no more than 50 calories to your diet everyday and then very gradually increase it over a three to six month period. This will allow your body to adjust back and you will not put back the weight you lost. Also your maintenance calories are going to be lower than your original diet. The best way to learn how much is to weigh your self everyday as you add back calories. If you gained weight you probably added back too much. Happy eating!