Danielle Grout came to Ledbetter in the hopes of ditching her “skinny girl” image. With “strong is the new skinny” as her new mentality, she set a goal to build lean muscle mass. Her coach – Annika Swanson – saw this desire in Danielle as an opportunity to help her build the physical strength to match her fiery spirit—through a reverse diet.
Over the past three months, Danielle’s body has responded in amazing ways to reverse dieting. She has increased her macronutrient intake from 128 g protein, 193 g carbohydrates, and 48 g fat, to 128 g protein, 331 g carbohydrates, and 80 g fat! Not only that, but despite the increase in calories that Danielle is eating, she has lost 9lbs and 3 inches off of her waist.
Prior to finding Ledbetter, she tried improving her metabolic efficiency, but was unsuccessful due to improper nutritional intake; she was not eating enough, and not eating the correct macronutrient proportions to fuel her body. Discouraged by unsuccessful attempts in the past, starting her reverse diet was a nerve-wracking experience. She recalls feeling stressed from the idea of tracking her food intake (macros), and fearful of falling off track. With her goals in mind however, she stuck to it. Now, she is living her life with the freedom that comes from knowing what her body needs, and being aware of what she’s putting into it.
“Trust me, it all just takes time. Once you get the hang of it – even after a few weeks or a month – [tracking] really does become a habit. If I take an intuitive day and don’t weigh [my food] it’s so weird to me now. But I do want to get to a point in life where I can eat again without weighing everything, and I know I will after this.”
Keeping her focus on making smart choices, she is no longer fearful of going out to eat for an untracked meal. She also knows that one night of not strictly tracking her macros will not hinder her progress. Reverse dieting has allowed her to find the balance of working towards her goals without missing out on social gatherings.
“One [off] night will not kill you. We are young and supposed to be having fun with friends, especially in the summer! I am not saying go out and drink all the time, but have a drink or two [if you want]!”
Danielle is proof that pursuing a reverse diet doesn’t mean sacrificing a busy and full life. She trains hard in the gym, works two jobs, and is about to earn her Associates Degree in science. Having been an athlete for most of her life, fitness was a natural interest for her. Around two and a half years ago, she fell in love with how weight lifting empowered her, and decided to focus on improving her strength. It wasn’t until she began reverse dieting that she began to see significant increases in the amount of weight she could lift. It’s those small daily victories that have kept her going.
Danielle’s success thus far is not a one-size-fits all story for reverse dieting. Everyone is different, and responds to changes in diet and exercise differently. Whether a person loses, maintains, or increases weight, the overall goal of a reverse diet is to improve metabolic efficiency. Because Danielle’s goal is actually to gain lean muscle mass, she still has a long road ahead in the course of her reverse diet. She has demonstrated however, that consistency, hard work, and balance are crucial to a successful and enjoyable fitness journey.
Feeling inspired? Check back in the coming months for a follow-up story after she finishes her reverse diet! In the meantime, follow her on Instagram @daniellegrout to witness her progress.
Catch up on the other articles in this series: