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Background info + need your help to figure this out! :)
04-22-2013, 07:06 AM
Post: #1
Background info + need your help to figure this out! :)
(TW: Talking about ED)

Hi everyone happy This is my first post!

I just decided to take the leap and try this method... I'm literally sick of starving myself. I did that for about 5-6 years and, sadly, developed an ED, mainly anorexia but also “exercise bulimia”/overexercise during the last one of those years.
I'm SO glad I found this place! happy

Currently I'm on my 9th scale-free month! The scale is a huge trigger for me, I used to weigh myself twice a day at my worst and my life, mood and everything was strongly influenced by it. But now I'm not interested anymore in being *X or Y number*, and don't want it to rule my life anymore. During recovery, I gave it up once I reached 45 kg / 99 lbs (up from 40 kg / 88 lbs at 5'4''), as it was provoking too much anxiety and bad thoughts... I basically did a sort of "Metabolism Reset" for about 7-8 months, during which I didn't count calories but made sure I was getting enough to gain and repair my body - around 2500-3500 a day or more probably, while being mostly sedentary. Yeah, it was actually quite different from a MS - I needed to GAIN weight, not to eat at TDEE/maintenance, because I was very underweight, amenorrhoic, and with many many health problems. (Remember the Minnesota Starvation Experiment? I used to read and reread again everything about it during my recovery... it is SO SO ACCURATE.).

Then, in January 2013 – 3-4 clothing sizes later – my period finally came back after 3 years! I was so happy, although my weight was much more higher than it used to be when I lost it. But I wanted it back no matter what - and it CAME at last. I had 2 regular periods in a row after that first one, so three in total... but sadly my fourth period never came, the main reason being that I've been relapsing into pretty severe restriction for the past month. Like 1,200-1,300 with exercise (not as exhausting as I used to, but certainly too much for the # of kcal I am eating), netting between 700 and 900.

I still don't know my current weight which I realize could be a problem in order to determine the right amount to eat, but judging from clothes and measurements, I have an idea more or less or where I am weight-wise, because pre-ED I used to be heavier, mostly around 70-75 kg / 154-165 kg, with 80 kg / 176 lbs as my highest weight, and taking that as a reference (I know it's kind of confusing...) I should be anywhere in the 60-66 kg / 132-145 lbs range right now.

I'm not interested in being a particular *number*. Yes I want to feel good about my body, but I want it to be healthy, more than anything else. I don't want to be super thin super fast. My body had kind of stabilized at the weight I got my period back (maybe just a tad higher than now) while eating 2500 or so and being pretty sedentary! Sounds crazy I know, but I think that most of us tend to underestimate the amount of kcal our bodies can and will burn if they think it's necessary – if the metabolism is not slowed or suppressed, that is (the best/worst way to suppress it? Yeah, starving and dieting... Sad ). In addition to that, maybe a part of the energy surplus was needed for the repairs that were going on in my body, not only for gaining fat back. But, well, I'm almost back into the overweight range, so I am definitely weight restored and don't think I need to gain anymore. I think an ideal range would be 54-57 kg for me but again, the only way I'll ever “judge” will be through tape measure and clothes so it's just a reference range. I'll focus on losing inches rather than pounds – especially on my hips and thighs, where most of the weight has gone (hips are almost 40 inches up from 30-31 and thighs 22.8 or so up from 15)

Okay, this was a mess! I am sorry. Here's a recap:

- Gender: Female
- Age: 26
- Height: 5'4''
- Weight: Anywhere between 159 and 145 lbs / 59-66 kg (I calculated the BMR/TDEE for every weight in this range to see how much they differ from each other... it's just about a 100 kcal difference between the lowest and the highest in the range, so I think I can use something like 63 kg / 139 lbs, around the middle, as a reference... in order to stop overthinking it and confuse everyone of you any further lol)
- Goal (aside from regaining my period (again) and restore my body with proper nutrition): lose maybe around 6-10 kg AT MOST. I don't have a goal weight, really... I'd just like to go down 1 or 2 pants sizes, no more than that. If that doesn't involve a scale-weight loss, fine.

Here are my calculations according to the Scooby calculator:

BMR = 1430
TDEE (Sedentary) = 1716 (in this case a -15% cut would put more or less at my BMR though)
TDEE (Light) = 1966
TDEE (Moderate) = 2216
TDEE (Strenuous) = 2467

And here are some questions... I'd really appreciate if you could tell me what you think! happy

1) Picking the right activity level. My current workout routine is as follows: I do 45 minutes of cardio (stationary bike at a moderate pace, I usually do about 20-21 km (around 13 miles) at a speed of 29-30 kmh (about 18 mph?) in that time frame, according to the display on the bike) 5-6 days a week. The rest of the time I am pretty sedentary (desk job/work at PC/study), I walk sometimes but without a particular schedule (it's spring so hopefully I'll be walking more and going on my real bicycle in the next months!). I have no access to a gym (I don't really feel comfortable going there...) and don't lift weights (I know I know...), but I do 15-20 minutes of bodyweight exercises at home (squats, planks, etc...) when I can, maybe 2-3 times a week. I've tried HIIT in the past but those 20 minutes REALLY drain me of energy for the rest of the day (lol I think it's what they're supposed to do though!), anyway I could reintroduce 1 session a week maybe in place of a regular cardio session. Dumbest question ever: is there a way/program to do a weight lifting type of workout at home (I'm sorry I'm really a newbie!)? I lost a lot of muscle during these years, at my lowest weight my upper arms were the size of my wrists (...)

Anyway, before I digress further... basically, my current level of exercise includes those 45 minutes 5-6 days a week and not much more - it's something like 3.45-4.30 hours a week. Is this enough for the moderate level even if the rest of the time I don't do much? The display on the bike says I burn about 600 calories at a time, although they seem a bit high... A (rather cheap) HR monitor tells me about 280 instead, which on the contrary seems a bit low... I think maybe they are 450-500 at most. If I calculate my TDEE at sedentary level (~1700) and then add 500, the result (~2200) is almost exactly my TDEE at the moderate level. So 500 kcal per workout seem reasonable and the level seems right. Does this make sense? Do you agree? Am I overestimating, should I pick lightly active instead?

2) In your opinion, should I do a Metabolism Reset or jump straight to TDEE-15% or any other % cut to lose this amount of “weight” (not really much after all)? I've been in this undereating rut now for about a month and a half. During the 7-8 months before that, I had to gain weight and eat above TDEE (although at some point the amount of food I was eating became my TDEE apparently, because I plateaued, at least according to clothes and tape measure). Does this count as metabolism reset, or I screwed up everything again in the past month (well I didn't get my period so that's likely). The background, as I have described above, is 5-6 years of severe restriction (calories HAD to be less than 1,000, often in the 600-900 range, 1,200 occasionally (God forbid!), without exercise at first, then WITH exercise in the year prior to recovery – that is, up to 150-180 minutes a day of cardio without any increase in intake and, as a consequence, a negative NET)

3) Am I supposed to eat accordingly to the same TDEE or Cut # even on days when my activity is different, or should I decrease it (for example on rest days)?

I am sorry for the novel! And I'm also sorry for my bad English, I hope this is not too confusing. But I'd be so so happy and grateful to hear your opinions!

Thank you for reading! happy

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04-24-2013, 06:50 PM
Post: #2
RE: Background info + need your help to figure this out! :)
Hi Bry!

Welcome to the fam! Sorry for the late reply, don't know how I missed this thread before.

1) yes there are ways to workout from home. I do! and so do many others wink If you could keep an eye out for possibly some used dumbbells to slowly add to your collection, that will help a ton (Because you DO want to start lifting at some point). Other than that, your current level of activity would put you in the moderately active category (around 5 hrs/week it seems like?). wink

2) It sounds like you were already doing a metabolism reset before, so, although, with your background, it wouldn't hurt to take a small break and eat at TDEE, you may be able to just go straight to cut. Not getting your period does concern me though. How was your cycle prior to the last month or two?

3) Once you have your cal level figured out, you would simply eat the same amount daily. This is because the TDEE calcs take into account all of your activity for the week, and then spread it out for you. No extra tweaking on your part necessary. wink

And your English was perfect. Hope you understood mine, lol.

Kiki (aka rambling )
My MFP Diary

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04-25-2013, 04:04 AM
Post: #3
RE: Background info + need your help to figure this out! :)
Hi Kiki and thank you so much for the welcome and the kind reply! Hehe sure I understood happy you helped me a lot! I think I'll try to start with a small break at TDEE then, or TDEE with a small deficit like 5-10% at most to begin with, set on moderately active as you suggest! Maybe around 2,000 would be reasonable. It's a nice round number lol.

I actually own dumbbells (I was surprised to found them yesterday while cleaning my house! haha, I have no idea how they get there), they are 3kg and 4kg though, not very heavy! But it's a place to start! happy

As for my period, yeah, I had amenorrhea/absent period for about 3 years. My periods used to be very regular prior to the weight loss (up to 20-21 years old), stayed regular for a year or two during it, and only started to be sporadic (and then disappeared) when my BMI got to about 19 and below. I went on the pill to "get it", but it was pretty useless, and once I stopped the pill I also got the post-pill amenorrhea on top of my own! raised eyebrows It only came back after months and months of consistent intake and way above BMI 19 where I lost it (probably around BMI 24, in January). Then in March, soon after I got my third regular period in a row (!) I unfortunately started to eat less and less again and as a result I didn't get a period in April (so far). A coincidence? Hm, probably not. Blood works and ovaries are fine (no cysts or other issues). Probably "thanks" to undereating, my body has become extremely sensible to deficits (especially if they net below BMR rolling eyes) and knows well which systems to shut down first, in order to compensate :/

On a side note, I have ordered a FitBit One, I hope it will also help a bit to adjust calories and activity level! I've read some opinions and reviews on various forums and it sounds cool. Anyone uses it? happy

Okay, time to eat now I guess! Thank you so much for your advice again happy
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