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Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
03-30-2016, 05:35 PM
Post: #1
Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
For most of my life, I was the fat kid that everyone teased.

And no wonder: I grew up eating things like hot dogs wrapped in bread with a side of chips for lunch and Pop-Tarts and chocolate milk for a bedtime snack. We only had vegetables at dinner time, and then again, sometimes not, if my mom made chili or soup or sloppy joes. I come from a family where corn is considered a vegetable.

Ironically, I have always loved vegetables since I was very young. When I was 2 or 3 I asked my mom to get a head of broccoli, and when she didn't react fast enough, I asked the lady next to us to get it for me instead!

I also wasn't very active as a kid, aside from playing badminton in our front yard. As a young kid my asthma was terrible, and running or exercising hard would trigger an attack. It took three trips to urgent care to convince my PE teachers I wasn't just a lazy fat kid faking a medical condition.

By eighth grade I had had enough with being the one targeted by bullies for my weight. (It didn't help that I had glasses and braces too, and had a rolling backpack.) So I decided I was going to clean up my diet, start walking, lose the weight, and get skinny so they'd leave me alone - and maybe, just maybe, I'd finally like myself.

Long story short, my diet plan turned into a full blown eating disorder by the time I was a freshman in high school. I exercised so much and ate so little that I was hospitalized after a session with a therapist. I spent my birthday in the hospital, and Easter in a closed ward in Berkeley for treating eating disorders.

I recovered, but have had relapses several times, usually triggered by stress. Things seemed fine for a while until a few years ago, when I got entangled in an abusive relationship. My weight mushroomed due to stress and lack of access to healthy foods and the gym.

I got myself out, and decided I wanted to lose the excess weight as a way to symbolically shed that horrible experience. So I slashed calories down to 1200 and ramped up the exercise, doing 12 hours a week. I was a machine.

And my weight refused to budge.

I had more success when I first found EM2WL and got the courage to bump my intake up slowly to 1500 and started doing Body Pump. Then my success stalled as 1500 no longer satisfied me, and I found myself bingeing on peanut butter, crackers, cereal, you name it, I stuffed it in my face.

I re-discovered EM2WL in January, and decided what the hell, why not try it. Nothing else seems to work. I read through the site a bit, found the metabolism reset guide, decided that with my history I should try it, and bumped my calories up to 1600 and then 1700, and cut my exercise down to 8-10 hours a week.

Eating feels so good! So does spending more time living my life than running on a treadmill. I am not sorry I chose to do this. happy
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03-30-2016, 06:35 PM
Post: #2
RE: Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
Metabolism Reset Woes

So, I am 4 weeks into my reset and have regained all the weight I initially lost. The scale used to say 110 or 111, and once, 109. Now it's more like 114, and today, 118.

I admit that I am feeling disheartened. What am I doing wrong? Is 1700 calories too much for me? I am 5'0, 28 years old, and I do 4-5 hours of weight training and 4-5 hours of steady state cardio a week.

I've been told to reduce cardio, or do HIIT a few times a week, but I must confess: I hate HIIT cardio workouts. I do not enjoy feeling like I can't breathe or I'm going to pass out. My asthma is more under control than when I was a kid, but nothing triggers it faster than getting too winded, and HIIT does that to me in minutes. Maybe I am doing it wrong? I don't know. But until I can do more troubleshooting, steady state it is. I like walking and coasting along on the elliptical. It feels like a massage on my knees. And I get to watch TV shows on my Kindle Fire. big grin

Plus I am terrified at the idea of reducing or quitting cardio. In the past, that was how I got lean: 6 hours of cardio a week, 3 hours of light weights, and 1600 calories.

I also have a history of depression, which was sharpened to new levels and compounded by other mental issues thanks to the abuse. Seeing the scale tick steadily upward, and my body fat go from 26 percent to 21 percent ( happy ) back up to 24 percent ( Sad ) is really messing with me. I feel very down right now about my weight. I feel like a failure, like maybe this isn't for me, maybe I'm one of those people who has to starve to be thin. Plus depression makes me not want to eat, even if I "earn" it through exercise, so I feel like a glutton lately.

Emo, I know, haha. But there it is.
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03-30-2016, 06:54 PM
Post: #3
RE: Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
So according to the calculator, a 28-year-old woman at 115 lbs should eat between 1599 (sedentary) to 2469 (7+ hours of exercise a week).

I am currently eating 1600-18000, averaging 1700, and doing 8-10 hours of exercise, split pretty evenly between strength training and steady state cardio.

According to the metabolism reset guide my metabolism reset won't actually begin until I can eat at TDEE, which for my purposes would be 2469. But I already mushroomed so much at 1600-1800 that I'm afraid to up the calories any more or reduce my exercise.

I feel stuck in a rut: I'd like to progress and get closer to my TDEE, but not until I see the scale tick downward rather than ever upward like it seems to be doing (and that is taking monthly fluctuations into account).

I guess I thought that 4 weeks in, I'd be much farther along, and my pants would be getting looser instead of tighter, and I'd see fewer rolls rather than more, and so on. What I call the "voice of anorexia" has awakened from its dormant state at the back of my mind and is now whispering things like, "see, eating just makes you fat; you should go back down to 1500, where you were at 109 lbs."

Maybe that makes me sound psychotic. Maybe I am. I know this won't be a quick fix, that everyone's journey is different because everyone's body and history are different, but I feel like I've undone what little progress I've made and have irreversibly sentenced myself to be heavier than I want.

I feel like I am living in a foreign country when I look at my poochy, fat stomach in the mirror and see my jiggly thighs and the pants I can't wear anymore because I can't zip them up.

I want to stay the course. I want to keep the faith. I want to trust my body, that this eating more thing will work once my body trusts me again, but I am drowning in doubt because all I seem to be doing is failing. I see no evidence that it is working.

It doesn't help that the people I work around keep nattering on about, basically, starving themselves, and their new fad diets. My work situation is a bit unique in that I am a records collector who goes into the courthouse civil division to view and make copies of cases. The clerks around me aren't my coworkers because I technically don't work for court, but just at the court. So I can't escape them, or ask them to stop, because I am a non-entity to most of them, an annoyance that the head judge forces them to deal with.

If anyone besides me is reading this, I need some EM2WL solidarity. Also, if anyone else struggled with fat gain during the initial stages of metabolism reset, when did it get better for you? I need to know there is hope here, and that I'm not just wandering down a dark tunnel with no light at the end.
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03-30-2016, 11:56 PM
Post: #4
RE: Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
So this was more Debbie Downer than I wanted. I'm usually not so emo.

What I wanted to capture here was my initial enthusiasm and niggling doubts. The depression is strong today, but I am stronger. Despite the temptation to hit the metaphorical crack and restrict calories and spend a couple hours at the gym, I honored my rest day and ate my 1700 calories.

For now, my mantras are "trust your body; let it heal," and "give it time to work." I was 14 when I developed my eating disorder. I have struggled with it another 14 years.

Half my life. Wow. I never looked at it that way, but yes: I have had disordered eating, restriction/binge cycles, and obsessive exercise habits for half my life.

If I had to guess, I'd say it will take longer than a month or two for my poor, loyal body to realize that it's over, the starvation is done, running a 10k three times week simply for cardio is a thing of the past.

It occurs to me that the longest abusive relationship I've been in is the one with myself. My body. I am trying to be better - I want to be better, to treat myself right - but as in any dysfunctional relationship, it takes time for the I hired party to heal and learn to trust again.

My body has been nothing but loyal to me all this time. I could literally have died any moment while I was in the hospital, but I didn't. My heart didn't give up on me, nor did my body, despite how horribly I treated it.

So the least I can do now is to have patience with my body, myself, on this healing journey that at its core is about me and my relationship with myself.

No matter what my weight, or body fat percentage, or clothing size, I know this:
I am worthy.
I am strong.
I have intrinsic value beyond my outward appearance.
I am getting healthy.
I trust myself.
I trust my body.
I am so much more than the sum of any number or fitness equation.
I am me. And I love me.
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03-31-2016, 01:00 AM (This post was last modified: 03-31-2016 01:11 AM by AnitraSoto.)
Post: #5
RE: Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
First of all, I want to emphasize that I am not a therapist in any way, shape, or form, and that may be what you ultimately find might be the most helpful, if you can find someone who can truly sympathize with what you are going through…

Please realize that all of theses fears and doubts are completely normal and not at all unexpected, especially after coming from such a long history of disordered eating... The most important thing to remember right now is that you will *not* be seeing what you think are positive changes going on (on the exterior) through this reset phase. All of those positive changes are going on *inside* right now. Your brain is adapting, your metabolism is healing, your muscles are growing and your body is recovering from a lifetime of "abuse". All of those changes are *so* important, but they are happening on the *inside*. No, you will NOT start dropping weight and fat as your body recovers, and understanding that is SO important, but that does NOT mean that what you are doing right now is not so beneficial, and in fact, necessary for healing! You are working to reverse YEARS of previous damage, and that is not going to happen overnight...

It is important to keep reminding yourself that the way your body is responding is completely normal. Maybe it's not exactly the way you *want* it to react, but it is normal. Remember, when you go for long periods of time under-eating your metabolism slows down to match that (low) intake. The job of the body is *homeostasis* ... it wants everything to stay the same. When you have subjected your body to low calorie dieting (usually in combination with too much cardio), eventually the body will simply adapt. It will down-shift and slow your metabolism down to meet the low intake.

With the cardio, same thing.... Again, the body will adapt and will become more and more efficient with each workout, and the calories burned will become less and less as the body acclimates. Once this happens, the only way to get that same "burn" is to work out longer and harder, but again, eventually the body will adapt, creating a vicious downward cycle.

It is pretty easy to see how the combination of under eating and "over cardio-ing" is the perfect recipe for disaster metabolism-wise. Eventually, once this goes on for long enough, there is simply no way to keep up any more. We can't work out and longer or harder, and we can't eat any less. We feel like garbage, have no energy, our hair, skin and nails start to become dry and brittle, we feel cold, and often we lose our monthly periods. All signs that the body is in shut-down mode and is taking care only of the vital functions..

As far as any initial weight gain, there are a couple of things coming into play. First of all, some of those initial pounds were water weight as your glycogen stores were refilled. This is an unavoidable part of the process. If you were to cut way back on your intake, the first few pounds to see disappear on that scale would be that very same water weight. And secondly, if you were eating down around the 1,200 calorie level, doing crazy amounts of cardio, and your weight was stable, your metabolism had adapted to that level of eating. It had down-shifted and adapted to the low level of intake. Now, 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 it will store some as fat (just in case you decide to return to those low levels again)...

But, just as your body down-shifted your metabolism to adapt to those lower levels of intake, we can get it to adapt upwards and get that metabolism sped back up. What you are dealing with right now is that you are working towards eating at *what your TDEE should be*. You are eating at around 1700 calories, as your metabolism is struggling to return to normal. So, here at the beginning, you may be actually eating as much as 800 calories over your (suppressed) TDEE (if your metabolism had adapted and you were maintaining at 1200).. But, the good news is, that as time passes, just the same way your metabolism adapted downwards, it will adapt upwards, and as it does that and starts to run at a higher level you will really not be over-eating as much as you were at the beginning.

Now none of this is exact science, but as an example: if your metabolism was running down at around 1200 at the beginning, perhaps after the first month it might increase to 1600, and into the second or third month it may actually be functioning closer to where it should be, say around 2000 or more. So you right now you may be "technically" over-eating (compared to your suppressed TDEE), but as time passes the difference between your intake and metabolism will get smaller and smaller. Does that make sense? It's a simple concept, but hard to describe.

I know you are worried about gaining fat, and I know that is exacerbated by the fact that you are so small to start with. 10 pounds on you will feel like a ton, whereas someone over 200 pounds would most likely not even notice that gain. This is all a part of the mental process that you are going to have to go through.

Another thing to remember, when you are considering dropping back on your intake: Although you may have felt "in shape", it was disordered eating that got you there, and as you know that is not maintainable nor is it a comfortable lifestyle either. You should not live in fear of eating and you should not live in fear of the next time you go "off the rails" when you can't handle the restriction any longer. When you are done with this reset process, you will be able to cut back on the intake slightly and increase the cardio a bit and you will start to feel so much better about yourself. Just hang in there. But, in the mean time re-read those links I gave you in another thread about why cardio is NOT the answer to fat loss, Concentrate on the strength training, and try to cut your cardio back, if even just a little bit at first. Do it gradually and it will not feel like such a daunting task.

Hang in there and please know you are not alone......

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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03-31-2016, 01:04 AM (This post was last modified: 03-31-2016 01:13 AM by AnitraSoto.)
Post: #6
RE: Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
And as I sit here and re-read that last post I realize I could have organized my thoughts a bit better before posting, but it's 1am and my brain is tired :0)

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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03-31-2016, 11:14 AM
Post: #7
RE: Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
Anitra,
That was a beautiful post! I know I couldn't do this process without the wonderful encouragement that you provide. It's such a gift.

Rebekah,
You are so lucky that you found this at such a young age. Just think, if you follow this program, your metabolism will heal, you will be fit and strong and free in your 20's! Now, imagine if you go back to your old ways. Your future will then look like your past - trapped.

Keep going, be strong, reread success stories, keep posting here...you know we're all rooting for you!
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03-31-2016, 01:17 PM
Post: #8
RE: Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
Anitra, thank you so, so much for your beautiful post. Your example that I am technically eating above my suppressed TDEE made something click in my brain and I has an epiphany of aha! Looking back, I was not happy, and I'm sure I wasn't pleasant to be around either. I obsessively weighed and measured everything I ate, and eating out was unthinkable.

Thank you for taking the time to read my admittedly emo ramblings and talk me off the proverbial ledge of returning to disordered eating patterns and cardio binging.

Today I intend to do just heavy lifting, with light cardio for 5 minutes as a warm up. I haven't just focused on strength training in a while. It should be fun. happy

Daphne, thank you so much for your support! Here's hoping I stay on the bandwagon with everyone, even when jumping off seems like a better plan. happy
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03-31-2016, 06:08 PM
Post: #9
RE: Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
I struggled with adding on the weight during the reset. I gained 17 pounds and 8+ inches- and I was already tipping the scales at 155 before I started. I'm almost 4 weeks into my cut and while I am not progressing as quickly as I hoped, I do have to remember that I was hiking a lot and eating 1400/calories and not losing at all. I do hope that with time I will see success. I don't have the same background as you- in fact I've basically always have been over weight. I gained a ton during my pregnancies. And while I weigh roughly the same as before I am much saggier and baggier.

Sorry for typos- on mobile!

MFP @saranharm
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03-31-2016, 08:57 PM
Post: #10
RE: Rebekah's EM2WL Journey
Yay for avoiding the cliff!! And no worries, I have talked many, many people off of that ledge. laughing

Understanding that your metabolism is suppressed is KEY to this whole thing! Yes, you have calculated your TDEE, which *should* (in a perfect world) be "Maintenance" so why are you seeing the scale go up, even though you are technically still eating well below your maintenance calories??? It is because through years of low cal dieting and crazy cardio your metabolism has adapted and is now functioning at a much lower than normal level. The reset will get it back up and running where it should be, but some gains may be inevitable. Normally, the slower you take your increases the smaller your gains will be, only because you are allowing so much time for your body to adapt and adjust along the way. If you make those increases quickly without allowing your metabolism the time it needs to match the increased intake, then technically the more time you are spending eating above your *suppressed* metabolic rate, hence the gains... If you keep your increases small and wait until your weight stabilizes between increases then (hopefully) your metabolism will increase at close to the rate that your intake is increasing, thus minimizing the gains on the scale.

Understanding what is going on "behind the scenes" is so important and without that knowledge success can be difficult. Even understanding what is happening sometimes does not make the journey any easier. Hopefully with this knowledge you now understand and can accept why your measurements are not going down and why the scale is not cooperating. One day it will, but for now you are going through a healing process, both mentally and physically. Once that internal healing happens the external changes will become visible : )

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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