I've been on a 1000 calorie diet for about 6 weeks but I've continued to exercise and lift weights. I've lost about 20 pounds and I'm at my goal weight almost. The problem is that I'm so exhausted now and I barely have the energy to work out. I know I need to start eating more but I'm scared to do it wrong and have all the weight pile back on.
How can I increase my caloric intake without gaining all the weight back? Is that even possible?
So, you have lost 14% (20 lbs from a starting point of 140) of your body weight in 6 weeks, by eating a starvation amount of calories whilst exercising to the point of weakness...
This is a very dangerous way to lose weight, particularly for a growing teenager, and is unlikely to be sustainable in the long run, as well as damaging your body.
Here's what you were advised at 130lbs, half way through your weight loss:
No, you are not eating enough.
1. You are already at a very healthy weight for your age and height
2. You should be eating at 2200 calories per day -- and you would still be losing weight, which you don't need to do.
3. 1000 calories is almost starvation. Among all the other things involved with starvation -- it kills.
Some stuff about starvation:
Adequate nutrition has two components, necessary nutrients and energy in the form of calories. It is possible to ingest enough energy without a well-balanced selection of individual nutrients and produce diseases that are noticeably different from those resulting from an overall insufficiency of nutrients and energy. Although all foods are a source of energy for the human body, it is possible to consume a seemingly adequate amount of food without getting the required minimum of energy (calories).
Since the body will combat malnutrition by breaking down its own fat and eventually its own tissue, a whole host of symptoms can appear. The body's structure, as well as its functions, are affected. Starved adults may lose as much as 50% of their normal body weight. Characteristic symptoms of starvation include:
- shrinkage of such vital organs as the heart, lungs, ovaries, or testes, and gradual loss of their functions
- chronic diarrhea
- reduction in muscle mass and consequent weakness
- lowered body temperature combined with extreme sensitivity to cold
- decreased ability to digest food because of lack of digestive acid production
- irritability and difficulty with mental concentration
- immune deficiency
- swelling from fluid under the skin
This is what is going you are going to go through if you don't get help from somewhere other than here -- professional help The Body Neglected
After your bones deteriorate and your reproductive organs become so atrophied they don't work, your other organs, including your brain will be permanently damaged. You will end up as a stunted adult with brittle bones and infertility.
Clearly you didn't listen and are now weak and unhealthy.
Ideally, you would go back to eating normally (2,500 or so calories to help heal the damage you've done) and let your body recover from the shock it has had, even though this might mean regaining some of the weight you lost.
From eating under the recommended minimum (ie. Starvation numbers), sadly eating maintenance may have you gain, which is why some many of us harp on about eating at least BMR and why CC does not promote starvation diets. Well if your lucky you may not have hurt your metabolism too much and may not gain nor gain too much. If unlucky you may gain far more (even a chance of above your start weight). This is why and how some EDs happen, you can one try maintenance and see how it goes or go to the doctor and see his/her verdict.
Please be careful and be safe and don't revert to eating so little for weight loss again nor maintaining on bare minimum calories because you refuse to go through recovery. I don't want to sound harsh nor scarry but you have to at least know the worst case scenario now.
Did you put yourself on this diet or did a doctor do it? I just came off a six-week restricted eating diet from a doctor (lost 16 pounds in three weeks, or about 9% of my body weight), so I can speak to my experience coming off it.
I couldn't lose weight for about six weeks afterwards while my body stabilized. Even gained a couple of pounds initially - much in water weight. If this happens to you, don't freak out. Keep eating. After a restricted diet - whether you did it to yourself or not - you MUST get your metabolism going again.
I personally found it was easier to ease back into the normal-ish eating again by bumping up my lean protein and veggie intake significantly. Then I started snacking on heart-healthy nuts. I felt my energy levels hit new heights and was able to sustain workouts within about two weeks. Once I slowly began adding back whole grains and sugary fruits, my energy got even better. I also started taking a B-12 supplement, but I've always been fairly low energy - yet somehow hyperactive - even before the restricted diet.
But I'll echo what I've heard on here consistently - Eat at least at your BMR. If you absolutely must create a calorie deficit, do so more with exercise than through eating. Losing 20 pounds is sort of traumatic to your body, so you'll have to slowly ramp up to eating normally again. You might want to consider decreasing the intensity of your workouts for a month until your body can catch up with the loss.
If you need more specifics on exactly how I ramped up my eating to get back to my BMR (and I'm actually still trying to lose about 10 pounds total, not maintain), feel free to message me.