The Reverse Diet: Reversing Out of Keto – Temporarily


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What is the Ketogenic Lifestyle?

The ketogenic lifestyle is an ultra low carb, less than 50g of total carbohydrate a day; high fat, and moderate protein.  Because of the low carbs, your body converts to burning fat (your stored fat) for energy.  I incorporated intermittent fasting for better fat-burning results.

I really liked living the lifestyle and got great results – but I have fitness goals that I want to meet.  I got to a certain point and couldn’t get leaner.

What steps am I taking to get leaner?  If you are interested, read below!


reverse dieting


What is a reverse diet and why?


Measuring Success


A reverse diet is, in simple terms, is a diet when you incrementally add carbs and calories until you reach your metabolic potential.  You do this while weight and resistance training.  With the increase in calories, you are able to build muscle, which will help you be a better fat burner.

This is how someone like me maintains their 160 lbs. weight loss.  Once you get to your goal, you add calories back (slowly) so that you are able to eat more and still maintain your weight.  I mean, who really wants to eat 1200 a day?  It’s not maintainable long-term.  This is why I believe many people do not maintain their weight loss.  People think that you can just, boom, go to maintenance .  If you do that, you will gain fat.

Since I was practicing the ketogenic lifestyle, my process.

  • Slowly add carbs and decrease fats weekly until I got to 100-110 g carbohydrates and about 65g fat.
  • Add protein (as the ketogenic diet is moderate in protein) – also done incrementally, about 10g per week)
  • Increase calories (100 calories per day per week) until I get to where I want to be without a huge weight gain (2,000-2,200 calories)

The incremental increase + the weight and resistance training will help me build muscle without gaining a ton of fat.

Remember staying as lean as possible is the goal.

I will gain weight, though.  With the increase in carbs comes an increase in water.  It’s unavoidable.  I expect to gain 8-10 lbs, which is what I lost in my first week of keto (hoping not much more than that).




reverse diet


It took me a while to fully commit to reversing.  You lose 160 lbs., you are not too excited to start gaining it back.  It was a lot of work losing the weight.

Plus, the uncertainty is there.  Will I be able to cut and lose it again?   Will things actually go as planned?  Will I balloon up to 200 lbs trying to add back the carbs necessary?

It’s all very scary.


Keto and why I am reversing – at least temporarily

I love the ketogenic lifestyle, and wasn’t too excited about moving away from it.  It’s extremely easy to live.  I don’t miss the carbs and I am loving the fats.  However, I have some fitness and health goals that require me to temporarily reverse out of keto; thereby returning to a higher carbohydrate lifestyle.

I thought a lot about this as I was getting excellent results living the ketogenic lifestyle.  It’s a good life, let me tell you!  I can see just how good it is.


My fitness goals


Reverse diet

  1. I want to build muscle especially in my butt and in my upper body.  My upper body has always been pretty weak.  It’s time to make some gains.
  2. I want to increase my metabolic potential.  I found out that I couldn’t get much leaner than I was without dropping the amount of food I consumed considerably and/or exercising more, both of which I wasn’t willing to do.  At the end of my 160 lbs. cut, I was eating 1,350 calories a day.  I don’t think it’s wise to eat less than 1,200 calories.  Plus, I felt that I was actually gaining weight, eating 1,350 calories a day with consistent training.  I didn’t want to go down that slippery slope.


Can you build muscle on keto?

Of course you can.  I am not an olympic athlete, but I did get significant muscle gains while on Keto.  However I wanted more, in a shorter amount of time.


Muscle burns fat.  I want to increase my metabolism so that I could eat more when cutting (losing weight).  The ultimate goal is to lose more weight and be a bit leaner, still while eating more calories.

Since adding carbohydrates back into my diet, I see significant muscle gains.  I am stronger and can endure more – which is what I suspected would happen.  It’s not that I couldn’t get there on keto, it’s just happened much more efficiently, which is what I needed.


What do you need for a reverse diet?


Reverse Diet essentials


There are a lot of ways to reverse diet.  Being that I want to minimize the fat gain, I decided that a more conservative approach was best.  Whether your keto or not, you need the following.

  1. A willingness to track – knowing what you are eating is gold.  You can’t willy-nilly yourself through this.  It just won’t work.
  2. Whole foods.  Processed foods are a no-no.  You will not be shopping in the freezer section.  You want to eat good whole foods.  Commit. You will live in your stores’ produce and organic sections.  Buck-up and live with it!  Check out Thrive for organic foods 30-50% off your local grocer.   Be prepared to eat out less and cook a lot more.  Your needs will change as you move up in carbs and/or calories; be prepared.  Through this process I have become a very good cook!
  3. Cut the cardio.  Cardio won’t help you through this process – and might hurt you.  Cardio should be a very small amount of your weekly training; only once or twice (max) per week.  All the other times should be spent weight and resistance training.  Use the ball, dumbbells, barbells, machines, cables, etc.  Develop a program that’s intense and interesting.  For training advice contact me.
  4. Patience.  I know, not really an American value, but it will help you here.  Moving up in calories only 100 calories a week, or moving up in carbs 5g and decreasing fat 2.5g per week, requires patience, and a lot of it.  Keep your cool, you will get there.
  5. Enjoy the changes in your body.  Is your butt more lifted and toned.  Are your shoulders more ripped?  Are you doing more full-range push-ups?  Celebrate the gains and the fact that you are working towards your goals!


Will I go back to the ketogenic lifestyle?

I think this is the burning question.  After getting a taste of carbs, am I going to want to go back?

The answer to this is a resounding YES!  I miss the fat and can live without the carbs.  Even though I am enjoying baking delicious sourdough bread and having sandwiches and hamburgers freely, and eating veggies and salads and yogurt and apples – I miss the fat.  I can live without the carbs, but can’t without the fats.  I’m finding this (high carb, lower fat) a very difficult and problematic way to live.


Are you interested in hearing more about the reverse diet or the ketogenic lifestyle?


About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. I admire your discipline and your determination to commit to this. I definitely don’t think I would last 24 hours on this because I LOVE my carbs. I could probably cut back on some of the bad carbs, but probably not to the leave that I would need to for the reverse diet or ketogenic lifestyle. I wish you continued success in reaching all of your fitness goals.
    K. Elizabeth recently posted…Falling Into Autumn With prAnaMy Profile

    • Actually getting rid of the carbs has been a blessing. My allergies disappeared. It’s amazing. The bloating disappeared. It’s amazing.

      You know, you think you depend upon them and you really don’t. I have found out that I live a better life with fewer carbs. I still eat carbs, i’m just not a slave to them anymore, and it’s nice.

      It’s easy to stick to something when it makes you feel so good and gives you good energy.
      Lisa recently posted…The Mommy Monday Blog Hop #MMBH – Week 274My Profile

  2. Marie Gayton says:

    I love living keto & have been for almost a year. I lost 20 pounds but have stayed at that weight for months. My husband (who is also into bodybuilding, diet, & supplements) suggests that I have bruised my metabolism & need to reverse diet to get more weight off. I know i also need to do more weight training, I’m working on that. Any suggestions? I would really like to tone up & lose about 15 more pounds. I’m a 43 year old homeschooling mom of 7.

    • Hey Marie,

      He is correct. Keto is great for someone on maintenance who is looking to live a great life. I love keto.

      But for someone who is looking to lose more than 10-15 lbs., not good. The lack of carbs inhibits hormones that we need for fat burning. Plus, our bodies think we are starving. It stesses us out and then they begin the annoying cycle of water weight gain and fat retention.

      A reverse diet will probably yield you the loss that you are looking for, but it’s slow. You have to incrementally go up. You have to track your food and eat your carbs at the right times of the day.

      Are you interested in learning more? I would love to speak to you further.

      Lisa recently posted…Fear of Flying? How to Qualify your Pet as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)My Profile

      • Marie Gayton says:

        I think I can just follow your outline above. I am the house nutritionist: I help my husband lean out (so much easier for him!), I help my giant of a son to do the IIFYM diet, I was doing keto, and I help my friend do a clean bulk diet. I know how to make healthy choices and track my macros. But until last night, I really had only “heard the term” reverse dieting. I really didn’t know what that entailed except that it sounded too much like reversing all the work I already put into losing. I am currently living quite happily on 1420 calories, 44g of protein, 113g of fat, and less than 18 net carbs a day. Where would you suggest I start my macros? What time of day should I eat my carbs?

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