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How to get the body you want without starving

By Brinda Sapat
September 04, 2015 17:20 IST
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Eat what you love but remember to burn extra calories and fight fat.

When you aim at shedding those extra kilos, you certainly have to give up eating some of your favourite food items. But you can’t always live on a strict diet. Once the desired weight is achieved, most people immediately revert to pre-diet eating habits. And this is how weight piles back on.

If you are thinking of Reverse Dieting, you should know that it is about gradually and strategically adding some food items from your regular menu while you still continue to strictly follow your healthy diet chart.

It is the caloric deficit that makes you lose weight and become slim. To maintain this newly acquired body shape, the number of calorie intake each day must be burnt off within 24 hours.

For instance, while you are getting back to your pre-diet eating habits, you wish to have a bar of chocolate every day. In this case, you will have to make sure that you expend an equal amount of calorie through physical activity. And as you keep on adding other food items to your diet plan, the same system should be followed religiously.

But before you start including food items to your diet chart, it’s very essential to count the calories and have knowledge on how often can you consume them in a week. Here’s what you should do:

1. Prepare a list of things you want to get back to eating regularly. Be honest. If you want to eat French fries thrice a week, mention it in the list. Once it is accounted for, you will feel much better knowing that you already have a plan in place for it. Else you might start feeling guilty later when you start putting on weight.

2. Write down a rough consumption quantity and the number of times you plan to have each of the items that you have included in your list.

3. Now pen down your Reverse Diet plan with the new additions. It may look something like this -- (the changes are underlined)

This diet shows approximately 50 per cent of a change from a weight loss diet chart.


Wholegrain toast with fried egg and fruits  

Mid morning:

Black coffee and muffin


Chapatti, vegetables, salad, dal and rice

Evening snack:

Samosa/Sev puri


Lentils/chicken/fish, rice, yoghurt, dessert

Place this chart next to the one you used to follow while on diet. Take a note of the new food items that you have added, count the calories you will consume and plan your physical activity accordingly. Think of a workout style you enjoy, be it cycling, swimming, walking, aerobics, an active sport or gym training, and indulge in it regularly.

Begin your Reverse Diet by adding one or two food items at a time (every two weeks) along with a tad bit of exercise. It is important to start off slow and move along gradually. As your food intake increases, amp up your exercise frequency.

Here’s a plan that will help you know how much to work out as you keep on adding new food items. Take a look at the list of exercises you should do to remain fit:

Your body may need more or less exercise depending on how much of a change you have made to your diet. If you find yourself gaining weight, you must increase the exercise frequency, duration or intensity.






Photograph: Christi Nielsen/Creative Commons

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Brinda Sapat