Today  I'm going to chat with Leslie about her experience going through a reverse diet so that you can hear from somebody who's been there and done that, somebody who had all the fears, who came into the process, not really expecting to go through a reverse diet and did it anyway and came out on the other side. I think it's important to share these stories because it starts to make it real and understand that like all the emotions that we feel, all the emotions that you may be feeling as you think about this process of starting a reverse diet are totally normal. And that they're you know, even if you trust and go into the process that there is another side of it. And there is a really important reason why reversing is part of the process. 


  • Free download reverse dieting flow sheet (4:24)
  • Be all in 100% (8:40, 24:18)
  • Reverse diet process is 100% game changer (13:42, 38:30, 40:24, 41:47)
  • Signs to consider when to do a reverse  (15:29, 16:03)
  • Counter-intuitive (17:28)
  • Reverse diet is not a detour, It’s propelling you forward to the results you want (28:13)
  • Benefits of doing the whole reverse process (29:00, 30:27) 
  • Finding the balance in an all or nothing world (32:09, 36:20)


Wasn't that just an awesome episode? I really loved what Leslie had to say about some of her fears. And some of the real behind the scenes that happened during a reverse. It can seem like eating more can be scary, right? Because we have this idea that eating more means gaining weight, but it's not true. And that's a real issue that a lot of people run into with a reverse. I just want to say it one more time here that the reverse diet is not a detour. It's not backtracking, it is actually the path that is actually gonna get you where you want to go. And I'm just so grateful that Leslie was willing to come on and share her experience and be an example of what's possible for you.


You're listening to Biceps after Babies radio episode number 114.

Hello and welcome to Biceps after Babies radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four.  Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.


Amber B  0:49

Hey, hey, hey, welcome back to another episode of biceps after babies radio. I'm your host Amber Brueseke and today we are going to talk about reverse dieting. And I am bringing on Leslie Spaggiari, to be able to talk about her experience with reverse dieting.


Amber B  1:04  

Now, if you've been around the podcast a while you know that I've done some episodes on reverse dieting. So if you're brand new to the concept, or you've never heard about reverse dieting, I highly, highly suggest that you go check out Episode 9, Episode 10, which is another reverse dieting case study of someone who's gone through that process, and Episode 42 which is another reverse dieting case study of someone who's gone through that process, and episode number 42. Those are going to be the best places to start to learn about what is a reverse diet? What does it look like? How do you go through the process?


Amber B  1:32  

And then today, I'm going to chat with Leslie about her experience going through a reverse diet so that you can hear from somebody who's been there and done that somebody who had all the fears, who came into the process, not really expecting to go through a reverse diet and did it anyway and came out on the other side, I think it's important to share these stories because it starts to make it real and understand that like all the emotions that we feel, all the emotions that you may be feeling as you think about this process about starting a reverse diet are totally normal. And that they're you know, even if you trust and go into the process that there is another side of it like there, you do come out the other side. And there is a really important reason why reversing is part of the process. 


Amber B  2:20  

And we talked about that in today's episode, we talked about some of the fears that Leslie had, how Leslie was surprised that that was going to be the step that was going to help her to lose the weight that she wanted to lose. And I know that that's where a lot of you're at, you have a goal and you want to get leaner, you want to lose some weight, you want to lose some fat, and being told that the next step to losing that weight that you want is actually eating more can really throw people for a loop. Because it doesn't make sense, right? We've been told for our whole life that the key to losing weight is to eat less and less and less. And trying to flip that on its head and say no, no, the key to you losing the weight that you want in the long run is to eat more that can really throw people for a loop. And so that's the reason I wanted to bring Leslie on today to share her experience. We talked about how Leslie was able to go from eating 1400 calories to eating 2300 calories and not gaining any weight. And that is the beauty of a reverse diet and set her up so well for her second, you know for her subsequent cut, to be able to then actually finally, you know after she talks about yo-yo dieting for 20 years, finally being able to hit and maintain the goals that she had set for herself. 


Amber B  3:34  

Now before we dive into the episode, I just want to take a quick moment and thank those of you who have taken the time to leave a rating and review on iTunes. It really helps the podcast and helps people to find the podcast. And it means the world to me when you take that time to let me know what you think about the podcast and let me know how it is impacting your life. Because I'm sitting here in my, you know, recording room and talking to nobody. And yet I know on the other end of me sitting here talking to nobody. So many people are listening to this and being impacted. And so if you have not left a rating and review in iTunes, will you please take the three to five minutes that it takes to go to iTunes, scroll down, you'll see where you can leave a rating and review and that means the absolute world to me. 


Amber B  4:24  

One more thing I did want to mention back in Episode Number nine where I talked about how to reverse diet and kind of the why and how behind it, we put together a free download. And we walk you through kind of what a reverse should look like and what that process looks like. So if you haven't snagged that free download, definitely go check out and you'll scroll down and it will just say you know, here's the free download and you'll put your name and email into that and we'll send you that reverse dieting flow sheet. So for those of you who you know come away from this episode saying yeah, that's probably the next step for me but how do I do it? That's a great place to get started. 


Amber B  5:01  

And then of course we walk clients through holding their hand and coach them through reverse dieting, that process inside of Macros 101. Our next opening for Macros 101 will be February 1. So if that's something that interests you, and you want to get coached through a cut, through reverse, through maintenance, through whatever goal that you have set for yourself, then that is the place to do it and you can get on the waitlist at and we'll be excited to open up February 1 with a new group of women who want to go through that process and learn to become the macro scientist, which we'll talk about a little bit in this episode. Now, without further ado, let's jump into that interview with Leslie Spaggiari. 


Amber B  5:45 

I am so excited to sit down and chat with Leslie today, Leslie, how are you doing?


Leslie  5:52  

I'm great. Thank you, Amber, how are you?


Amber B  5:53  

I'm really good. And really excited about this episode, I already did your introduction and shared with the listeners what they're going to hear today. But you and I talked a little bit beforehand about how excited I am to be able to kind of speak to women maybe who were in a position where you were six months ago, and the experience that you've had and what you've learned and the new path and what that's done for you. So, before, you know, we're just gonna dive right in and my first question for you is, how did you find biceps after babies? How did you learn about Macros 101? What is that process for you like?


Leslie  6:28  

You know, I can't remember exactly what I had never heard about macro counting before, and I can't honestly even remember what first led me to Lily Ethan Tells blog. And I think I might have been looking for recipes. I honestly don't remember and I stumbled on her bio on her blog and read that she had coached with you and I'm like, What on earth is she talking about? So it intrigued me. And then I hunted you down, I think on Instagram. And I learned that you are no longer coaching one on one, but you had a biceps after babies. And I think I reached out to you with a DM on Instagram. And we sort of chit chatted a little bit and then I started following you. I'm not huge on social media so I was a little reluctant to get too in the weeds on Instagram, but I loved everything that I read about you, I loved that you are a registered nurse. And that appealed to me rather than and I don't mean to slam people who are just “trainers”. But it for me was a plus that you were not just somebody who was potentially already naturally thin and fit and decided to become an Instagram influencer if that makes sense. I don't mean to sound rude to anybody who does that. But for me, I needed, I just wanted to have confidence that there was the more scientific mindset going into how your body works, how I'm just, I just wanted more science involved than just somebody deciding that they were gonna you know, that they knew how to work out and what's gonna tell me how to work out kind of thing. So that's then when I started chit-chatting with you a little bit about it. And then, of course, I had to wait because the doors for Macros 101 wasn't open when we were talking. And then I just decided to jump in.


Amber B  8:37  

Yeah. And jump in, you did.


Leslie  8:40  

Yes, I did. I don't know if you remember but I because again, you know, Facebook was a big part of it. And again, I'm not. I don't have a presence early on social media. And I avoided Facebook, like the plague, but it encouraged me to be all in and I tend to be an all or nothing person naturally. And I'm sure we'll talk about that through the course of this interview. But I decided that if this was part of what you found to be profitable for people, and you had done these hundreds of times with individuals, then there had to be something to it. And if I was going to do it, then I had to be either 100% all-in or bark up a different tree. That's how I tend to approach things if you have to do it 100% because if you don't do it 100% you can't really know if it works or not. And you can't really be confident that you have made the right decision or the wrong decision because you've added variables that would skew that judgment. So that's it.


Amber B  9:51  

Yeah, Spoken like a true scientist.


Leslie  9:56  



Amber B  9:57  

Yeah. Awesome. So you know, as you're coming into Macros 101 with you just kind of give us a little snapshot of where you were, you know, what were you currently struggling with? What was your goal in joining and, you know, just kind of where your headspace was as you started the program?


Leslie  10:12  

Okay, as I started, I, you know, I have a history not personally but in my family, obesity runs rampant in my family. And I have managed to mostly avoid that. And so as an adult woman, I have battled with the same eight pounds, eight to 10 pounds up and down, up and down yo-yoing gaining it, losing it gaining and losing, and something in my brain always stops it at the eight to 10-pound marker. And I think it's because of my obese family members and the misery I see that their lives are due to that and I knew I didn't want that. But and because they are obese, they somewhat mocked me for making a big deal out of eight to 10 pounds. 


Leslie  11:08

But I didn't want it to ever go more than that. So I yo yoed that, which is I think, a common thing with women for decades. For probably, I would say 25 years, I've gone back and forth with that fluctuation and it's never comfortable. It's this constant battle mentally and physically over food. And it's just, it's exasperating. And it came to the point where I no longer wanted to do what I didn't want to do. I wanted the hamster wheel, I wanted to get off the hamster wheel. I just felt like I was constantly running and getting nowhere. And I've worked out the entire time and not really gotten anywhere I look basically the same. And it just seemed odd. How can you be so diligent to workout and all of this stuff and just seem to not get anywhere? So I thought there's something not working, there's some variable that I'm missing, and it has to be there. And so that's why I decided, Well, you know, I really had nothing to lose in macros, and potentially everything to gain. So I thought, well, if I've been doing this for 25 years, I can commit to six months to a year with this process, I'm going to be doing something in that six months to a year anyway. So my mindset was basically just given it a go and I didn't have anything to lose by doing so.


Amber B  12:42  

Yeah. And so coming into the program, at what point did you realize that this process was gonna look a little different than you had may be expected and that reverse is gonna be the next step?


Leslie  12:57 

Oh, my gosh, right out of the gate. It was I think, literally the first coaching call. And I was fully anticipating, I think like everybody else, that the first thing you do is a cut or caloric deficit, I just made that assumption. And you said, okay, girlfriend do you need to reverse because my metabolism was so active well after from all the yo-yoing there was no way I could cut from where I was currently eating calorically and be eating a safe amount of food. And so when you said to reverse, I said, okay, because at that point I was already committed and I was going to do whatever you told me to do. 


Leslie  13:42  

And so I started the reverse. I think I was the first, I think I was the only person reversing right at that point with the new people coming in, or at least it seemed like it at the time. And it was so far and I never, I had never heard of a reverse before. And to me, that reverse process is absolutely a 100% game-changer. And I feel like people should be screaming from the rooftops about reverse dieting, because I would venture to guess a huge percentage of women walking around in this country or globally, are walking around in the same place that I was with a metabolism that is so dysfunctional, and they're scratching their heads and confused as to why they can't lose even eight pounds, why it won't come off and stay off. And it's because they don't know anything about the reverse. And learning that process and how that works is huge. It's absolutely huge because, for me, I don't have a ton of mental, emotional issues with food per se. My process was really more about the nuts and bolts of how a process actually biologically works. And so if I could understand how it works with the human body, then that's what my goal was. I want to learn how this works. And obviously, there's flexibility in that which I've learned. Not everybody's process is going to work exactly the same. But I honestly 100% believe reverse dieting is a game-changer, 100%.


Amber B  15:29 

I totally, totally agree. I couldn’t agree more. And I do just want to mention for anybody who's listening who's like, what did  Leslie say that made me suggest a reverse because that's a place that a lot of women are in where they're like, I think a reverse might be the next step, but I'm not sure what are some things and signs that I should be looking for. So one of the biggest signs that I look for it, well, I guess there are two, one is dieting history. And so if somebody comes and they have a dieting history, like Leslie has, where you have been yo-yoing, for years and years and years, that's a sign that we probably have some metabolic adaptation. 


Amber B  16:03  

And then the second thing I often look for is if you calculate your macros at, you know, use a calculator, and you calculate what your macros should be in a deficit, and that number is higher than the calories that you are currently eating. That's another red flag that we've had some metabolic adaptation. And so those are the things that you can be looking for in your journey to see, hey, if that's the case, if that's where I'm at, a reverse is probably the right next step. And for those of you listening, who are thinking, I wonder if the reverse is the next right step. It probably is, if you're thinking it might be the next step, it probably is the next step. And that's one of the reasons I wanted to bring Leslie on because it can be a scary step for a lot of women and being able to hear somebody's story who has gone through it and come out the other side is so incredibly valuable. But the reverse is not all rainbows and butterflies. Like there are no challenges with it. So will you kindly share with us maybe some of, the best parts of the other reverse, and maybe some of the hardest parts?


Leslie  17:07 

Well, I'll start with the hardest parts. The hardest part was actually just trusting you to do it. Because like I said, I was not expecting that suggestion from you. And I thought to myself, well, how do you eat more food and lose weight, I don't get that.


Amber B  17:07 

It’s a counter-intuitive.


Leslie  17:28

Totally, counter-intuitive. It is like the upside-down world. It flies in the face of everything we “know about losing weight”, it is the complete opposite. But I'm telling you, girlfriends, it works. It's the most bizarre thing. So that was a bit of a challenge. Again, but my brain and how I tend to approach things was all in both feet, not one in and one out. So I decided okay, this is what she's suggesting I do strongly suggesting I do and I'm gonna do it. What again, what did I have to lose? So when I started to do it, it was hard to eat, eat more food, it was hard for me to remember to eat and that sounds kind of stupid too I think to a lot of people are not maybe stupid is not the right word. It seems odd. Or


Amber B  18:25

Far fetched, maybe? 


Leslie  18:25  

I don't want people, far fetched, that's a better way. I get or I can see people rolling their eyes right now, as I'm saying that Oh, yeah. Right. I'm telling you, it's hard when you have had a mindset for a long time that you can't eat more food and get to your fitness goals. That's you just can't do it that way. So that was actually very challenging for me to eat more food, and then every week to eat more food than the week before. And then at the end, when I was getting towards the end of my reverse, it was a boatload of food I was eating, I felt like all I did was eat. And that was hard. 


Leslie  19:09 

But the upside is just the opposite of all the things, I was eating more food and not gaining any weight. I had bread, oh my gosh, I haven't eaten bread in probably 20 years. Or my rule of thumb was donating if it's white. You donate it, meaning flour, potatoes, any kind of bread item pasta, rice, if it was white, I basically didn't eat it most of the time. And I eat all of that stuff now and coming to terms with that actually getting through that was on it was my gosh, I can have some rice and actually eating it and being intentional about eating it, which is what I wanted to always get to where I was intentional with my eating but taking that first bite of rice was actually really hard.


Leslie  20:12 

But once I did it and then I kept doing it. I remember you said to me one time Okay, so now you're going to eat eggs, the whole egg and not the egg white or you're going to eat rice and not cauliflower rice, you're going to eat potatoes and not whipped cauliflower. All of the things that you change out when you would be cutting, you're eating the real thing. I'll call it the real thing. But you know what I mean was weird and hard, and I didn't gain any weight. And it was very bizarre to eat. I increased my caloric intake by 900 calories. So I went from eating 1400 calories to 2300 calories in reverse, I didn't gain any weight. 


Amber B  20:56  

So awesome. 


Leslie  20:57  

So that's pretty remarkable.


Amber B  20:59  

That's amazing. And it's so important for women to hear that, because there is so much fear with reverse. And for a lot of women eating more calories automatically means gaining more weight. And yeah, it's such a good example of like, if you follow the process, and if you do a reverse diet in the right way, now, you didn't jump from 1400 to 2300, like you didn't do a jump. You followed a process and you slowly added calories and allowed your metabolism to adapt to those. And right, anybody who's listening who you know, is in that place where they're eating 1300 -1400 calories, and you're not seeing any change, recognize that, like you can, with a reverse diet be able to eat a lot more. Now, you may not be able to increase 900 calories, that's a lot of calories. And it was really exciting to coach Leslie through that, and like, let's see how high we can get your calories. And like, let's keep pushing it,


Leslie  21:52  

It was crazy. And the only reason I could have kept going, but I had to stop because I seriously could not eat any more food. I just was so over it, the amount of food I'm sure I could have gotten up to, I had kind of a goal of 2500 just to see if I can do it. But I just literally could not eat any more food. 


Amber B  22:08

Right. And that is a very common experience for women as they go through the reverse. Not everybody, but a lot of people will hit that place where, you know, they're like, it's hard to get that food in, it's a struggle to get food in. And that's like Leslie said, that's where we start to transition away from some of the changes that you made when you go into a deficit. When you go into a deficit. It's like, Okay, I'm gonna just eat a white, it's not the whole egg. I'm gonna not eat, you know, tortillas, I'm not gonna eat rice. And so what we actually have to do is to flip that and say, no, no, no, that you need to be eating peanut butter, you need to be eating tortillas, you need to be eating rice so that you can consume the amount of calories that you need to be consuming and not feel like you want to barf because you're saying.


Leslie  22:51  

It was so amazing. It was so great to eat all that stuff, really.


Amber B  22:57

Yeah. And did you notice anything in terms of your performance at the gym, or your energy levels overall, as you increase your calories over time?


Leslie  23:06

You know, for me, I'm probably not the best barometer for that particular thing. I know that's a common thing. As you're eating more, then your energy level goes up. I'm a super high energy, to begin with just naturally, I'm very high strung as you know. And I am like the Energizer Bunny. And so I didn't notice that. And maybe had I paid specific attention to it. I might have noticed it, but it didn't stick out broadly for me. 


Amber B  23:37 

Yeah. And that is something that a lot of women experience is more energy levels. Again, not always. And so I appreciate that Leslie is willing, to be honest about it. Because the last thing that I want you to do is to go into a reverse diet and have this expectation that it's just, it's going to be a certain way that you're going to be able to increase a certain number of calories, or it's going to be a certain way, it's important to go into the process with an open mind, recognize that there is a process that you go through in order to get up to maintenance in order to increase your calories but to not have any preconceived notions based on somebody else's journey of what it's going to be like for you. Everybody's going to walk their own journey when it comes to sugars, but they're sure that you shouldn't do it right… 


Leslie  24:18  

And you know, one thing I would say, just from my own, from what I've seen in what I've done myself and what I have watched, watching other people again, and this comes back to kind of just how I decided to approach everything like a dog with a bone. I figured I'd be all in 100% and I did seriously intend and was super intentional about doing everything I could. And I know you don't like the word correctly, but I don't know another word to put in there instead. But I decided to do everything exactly to the best of my ability. And there were days when I did not want to eat whatever it was at the end of the day I was like well, I don't want to but I made myself do it because it was part of the prescription. So in my brain, that was let's say the best choices I decided to make every day the choices that I made the best ones because I wanted to have the best result, and, again, this is where the all or nothing mentality can either screw you up, or it can help you. And for me at that point of the journey, because that was the beginning of the process, it helped me because I didn't want to leave anything on the table and have any regret, well, if I had done this, then maybe I'd have a better result, I want you to know 100% that I gave it 100%. So that at the end of it, I can say, I did all I could do, and this is where I've ended up if that makes sense. 


Amber B  26:07 

Yeah, so good. And then let's talk about one of the reasons that we wanted to get your calories high. And why at the end of the reverse, you were pushing so hard to get your calories high. Because in the long run, you wanted to go into a subsequent cut. And so this is for all the people who are at the point where they want to lose weight but they need to go through a reverse first to get their metabolism up so that then they can create that deficit. You talked about how it's really hard to create a caloric deficit if your metabolism is at 1400. Like, you just have right so low to create that deficit. So when we were able to get your calories up to 2300 calories, you haven't gained any weight you had to maintain the whole time, what did that allow for you in the future in terms of your subsequent cut?


Leslie  26:54  

It allowed me to have a starting point to cut so that my caloric deficit didn't need to be down to some crazy amount of 900 calories or something. It allowed me to eat a normal amount of food and still cut.


Amber B  27:09  

And where did you start your cut at?


Leslie  27:13  

I believe I started my cut at 19, I want to say 1900? I honestly don't have that in front of me. I have written everything down. But I want to say it was at 1900. 


Amber B  27:24  

Yeah, that's amazing. 


Leslie  27:25  

I did that. And that was absolutely three months, you know. Yeah, it was great. I mean, because that's a normal amount of food. So that's what I need every single day and it's a normal amount of food. So I did subsequently cut a little bit more because the holidays are coming. And it's not a ton of weight for you know, that I wanted to take off and then have done the maintenance. You know, I was, you know, you remember, I was like I don't know how to do this maintenance anymore. But I did it. I was like, I don't want to do this. I want to get to the cut finally. But um, I did maintain for 12 weeks, again, three months, I thought you know, I'm gonna do it. 100%. And as you know,  I lost eight pounds and now basically maintain at this point. 


Amber B  28:13  

So good. Yeah. So yeah, some of you guys may be at the point where you're kind of like, chomping at the bit. And that's something that I have to coach a lot of clients through because you want to get to that cut. Right? That was what you came into the program wanting to do. And then I made you reverse and then I made that plain. But recognizing enough and now if you look back, I know.  And then looking back now you can see that, Yeah, it took some time, right?  But instead of sitting there spinning your wheels, you actually were able to lose the eight pounds. And so that's one of the messages that I really want for somebody listening is recognizing that reverse is not a detour. It's not a setback, it's not any of those things, it's actually propelling you forward to the results that you want. You had been there for a very long time. 


Leslie  29:00  

It's all part of the process. You have to do the whole process. You can't just pick and choose the parts that you like. Yeah. And you know, frankly, there are people that do cherry-pick, and then they wonder why they're not getting where they want to be. And I just want to scream at people. I don't know how you do it without screaming at people like oh, my gosh, girlfriend, your problem is so obvious. But people want to skirt things and get around, I myself included. I mean, I was dying for somebody to tell me one of the coaches to say, Oh, yeah, yeah, you can cut, you know, go ahead and cut your maintenance short, and nobody ever did. And so it forced me to stay in that maintenance, which in the long run was going to only benefit me when I got to the cut, which is where I wanted to be, which was when I was chomping at the bit to get to, but I'm grateful that nobody yielded to my desire.


Amber B  29:55  

Everybody wants to shortcut right. And so I think that's the idea with cherry-picking is like I want the shortest way possible to get to the results. But what you learned was that like the short what you thought was the shortest way possible ended up being 20 plus years of yo-yo dieting. In fact, that's not very short. Now, yeah, it may seem like you know, an eight to 12-week reverse and then 12-week maintenance is a long time and it's extending the time. But in reality, it's way shorter than the 20 previous years that didn't actually raise the result that you want.


Leslie  30:27  

Well, we live in a culture where everything is what I call microwaveable. Everybody wants everything instantly. I mean, Pop-Tarts have instructions for the microwave. Are you kidding me, you toast the pop tart for two minutes, you have to put it in the microwave to get it in 20 seconds. So our culture is very much geared towards everything that has to be right now. And our brains are wired for every instant gratification. And that was counterintuitive. Also, that was part of the hard part of starting the reverse was I wasn't starting in the cut. It's like I was starting at the end, rather than at the beginning in my brain, and the process has phases to it. And if you negate any of those phases, you're basically screwing yourself, it doesn't work that way. And it takes time. And we do not like that, especially women, when it comes to losing fat do not like the idea that it's going to take time. And the reality is to do it, where it's sustainable, and you can stay at a healthy place that you want to be, it's going to take time to get that, and just that's the harsh reality. But it's not really harsh. It's actually quite freeing and lovely when you get there. 


Amber B  31:48  

And you mentioned a little bit about, you know, the all or nothing mentality and how you'd have a tendency to go there. And sometimes it can be valuable, and help you in your journey. I'm curious what you felt like happened over the course of coaching and the process? How that may be shifted in your mind if it all?


Leslie  32:09

Right. Oh, no, it shifted to actually a lot. One of my closest friends is Ace, she's such a balanced individual. And I've always admired that in her, she's not extreme in either way. And I tend to be extreme all or nothing. And I've said to her a million times over the years, I wish I could look at things with a more balanced mentality. And doing Macros 101 and going through this whole process has literally shifted my brain to where I look at things much more balanced than I used to. I don't have this crazed all or nothing mindset about things. And finding the balance in an all or nothing world has been huge for me. That's probably the biggest mental shift that has happened for me. I'm starting, you know, women, I mean, me, I'll use me, it was always if I ate something, “bad”, then I would say, Okay, well, the rest of the day is screwed up. So basically, I can eat whatever I want in that old mindset. And I'll start “tomorrow”, or Monday or the first of the month, or whatever it is that we put in our brain. 


Leslie  33:32 

And I realized, starting and stopping is not defined by Mondays or the first of the month. It's defined by keep going. So if I ate a doughnut, for example, and then I would feel bad about having just eaten a doughnut, I go, Oh, well, the whole day is messed up now. And all or nothing tells me I can just eat whatever I want the rest of the day, where a balanced mindset says, okay, don't you enjoy the donut now? The very next minute after you've swallowed is a new minute. So now that minute, I have every opportunity right now to make the best choice for that minute or the choice that I want. And if the choice that I want is to eat a piece of pizza, that's fine, too. But it's not this extreme mindset. Oh, this is bad. That's bad. So the whole day is now bad. I ate a doughnut. I wanted a donut and it was a really good donut. Okay, fine. So now, I'm gonna keep going for the rest of the day. It's not, it doesn't cripple me. I guess that's what I'm trying to say. Kind of in a run-out way. It used to cripple me, and I'm not crippled anymore. I can say to myself, I can start right now, in this minute, making a different choice or I'm going to just a different choice, better choice, whatever different choice for the next minute, the next hour, the rest of the day, the rest of the day doesn't have to be ruined because I did something at the beginning of the day, if that makes sense. I'm kind of and it's going to be messy. And I'm verbalizing this in a messy way. I'm not being very articulate and I'm hoping that people will know what I'm talking about. 


Leslie  35:15

I think most women do you eat something that you regret the minute you've swallowed, and then you beat yourself up you feel guilty and you go oh, we'll just screw it with you and throw your arms up. Screw it. The days ruined or some people say okay, if this happened on a Wednesday, oh, I just may as well. Eat whatever I want the rest of the week and I'll start again on Monday. That's an all or nothing mindset. And that's that sabotages you and it's completely unnecessary. It doesn't have to ruin the whole rest of your day. 


Amber B  35:45  

Yeah. And I've seen so much progress with that for you over this time of coaching. So much progress in more of that moderate and recognizing that, yeah, I think what you're saying is like, first of all, time is a construct, like we just make up time. So that's what we'll construct. So this idea of like, auto start again, tomorrow, or next week, or whatever, like, that's just a human construct. And rather, like all we have is the moment and you know, this moment, we make the choice at this moment. And the next moment, we make another choice. And it doesn't have to be influenced by the choice that was made in the previous moment. 


Leslie  36:20  

Exactly. And it doesn't have to just do with food, it can be with working out or your laundry, or whatever it is, it's these things that you go, Oh, I didn't do this correctly, or I screwed this thing up, whatever it is, I didn't work out today. So I may as well not work out the whole rest of the week. And I think that, for me, there has been a huge life change in my brain, I'm still very much goal-oriented and driven by doing things to get the best result I can. But it doesn't have to be so perfectly nice and neat and fit into boxes. Its life doesn't work that way, life is messy. And so getting away from that all or nothing, mindset frees me up to enjoy the mess, I guess. I mean, you can enjoy a little bit of messy and it doesn't have to derail the entire day, week, life, year, whatever it is. 


Amber B  37:21  

Yeah. And for anybody who may be struggling or identifies with what Leslie is talking about, and this cycle that they tend to get into. One of the questions that I like to pose to clients is, at any moment asking yourself the question, what is the next best choice I can make at this moment?  So that's such a good question when you feel like I've eaten something, maybe I went over my macros, or I'm not going to hit my numbers. And setting that aside, and simply asking yourself the question, what is the next best choice that I can make and recognize that you can, “restart” at any point? It doesn't have to be the next day or, you know, it can be the next moment in your journey.


Leslie  37:59  

Right. And that's, I wrote that actual thing down for myself that it isn't a stop and start, but rather a keep going and just do the next thing. 


Amber B  38:10

Yes. So good. Okay, I have two more questions. So okay, my first question is, if somebody's listening to this, and they're like, I don't know, like, I've been thinking about a reverse. I don't know. I'm kind of vacillating back and forth, whether it's, it's the next thing, what would you sit down and like, have a chat with that woman, what would you say to her?


Leslie  38:30  

I would say, first of all, just do it, you have nothing to lose in doing it. And it's not like you're going to jump from 1400 calories up to 2000 calories. It's a slow process, slow, meaning it's incremental. So it is very doable and very manageable. When you add 100 calories a week, it's not that much food. So it's not that much at one time that you're going to be eating more. So you get to watch the process of collecting your data points. So you're gonna take measurements, you're going to take photographs, you're going to notice and pay attention to how your rings fit and your jeans fit, you're going to weigh yourself. So you're going to have a multiple ranges of data points to look at. And you're going to keep watch closely on what's happening. So it's not like nobody's asking you to jump off the roof into a pool and see what happens because it might be fun, or it might not be fun. That's a little, you know, 


Amber B  39:31  

That's a good analogy.


Leslie  39:33  

Well, I mean, it's like for sure it's not that dramatic is my point. So you're not, you're going to get to watch. And if things start to increase, or you're not liking what you're seeing is happening. Now you've got this information from which you can now make a reasoned non-emotional judgment call. And then you move forward, you do the next thing. So for me, as a woman, because I do tend to be a little emotional. I want to intentionally look at this process more scientifically and not emotionally because they're, honestly, your emotions will take time. You can't do it emotionally. If you have all these data points and you're watching them, you then can make good judgment calls as to what to do next. 


Leslie  40:24 

The reverse is very gentle. And I guess that's the way I like to look at it. It was a gentle process. says that you just kind of keep going. Each week you keep going, and you will be blown away, you will be shocked at how much more you can eat. And all your data points stay exactly the same. But what's happening inside is your metabolism is repairing itself and adapting to a higher caloric intake slowly. And that's why the reverse is key. Most people, cut and lose their weight. And then they just go back to eating what they were eating before, but your metabolism hasn't had an opportunity to adjust. So duh, of course, you're going to gain that weight back. That's what my life was: lose it, gain it, lose it weight, gain it back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Because that middle variable, which is the reverse, I didn't even know existed. So it was therefore neglected. So I should be the poster child for reversing, I think it is awesome. It is freeing, it will change your life. If you pay attention to it and monitor everything that you're doing, it will be so liberating, and you will be blown away at how it works. And it does work. It absolutely 100% works.


Amber B  41:47 

Yeah, it's so good. And, you know, what you kind of talked about was what we talked about a lot in Macros 101 is becoming the macro scientists, right? Yeah, stripping away that emotion, which doesn't help you to make very good decisions, and instead of looking at the data and the variables and being able to look at it from that scientific perspective. And that's a really effective way to be able to go through this process. And  I love the analogy that you give about the pool. I kind of think it's like, We're not asking you to jump in the pool. We're just asking you to like, wait into it, right? And like, yeah, like adjust to like the temperature. My husband likes to jump in pools, I don't like to jump in pools, I'm like, I want to wait into the pool. Well, we adjust to it one step at a time, right. And that's it and then at any point, you can always turn around and go back out. And so that's really what a reverse is, like, it's such a good analogy, Leslie. Okay, the last question for you, now that you've gone through your reverse, you've gone through maintenance, you've gone through your subsequent cut? What are some of your current health and fitness goals?


Leslie  42:44 

Oh, that's a good question. Um, I guess probably, I would like to be able to do three real pull-ups. I'm at about almost two right now. And it's just kind of for fun. I'm obviously not, I'm not you know, I don't consider myself an athlete or anything like that. It's just kind of a goal I want because I think it would be fun to be able to do it. You know, when one of my goals early on in the process was to be able to do 10 real push-ups.


Amber B  43:23  

I'm glad you mentioned that. I was gonna mention you're like a boss, to do push-ups.


Leslie  43:23  

Yeah. And I didn't want to do them on my knees. And I wanted my elbows to be at the right angle. You know, I wanted them to be the boss, awesome push-ups. And I have two boys that do also work out. And when I was doing those push-ups and my daughter was videotaping me do it. My youngest son walked in he goes, dang, Mom, you've got some serious.


Amber B  43:50  

Yeah, so like to hear.


Leslie  43:52  

Yeah, when your 17-year-old boy is impressed with what you can physically do. That's kind of one of those things that made me smile, like actually, for the whole entire week, it was kind of cool. So the pull-ups, um, my son, that same son is helping me with those as well. And he's a great cheerleader. And then I would also like to just, you know, work on and be diligent to not slip back into any old mindsets. Which I think I'm pretty good at. I think I'm actually not going to but I'm not so foolish to think, oh, I've done this. And now I'm just gonna mosey on along and not think any more about it. I'm daily, intentional about evaluating what I'm doing so that I'm making just cementing in those good habits that I have. 


Leslie  44:44 

And let's see, what else would I like to do? One thing I'm you know, it's just part of the process also is learning what makes up macro balanced food choices, because if I move away from foods that I ate breakfast, the same breakfast, maybe the same two or three things, you know, every day just it's easy, and it's Yeah, but think about it, but I really need to learn what foods you know, in the accountability ledger of your food for the day, there's going to be you might go to lunch spontaneously with a girlfriend, so I kind of need to know more macro balance choices to make out. So I'm working on those things. So that I'm not derailed if something like that were to happen if a girlfriend said, hey, let's go out for coffee, oh my gosh, what you know, and then freak out. I don't want to freak out, I want to have control over what I'm doing and know what I'm choosing when I'm out. So I'm in that process of learning, macro balanced foods at this point. 


Amber B  45:49  

So good. So fun. Well, Leslie, it's been so exciting to be able to share this with everybody on the podcast. Thank you so, so much for coming on. Talking about your experience, and sharing your wisdom. I know it's gonna make a difference for the women listening.


Leslie  46:05

I hope so. Thank you so much, Amber, for having me, it's been an honor. And hopefully, I made some sense and can encourage other people especially Yeah, absolutely do the reverse. It's you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by doing it.


Amber B  46:21    

So good. 


Amber B  46:23   

Wasn't that just a bomb awesome episode? I really loved what Leslie had to say about some of her fears. And some of the real, the real things, the real behind the scenes that happened during a reverse. It can seem like eating more is, you know, ones can be scary, right? Because we have this idea that eating more means gaining weight, but to that really real phenomenon that she talks about, of getting to the place where it's hard to eat that much food. And that's a real issue that a lot of people run into with a reverse. And I'm just so grateful that Leslie was willing to come on and share her experience and be an example of what's possible for you. 


Amber B  47:01  

So many women are stuck in the cycle of eating less and less and less. And that's what society tells us that if you just eat less, you just need to eat less, and you just need to move more. And that is the secret sauce to being able to get the body that you want. And it's not true. It's leaving out some of the parts of the process that are the most important. And one of those really important parts is the reverse diet. And we talked about it, but I just want to say it one more time here that the reverse diet is not a detour. It's not backtracking, it is actually the path that is actually gonna get you where you want to go. It's just like, if you're walking along a path and a storm has come through and knocked a tree in your way, you could sit there and like, try to keep walking and keep hitting the tree, and you're not getting anywhere. And so instead of sitting there and banging your head against the wall and just keep trying to keep walking forward and keep running to this tree. What would happen if you decided to climb over it or go around the tree? We have this idea that you know, that would be getting off the path, I wouldn't be moving towards my goals. But is that really true? Aren't you actually going to where you want to go, you're just moving around the tree so that you can actually get past it. And that's what I really think of reverse dieting as is you can sit there and you can bang yourself against that tree. Thinking that this is the fastest way to get there, I just need to try harder, I just need to keep going. when in actuality for a lot of women, you're just going to spend your wheels doing that, and what would happen if you took the detour and went around the tree, that's actually going to be a lot faster towards the results that you want than just sitting there spinning your wheels. And so hopefully Leslie has sparked some ideas for you about reverse dieting, about the process of what it can look like, and what is possible at the other side of a reverse diet. 


Amber B  48:49  

As always, I totally recommend if you want to dive more into reverse dieting go check out episode 9, Episode 10, and Episode 42. We also have a reverse dieting flow sheet download at just the number nine that you can go and get that free download. That wraps up this episode of biceps after babies radio I'm Amber now go out and be strong because remember my friend you can do anything.



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Macros 101

2 thoughts on “114: Eating 900 Calories MORE In A Reverse Diet with Leslie Spaggiari

  • Emily LundgreenDecember 8, 2020 at 5:00 PM

    It’s funny, I am in the middle of a cut where I’ve lost inches, but not weight. After three months of a cut and listening to this, I’m thinking I need to reverse and maintain for awhile!! Such a good episode!!!

    • AmberDecember 9, 2020 at 8:22 AM

      Remember that inches lost is a sign of fat loss! So just because the scale isn’t going down, doesn’t mean it isn’t working.


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