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Dr Layne Norton & Sohee Lee, Reverse Dieting eBook.pdf

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What is Metabolic Adaptation?


The truth is, there is no clinical definition for metabolic adaptation. As a relatively new
concept, there have unfortunately been no scientific studies done on the topic to date.
But first, let’s clear the air. Originally coined by Scott Abel, the term metabolic damage
describes a phenomenon in which the body refuses to shed fat despite what would
typically be considered dieting calories and activity levels. Conversely, the body may also
experience fat gain in excess of what is predicted by caloric intake and activity level.
In this book, we prefer to utilize the more descriptive term metabolic adaptation. Note
that the two terms can typically be used interchangeably.

Reverse Dieting

But even so, this definition doesn’t quite suffice, as there are numerous caveats.
For one, after a long stint of low calorie dieting, weight gain is normal and expected. This is
often observed in bodybuilding competitors who, after a long prep season, may overeat or
even binge eat. When this happens, the competitor is said to be going through a rebound,
which is distinct from metabolic damage because the individual is putting him or herself
into a caloric surplus, albeit unintentionally.
You also have people who may have been handed the short end of the genetic stick and
consequently have naturally slower metabolisms than normal (through no fault of their
own, might I add). If this is the case, then what may be considered a standard caloric
deficit for the average Joe may not be enough for this specific individual. As such, it
becomes necessary to cut calories further in order to elicit the desired fat loss response.
Metabolic adaptation, conversely, is the result of a period of chronic dieting and is typically
exacerbated by multiple weight loss and regain cycles.

Sohee Lee with Dr. Layne Norton