Sarah Rufo Eats 2400 Calories In A Day Thanks To Reverse Dieting — And It's Helped Her Lose 30 Pounds
To anyone who’s trying to lose weight, the concept of reverse dieting likely seems counterintuitive.
If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it refers to the process of increasing your daily calorie intake with the goal of upping your metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body needs to function. This calorie increase is done at a slow rate so as to minimize fat gain.
If you’re skeptical, we don’t blame you. But Sarah Rufo is proof that, when done right, reverse dieting works.
Like so many of us, Rufo grew up in what she refers to as a “diet culture.” She was raised on skim milk. Her mom experimented with a number of fad diets — the low fat craze, the carb-deficient Atkins Diet, and many more.
For much of her life, Rufo relied on this restrictive mindset. And there was a time when it worked for her. In her twenties, she dropped from 210 pounds to 155, thanks to simply eating right and exercising.
When Rufo got pregnant a few years later, she gained 30 pounds, none of which she shed after she had her seven-pound baby girl. At first, Rufo wasn’t at all concerned with losing the weight she had put on during pregnancy. But when her maternity leave was over and she had only managed to lose 10 pounds, she enlisted the help of one of her CrossFit coaches, Lauren.
Rufo’s goal was to lose weight in a slow, controlled manner so as not to jeopardize her milk production (she was still breastfeeding at the time). Lauren introduced Rufo to two methods that would become the keys to her success: macro counting and reverse dieting. Rufo gradually added 700 calories to her daily caloric intake, while continuing to do CrossFit on a regular basis, and in the following 10 months she dropped 30 pounds. She was eating around 2400 calories per day — by far the most she had ever eaten — and she weighed the least she had ever weighed (145 pounds).
The benefits that Rufo reaped from reverse dieting went way beyond weight loss, though. For the first time in her life, she was able to get her hormones to a “happy place.” Her period occurred in a regular, 28-day cycle, and she didn’t experience the symptoms that most women consider normal, like bloating, PMS, and cramping.
And the best part was, she didn’t have to give up certain foods that she loved. Rufo considers herself and her husband foodies, and the fact that she can still enjoy “fun” foods is important to her.
For many moms, setting out to achieve this kind of goal can be difficult because it often involves prioritizing yourself over your child. But that’s part of Rufo’s parenting philosophy, and she says it makes her a better mom.
“I want to have my own purpose that is completely separate from my child… I want to make my kid a priority, but I’m the number one priority because I’m always going to be stuck with me,” Rufo said.
If there’s one thing Rufo hopes she can pass on to her daughter, it’s a healthy and balanced outlook on eating that doesn’t involve restriction or dieting.