Frustration. Anger. Disappointment.
Ever felt like giving up on your diet after you stepped on the scale after a week of what felt like damn hard work only to find out that it hasn’t moved down an ounce – in fact, it went up?
You’ve said no to the extra slice of cake you were offered, you turned down a dinner with friends because you knew you wouldn’t be able to stick with your diet, and you even made sure to eat that extra serving of vegetables every day you know you had to get in.
And for what?
It would seem, nothing.
Is this scenario familiar? Diet plateaus are one of the biggest reasons that people fail to reach their weight loss goals.
And while it may feel like your body must be broken, that’s never the case.
While if you simply aren’t tracking your food intake properly, that can certainly cause a diet plateau, for the most part, these plateaus are caused by one thing: a slow metabolism.
We’ve all been there. The inevitable moment in life when we realize that our bodies don’t seem to respond to food and training like they used to. Oh no! Do you mean I’m aging?
The facts are virtually everybody’s metabolism slows down with age. For some people this happens slowly and for others it seems like the body just shut down overnight and suddenly it’s difficult to lose weight.
While a certain amount of metabolic slowdown does happen I’ve got some great news…
No matter what your age, or how sluggish you might feel your metabolism maybe is that you can get past this with the integration of a few key strategies.
Check out the video below to learn more about why it’s natural (normal even!) for your metabolic rate to decline while dieting.
So now the real question for you becomes, how can you increase metabolism significantly? What can you do to boost your total daily calorie burn to the point where you are melting fat faster than ever?
As you just learned, the best way to reverse your metabolic rate is a concept called reloading. Adding a very high calorie day to your diet plan in effort to shock your body and trick it into burning up calories faster than ever.
Some people may call this a cheat meal, others may call it a refeed. Whatever the case, this temporarily high calorie intake is exactly what you want if you hope to see fat loss success.
Counter-intuitive as it may seem, adding more calories, not less is exactly what you need.
Unfortunately though, many people go about this process all wrong. They don’t properly learn how to reload and as a result, only wind up gaining pounds and pounds of fat in the process.
Then, they really think their body is broken and before they know it, they’re giving up on dieting forever.
All it seems to do is make them continually gain weight.
If that’s you right now – or you feel like you could be moving down that path, stop. With a few smart strategies, you can learn how to successfully reload and accelerate the weight gain process.
Let’s look at the main mistakes made as you learn how to increase your metabolism.
Metabolic Mistake #1: Reloading Too Soon
You read about this reloading concept – eat 10,000 calories in one day?!? (count you IN!) and immediately you can’t wait to get your reload on.
One week into your diet, you’re already planning what you’ll eat (cookies…ice cream….pasta….).
Stop right there.
Ask yourself, is this a reload or a binge?
Make sure it’s the former, not the latter if you want to avoid weight gain.
After one week on a diet plan, your body is doing fine. Your metabolic rate is still strong and there is simply no reason to reload.
Remember that most people will need to wait until 8-12 weeks of their diet has passed. Then they can start thinking about reloading.
The signs to watch for that indicate it’s time include:
- Feeling cold all the time
- Feeling exhaustion/fatigue
- Extreme hunger
- Lack of weight loss progress
- Feelings of depression/sadness
And no, that last one is not just because you haven’t had your favorite meal in a while. Dieting for a long period of time can actually lower serotonin levels in the brain, which is a feel good neurotransmitter.
It’s not just your brain playing tricks on you when you feel less happy while dieting – there is actually physiological reasoning to this.
If you notice these signs and you’ve been dieting for a good couple of months, it’s time to reload.
Metabolic Mistake #2: Not Consuming Adequate Calories
Which brings us to the next mistake often made when trying to learn how to increase metabolism and that is not eating enough.
While some dieters will happily go off eating as much as they can possibly shove down their throats during this reload period, many hold back.
They fear weight gain.
They fear feeling like a glutton.
They fear it will cause them to lose control and never go back on their diet.
So they’re cautious. They add about 500 more calories to their day and figure, that’s enough. They should see results.
You are trying to send a CLEAR message to your body during this reloading period. That means, you need to eat, eat, EAT.
Don’t take this lightly. If you reload poorly and don’t consume adequate calories, you won’t get the metabolic boost you want and you won’t kick-start weight loss again.
So all you’ll basically do is drive up your calorie intake to see more of the same results.
This is no way to see results.
At minimum, add 1500 calories to your diet. Some people can go up far higher than this – adding nearly 10,000 calories for instance. Don’t try that right off the bat, but start working your way up to it.
Each time you reload, push it a little further.
You’ll be amazed at what your body can handle.
Metabolic Mistake #3: Poor Timing On The Reload
Metabolic Mistake #3: Poor Timing On The Reload
Now, this next point is not mandatory, but it sure can help.
Here’s the thing, with thousands of calories coming into your body, timing the reload can work overtime.
For instance, you can have that reload on an off day from your workout plan. You’ll reap metabolic boosting benefits and feel very good while doing it.
OR, you can have that reload on a day right after you do your most intense workout of the week. Say a heavy leg day. Chances are, you’re already hungrier on that day anyway.
What purpose will this serve?
- You’ll still get that same metabolic boost
- You’ll still feel great as you do it thanks to the dose of serotonin releasing in your brain
- You’ll have the potential to build more lean muscle mass thanks to the strength workout you’ve just completed (which will then also help increase metabolism permanently)
- You’ll restore muscle glycogen stores as your muscles are extra sensitive to incoming nutrients
If you reload right after an intense workout, your muscles will be hungry to soak up that fuel, putting it directly towards future energy for exercise.
While you’ll get some of this happening if you reload on an off day, it’s not to nearly the same degree as what you’d get if you reload on a workout day.
So consider timing that reload appropriately.
Do your hardest workout of the week, pushing yourself to the max knowing you’ll soon be rewarded by all kinds of delicious food.
Metabolic Mistake #4: Keeping Your Carb Intake Too Low
The next mistake is another big one that some people who use low carb diets often make.
Their diet plan has them scared of eating carbohydrates. They figure carbohydrates = fat gain and therefore they must avoid.
Right now, they feast on lean proteins and healthy fats. Besides a few vegetables, not a single gram of carbs passes through their lips.
So when they go to do this reload, they figure they’ll just do more of the same. They’ll bump up their fat and protein intake, while keeping carbohydrate intake as low as possible.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
If anything, you want to do the exact opposite.
Leptin is the primary hormone that you are trying to regulate when doing a reload. Leptin is a hormone that’s made in the body fat cells that begins to decrease in concentrations when your calorie intake is too low or your body fat levels are decreasing rapidly.
Basically, leptin signals to the body that starvation could be occurring and is what then works to create a slow metabolism.
When you do the reload, you are essentially trying to increase leptin levels back up, tricking your brain into thinking that no starvation (or dieting, as is your case) is taking place.
The result is your body speeds up its metabolic rate once again.
So you get leptin.
But guess what the #1 factor impacting leptin is (apart from your calorie intake of course)?
That’s’ right. Those ‘evil’ carbs you may have been avoiding are the one most important thing that you must eat to get yourself out of this mess you’re in.
They rule leptin.
So when you reload, you want high carb foods.
If it has plenty of carbs, it’s fair game.
If you feast on these foods, your reload is going to be far more successful than if you avoid them.
Trust me on this one. Don’t be scared of those carbs.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t eat any proteins or dietary fats. Protein should be kept at about the same level as what you normally would eat as it’s still important for repairing and rebuilding your lean muscle mass tissue.
Fats you can have, just don’t overdo it. If some fat comes with the foods you want to eat (such as the fat in a slice of pizza), that’s fine.
Just don’t purposely seek out high fat foods. If you can, opt for lower fat choices whenever possible.
It’ll simply serve you better during this time.
For example, choose a plate of pasta with tomato sauce over a plate of French fries if you have no preference of one over the other.
Of course you DO want to focus on satisfying your food cravings during this reload day, so if you don’t care for pasta but crave fries 24/7, then go for the fries.
But when you feel as though you have options, always lean towards the higher-carb/lower-fat option.
It’ll serve you well.
Metabolic Mistake #5: Reloading Too Often
Along with reloading too early when you first start dieting, another big mistake is reloading too often.
If you count down the seconds after one cheat meal finishes up until you get the next one, this is a sign you may be reloading too often.
Once per week, for most people, is too frequent.
If you are on a very intense diet and/or are very lean, once every two weeks is likely appropriate.
The vast majority of people will do best reloading once every 3-4 weeks during the beginning phases of their diet plan.
This way, they can reap the benefits without worrying that the reload is going to lead to unwanted fat gain.
If you aren’t sure how often you should be reloading and aren’t working with a diet coach to guide you, look again for the symptoms that indicate it’s time for a reload to happen.
These symptoms will be the same ones that are illustrated above. If you start to stall in weight loss progress, experience hunger almost immediately after each and every meal, or feel as though the only thing that you can think about is food, those are all very clear signs that a reload may be necessary.
Metabolic Mistake #6: Giving Up When The Scale Shoots Up
Okay, so you’ve done your reload. You enjoyed all the delicious foods you’ve been craving and are feeling gooooood.
The next morning, you step on the scale.
10 seconds later, you’re not feeling so great any more.
Your weight is up 10 pounds. Suddenly, you regret every single morsel of food you put into your mouth.
It is to be expected that after you drive your calorie intake up like this, you will regain some additional body weight.
Know that this is not fat weight. It’s simply water weight and the weight from the food itself.
If you’ve just eaten a good 3000+ more calories than you normally do, chances are, this is a good amount of food.
If you were to put all that food on a food scale, chances are good it’d come in to read at least a couple pounds, if not more.
Now that all that food is sitting in your stomach, it’s weight added to your body.
In addition to this, with every gram of carbohydrates your body stores (as muscle glycogen, like we talked about earlier), you’ll also store 4 grams of carbohydrates.
Now remember, there are 454 grams in one pound.
So if you are storing 4 grams of water for every gram of carbs, this means it really only takes about 90 grams of carbs to cause you to gain one pound of body weight.
That’s roughly 360 calories worth of carbs.
As you should be consuming 2000+ calories worth of carbs (and this is OVER AND BEYOND what you normally eat), you can see how this quickly adds up.
That right there is over five pounds of body weight.
So please do not panic if you see the scale jump after you’ve done your reload. If anything, celebrate because that actually just means you’ve done it correctly.
As soon as you get back on your diet plan again, you should find this weight comes back off.
And, don’t be surprised if you are using the bathroom a bit more frequently in the coming days as well. All that extra water has to leave your system somehow…
Metabolic Mistake #7: ‘Exercising Off’ The Reload
It’s time to talk about the last mistake often made when reloading – exercising it off (or attempting to, because let’s face it, you are not going to EVER burn 10,000 calories exercising).
Some people though, they sure will try.
They eat all those foods and feel the sudden surge in energy as a result of it. If you’ve been depriving yourself of calories and then go eating all that fuel, there is no question, it might feel like you could run a marathon.
Panic starts to set in because they do have so much energy (and they figure surely they shouldn’t feel this good if they are trying to lose weight!).
Next thing they know, they’re at the gym, putting in a three-hour long workout.
Do not do this.
There are two reasons this is a very unwise decision.
- Exercise won’t be comfortable.
Remember how I noted you have a high amount of food sitting in your body right now? Well, exercise will only make this fact more known.
You’ll get cramping. You’ll feel bloated. You might even find you feel a bit sluggish when intense exercise is performed.
It won’t be pleasant, that’s for sure.
- You’ll undo some of the effects.
Okay, so you won’t completely undo the effects because again, you are never going to burn off what you did with a successful reload.
But you can burn off a good amount of energy and that takes away from what you are trying to accomplish here.
Your goal is to maintain a calorie surplus. This means more energy consumed than energy expended.
If you simply increase both sides of the equation (eat more food and burn more calories off), you’re basically back to the start.
You won’t increase your metabolism as much and you won’t see as great of results.
Is that what you want?
Didn’t think so.
If you want to exercise before the reload as we noted above, go for it. Do keep in mind that you may need to eat a few more calories because of this however.
Just don’t exercise after in some attempt to burn off what you just ate.
There really is no point in doing so. You’ll do more harm than good.
So there you have the biggest mistakes far too many people make when they are trying to reload.
Do you see yourself in any of these? What have you learned about reloading over the course of your dieting years?
Share some tips and tricks below.