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Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
08-14-2015, 10:53 AM
Post: #1
Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
I am new to the community and started my metabolism reset in early July! I copied this down from another post so I wouldn't have to rewrite my history so sorry for the repetition!

My path to EM2WL

I'm 28 years old and 5'7". About 5-6 years ago I dropped 10-15 lbs down to around 130 and loved it. However, I did it by eating too little. For the last few years I've been going from eating "normal" at around 1500-1600 calories to "dieting" at around 1000-1200 calories back and forth. None of which was enough food.

Earlier this year when I finished my masters I was finding it harder and harder to keep this weight off and actually started to gain some back to around 135-136. I just didn't understand why I was gaining weight and was bigger than some of my friends that ate like crap when I thought I was doing everything right. I blamed it on genetics and a host of other things including thinking that maybe my metabolism was getting slower as I approached 30. That's when I started doing some more research that landed me here.

When I read the starvation study page on this site it was like a whole light went off in my head. Especially from realizing I had a lot of the same symptoms as the men in the study (cold all the time, dry skin, anxious, drinking lots of caffeine, chewing a lot of gum, etc).

EM2WL Journey so Far!

I started my metabolism reset in early July. This was a really hard decision to make, especially because I knew I would gain weight during bikini season. Luckily I have an amazing boyfriend that has been very sweet and supportive of the process.

I slowly increased my daily calories about 100-200 calories a week and have only been allowing myself on the scale once a week on Friday mornings.

The first week I only gained 2 lbs to 138, the second week I gained 0.6 lbs, and the 3rd only 0.2 lbs! This was actually encouraging considering I thought I would gain a lot more and was proof that my body really needed this. It was also cool that it was a smaller and smaller increase every week!

However, this week was the first I was at my TDEE and I gained another 4 lbs and I am up to 143!! I almost cried. Neverthless, I am trying really hard to remind myself that there are a few things that could have factored into the larger increase. 1. It's that time of the month and there is probably a lot of water weight going on! 2. I didn't watch my macros as well this week. 3. This was the first week I was up to my TDEE. 4. I ate more sugar than usual and may have gone over my TDEE a couple of days (I didn't track as well in general).

OK so lesson learned that the macros really matter!

Its really difficult to not want to start a cut now but I know that I need to stay at my TDEE for at least another 8 weeks. Its hard with the social events coming up to not want to be skinny for them (weddings, Halloween, etc.) but I am really trying to stay positive and think of the long term goals!

I'd love to hear some encouragement or people with similar stories who did end up losing again!
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08-14-2015, 11:00 AM
Post: #2
RE: Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
Some more info about my TDEE and workouts!

I worked my way from around 1200 a day to more like 1800 to 2100 depending on how much I work out. I have a really nice Polar M400 watch that monitors my daily movement and I can even strap in a heart rate monitor for workouts to get a more accurate calorie reading. It even tells me how much of the day is sitting vs standing vs walking and active time. The only thing I don't like about it is its kind of bulky and not very pretty for work. But I wear it anyway because its the most accurate - more so than the fitbit.

For workouts, I get bored easily so I change it up! For strength I've been doing the 5x5 app that is incorporating heavy weights. I do that about 2 times a week usually. I also like yoga, hot yoga, and barre workouts. Then I do the occasional long walk. I've been doing less cardio than I used to because I am in the metabolism reset phase. I'll add cardio back in when I start my first cut.

I will do 7 more weeks at my TDEE paying more attention to the macros and getting enough protein. Then I will try the 10% cut and see what happens! Wish me luck!
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08-14-2015, 11:42 AM
Post: #3
RE: Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
(08-14-2015 10:53 AM)kfbattle Wrote:  Its really difficult to not want to start a cut now but I know that I need to stay at my TDEE for at least another 8 weeks.

Hi, welcome happy

I'm new to this process myself, but my understanding is at least 12 weeks once you've found your TDEE, so the weeks building up to that wouldn't really count Undecided I would take the readings from any band etc with a pinch of salt and test it out. Im currently eating 200 cals above the suggested TDEE of my band big grin

I'm in this for the long haul and not rushing anything and once you have got your head round eating more and look at long term trends is half the battle wink Enjoy the process and i'm sure you'll succeed happy
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08-14-2015, 02:03 PM
Post: #4
RE: Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
Thanks West! Glad there are so many others to talk to on here that are going through the same thing!

I am going to stick it out another 7 weeks and see how I feel. If my weight has evened out and I feel ready for it (energy levels high and not feeling overly full or bloated anymore) I will try just a 10% cut and see how it goes. Also, will never do a cut more than 6 weeks as suggested and always break it up with a week at TDEE! The metabolism reset guide here on the site says a minimum of 8-12 weeks. So I'll try 8 and will extend it if I need to! I am also doing other things to try to get my metabolism up like eating 5 meals a day, including an early morning meal to get my metabolism started and doing more heavy weights to built muscle mass.

The first couple of weeks were terrible! I felt extremely full all the time and I felt like I was forcing food down my throat. But in just 4 weeks I already feel like my relationship with food is extremely better. I'm a lot hungrier more often and a lot less bloated. I've allowed myself to eat things that I haven't in years. I eat full eggs instead of just egg whites... I've had cheese, and bread, and even cookies! All in moderation of course. I'm realizing that things I used to crave (like sweets, chips, bread) I just don't crave as much anymore because my body is being fed the nutrients it needs. For example, I got a snack sleeve of oreos and didn't even want to finish it, which would have never happened before. When I was dieting the unhealthy way, I felt like my stomach was a never ending pit and could eat all day (binge alert!). Now I get full a lot faster and don't feel guilty allowing myself to eat what I like. More importantly, I am better able to stop when I am full!
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08-14-2015, 03:43 PM
Post: #5
RE: Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
You really want to stick it out the 12 full weeks at TDEE if you can, particularly as you state you've been doing low cal dieting for quite a while - otherwise you might just undo all the hard work you are doing.

You won't build muscle while you are doing this though the weight lifting will help you maintain the muscle you have (unless you get newbie gains). If you are into weight lifting it's a fabulous way to work your body and make some good changes.

I do want you to realise that even with your weight gain, you are still at a healthy weight. So losing to fit a specific weight may be tough to do. I'm not saying this to discourage you but to just be real. You might just want to think about losing a touch of weight but really focusing on recomposing your body thought weight lifting. (I'm 5'6" at 145lb and am pretty much doing that). BUT, you know your body and for some, a lower weight works out fine.

The other thing to remember is that you shouldn't compare yourself to others - we all have different bodies that are meant to be built different ways. None are better than the other. I bet you look a lot better than you even imagine - I know when I look back at myself when I was 'dieting' that I thought I was fat and yet I wasn't.

Anyway - I also want to say congratulations on starting this journey and welcome to the group. You will get great advice, hear things you want to and some you might not, but always in support!
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08-14-2015, 06:23 PM
Post: #6
RE: Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
Hi mrsukyankee! Thanks for the congrats!

Thanks for the advice! I will definitely consider taking the full 12 weeks for my metabolism reset! The urge to rush is there, but I am definitely trying to take this journey slow and do it the right way! The first 4 weeks went by pretty fast so it wouldn't kill me to add another 4!

I know I am not overweight and my goal is not necessarily to lose weight but to lose body fat and become more lean in order to fit back into my size 4 clothes the healthy way! I know what size (not weight) feels good for me and even if it takes a long time, I'd like to get back there without starving myself happy I understand to gain muscle you need to be eating over your TDEE (thanks to reading forums on as well) and I may consider doing a "bulking" phase in order to do that as well. I am paying much more attention to how I feel and these extra pounds definitely don't feel good or right for my body. The extra chaffing especially wink

Nevertheless, I do feel like I am gaining some muscle - I can definitely tell there is more muscle in my shoulders, thighs, and butt. This could definitely be newbie gains and just lucky because I only started lifting heavier weights about 2-3 months ago. I am well aware that I will probably hit a plateau in muscle gains without doing a bulk phase. There is also an option to do 100-200 calories over my TDEE like West to hopefully gain more muscle during the metabolic reset. Thoughts on that?

Ultimately I'd like to get down to around 15% BF and around 125lbs. That is still in a healthy range and considered an Athletic build for women. I actually don't know what BF% I am now - my scale seems to be wrong so I bought some calipers - updates on that eventually!I'd also like to get down to this so I can start rock climbing again. Its hard to hold yourself up on a rock with a lot of extra weight!

I am well aware that this is an ambitious goal and may not be possible for my body (the healthy way). But it's worth trying and nothing is going to stop me from doing it the healthiest way possible! happy
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08-14-2015, 08:46 PM
Post: #7
RE: Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
Yay for starting a Journal! It's so nice to have all the info/stats about people in one simple-to-refer-back-on thread.

Yes, like advised above, you will really want to consider doing at least 12 weeks at TDEE prior to cutting, We recommend a minimum of 8 - 12 weeks, with the 8 week end of the spectrum for those who have spent very little time at VCLDing or those who simply want to find and/or confirm their TDEE. Any more lengthy history of restricted intake really requires the full 12 (or longer) weeks. Take that cut too soon and you will just be spinning your wheels and have to return to maintenance to give it some more time.

Another thing you might want to consider is actually testing out your TDEE rather than relying on calculators on an on-body device. Have you seen our Metabolism Reset Guide? If not, it can be found on the Home Page under the Start Here tab. That guide walks you step by step through the entire reset process. It is entirely possible that your Polar watch could be under-estimating your daily burns. It's always worth the time to make sure you are eating enough...

Looking forward to updates!

Anitra Soto
Team EM2WL
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer
ISSA Certified Specialist in Senior Fitness

My EM2WL Journey:
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08-16-2015, 04:46 AM
Post: #8
RE: Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
Question, but are you trying to become a fitness model or bodybuilder doing competitions? Because honestly, that's the typical body fat percentage for people who are in the midst of doing this during competition times - they don't even stay there for longer than a few months. A healthier body fat percentage for adult women to aim for which is still achievable and still very lean is more in the 18-22%. Under that can be very unhealthy to maintain for a long period of time, particularly for your bones.
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08-28-2015, 02:30 PM (This post was last modified: 08-28-2015 02:34 PM by kfbattle.)
Post: #9
RE: Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
Hey guys! Thanks for the replies!

To give an update - I've been sticking around 143lbs for the last couple of weeks so it seems like I am about spot on with the TDEE measurements. This week I tested it out and ate a little more than my TDEE and gained another pound to 144 so I think I was spot on the 2 weeks before that! I'll keep testing over the next few weeks to make sure my calculators are right. I finally got some measuring tape and a body fat caliper so I can get some accurate measurements to look for Non-Scale victories!

Here is a big non-scale victory! Even though my weight has jumped up about 14lbs from my "comfortable" weight (130), I have only increased about 3-4% body fat. Which means I really have been gaining some muscle and probably some water weight back to fuel those muscles! It turns out my scale is actually pretty accurate in judging body fat % because it matched my calipers almost exactly. Is there any way to figure out how much of the lbs was muscle? I'm sure if I think hard enough I can do the math.

When I was around 130-132 I was around 19.5% body fat. Now it says I am at 22.5% body fat. Last time I weighed this much in college I was definitely more like 25-27% body fat so I am definitely more lean than I was back then! This is a great non-scale victory! I can definitely tell I am gaining muscle in my shoulders, thighs, and butt, so yay for weight lifting!

As for your question about fitness or bikini modelling. No, I am not interested in competing right now (possibly in the future!), but I am more interested in being that lean for the various athletics I like to do. Honestly I'd be happy at the weight I was before (around 130) if I was stronger and could become better at the athletics I like to do. Rock climbing takes a lot of strength and being leaner and lighter really helps holding yourself up. Most rock climber women look like they are in the 15-20% range to me. The same goes for yoga. I am very into yoga and becoming leaner, lighter, and stronger really helps with balancing and strength poses. Everything I have read says that anything above around 14% is still healthy for women. 10-13% is where our essential fat range is and what we need at a minimum to be healthy.

Maintaining in the athletic range is not unhealthy in my opinion and the research varies on this so you can choose what you want. The majority of the people in my family are in the athletic range and I have an extremely healthy and long living family - all of my grandparents lived to their 90s and were very lean and didn't have bone issues because they were athletic (tennis and runners mostly). Part of this is genetic and part of this is eating healthy (calcium) and exercise (particularly weights).

Like I said before - this is a goal and if it wont be possible for my body then that is ok. I will follow the plan and if it only gets me half way to my goal then so be it. I wont go back to the low calorie dieting again. I wasn't anorexic before - I hated eating that little - I was just misinformed with so many sites saying that eating that little was what I was supposed to do to be healthy. I am so grateful for the freedom and enlightenment this has given me.

On that note - I'd appreciate if these posts would stick to being encouraging instead of discouraging me from my goals. Just because i'm already in a healthy weight range doesn't mean that I cant continue to strive for more athleticism and continue to work towards goals in a healthy way. Everyone is different and I know what feels good for my body. What feels good to you may not be what I want or what gets me to my athletic goals even if we are similar stats. Everyone's body and goals are different.
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08-29-2015, 06:01 AM
Post: #10
RE: Katie's Journey from Low Cal Diets and Binging to Health!
I wasn't trying to be discouraging just trying to make sure you are doing due dilligence. The majority of athletes with strong bodies do have around 17-22% body fat. You may come from a family that naturally holds onto less fat and it's easier for you to maintain healthily under 17%. It's very rare to be able to do that without starving. Most female fitness models maintain around 17-20% most of the year and then go down for comps.

I'll support you in doing everything in a healthy manner, even if it's not something I would do myself. What I was trying to also say is that as you are in a healthy range, it means you could do this the slower way, eat at a smaller deficit and lose fat that way rather than a larger deficit. It might take longer but you'll maintain your muscle better, which, if you are a rock climber, is very important.
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