Why Low Calorie Diets Cause Weight Gain

In this post, you’ll see:

  • Why diet failure isn’t your fault
  • What is really going on when you stop losing weight
  • How you can lose weight by increasing calories
  • Ways the quality of your diet matter

You’ve been there.

Following a plan that’s supposed to get you lean.

At first, you drop a few pounds.

You cut calories just about as low as you can handle while battling with intense hunger, and severe cravings, but then for some reason, when that fat that should be shifting – it starts going nowhere.

And you feel desperate, disheartened, and like you’re a dieting failure.

But wait –

It’s NOT Your Fault!

See, that’s the problem with fad diets. These diets say they are designed to get you shredded, strip away stubborn fat and give you the body of your dreams – but they are actually the cause of your lack of progress.

In fact, not only are they sabotaging your results, they’re solely responsible for you rebounding and gaining weight.

Your Body is Adapting

In this world of calorie-counting and cutting portion sizes, it’s easy to believe that simply lowering your calorie intake will result in weight loss, and help you torch body fat.

But this isn’t the case.

In reality, your body adapts and compensates for this low-calorie intake by burning less.

when to eat carbs for weight loss

By slashing your calorie intake, your body descends into survival mode and tries to store everything you eat, meaning you’ll never burn fat.

Here’s how it works –

Eat Less = Burn Less

But the reality is that there is a better way…

Eat More = Burn More

I’m not saying that suddenly switching to a high-calorie diet of donuts, pizzas, and pretzels is going to get you shredded, but eating more nutrient-dense, healthy foods may well be the answer to your fat loss prayers.

By giving it more whole foods, it’s primed to kick your metabolism into overdrive.

How do I know this works?

I was in the same boat.

During my journey where I lost 27 pounds of pure fat, I hit a wall.

That was when I thought that calories were all that mattered, and that low-calorie diets were “the answer.”

But guess what I did…

I started eating MORE calories from MORE whole-foods … and smashed that plateau, eventually reaching 8% body fat.

How to Increase Your Calories to Lose Weight

As much as low-calorie diets are bad news for weight loss, you can’t just double or triple your calorie intake and expect to see progress.

In fact, such a huge jump up will almost inevitably result in a lot of fat gains.

It’s all about increasing your intake slowly and surely, to where your TDEE should be for your goals.

That’s why just jumping up a few hundred calories doesn’t work unless you know the numbers you should be hitting to get to your goal.

There is a precise equation for not only figuring out where you are now, but where you should be and what macro (protein, fats, and carbs) ration is right for you.

If you want a hand with this, check out my custom meal planning service.

best time to eat carbs for muscle growth

It takes all the guesswork out of it, and my team of experts and I ensure that we maximize your calorie intake as you get lighter, leaner, fitter and send your energy levels through the roof.

You’ll be eating the correct amount of calories for your fat loss goals. And, you might just be surprised how much food you are supposed to be eating.

You know what else that means?

No starving on this meal plan!

For details on my world-class meal planning service.

A Higher Quality Diet

Another HUGE point is that the calories you add have to be quality calories.

We’re talking complex carbohydrates like rice, sweet potato, and quinoa. This also includes lean meats and oily fish as well as nuts and seeds. And of course – fruits and vegetables.

These will fuel performance, stoke your metabolism, and contribute to burning more calories.

Moral of the Story…

Food is fuel.

You’re like a car.

Think of your body as a fine specimen of sports car, like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini – you wouldn’t drive one of these beauties around with just dregs left in the gas tank, or full of low-quality fuel, would you?

You should treat your body with the same respect.

To perform at your peak, and allow your body to lose fat, you have to eat enough, and make sure that it’s nutritious wholesome food.
Remember –

Eat more – burn more

And of course –

Be patient.

Stay the course.

And let’s get fit, together.

For extra tips, hints, and a little more on how I’m currently losing fat faster than ever while eating over 3,000 calories per day, check out the video above!

And for help putting it all together, the calories, the right foods, and the right ratio of macros you can get on your own Custom Meal Plan and off your crash diet. Turn your crash diet into fast fat loss and lasting results.

Meet Michael Morelli, founder of Morellifit! Michael has always been involved in fitness (and believe it or not was once even a very competent magician), but the journey to where he is now is an uncommon one. Always a big believer in hard work, Michael set up a successful retail business after dropping out... read more


  1. Roberta says:

    Hi Michael how r u? First of all I just want say your great! U really motivate me! So u have a question about this video:
    I bought you HIITMAX program about a month ago, been doing it about 3-4x a week, and been doing the car cycle like u though in one of your videos, increase my whole food intake and decrease my carbs( rice, wheat toast etc), SO, after all that I JUMP in the scale this week and guess WHAT? I GAIN WEIGHT, wasn’t I suppose to loose it? 🙁
    I need your input, cz I might be doing something wrong and thinking I’m doing right! Bdw I am 33yrs old, 6’5″, 170lb and I eat about 1400 cal a day and my BMR is 1549!
    Please help me!

    • Weighing yourself diesbt determine anything. You probably gained muscles and muscles weigh more than fat. Best way to to measure your body fat using a caliper.

    • You might have gain weight due to muscle, and there is a difference between muscle gain and weight gain. You need to check which of the two you gain.

    • Are your clothes fitting differently though? Do you see a difference in the mirror? Too many people depend on the scale and the scale only but when working out you also build muscle which burns fat and muscle weighs more then fat. So in your case you may have been burning fat but in return also building muscle which won’t reflect on the scale but would start changing the appearance of your body. One of the best things to do is take measurements and pictures before you start and check those periodically instead of depending solely on the scale which might not always reflect the work you put in and the changes your body is making.

      • Roberta says:

        Thank Michael for your response. Yes I do see a little difference on pics and clothes, but not as much I though would be, to be honest with you! But do you think 1400 cal is okay for me to eat??

  2. Hi Michael. ..am a big fan of getting fit and am in china and as you know the currency is chinese yuan …so i just wanted to know if you receive payments in my currency or is it just dollars …because I want your services but then my bank cards are all chinese yuan.

  3. I just love your videos. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Hey! Just wanted to said thank you for all these good info. GOD bless you!

  5. I am interested in your meal plan program. However, I am a very picky eater. Do you set a meal plan on foods that I am familiar with?

  6. Eugene sobers says:

    Hi Michael you ok. I’m a personal trainer living in the UAE. I enjoy my job and it gives me great pleasure when my clients hit there targets. However it saddens me when they don’t hit there targets too. Michael could you please answer the guy who stated that he didn’t loose any weight, your answer would be useful to me as I’m considering directing people to your diet strategy.

  7. Hi Michael!
    I lost 27 pounds over the course of a month 4 years ago using MediFast. Ever since then I’ve maintained a regular workout schedule, always eat sensibly and have been pretty happy with my appearance and more importantly how I feel. I am still hovering in the double-digits of body fat % and would like to lose a final 10-15 pounds to get to a lean as I’d like.

    The problem has been that I have hit this exact wall that you talk about in this video. Clean eating, Paleo, flexible dieting, intermittent fasting, etc. and I’m still stuck at the same body fat% (weight has gone up due to muscle mass). I finally broke down and ordered 2 weeks of MediFast yesterday but just came across this….

    I’d love to cancel the medifast and go with your custom meal plan but I have question, since I’m the CEO of a startup so time is limited for me. Meal prep, etc isn’t realistic right now. Can you do a custom meal plan to help me break through this wall and have it more flexible dieting/IIFYM based?

    Thanks in advance!

  8. hi,mb,how r u,i thnk fine.first thanku for keep touch with me,useful information thanks

  9. Clarissa says:

    Hey Michael! My husband and I quit doing macros about 7 weeks ago, from which we got amazing results, but we’re tired of micromanaging our crazy life’s! We just purchased your hiit max and 6 pack an program and I was just wondering if we can get the same, if not better results, following your advise with higher calorie intake and whole foods? Thank you for your time 🙂

  10. Hi
    I recently purchased the Hiitmax training programme, I am yet to start :/!.. However I have been following the food list.
    And I’ve noticed I’m feeling nauseous often.
    Maybe I’m consuming to much protein?
    I weigh 145 lbs, how much protein should I consume daily?

  11. Hi Michael,
    i want to purchase your hiitmax but i was wondering if it is a disc set that comes in the mail or how does it work. I went to purcahse it but noticed it just asked for CC and email then place order? Help!
    Thank You

    • Everything is sent to your email and is it’s all downloadable. It comes with the following:

      -Training Guide
      -Abs guide
      -Nutrition prescription
      -Macro list and grocery guide
      -BMR calculator
      -Food and training journal
      -20 instructional videos on how to perform each exercise
      -6 exclusive mixes from @FitBeatz everything is downloadable across all your devices

  12. Hi Michael! I bought your meal plan about a month ago and am starting it today. I have been hesitant to start bc the calorie intake is so much more than I currently eat. Right now I’ve been anywhere from 500-1000cals depending on the day. Should I increase by 100 each week or start at like 1200 and then increase to my meal plan goals (low carb days 1700, etc)..I lost about 40 lbs about 3 yrs ago by cutting my cals to 500 a day (I know it was unhealthy), maintained that wt for a yr and then gained back 15lb. I have been trying to lose again for a while and the low calorie is no longer working for me. I’ve just been low cal for so long it scares to to jump right into the meal plan which is 1700-2000. I’d really appreciate your input! Thanks 🙂

  13. I have 2 kids,3 and 7. Is it possible to loose that little baby belly and have the skin against muscle tone i want?! I just started following you on youtube and have been reading your site. Your so inspiring! <3 thank you!

  14. Dear Michael,

    When you say “eat 1500 calories” is that what you will consume in total or do you eat the extra calories you burn during exercise?
    Example: A total of 2000 calories in – 500 calories burned during exercise?

  15. Desiree says:

    Hi Michael, I’ writing in on behalf of my 19yr okd daughter. She has always been overweight fir no apparent reason. She is 1 of 4 children, and ate the same way everyone else did but continually packed on the pounds. At 10 yrs of age she started her menstral cycle. Her doctirs were unconcerned and regused to check tbyroid ot hormone levels. They told me to just krep her active. Which as a petsonal trainer I was very much active with my children. Swimming, kickboxing, bicycle rides, hiking, skating, hip hop dance. You name it, my kids and I were doing it. She became serious about gitness and wresling in Jr High and tbrough high school. Although she trained hard, her weight at its liwedt was 135 and she is 5’2. Most if her weight us in her mid section. Finally after abt 5 yrs on a 5-6 day a week workout routine, including resistance training, hiit, carfio machines, yoga, & running without results. I demanded her doctors trest her tyroid & hormone levels, they and said everything is normal. Im not convinced! Nutrition is on point and I cant understand whats going on! I do the same things as her and at 44 I see my results within weeks of trying new things with her. Please help

  16. Jessika says:

    Quick question for you: If I am losing weight on a 1300 calorie diet (very slowly), do you still recommend increasing calories to about 1500, or wait until I plateau?
    I am 5’4″ 117lbs, goal is to lose fat, gain lean muscle. Have been working out a couple times a week for about 8 weeks, and I just bought Hiitmax

    • Yes I would…eating the right foods from the macro list in HIIT Max at a higher calorie will be great for your goals. Try and stay within those foods on the list.

  17. hi!
    I follow you on Instagram and do most of your workouts on there. I am not a hiit max client but I did get your free 30 day trial and crushed it! So thank you for that.
    Let me tell you first, I have Crohn’s disease so I cannot have any raw fruits and veggies, no salads, nuts or seeds , and only red meat occasionally. I’ve been trying to carb cycle these past few weeks but don’t feel like I’m eating enough at all. I’m not trying to lose weight just trying to get strong(and see my abs:) ) I weigh 108 and I’m 4’11. I’m suppose to eat around 1350 but on my low carb days I usually eat about 900-1000. On low days I’m only eating 50-60 grams of carbs , 40 fats and about 100 protein. On high days I eat a little over 100 carbs and about the same of fats and protein. I’ve been noticing a difference but I’m always so bloated. I lift heavy weights, do hiit and run 2-3 miles 3 days a week Am I eating enough? Or training too much?
    Thanks for all your help!

  18. You did a custom meal plan for me, and here you are saying 1200 calories isn’t enough. but on my
    meal plan my low carb day is only about 1100 calories total, about 1300 medium and about 1400 high. why would this be my custom meal plan if you are saying here that this is not enough? please let me know, thanks

  19. i get the food aspect. I need to know how many calories should I be burnings throughout the day. Also how do I do this when I work third shift please let me know thanks .

  20. Mickael says:

    Hi Michael, I’m watching all your videos and reading every single post that you have done and I like it well done! I am 33yrs old, 5ft 8.9 and 175lbs and I eat about 1900cal a day.
    My BMR is around 1900cal. I have a question, I go to the gym since last september and I’m getting some weight now (muscle) but not enought for me and I would like to know if I should eat more. Following your tips I started to carb cycling with high carb, med carb and no carb day. Should I eat 100/150cal more per week also with carb cycling to help me to achieve my goal?
    Thanks for your answer

  21. hi Michael,
    i have gain weight after my pregnancy …..since i start my diet i find out their is no change at all and i have been eating only fruits in 80% of my meal…but now i read your website …..and am interested to try…. 6.5inch and my weight 165.35 lb i need help i don’t feel good for my self..I NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE

    • That’s your biggest mistake eating 80% fruits. You’re eating a ton of sugar all day everyday which is going to hinder any weight loss efforts. Let me design you a custom meal plan which we break down exactly what you should be eating and when based on your goals. For more info check out http://www.custommealplans.co

  22. surat dukungan online says:

    some great article this actually answered my drawback thanks i am so grateful for your article post thanks for sharing this


  23. Michael, I am someone who doesn’t eat much at all and is scared to eat a lot because I fear weight gain. I am 6 feet tall 165lbs and wanting to lose more weight, or get toned. I would say I consume maybe 900 calories oper day at most. If I do this plan will I gain a lot of weight at first?

    • Jen, you’re under-eating and I wouldn’t be surprised if you were at a plateau or standstill in your efforts to lose weight. The body will lose weight in the form of muscle when in that kind of deficit and then halt. Your body will not and cannot healthfully lose its stored fat when in such a severe deficit because its smart enough to know that its being starved and makes adjustments to slow metabolism by reducing skeletal muscle in order to survive. In order to lose weight you need to provide your body with enough nutrients and energy to allow it to build up muscle (which elevates metabolism) and burn its stored energy (fat). The secret is eating slightly more than BMR and 200-500 calories below TDEE, alternating caloric intake – Carb cycling is the best way to do this. I hope this helps you

  24. does this go for females? do you have to put in exercise? is it for 11 year olds?

    • Its for everyone. Most people under eat and eat the wrong things. This Blog is to bring awareness to that. OF course adding exercise to a great eating regimen is encouraged as it will greatly enhance your bodies ability to burn fat by amping your metabolism and also improving health.

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