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Coach Amanda Hart: Expert Input on Reverse Dieting & Weight Loss Recovery

Amanda Hart began her fitness journey as an athlete when she was 12 years old. She started running competitively quite young and happened to be good at it. All through the process, Amanda developed her first eating disorder from participating in bodybuilding. According to Amanda “I am so grateful though for the experience because I learned about reverse dieting and realized how much it’s needed in the fitness space. I learned as much as I could about the process so I could heal myself and others going through the same exact thing.” 

In an interactive session with Women Fitness, Amanda Hart talks about her journey as a health coach, Reverse Dieting & its benefits for repairing and speeding up metabolism. Read on.

Amanda, you are a holistic health coach specializing in fitness, nutrition, and mental health, and reverse dieting & weight loss. Share your journey into the world of fitness.

I began my fitness journey as an athlete at around 12 years old. I started running competitively quite young and happened to be good at it. College was always a dream of mine as no one in my family had gone before me. We grew up very poor so it was always like a far-fetched dream for me to go. Discovering my talent for running early on allowed me to pursue an athletic scholarship for a Division 1 college on Long Island, in New York called Hofstra University. I was not only the captain of my team in high school but also throughout college. 

I graduated with a bachelor of science in public health. I went on to work for equinox fitness clubs in New York City where I worked from 2008-2011. I opened my LLC for private training in 2011 and haven’t looked back since. Today I work with people from all over the world online who want to optimize their body, mind, and spirit.  

My business has evolved from being just fitness-focused to fitness and nutrition, to fitness, nutrition, mental health hygiene, and integrative coaching services. I have my bachelor’s degree as well as various certifications through NASM, (National Academy of Sports Medicine), pre/postnatal fitness with Annette Lang, precision nutrition level one, TRX and kettlebell certifications level one certs, and integrative coaching certifications.

My area of expertise today lies mostly in weight loss and reverse dieting along with integrative coaching services with psilocybin. 

Women in a frenzy to lose weight end up messing up their bodies. Please share your input on how one should approach food tracking without using an app.

Tracking without an app is known as “intuitive eating.” I like to encourage people to first pay attention to their own hunger cues and get to know what exactly hunger is and what that feels like in their bodies. (It feels different for all of us).

My second favorite tip is to practice mindful eating with as many meals throughout the day as possible. So this means putting your fork down between bites, observing the taste, smell, and texture of your food, and most importantly, eating with no distractions.

Try not to eat while on your phone! Digestion starts in the mouth so the better you chew your food, the less bloating and gas you’ll have.

According to your personal experience, how has strength training changed your life? 5 key factors you observed that one needs to adopt while aiming for a bikini body?

A bikini body can be a body of any size or shape – there is no “one size” to fit into a bikini. 

If you’re looking to get into shape, strength training can improve the overall confidence of a woman and empower her to structure her stuff and be proud of her body because of this newfound confidence that typically comes along with lifting.

I personally noticed my confidence increased when I started lifting along with my strength, joint health, and stamina. Lifting weights is shown to increase bone density in women as well which is extremely helpful especially as we age.

What is reverse dieting, how one can implement it to repair and speed up adapter metabolism? Can anyone or everyone follow it?

Reverse dieting is the methodological and strategic process of adding more calories back into your diet in order to speed up your metabolism and essentially get your body/hormones running at their most optimal level again.

Reverse dieting is applicable for people coming out of extreme diets or weight loss challenges who have dropped their calories extremely low and never took them back up to maintenance after the weight loss.

The way we go about the reverse dieting process toally depends on the individual and where they’re starting from.

How far can reverse dieting help menopausal women prevent muscle & bone loss? Tricks to avoid falling back into the dieting trap? Share the ins and outs of reverse dieting.

If you discover you are a good candidate to reverse diet, it may help with increasing bone density by allowing you to gain energy to go to the gym. Many candidates who need to reverse their diet often feel tired and run down because they are not eating enough. Folks often find they are plateauing in the gym and no matter what they do to change their body, nothing seems to work. This is because they often are over-training and undernourishing themselves.

Resistance training is shown to increase bone density and muscle which naturally speeds up the metabolism. This is why I recommend individuals who wish to reverse their diet also commit to a progressive strength training program.

Keep in mind when it comes to reverse dieting you may see the scale weight increase. Your body may change- this is completely expected and normal. I like to remind my clients who are reverse dieting we need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. This is not a season of cutting where you will be looking your leanest- this is a season of healing- Healing your body, metabolism, and possibly your relationship with food. Reverse dieting is an investment in your future self. It’s like Short term sacrifice vs. long-term success.

By committing to slowly increasing calories every week, you will start to speed up your body’s metabolism naturally and help balance your hormones. You have to be patient and stay consistent with the increase weekly though for it to work.

Share input on your daily diet pattern. Amanda, how do you like to kick start your day? 5 foods you like to keep to a minimum?

I like to kick start my day by drinking one liter of water and meditating for 20 minutes. These two things are the non-negotiable habits I have to do daily to feel my best and show up as my highest self every day.

For food, I usually have my OWN shake before I workout with fruit and then lunch post-workout is usually a salad with a protein like fish, eggs, or turkey, and dinner is more or less of the same.

5 foods I like to keep to a minimum:

  1. Processed foods/candy
  2. Soda 
  3. White bread 
  4. Fried foods 
  5. Heavily dressed/creamy foods 
How much protein is enough for a woman and how can one actually consume it without actually using a calculator? What sources of protein do you advise a vegetarian? Also, throw some light on protein powders and supplements.

Women should aim for anywhere between 0.8- 1g of protein per pound of body weight. So if someone weighs 100 pounds, they should try to shoot for 100g of protein a day.

A good way to gauge if you’ve gotten enough is to shoot for a serving or a serving and a half at every meal (25-35g of protein) and then add a high-protein snack on top of that. 

Best sources of protein for vegetarians: 

1. Broccoli
2. Lentils
3. Hemp seeds
4. Chia seeds
5. Nut butter
6. Edamame

Can reverse dieting be helpful for women during pregnancy & postnatal recovery? 5 Food management tips you would like to share?

When women are pregnant, I often tell them to eat intuitively because so many women feel turned on and off by various foods- the most important thing I recommend for pregnant women is to stay hydrated daily and make sure you are eating three meals a day while prioritizing protein and good healthy fats.

The 5 general food tips I like to share for anyone and everyone looking to get “healthy”:

1. Cook for yourself often

2. Drink at least 2 liters of water a day

3. Avoid fried foods or foods that sound heavily dressed

4. Skip the bread basket

5. Limit or omit alcohol

Amanda goes on to add, “Fitness should be a part of your life- not your whole life. Today I coach with this style in mind- I seek to teach my clients about balance and encourage them to set aside the idea that they constantly need to be dieting or eating “perfect” in order to get results. Fitness should be a part of our lives, but not our whole lives.”

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