If you have been successful on your diet and got to a weight that you are happy with then it can be very scary thinking about what you do next.
All the research points to many of us regaining all the weight after a diet.
Most of us have already done it, possibly multiple times!
Lost weight and then gradually, or quickly, regained it all once we start to eat ‘normally’.
Don’t be paralysed by fear.
If you are now at a body weight that you are happy with, you can give yourself a new goal to attack.
You may want to gain muscle or you may just want to maintain your new weight.
If you are looking to maintain your new weight then do not be afraid of a small gain in body weight initially.
Remember that simply by eating a little more food you will be storing more water.
Your body stores 3-4g of water for every gram of carbohydrate.
100g of carbohydrate = nearly half a kilo of water stored!
You could try a ‘reverse diet’, increasing your intake very gradually and monitoring your weight and measurements until you arrive at your new maintenance level.
You could do a jump back to an estimated maintenance level in one go, you will definitely see some weight increase with this method.
Your maintenance calorie requirement at a lower body weight will be less than it was.
It will therefore take some time to adjust your intake, until you arrive at a happy balance.
Continue to take body measurements and photographs to confirm that you are not gaining body fat.
Do not fear food!
Take your time!
If you’ve been on a very restrictive diet, then know that you can re-introduce foods but do things gradually.
If you are looking to gain muscle then you will probably need to be in a slight calorie surplus and couple that with heavy training.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying a ‘dirty bulk’
I myself have made this mistake in the past.
I have dieted and got to a happy weight and then justified overeating by telling myself I was now ‘eating for performance!’
You will only need a very slight surplus and you should ensure that you are matching that with your training.
Again, do not be afraid of a slight gain in bodyweight, continue to take measurements and photographs to confirm your progress.
Do not try to rush results.
With both of these goals; muscle gain and weight maintenance, remember to take your time.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes, what matters is how long the results last.