Important Update: Calorie Count will be shutting down on March 15th. Please click here to read the announcement. Data export is available.
I've been getting so frustrated lately...since about 4 weeks ago, I've really been trying to commit myself to eating normally again, attempting to get in about 1800-2000 calories a day. You see, I've been dieting for about 4 years now. I began this journey when I weighed 145 lbs at a height of 5' 5". I started to actively choose healthier foods and incorporated exercise into my life. By the end of my first year, I was down to 128...but I truly wasn't eating in the right way. Some days I'd eat fruit only for all of my meals, and the other days, I'd try to eat salads...on top of exercising (tae bo, running, elliptical, etc). I'd let myself eat whatever on weekends, often going overboard because I felt like I wouldn't be able to eat wonderful foods like pizza and brownies during the week.
When I returned to school in the fall, I knew I had to eat throughout the day to keep myself healthy. So, I began eating cereal in the morning, fruits during the day for snacks, healthy wraps, and high caloried salads with salami, ham, cheese, chick peas and full-caloried dressings. I would run, 3 days a week, for 6 miles at a time, but instead of full out running, I would run for about a mile and power walk the rest. I also kept up my tae bo, and slowly began to add in yoga. Again, on the weekends, I would let myself have "fun," but I wouldn't go overboard. I basically just tried to cut out my sweets and junk food during the week. By the time November rolled around, I was at my ideal goal weight of 120.
However, that's when it all changed. I went through an extremely tough breakup, and it really hit me hard. I thought I wasn't good enough, so I tried to up my workout and up my diet...meaning I severely limited myself to only eating those high-caloried salads I talked about for dinner. Sometimes I'd eat carrots in the morning. Sometimes I'd drink tea or pop to keep me satiated. But I always was true to eating dinner. However, paired with exercise (now cardio AND yoga every day), I dropped to my lowest of 110. I also was mildy bulemic, which didn't help matters.
As I approached my 21st birthday, I knew I couldn't live like this any longer, so I began to add foods back in. However, at this point, I also started counting calories, which I had never done before. For about a year, I kept my weight around 115, and then finally up to 120, which is a weight I loved being at.
I even finally decided that with as hard as I was working out, I was going to let myself eat what I wanted to when I was hungry. However, every time I tried this, I always felt so bloated and usually reverted to trying to eat as little as I could calorically, so I could save up for when I wanted a cheat meal or snack. Finally, by this summer, I truly decided that I no longer wanted to diet. I wanted to be normal! I'd watch my mom eat whatever she liked, whenever she liked, and as much as she liked. And yet, she remained thin. Granted, she usually had small portions. But still...I had grown tired of watching friends eat and enjoy life...I wanted to be like them, too!
I was still willing, though, to keep up my workout routine, in order to eat whatever I'd like. Now, when I say "whatever" I'd like, I mean that in moderation. I'm a typically healthy person anyways, so it's not like I went crazy and began eating solely junk food and sweets. But basically, I allowed myself things I hadn't eaten in a long time...bagels...full caloried dressings...desserts...things with an unknown calorie value, etc.
So, this summer began my battle with getting out of starvation mode. For two years prior, I guessed I was only getting about 1000-1200 calories per day, with exercise, so I definitely wasn't getting enough (stopping my period was enough to tell me something was wrong). I started off great, adding calories back in, but I soon hit a road block: my stomach wasn't adjusting to the new levels of food I was giving it. I experienced extreme bloating, not to mention constipation (I used to take fiber pills, but really tried to get away from those to regulate my system correctly). I also found it hard to actually add in calories, because I wasn't hungry after a big lunch.
So...the fact that my jeans were tighter made my desire to workout go way down. I tried different things, like power walking, incorporating weights, cuttain back on cardio intensity, etc, but nothing worked. I just kept gaining weight.
However, I certainly was less worred about "planning" for a meal, and finally could go out with my friends and have a few drinks. I still felt guilty, though, but that's just the committee in your head telling you you stink ;)
So, before I left for school in the fall, I was hovering around 130, give or take a few pounds. I had read up on getting out of starvation mode, and realized that my weight gain may be in part to water retention and the fact that your body is rebuilding itself after all those years of such a low-calorie diet. I noticed that my weight came back on only in my midsection, meaning my stomach, abdomen, hips and thighs. My upper body and lower legs stayed pretty much the same.
Since being here at school (in a very large city, so I walk more now), I've been actively trying to eat about 1800-2200 calories a day. I know I need to get my metabolism back into shape, so I am very committed to eating more. The mere fact that I can now eat 3 larger meals a day is great...before, my stomach was just too small.
In my experience thus far, I've been going back and forth between 132 and 127. On days when the scale says 127, I feel elated...maybe my metabolism is finally working again! But then, on the days when it reads 132, I feel like maybe I'm approaching this the wrong way. So, today I made a decision.
I'm really going to try to stick to this and post my experiences on here. I know there are a lot of people out there going through this exact same thing (getting your body back on track after an ED), so I hope my struggle through this time can help others or give a different insight.
My latest frustration lately has been that even though I'm exercising, it doesn't feel like it's doing anything. In fact, I really feel sometimes like my exercise only encourages bulk in my thighs. This past Monday, I was down to 127, and felt great...I only did yoga in the morning, and about midday, I really didn't even feel compelled to go to the gym. But I did, and the rest of the week saw the scale go up to 132. So, I'm wondering: if I do solely yoga for a week, while still eating more normally, what will it do to the scale?
I had a doughnut this morning. I love doughnuts. I can't deny that. I've missed doughnuts. But now that I'm going to try not going to the gym or doing tae bo for a week, do I cut back on calories, or continue to actively try to get in more?
My goal? I want to be able to enjoy life again. More importantly, I want to be with family on holidays and eat foods without feeling like my stomach is going to explode. I'm willing to stick to a committed workout regime, but not if it's not going to do any good.
I sometimes get upset, and think that maybe I should go back to how I used to eat...cereal for breakfast and lunch, low caloried snacks, and no sweets or junk food. But I've found, I really enjoy food. I do. And I hate the obsession with calories or if I've been "good" or "bad" for a day.
I know that getting out of starvation mode does take time, and you will see an initial weight gain, so if that's what it takes to get my body back on track, I'm willing and ready to do that. This thread is about not feeling bad for yourself and just logging my experiences. I hope through this, I can find some insight for myself and give others hope to get their bodies back on track! More to come later!
P.S. So, for one week, I'm solely doing yoga. Everyday. But NO gym or tae bo. Let's see what happens!
train your taste buds
go to the grocers buy veggies and meet and herbs and start experimenting
If you fail... well then you should improve your cooking at least you reduced your calories *gg*
don't wanna be cheeky
and keep your fingers away from sugar or sweeteners
adapt to the world of taste not sweatness
Just to add on to this post...as I said with intuitive eating, it doesn't make you feel like you can't have something, which, I believe, makes eating healthfully easier. For example, for breakfast and lunch today, I had one doughnut (yikes!), but it's what I was craving, and now I feel totally satisfied. In fact, later I'll probably have a salad, just because that's how I'm feeling right now. Being a little bad sometimes makes you want to eat well!
My mom eats this way...if at lunch, she feels hungry enough to have a cupcake or sundae, she'll have it...then she usually isn't extremely hungry throughout the rest of the day, but it doesn't bother her. If she's not hungry enough for one, a sandwich will tide her over. And she's always been around 125 pounds...without purposely exercising at all. Granted, she has a job where she's on her feet for most the day, but she eats solely by what's available and what sounds good...Hostess cupcakes and all!
I actually just started (this past Sunday) eating semi-normally after being on a 1200 for a couple of years myself. I'm 5ft 3 and 104lbs or so, so certainly not overweight (highest was only 117), but just could not get out of the diet mode. I'm sedentary and don't exercise, so that certainly doesn't help. Anyway, I got SO compulsive about measuring, calorie counting, etc over and over and over again that it acutally started to ruin my marriage. I would only eat at places where I knew the calorie count of exactly what I was eating (which limited us to about 5 restaurants or so ALL the time-talk about a drag on my family!). It just had too big of a negative impact on them and our lives. Sunday I decided enough is enough and I'm tired of this sickness. Only problem is I'm scared I'll binge. Before, if I splurged on something that I didn't know the exact amount of calories for, then I'd binge the rest of the day until I was miserable, sometimes the next couple of days. I knew that I wouldn't touch the "binge food" on a normal day, so I'd eat until I was physically sick. Thats why this not counting calories anymore is so scary for me. I'm terrified of gaining weight. A couple of weeks ago I decided to start buying organic and whole foods and make my own dinners and lunches rather than buying Lean Cuisnes, other processed foods, etc. I've also been trying to up my calories some as well. Its so hard to do. I plan on joining the gym at the end of the week, so that when I do eat normally, I won't feel so guilty because I will be able to work it off. So I'm starting to make the appropriate changes to get back to a "normal" healthy life.
I'd like to try that intuitive eating too. Part of my problem, is I don't know when to stop eating or tell when I'm "really" hungry. Its like I lost that signal that tells me I'm full. I'm pretty small but can eat like a grown man with the rest of them! I've ALWAYS been that way. Its so funny looking back a few years ago..I was SO skinny that I would go to the dr and ask whats wrong with me!! I'd eat whatever I wanted ALL the time. I put on weight when I stopped smoking. I say put on weight, but thats only going from like 98 to 104...lol. But its all still relative. I had never weight that much before (with the exception of being preggo with my son), so it was a pretty big deal.
I'm hoping I can get my metabolism back working normally again. I can eat 1200 cals w/no exercise and not lose weight. Sucks because I think I had a kick ass metabolism at one time. Anyway, I'm kindof in the same boat as you. When I do workout, do I only eat more those days? Or all the time? I hope my compulsiveness doesn't come through with exercising. I worry about that too. Well I feel I've rambled on enough.
Anyway, just know that I'm over here pulling for you and hope that all goes well. Take care and I'll be checking in on you!!
I also, too, think that at one time, I had a great metabolism. I honestly ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and probably hovered in the area of 120ish. Granted, I was constantly on sports teams, or doing things in high school, but still...being on a sports team is like devoting yourself to exercise. So, one would think that if I pushed myself as hard as I do when I exercise, I would be able to eat what I'd like to without gaining weight. Well, that little idea is currently not working, simply because I think my body is still in rebellion, having been so used to about 1000-1200 calories a day. And to think...I really thought that I was doing it healthfully, after severely restricting myself. I would allow myself to eat, but low calorie things, and only when I was truly "starving". Nowadays, (for the last couple weeks, really), I've been almost making myself eat mechanically, just to get my stomach to work. I've come a long way...at the beginning of summer, I'd eat a Quizno's sub and chips for lunch, then totally not be hungry at all the rest of the day. Now, I'm eating breakfast, a midmorning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner, and sometimes even a mid-evening snack as well. Plus, I'm trying to get a lot of water in during the day. I'm tremendously excited I can now eat more food, because I do enjoy food. I just wish the scale would stop going up on me!
This is why I decided to give up hard cardio for a week, and just stick with yoga. I was exercising intensely, trying to eat more while still being dedicated to a workout regime...yet the scale kept fluctuating, and finally I said "Okay! Enough is enough! I'm not losing with exercise, so no exercise for a week!"
And I know people out there who say "Well, if you don't have any progress with exercise for a few weeks, you can't just give up." Well, people, this wasn't just a few weeks. I've been faithfully exercising for years, almost six days a week. It's become a part of my life (almost too big of a part), so for me to say I'm going to put it aside for two weeks is a tremendous deal. I know I need to give my body a chance to recover.
This is probably a detail going a little too far into detail, but I'll try to sugar coat it: I do believe that my digestive system is getting back on track. I used to take fiber supplements every day, to help the "process" of my digestive system along. The side effect is, if you don't drink enough water, it can have a negative effect on your system. There would be days where...well...my digestive system just wouldn't work, leaving me feeling bloated and sluggish. Well, I decided a few weeks ago I was giving up on those fiber pills, and changed instead to a fiber/multi-vitamin supplement that is less harsh and ultimately gives your body more of the good nutrients. I do think these chewable tablets are a lot better, and in just one week, I think it's helping. Granted, I still experience extreme bloating at times, but my digestive system is working without the add of a light laxative.
My hardest part with adding calories back in? I used to be very good at listening to my stomach and only eating when I was truly hungry. So, when I know my calories are low for the day, and I need to up them, I often have to make myself eat more, even when my stomach doesn't feel like it needs more. But that's because it shrunk during the anorexia. Now, I'm kicking it back into shape.
I guess the last sign that will show me that I'm healthy again is when my period returns. It's scary to think that attempting to diet and make yourself "healthier" could lead to you almost shutting down your own organs. So, when I feel bloated or fat from the increasing numbers on the scale, I think about two things: how I want to have kids someday, and how I want to enjoy a nice 3 course dinner without feeling like my stomach is going to implode!
How long have you been trying to reintroduce calories into your diet? Do you try to reintroduce them, gain a few pounds, then revert back to restricting? You need to try to keep those calories up for weeks...it's been 4 weeks for me trying to get between 1800-2200 calories a day. I know a lot of that is water weight, because last week at this time, I was 127...and now it says I'm 133...I know I didn't eat nearly enough to gain 6 pounds in a week, so I know its mostly water weight and bloating. When the scale jumps even after 24 hours 1 or 2 pounds, that's also water weight. As I said, if the scale's making you nervous, THROW IT OUT. I have my scale only because I feel like I can handle looking at the number. If you start to obsess every day about what "number" you're at, you'll never be able to continue to fill your body with good foods.
And by the way...you need 1200 to MAINTAIN...try going for 2000 calories a week. Just a week. See what happens. Some people even lose by adding more in. Just be patient. You can either live like this for the rest of your life, or brave a few weeks/months of frustration and have a healthy body/metabolism again.
P.S. Have you tried different activities, like yoga? Maybe exercises that stretch and lengthen your muscles rather than pound them, like running? I know if I run, my muscles tend to bulk up.
The frustrating part, though, is still the increasing scale. Granted, I'm not working out this week, but what a boost I could get if I just saw that scale drop a bit. This morning, however, it did stay the same as yesterday, so that's an improvement I guess. I've decided to try this no exercise, eat more plan for about 2 weeks, then if it doesn't work, I'm not going to actively "try" to get in 2000 calories...I'll just eat intuitively, and add back in a few days of cardio. That's all for now!
However, it still worries me. I see the girl from 4-5 years ago, desperate to lose weight and get healthy, and I see myself approaching that weight. I want to stick with this and get healthy again, but geeze...is it hard.
Any advice, anyone?
I would only suggest not to weigh yourself everyday. Who knows what your body is going through right now w/you taking a break from all that cardio and eating better. Your body is probably in shock because it has no idea what to do. After years of cardio and years of starvation it will take some time for it to adjust. I would recommend only weighing in maybe like every 4 or 5 days rather than every day especially during this two week period. I wouldn't exactly trust what it says right now. I agree that theres no way you've eaten that many calories, so I wouldn't sweat it. Luckily, I don't have any problems not looking at the scale for a few days. "TTOTM" is next week and I've been super bloated, so I know better than to look this week. :-)
I'm disappointed in myself though. I kept saying I would join the gym this week. I have a free week pass I got on Sunday. Every day I've said I would go, but refuse because I'm STILL not taking in enough calories to justify it. I hate being in this rut! I don't know what to do! I also was supposed to quit counting my calories. Well I quit logging them, but I still do it all in my head! AND I'm still super paranoid to eat anything that I don't know what the calorie count is. Good news is I still haven't been measuring things and only eyeballing it and believe it or not haven't been thinking about food SO much. But it still bothers me to not count what I've had. About the gym, I think I'm going to hold off for now and starting Sunday start my own weight routine at home and start walking every other day or so. With all these food issues, I dont' think I'm ready for the gym committment just yet. I guess I'm a little scared that I will get obsessive. Another part of me says if I join then I have no choice but to EAT MORE to justify it. I dono, its so hard to deal with all of this. I'm sorry if I hijacked your thread, but thought maybe we could all help each other out. Our situations are pretty similar.
Have heart! Muscle does weigh more than fat. It also burns more calories!
I have a different situation but the same effect. I had part of my thyroid removed due to possible issues. Now I am hypothyroid. That requires that I take a supplement of thyroid hormones but it has spurred me to look into alternative ways to help boost my metabolism because it has slowed down.
I have found that there are herbal supplements (not diet pills!) that promote metabolic function. Things like L-carnatine, DHEA, 5-HTP, Omega 3 & 6, etc... Don't get me wrong, I am not saying run out and buy these things! I am saying that there is research available that may shed more light on how your metabolism works and that eating or minimizing certain foods can allow your metabolism to work more efficiently. Understanding the process and how food affects your metabolism can help guide you to foods that may help stimulate a return to normal metabolic function.
I'm 5'10" and have been hovering around the heaviest weight I have ever maintained, 163! That was a real issue for me at first. I got very upset and stressed about it which is also counter productive because it causes elevated cortisol(not conducive to losing weight). Now with my exercise regime, the composition of my body is much leaner (my last body fat measurement was in the 23% range-considered above average) which is what's really important. I stopped stressing over the lbs and started focusing on the look.
I'm still trying to lose a few pounds (ideally 5-10). With implementing some of the ideas I have gleaned from the books and research I have read I have noticed a difference in bloating due to some of the changes... The lbs are starting to decrease and I eat about 2000-2500 calories a day!
It's not always the physical "weight" that truly matters. I hope this helps.
How did your experience play out with gaining weight around your stomach and thighs? Did it level off after a few weeks, and then stabilize? I've heard of people who say they gain 10-15 lbs. then start to lose a bit because their metabolisms are finally functioning again...I hope that after I allow my body to recover, I can get back down to 120. That's a great weight for me...maybe even 125. See, I'm the type of person who's willing to go the extra mile to be in great shape...I was seriously dedicated for years to a fanatical workout routine, and hated to sway from it. So, I have the discipline of a 120 pound female, but right now, I have the metabolism of a 135 pound female! But...the important thing is to get my body back to health...then I can start losing weight the healthy way.
P.S. And Yalith, you're too right about the jeans. I can't wear my favorite pair anymore, and it saddens me (only because they're pretty radical jeans...but I'll get them on again someday!)
Anbshilling...I actually had to laugh at the scale this morning, though...I mean...c'mon...I couldn't eat 3000 calories a day if I tried. Even when I've been on vacation, or during holidays, I actually ended up losing weight. So I don't know...should I up my calories to 2500 and see what happens?
I hear you about the gym...I got so fed up with it because I knew I wasn't taking in more than 1200 calories most days, which is why I burned out. And I also have a hard time of letting go of the "calorie accountant" in my head. It's a great double edged sword. If you know you're low for the day, you can indulge in something...but if you're over, boy...what a beating you give yourself. And yes, if you're going to go to the gym, you need to eat more...which is why this time around, after this initial weight gain, I'm going to diet correctly...actually, I'm not going to diet at all...just begin a new way of living my life with a better way to exercise. And don't feel like you hijacked my thread...it's great to finally hear from people who are as frustrated as me.
Booda...what kind of ideas did you get from your books? I ask because right now, I do experience severe bloating and constipation. If I stick my stomach out, it really looks like I'm pregnant. Luckily, when I do keep it in, it's not that bad...just looks severely bloated. But you said with a few changes, you noticed a difference in the bloating and lost weight. What do you normally do for food and exercise?
Keep those posts coming people!
With the "chub gain" I realized that it was a combination of things. I actually measured and I think my fat was being redistributed, because my arms, legs, and upper torso were actually getting smaller! It's true that it leveled out after a few weeks. I also realized what a help a healthy posture can be. I know, I know, it sounds rediculously old-fashioned, but when you have proper posture, everything does look better, and actually changes for the better. It may sound nuts, but I think it may have something to do with the way you sit or stand making fat deposit in the easiest areas to access. Good posture also makes cardio and weight training more effective. In any case, it took about a month of trying to figure out what my body was saying and how I should be eating but everything is starting to go back into place. Oh, and I have an appointment with a dietician coming up, and I am so excited to actually talk to a professional so I know for sure if I'm on the right track!
It sounds like you have a really healthy, smart attitude about this, and are of the "getting healthy" mindset rather than the "weightloss" mindset that everybody seems so obsessed over. kudos!
I love food...I do. I'm not going to try to sound like one of those celebrities who say they enjoy eating chicken broth for fun. I like chocolate. I love french fries. I'd eat pizza everyday if I could. But, I also am aware of all of the studies about maximizing your system with the food you put into it, which is why I'm going to start eating more whole grains, fish, protein and fruits (I eat a lot of fruit anyways, though).
I agree with you, Yalith. I think my upper body is remaining the same, as are the bottoms of my legs....it's just the fuzzy area in between that's causing my frustration! However, I have made leaps and bounds since the beginning of summer. I was so used to eating just cereal for breakfast, maybe cereal again for lunch, a piece of fruit in the afternoon, and then a wrap sandwich with low caloried chips for dinner...maybe 1000-1100 calories total? So when I started eating normally, I never thought I'd be able to eat 3 meals a day. But I am. And I'm glad. Because now when I go home at hoilday breaks, I can actually go out for breakfast and still be able to enjoy homecooked dinners at home. But this time, I also won't be upset if I'm not hungry enough for a meal. When I used to exercise every day for 2 hours, I'd almost be mad that I couldn't eat more than 1400 calories, because I was surely burning off way more than that. But when you start to get frustrated, calm yourself down, take a deep breath, and say to yourself, "It's only food."
I'm not weighing myself this morning. It simply would not be a good idea, seeing as how my system hasn't "worked" for a few days, if you get my drift. Has anyone ever done a cleanse? Not just to clean out your system, but to get rid of harmful toxins that have built up for a while? I'm thinking this might be a good thing for me, seeing as how I've battled constipation for a few years now, having to take fiber pills.