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Year update
01-03-2016, 08:59 PM
Post: #1
Year update
Hi,

I posted a time or two last year at about this time. I am 23, F, and had previously struggled with eating disorders for 5 years before doing a metabolism reset. Some years ago, I was about 110-115 pounds at 5'8 (imagine). Last year I began weighing something in the low 130s at 5'8 with 17% bodyfat, then was at 150 for a few months throughout this year while I reset and began lifting (that was my all-time highest weight -- it was emotionally difficult, but I learned to love myself!). Now I have stabilized at about 139-140 with a 25% bodyfat.

Now I'll be the first to admit that I didn't follow the guidelines here to a T, and for some months was kind of coasting on auto-pilot --- some of the changes stuck (like making sure I ate consistently), and some of them didn't (I haven't been consuming nearly enough protein, and I did more cardio for some months this summer rather than lifting because my partner is a runner/swimmer and it was fun to do that together). But my main cause for celebration is that I am not preoccupied with food 24/7, I am no longer having binge/restrict cycles, and I actually crave foods that aren't oreos and doritos.

One thing I am wondering about is my spike in body-fat. I have noticed this on me visually and it was just confirmed today with a body-fat reader. Do I need to pay attention to the protein and make sure I'm lifting regularly? I'm guessing that is the reason. I would prefer to shave off a few percentage points though. Does this sound like a reasonable pursuit?

Thanks everyone!
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01-03-2016, 10:10 PM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2016 07:52 AM by AnitraSoto.)
Post: #2
RE: Year update
Wow, that 's a fabulous update! Impressive to have that big of a change in your mental outlook after struggling with eating disorders for years! Major victory!! And being 5'8" stabilizing at 140 pounds sounds perfect!

One of the things that probably helped you the most is the fact that you *did* "coast on auto-pilot". Not stressing over each and every little thing probably played a huge part in your success. So many who come from histories of eating disorders struggle with the mere thought of losing control. They panic at the though of gaining weight, and they revert to their low-calorie ways as soon as they feel as though they are losing control. Putting it on auto-pilot was probably the best thing you could have done for yourself!

The thing to acknowledge is how the body responds to being fed properly after years of being underfed. After years of eating at a steep deficit or going through binge/restrict cycles, the metabolism eventually will down-shift and adapt to this "new normal" level of intake. So, suddenly, what used to be a deficit is now maintenance. The body will also adapt to over-doing the cardio by becoming more efficient at it. Suddenly something that used to require a ton of effort and burn 500 calories suddenly starts to become easier as the body adapts, and before you know it you are burning 250 calories for the exact same exercise. The body has adapted (and NOT in a positive way!) Now a metabolism that was most likely humming along burning 2400 calories a day is suddenly suppressed and may be burning only 1200 calories a day, or less. Calories that were previously delegated to maintaining muscle mass, keeping your skin, nails and hair in good condition, and giving you energy are now in short supply and are diverted to merely keeping you alive and supporting the basic functions (like keeping your heart beating...)

The point of all of that ^^^ is to help you understand that when going through the reset process, the body is going to have to reverse all of that ^^^. When your intake increased, the body is going to put those now *extra* calories to use in several ways; it will start re-building lost bone and muscle, send some calories to your hair and skin, and yes it will store some as fat (just in case you decide to return to those low "starvation" levels again) - thus explaining the spike in body fat...

The easiest way to describe it may to be with a hypothetical situation: Say when you started, before the eating disorders, your metabolism was humming along burning 2400 calories a day, then, as you ate less and less, over time it adapted and down-regulated to burning 1200 calories a day. Now, when you start to re-feed and go through the reset process let's just say you start off by increasing your intake to 1600 calories a day. Suddenly your suppressed metabolism has 400 "extra" calories to "spend". It may use some of them to rebuild lost muscle and bone mass, or send some to your skin and hair, but some of it will most likely be stored as fat. Just in case... Eventually, your metabolism will adapt upwards and start functioning at a higher level, but as you continue to increase your intake at the same time, you will most likely still be eating slightly more than you are burning (and therefore most likely storing a bit of fat). The goal of the reset is to get your metabolism back up and running where it should be so that your *actual* TDEE equals your *calculated* TDEE and it is no longer suppressed.

We always recommend strength training to everybody (unless you have a medical reason not to....) Muscle mass will not only boost your metabolism (as muscle is more metabolically active than fat) but it will also give you the body shape you most likely desire. Strength training during the reset process can be especially beneficial as it is really only possible to gain muscle while eating at or over TDEE (otherwise the body is not receiving enough calories to be able to delegate some of the "extra" to muscle production, it will take care of normal body functions first..) so this period of time eating at TDEE is a great opportunity to actually get a head start on gaining a bit of muscle mass. In contrast, long steady-state cardio (like jogging) can actually tend to break down that muscle mass..

If you are wanting to see a reduction in body fat, I would definitely recommend starting some sort of a periodized strength training program. Cardio should consist mostly of short (20 minute) HIIT-type workouts for maximum fat burning, and less of the long steady-state workouts.

Also, protein is very important for muscle growth and maintenance. Definitely try tracking your intake and make sure you are getting approximately 30% of your daily calories from protein. Make sure each meal is planned around a protein and then just fill in with healthy carbs and fats.

What a great update and the mental changes you have gone through are very impressive! Keep up the great work and please don't wait a year to come back!

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

My EM2WL Journey: http://eatmore2weighless.com/never-too-old-anitra/
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01-04-2016, 10:02 AM
Post: #3
RE: Year update
Thanks! I guess I was ready to stop struggling, and I think having more social support in life also helped me be able to take another path. I understand what you mean about going into auto-pilot or coast mode. Part of me felt like I was slacking off, but maybe after so much dieting and eating disorders, it's a good sign to not obsess.

All of that makes sense. I can see why my body would create fat with the extra calories.

With the periodized strength training program, should I be eating at/above TDEE in order to gain muscle? Is it possible to do that in short bursts? This might be because of my history, but I genuinely don't like the feeling of being overly full or pushing myself to eat more food than I want, especially high-protein and nutrient-dense foods. It's feels painful and tiring. Of course, it's much easier to reach TDEE through ice-cream and such, which doesn't leave me as full. Haha! That leads me to another general issue -- I struggle to eat 120+ grams of protein a day. I think reaching even 100 grams feels difficult. I know this is a common issue though.

Thanks for your kind words! I will definitely be coming back more frequently. It's great to have such a nice community here happy


(01-03-2016 10:10 PM)AnitraSoto Wrote:  Wow, that 's a fabulous update! Impressive to have that big of a change in your mental outlook after struggling with eating disorders for years! Major victory!! And being 5'8" stabilizing at 140 pounds sounds perfect!

One of the things that probably helped you the most is the fact that you *did* "coast on auto-pilot". Not stressing over each and every little thing probably played a huge part in your success. So many who come from histories of eating disorders struggle with the mere thought of losing control. They panic at the though of gaining weight, and they revert to their low-calorie ways as soon as they feel as though they are losing control. Putting it on auto-pilot was probably the best thing you could have done for yourself!

The thing to acknowledge is how the body responds to being fed properly after years of being underfed. After years of eating at a steep deficit or going through binge/restrict cycles, the metabolism eventually will down-shift and adapt to this "new normal" level of intake. So, suddenly, what used to be a deficit is now maintenance. The body will also adapt to over-doing the cardio by becoming more efficient at it. Suddenly something that used to require a ton of effort and burn 500 calories suddenly starts to become easier as the body adapts, and before you know it you are burning 250 calories for the exact same exercise. The body has adapted (and NOT in a positive way!) Now a metabolism that was most likely humming along burning 2400 calories a day is suddenly suppressed and may be burning only 1200 calories a day, or less. Calories that were previously delegated to maintaining muscle mass, keeping your skin, nails and hair in good condition, and giving you energy are now in short supply and are diverted to merely keeping you alive and supporting the basic functions (like keeping your heart beating...)

The point of all of that ^^^ is to help you understand that when going through the reset process, the body is going to have to reverse all of that ^^^. When your intake increased, the body is going to put those now *extra* calories to use in several ways; it will start re-building lost bone and muscle, send some calories to your hair and skin, and yes it will store some as fat (just in case you decide to return to those low "starvation" levels again) - thus explaining the spike in body fat...

The easiest way to describe it may to be with a hypothetical situation: Say when you started, before the eating disorders, your metabolism was humming along burning 2400 calories a day, then, as you ate less and less, over time it adapted and down-regulated to burning 1200 calories a day. Now, when you start to re-feed and go through the reset process let's just say you start off by increasing your intake to 1600 calories a day. Suddenly your suppressed metabolism has 400 "extra" calories to "spend". It may use some of them to rebuild lost muscle and bone mass, or send some to your skin and hair, but some of it will most likely be stored as fat. Just in case... Eventually, your metabolism will adapt upwards and start functioning at a higher level, but as you continue to increase your intake at the same time, you will most likely still be eating slightly more than you are burning (and therefore most likely storing a bit of fat). The goal of the reset is to get your metabolism back up and running where it should be so that your *actual* TDEE equals your *calculated* TDEE and it is no longer suppressed.

We always recommend strength training to everybody (unless you have a medical reason not to....) Muscle mass will not only boost your metabolism (as muscle is more metabolically active than fat) but it will also give you the body shape you most likely desire. Strength training during the reset process can be especially beneficial as it is really only possible to gain muscle while eating at or over TDEE (otherwise the body is not receiving enough calories to be able to delegate some of the "extra" to muscle production, it will take care of normal body functions first..) so this period of time eating at TDEE is a great opportunity to actually get a head start on gaining a bit of muscle mass. In contrast, long steady-state cardio (like jogging) can actually tend to break down that muscle mass..

If you are wanting to see a reduction in body fat, I would definitely recommend starting some sort of a periodized strength training program. Cardio should consist mostly of short (20 minute) HIIT-type workouts for maximum fat burning, and less of the long steady-state workouts.

Also, protein is very important for muscle growth and maintenance. Definitely try tracking your intake and make sure you are getting approximately 30% of your daily calories from protein. Make sure each meal is planned around a protein and then just fill in with healthy carbs and fats.

What a great update and the mental changes you have gone through are very impressive! Keep up the great work and please don't wait a year to come back!
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01-04-2016, 12:51 PM
Post: #4
RE: Year update
In order to gain muscle you will need to be eating at or above TDEE (otherwise the body will not have those extra calories to allot to muscle building...). Yes, you definitely can do this in "short bursts" ... Since you are really just looking to reduce fat and not necessarily lose weight I would just concentrate on trying to keep your intake fairly close to TDEE and then when you do cut, keep those cuts small (10%).

Generally, most people try to cut for anywhere from 4 - 8 weeks and then return and take a TDEE "diet break" for at least a week, and very often longer. You can never really go wrong by eating at TDEE. It will allow you to build muscle as well as continually "reminding" your metabolism that it will be fed and not subjected to the low calorie diets of the past. You don't want to stay at a deficit for too long because the body will quickly adapt to this level of intake, and that is not what you want after working so hard to get it where it is now!

Yes, it's definitely easier to get all of those calories in when eating ice cream, but do try to pay attention to your macros (or at least make sure you are getting close to that 30% protein goal...) Are you on Pinterest? If you are, we have a whole board there dedicated to nothing but High Protein Recipe Ideas. It's a great place for inspiration and a reminder that there are lots of protein sources out there that aren't necessarily chicken breast and eggs.

https://www.pinterest.com/em2wl/high-pro...ipe-ideas/

So glad to hear back from you and please don't be a stranger --- we love hearing about everyone's experiences and sharing stories!

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

My EM2WL Journey: http://eatmore2weighless.com/never-too-old-anitra/
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