How Dieting Causes Metabolic Syndrome

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With quotes from Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon…

“… extensive evidence documents that attempts at dieting typically result in weight cycling, not maintained weight loss.  Weight fluctuation is strongly associated with increased risk for diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, independent of body weight.  In other words, the recommendation to diet may be causing the very diseases it is purported to prevent!” 

It’s a topic I’ve written about before in posts on Hypertension and How Calorie Restriction Causes Weight Gain, but I figured it was a good time to revisit the general concept. 

I have been thinking a lot about sustainability lately.  Not sustainability in the “pee three times before you flush” or the “let’s build a compost toilet” kind of way, but the importance of sustainability in your health practices.  What I mean by sustainability is truly doing something realistic that you can stick with for really long periods of time.  Put another way, not creating wagons to fall off of. 

In my post on The Causes of Obesity I talked briefly about how exercise causes weight gain.  If you get on some big exercise kick for your health, do too much or get injured because the exercise load you took on was too strenuous, time-consuming, or dangerous, you typically gain back all the weight you lost doing it and sometimes quite a bit extra – all of it centered around the waist.  And while this mistake is very frequently made in exercise, it’s even more commonly made with unrealistic and unsustainable diets – and that’s partly how dieting causes metabolic syndrome. 

What’s interesting and misleading for researchers, public health officials, and diet gurus alike is that cutting calories or carbs or animal products or some other major thing out of your diet consistently results in improvement in all the markers of metabolic syndrome.  Thus, many diets and eating ideologies that you have come across all make the claim, and have many personal testimonials to back it up, that their diet helps in the following ways…

  • It reduces visceral fat (belly fat)
  • It lowers blood pressure
  • It lowers triglycerides
  • It lowers cholesterol
  • It lowers blood glucose

To the best of my knowledge, a large percentage of people that do the Paleo Diet, the Atkins diet or similar, a vegan diet, a low-fat diet, a food-combining diet, and a calorie-restricted diet – or do some fasting (or exercise a lot) will see major improvements in each of those areas, particularly in the first 6 months. 

Great!  The solution to metabolic syndrome is easy!  You just pick the one that sounds the best and stick with it!  

The problem is that very few studies on any diet or lifestyle intervention last for more than 6 months when many of these biomarkers start to creep back in the other direction, including the person’s weight. 

“On a short-term basis, weight loss is very effective at improving control of blood glucose.  However, this doesn’t mean that the diabetes is being cured; even skipping one meal will similarly lower blood glucose.  A 1995 review of all the controlled weight loss studies for type 2 diabetics showed that the initial improvements were followed by a deterioration back to starting values six to eighteen months after treatment, even when the weight loss was maintained.”

And there lies the problem with much of the way medical science is conducted in the modern era – simple research done in any one of these areas ignores a person’s powerful compensatory reaction to any diet and lifestyle intervention.  Or as Scott Abel says, “For every diet there is an equal and opposite binge.” 

That statement is mostly true, but it goes well beyond that, as studies of people who stuck with the diet that caused weight loss and some improvements in the markers of metabolic syndrome in the first six months, actually showed that the people ended up completely regaining all weight lost by the end of 2 years, with weight still trending up at the end of that period.  In fact, in the last few months more than one person has mentioned experiencing rapid weight gain on a diet of ONLY non-starchy vegetables and lean meat with very low calories – one up to 70 pounds of weight gain in a single year. 

“Commentators often attribute weight regain to people’s inability to maintain their diets over the long run: the old ‘no willpower’ problem.  Yet this study was well controlled to support the women in maintaining their diets.  Weight regain occurred despite maintaining their reduced-calorie diet!  And lest you think these results are particular to low-fat dieting, check out the data from this study to other popular diets.  After twelve months, Atkins dieters were eating 289 fewer calories compared to when they started the diet, Zone dieters were eating 381 fewer calories, LEARN dieters were eating 271 fewer calories, and Ornish dieters were eating 345 fewer calories.  Yet all were steadily regaining weight over the last six months of the first year.  And this despite an accompanying increase in exercise!” 

This is one reason why I don’t rely too much on places like Pubmed to guide my beliefs about health matters.  I could easily find 10 studies that show that some form of undernutrition lowers all of the facets of metabolic syndrome – like this one http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3511220/, that “suggests that IF combined with CR and liquid meals is an effective strategy to help obese women lose weight and lower CHD risk.”

Sadly, scientists like to completely ignore reality and look at a human being as if it was a slime mold.  In this place called reality, dieting in general increases the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, diabetes, excess belly fat, hypertension, and more.  But no one seems to understand this.  Even a guy I consulted with was basically unable to follow my instructions because he was on medical leave from work due to his obesity-related health problems, and failure to see quick improvements that a “medically-supervised, low-calorie protein shake diet” would have instantly delivered might have threatened his ability to claim medical leave.  He was actually pressured to do an extreme diet with well-known hazards and only a temporary, fleeting improvement! 

Dieting causes metabolic syndrome due to the grueling aftermath, which involves visceral weight gain and the negative biomarkers that often come with it.  Hey, these diets would work great if the body didn’t react to them.  But, alas, our bodies are not stupid and metabolic rate slows and hunger typically rages. 

While I don’t have all the answers, to those feeling desperate about their weight or some lab tests showing high triglycerides, blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol… Don’t fall prey to these happily-ever after diet fantasies.  I know you have before.  I have too.  But that doesn’t mean we have to keep doing it again and again, making irrational decisions because we’re scared or don’t like how we look.  Because they not only don’t work, they actually cause the problems they are advertised to cure. 

What science really shows is that living a fulfilling life, eating good meals with lots of fresh foods, getting good sleep, and spending more time on your feet moving around is a much better bet.  This method might not be able to compete with magazine covers claiming you can lose 584 pounds in 5 seconds, but it’s a hell of a lot better than restricting your diet in an unsustainable and neurotic way only to end up worse off over time.   

Or, more directly, dieting makes you fatter long-term so stop f$%#ing doing it!

228 Comments

  1. First?

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    • I always tell my friends who aren’t losing weight or are gaining to add liberal amounts of tasty fats to their meals and never workout for more than an hour. I also recommend switching from normal workouts to yoga. The other trick is to eat a hamburger until you are full. Your temp should come up after that. I’m not saying eat low carb, but sometimes people who are ‘dieting’ avoid fat and then end up gaining weight.

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  2. And, also, good reminders amidst all the new year resolution craziness :)

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  3. Third!

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  4. I can so relate to this due to the almighty mess I’m in now…..I curse the day I ever heard if VLCDs. I lost 45lbs 4 years ago eating 600 calories over 10 weeks….. Thought I’d found the answer to my prayers. But since this I struggled to maintain even on 1200 cals. Tried everything, Atkins, Herbalife, paleo, dukan, even IF (gained 7lbs in a month) and all this incorporating cardio 4 times a week. 3 months ago I gave up dieting and cardio and tried to eat like a “normal person”… I have gained 20lbs. And i wasnt gorging either. So depressing. I’ve never been this heavy but I’m hoping that my body might reset itself if I continue eating good, nutritious grub….no diet food anymore.

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    • Normal “IF’ makes me gain 2 lbs over night. I never went back to that nonsense. Atkins made me gain 2 lbs in 2 weeks of super strict induction.

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      • I never really lost a lot of weight with Atkins (probably because I couldn’t stick it for too long) but I always was able to drop a few initial glycogen drop pounds. I knew things changed last year when even a 5 day pure protein diet failed to release even a pound of fluid…..think that’s when my body decided enough was enough :-(

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    • I haven’t seen any mention of weight training on this page or in these comments. You probably lost more than just fat with your 45lb loss – maybe it’s time to give your body something to use its energy and do some proper weight training (and I don’t mean 30 reps of a 2lb dumbell to ‘tone up’). There is a stupid myth that females will ‘bulk up’ from weight training without drug abuse. When you can squat with a barbell of your body weight on your shoulders I bet you’ll have fewer metabolism problems.

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  5. Absolutely! When I accidentally went on a low-carb paleo-esque diet a year and a half ago, I dropped so much weight it was crazy. I have never had that flat of a stomach in my life. It wasn’t my intent at the time, so all the weight loss freaked me out, but it was kinda neat. Wow, flat abs! And not a crunch or a plank had been done in months! But once I realized that the low-carb diet was just exacerbating the initial problems I was experiencing that led me to the low-carb diet, I stopped it abruptly. And gained weight. Oh boy did I gain weight- right around the mid section. Resisting the urge to jump all over the tried and true methods of immediate weight loss (dieting, skipping dinner, daily strenuous exercise, coffee and cigarettes…) was tough, but I decided it was time to get off the yo-yo once and for all. I’m getting there, but the truth is, I’m probably never going to have super flat abs in any healthy incarnation of myself and that’s fine. It really is.

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    • Sister, I just placed a comment over on your blog (the post about cold remedies), but it doesn’t show up. Maybe you intended it that way, but I just wanted to point this out to you, in case you want people to leave comments.

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    • You’re not alone with this. I had a very similar experience. The only time I could ever see 4 of my abs was when I felt the worst. And now I’m the fattest I’ve ever been in my life.

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    • I prefer coffee and cigarettes.

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  6. Great post. It reinforces my never-diet-again mentality.

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  7. my biggest recent weightloss was due to stopping tomatoes! Turns out they are one of the things which increases my inflammation levels. (and I was eating very little tomato before I stopped) i was trying to reduce my pain levels so the sudden loss of 15kg was a bit of a shock.

    Near as I can tell, the healthiest diet is medium protein, low in starches and sugars and high in natural fats. It may not be the most successful weight loss strategy but is likely the safest and with the smallest chance of rebound weight gain.

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    • Heather, low sugar is no,no good.
      Natural fats? They are all natural on my knowledge.

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      • Hydrogenation is not terribly natural.

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    • HAH!! oh you think so, dont you? weight gain does sooo happen on that diet. Been there, done that anf many with me, men and women alike, with NO cheating/bingeing on “forbidden foods”.

      I will never diet again! ever since i stopped ive eaten what i want when i want and been lifting heavy weights because its fun as hell. Fat is melting off slowly and i do eat a lot of häagen ^_^

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    • I think there is indeed truth in the food-toxins&fat gain-theory as I’ve also experienced this, which ultimately led me towards really distrusting myself regarding food bc ‘all my food toxins’ cause some kind of opiate-like effect on me,where I get this blissful feeling while eating it,wanting&eating way too much of it bc I get these happy feelings&thougths like “what the heck,who cares if I grow fat”…..yet the day(s?) after it causes lots of mental/mood disturbances,constipation,fatigue,pain or whatever.

      I really wonder how one can get rid of most/all food-toxins?

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  8. These are all very good points. It seems that you contend that a calorie deficit doesn’t always cause weight loss? This confuses me. How can the body literally gain mass on a calorie defect of any amount? Doesn’t it break the laws of physics?

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    • No more than it breaks the law of physics that you can get 20x farther on one tank of gas in a Prius than you can in a Ferrari. When the body is stressed & calorie-restricted, evolution has given us some dandy mechanisms that make our metabolism much more efficient. So the body holds calories in the form of fat, figuring there must be some Seriously Scary Shit going down and it needs to prepare.

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      • Sonia,

        I understand that the body can adapt and overcome restriction by lowering it’s metabolic rate. But then all you would have to do to lose weight is continue to reevaluate your BMR and eat at an adjusted deficit?

        I just have a hard time believing a person with a SURPLUS could lose body mass, and a person with a defecit could not? How is that physically possible

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        • Daniel,

          The issue is that you can reevaluate your BMR all you want, but that won’t stop you from experiencing prolonged and intense hunger if you’re not eating enough calories to satisfy appetite.

          As you drop below the weight that your body wants to be at, the stable weight you tend toward when you don’t consciously control your intake or expenditure of calories (your personal ‘set point’), mechanisms like the lowered basal metabolic rate kick in, along with rebound hyperphagia (intense hunger), reduced transit time (you don’t poop as much and your body holds on to those calories rather than passing them on), increased lethargy (exercise seems dreadful), increased muscular efficiency (the same movements you used to expend 200 calories on maybe you now spend 100 calories on, since your body is minimizing wasted energy), and lowered body temperature. In other words, calories in and out are not independent variables- they relate to one another and cannot readily be predicted on an individual level based on charts and graphs.

          And of course, lowering basal metabolic rate and operating at a reduced metabolism has a host of downsides, including reduced immune function and generalized lack of vitality and quality of life.

          So you can’t just race to the bottom to continually adjust your deficit and expect success.

          You are right that someone with a surplus of calories metabolized will not lose mass, nor will someone at a deficit gain mass. But again, these are not variables you can reliably project based solely on calorie numbers. You can be eating 5000 calories a day, but your body could be expending 5500 and you can be in a deficit. Conversely, you could be consuming 1500 calories a day, but your body could be expending only 1000, and you’re in a surplus.

          Make sense?

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          • My body is too damn clever to not keep up with my intake. Within 2 days, my body adjusts to the new calorie level. And, no, I can’t tell you why or how my body can be so damn clever as to gain weight on 600 calories per day, but it did.

          • Heavy weight training is the answer.

        • Daniel,

          I have invited Billy Craig to write on the site sometime. He’s busy but agreed to when he gets the time. He is one of the only people who meticulously overfed himself to the point of becoming very underweight. You can read his thoughts and experience on it here.

          http://www.billycraig.co.uk/1/post/2011/6/does-cutting-your-calories-down-work.html

          If you are focused solely on the surplus, you are denying the way in which our bodies interact with a surplus, and its ways of wasting calories via increased stool volume, increased heat, increased fidgeting, increased energy levels, etc.

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          • Wow, 6000 calories? That would be tough! I believe him, but how did he not gain weight when most people that purposely overfeed gain a lot of weight? I did notice that he kept his meals consistent- something I’ve realized I need to do better on instead of eating sporadically when I get super hungry.

          • Depends on what you mean by “a lot of weight,” Stephanie.

            This page talks about a prison study ( http://idealbodyweights.blogspot.com/2009/08/vermont-prison-overfeeding-study.html ) that Matt and I think Stephen Guyenet have also written about, where they were overfeeding participants, sometimes as much as 10k calories per day, and sure they did gain some weight, but not nearly as much as you would think based on their calorie levels (which would theoretically add ~2+lbs per day at those intake levels).

            Once they stopped overfeeding, they lost that weight very quickly.

            That said, I’m also pretty fascinated by Billy’s experience, and look forward to reading more about it.

          • You’re right Rob I remember reading about that now. I think that I was thinking about that fit to fat to fit guy, and there was another body builder type who did it as well and both got pretty fat. But the prison experiment is very interesting.

          • We have a science doc show in England called Horizon, and I remember one episode was about how skinny people can’t get fat. They purposely over fed a group of super skinnies who gained little weight if any, gorging on high calorie junk food. This documentary is on topdocumentaries.com for anyone who wants to watch it, it was very interesting.

          • Haven’t seen the documentary,but I guess a key factor in it all is,that they probably never have been overweigth/obese but I guess since a lot of people on here,including myself, come from an obese/overweigth/chubby past/childhood that we already have ‘grown’ larger number of fatcells and that they can actually balloon up again?

          • Yay…glad to hear Billy Craig has agreed to write. I’ve been really interested in what he has to say ever since he joined the RBTI Facebook group. I keep telling people about his 6,000 calorie experiment, I even left a comment on Chief’s blog about him. I got a discussion going on the 30badsucks site when I posted links to your site, Chief’s blog and Billy’s. Most had a hard time believing that a person could create a hypermetabolic state by eating that many calories. Seems his way is a bit different than Chief’s from what I can gather. Billy says that consistency is the key. Three meals a day and keep your calories the same each day so that your body never feels it’s in starvation mode and has to hold on to calories. At least that’s what I remember when I read his posts.

            Funny, then you get Chief who does his main feasting at around 6pm, tries to keep stress as low as possible and I’m sure other things that he hasn’t covered yet. Both seem to make it work, though. If we look at the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, it took the men a while after the study was over to lose the extra weight they gained. I think if we look at those who have gone through restrictive eating disorder recovery and have completely followed through without continuing to restrict, most will say they gained back even more fat than what they started with at the beginning of their restricting. To the point that they felt they would never stop gaining. Well at some point your body should stop gaining and most say they went back down to their prerestricting weight. Though, Chief’s and Billy’s experiments seem to prove you can reset your weight set point.

            A good site to check out for what to expect with recovery and how much it takes for the body to heal is youreatopia.com. One of the commenters on here from a previous post had mentioned the site and I have found the site really fascinating and informative. Like yours Matt. :) She talks about all the forms of restrictive eating disorders all the way down to over exercising called anorexia athletica.

            Well, I hope that Billy does do a post. I kept thinking how great it would be for you, Chief and Billy to have a pow wow to discuss the topic of refeading. What’s also great is that Billy is familiar with RBTI so you have that in common too. Makes for a really interesting discussion I would say.

            Blessings and Love,
            Jennifer

          • Really interesting. I agree, it would be a great post. It’s worth noting that countries that have stayed thinner (like the French) definitely do practice regular meal times. Eating disorder recovery also very much emphasizes regular meals (3 meals day + 2 snacks, ideally). And people do gain (a lot sometimes), but then they get thinner again.

          • 6000Cal. for a year day in,day out?
            I wonder if he’d been doing any exercise/strength training during that period? And too bad,he doesn’t write what he ate/his daily meals looked like…

        • From experience, it is very physically possible,
          I have gained weight on a “calorie deficit” many times.
          Calories in and calories out has an extremely limited range of usefulness.
          It becomes null and void as the body starts developing its own adaptive mechanisms to food reduction , and the perception of starvation, lack etc..

          All you have to do is read a few diet boards and how many of these longterm dieters are failing to lose or even maintain on subnormal calorie levels.

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      • The car analogy is a good one. I know many people who believe calories are the only thing that matter and thus the only solution to weight loss is to just eat less, but if it were that simple, the national conversation on obesity would long be gone.

        However, one of my formerly obese friends lost a ton of weight with a reasonable diet and exercise, so it seems like if you’re healthy otherwise, calories in calories out is the main principle to follow. Is this a good way of looking at it, or am I off base?

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        • Kamran,

          It depends- it’s likely that several other variables changed for your friend when they began their reasonable diet and exercise routine, so it’s hard to say the calorie restriction was the operative actor.

          For example- eating more wholesome foods, fruits- vegetables, roots, grains, etc. in more of an unrefined state, with a higher water content and less palatability will have a different effect on our hunger than a diet of commercial junk food, even if we make the calorie contents identical (and this is even assuming that the calorie contents on food labels are reliable, which they may not always be). Try eating 900 calories of baked potatoes (~4lbs pre-cooked) versus 900 calories of ice cream (~1 pint). Chances are, you’ll be able to get down the ice cream much easier than the potatoes, and probably have room for more. So it’s not just calories that impact our satiation- various qualities of the food matter. Nutrient content matters. Etc.

          The type of exercise you do matters. How you feel about the exercise matters. Do you hate it? Look forward to it? The other aspects of one’s life matter too. In many of the weight loss success stories I have read about, the person undergoes a shift that incorporates many parts of their life, not just their calorie load. Volunteering more, or spending more quality time with loved ones, etc. These all matter. And so again, it’s hard to say reliably that it was the calorie management specifically that resulted in sustained and healthy fat loss. (Let’s not even count the fact that most fat loss is not sustained and healthy- I’ll trust that’s not the case with your friend.)

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          • I couldn’t agree, more, Rob. I notice that when people ‘have finally had it’ and adopt weight loss that more or less ends up being permanent– the ones we tout as eating healthy and exercise plans– it’s usually accompanied by those elusive life qualities– excitement, satisfaction, enthusiasm and, of course, happiness. You know– recently divorced woman starts eating healthy, exercises and loses weight . It could just as easily be the emotional burden of an unhappy marriage has been lifted. Happy, fulfilled energetic, and enthusiastic people usually don’t stuff big-macs in their mouth on their way home from work. That doesn’t mean Mickey D’s makes you fat. Here in Europe McDonald’s are filled with slim and healthy people. They sit down to eat and then enjoy the McCafe afterward. It’s as leisurely of a meal as if you went to a cafe. And of course, the sense of order and well-being that accompanies regular meals and healthful life habits (like taking a brisk morning walk while enjoying a beautiful sunrise instead of furiously trying to burn off the butter you put on your toast) often create happiness. Chaotic meal and life schedules create stress.

          • Thanks for your posts Rob and Susan.

            My friend never went on any starvation sort of diet, I think he just cut his calories. He never deprived himself of anything, we have gone out to get thai food quite frequently. He would never stress about what was in the food (on the contrary, I would be a little concerned) and we would laugh and talk and enjoy ourselves.

            I don’t think he destroys himself in the weight room, either. He’s usually in a good mood…school stresses, but he never complains and I’m pretty sure he’s got it under control.

            Now my brother on the other hand was the opposite. He wanted to get BIG. He started downing huge protein shakes and eating huge meals, and taking large amounts of creatine, and drinking ungodly amounts of water, and he DESTROYED himself in the weight room all the time. At first, his progress was great and he looked visibly bigger and he felt better and looked better and things were going well.

            I was fairly sure he was in a honeymoon phase at the time, but I was glad he seemed to be doing okay. I was doing pretty terribly with my health around that time, so I wasn’t in any position to give him advice on how he could be doing something unhealthy.

            Well now he hasn’t been able to lift in a month because he’s been so sick, and his digestive system is acting up quite a bit, he can’t sleep very well, and he’s generally stressed about a lot of things.

            I’m trying to get him to stop drinking so much frickin water, but since I managed to wreck myself, it’ll be harder to convince him or anyone else in my family to listen, lol.

            None of this has much to do with weight loss, but your guys’ points about happiness and exercise made me think about this.

    • Daniel,

      I totally understand your disbelief or confusion, but I AM that person Matt mentioned about gaing 70lbs while eating mostly a diet of veggies and lean meats/protein. It ddi happen and I have a hard time understanding it myself. I should give you some background info just in case this helps. Two years prior I did a medically supervised liquid diet called Optifast. It consisted of 5 shakes a day totaling 800 calories and I lost 105 lbs between April thru December 2009 (ending weighed 211lbs, I’m a 6ft male). When I officially got off that diet, the first thing I craved was raw veggies (WTF???). For 2010, I ate mostly a vegetarian diet that also consisted of Green Smoothies (ala Victoria “whats-her-name”?). My weight increased slightly after ending Optifast and I bounced between 220 and 233lbs in 2010. I needed to lose more weight and was getting desperate so on New Years day 2011 I did my first of 3attempts doing the HCG Diet. That diet consisted of eating two small meals plus two small apples a day totaling about 500 calories. I lost ONLY 12 lbs in two weeks. When I got off that one, I gained 10lbs in the FIRST WEEK!! All I did was increase the amount of veggies and lean protein that was prescribed for the diet (average meal on HCG was a cup of raw veggies and 3oz of chicken fish or lean beef, no added fats or oils, no dressings or condiments except some vinegar or mustard), no binging on fast food or ice cream/junk etc.!! I ended my third attempt in June 2011 with again no success. From July til the of 2011 I gained 70lbs eating around 1200 to 1600 cals a day using similar meal plans as the HCG diet (lean protein, veggies but with some aded fat such as olive oil or sometimes raw almonds). I know it is hard to believe, I can’t believe it myself even though I actually experienced it. BTW, I live in Phoenix AZ and in January 2011 with average daily SUNNY temops of 55 degrees, I went to my doctor complaining of a consistent “freezing” feeling in my body. My doctor’s response was..”Jon, think about it, you just lost 105lbs, its like shedding several Winter jackets, of course you feel cold”…I Wish I discovered Matt’s site back then. In March of 2012 another doctor diagnosed me with Hypothyroidism, Anemia (due to b12 and Folate deficiency, yet mostly I ate meat and veggies and a whey protein meal replacement shake that had b12 added to it- WTF??), depression, VitD deficiency (live in the Valley of the Sun – WTF??), sleep disorders and Low T!!!

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      • Yes , I can well believe all you write Jon!
        Having experienced many times unstoppable weight weight gain on lower calories after some dieting phase, (calories that would have initially led to weight loss not gain);
        and finding it impossible to normalize weight and appetite almost all my adult life after starting the dieting cycle in early teens…

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      • JonO, I hear ya!! My weight gain was uncontrollable despite ongoing calorie restriction. The only way I could shift a few pounds was at 5-600 cals but I couldn’t sustain this (nor would I want to). I felt crap all the time…. My whole system was sluggish, brain fog, exhaustion, no libido, aching muscles and hips at night along with night sweats. I went to my doc and described my symptoms and that I couldn’t lose weight…..got tested for hypothyroidism but tests were normal although my body temp was 36.1. . Doc told me i wasnt counting my cals properly and to eat 1500 a day. Didn’t want to know about my symptoms. i left in tears….I subsequently found out through a holistic health guy that I had iodine deficiency and started supplementing with Lugols iodine…..within a week my aches were gone along with my sore hips (which I had had FOR YEARS!!)… No more night sweats and the brain fog lifted. My temp raised up to 36.4 (I’m trying to improve on that and also still trying to shift the weight but by eating well and doing a bit of strength training…..fingers crossed).

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        • Jax,

          How much iodine do you take?

          Several years ago I was experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism and my doctor would not treat me for it. I was a vegan and ate a lot of soy and cruciferous vegetables. It occurred to me that I may have an iodine deficiency and I started adding powdered kelp to my food. Within a short period of time, my mood improved, my body warmed up and the extra weight came off with no exercise outside of my typical active lifestyle.

          A few months ago, I started experiencing night and day sweating. I started taking a few drops of lugol’s solution (along with selenium) every day a couple of weeks ago.The sweating episodes have decreased greatly. They are less frequent and less intense.

          I think iodine may be the one of the missing pieces for many people. Many conventional and even complementary doctors are against supplemental iodine. Even Ray Peat says that iodine is harmful. I disagree with him. Many Peat followers take thyroid supplements but they still have metabolic and hypothyroid issues probably because they don’t get enough iodine.

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          • I read a lot about it first (dr Robert Brownstein wrote a book about iodine). I started on sea kelp tablets but moved on initially to about 50mgs a day (think that’s what it was as it was nearly a year ago) I take about 30mgs daily and I swear by it. My dad takes it too. So far I’ve experienced nothing negative. I couldn’t believe the difference it made……I haven’t had a night sweat since and those aching hips which woke me at night are back to normal. Unfortunately I continued with calorie deprivation so my weight loss troubles are still with me but I can definitely say dieting made me really sick…….no one tell you about that….. I thought I was doing everything right!!!! I’m fatter now (a lot) but I feel so much healthier, more alert, happy, no longer have this ever present fatigue that I had. Some people are against iodine and some people aren’t……it’s a personal choice but I know what the benefits were for me!

          • Where do you get iodine that you can take 30 MSG a day?

        • Good luck, Jax! Love me some Iodine!

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          • On the Internet.

          • Gee thanks Jax, what an incredibly helpful answer!

      • I became anemic with low b12 on a lchf diet (lots of butter, meat and non starchy veggies)the stupidest thing ive ever done in my life!!!

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      • JonO
        thanks for your sharing your story. This kind of detail is what readers need to see to comprehend the fallacy of the current diet dogma. It is a “WTF” moment, but the human animal is still mysterious, and though Western biomedicine likes to believe it has bridged nearly all frontiers of health, tales like yours defy explanation with the commonly held theories of CICO, ELMM, etc.
        Hope you find some answers for yourself. I definitely think thyroid issues is men are the most overlooked problems around. My research has revealed that high uric acid (gout), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, weight gain, low T, etc., is often (dare I say ALWAYS?) a metabolic issue and the thyroid is usually suffering. Not that I am advocating thyroid treatment, per se, just that controlling the signs (with BP meds, statins, T, etc.) NEVER solves the underlying cause.

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    • It’s an interesting point, but it seems that the human body is very adaptable. In POW camps, concentration camps, GULAGS, etc. people are known to have survived on 100-1200 calories a day, while doing heavy labor, for years. Even though they got emaciated, they survived, and now many of them are in their eighties or nineties, suggesting that even their helath was not compromised in the long term (although I’m not sure they actually benefited from starvation).

      Reply
      • You are correct.

        Many people did not survive and that may have been because of genetics.

        I know people who seem to be doing just fine eating low calories, according to their appetite. My parents had an older friend who ate very little, yet he was very energetic and looked much younger than his chronological age. He died at age 92.

        Some people just don’t have big appetites and there is nothing wrong with that. There are benefits to a low metabolism if the person does not feel or look unhealthy. I don’t understand what is so appealing about needing to eat every hour because one’s body is burning through it’s fuel and nutrients. That is very expensive and disruptive to daily life.

        Given that the economy is not so great, people with low metabolism are faring better because they don’t have to spend a lot on food. And to tell you the truth, all the people I know who lived into their 80’s and beyond did not eat large quantities of food.

        Reply
          • wikipedia; ” He died at Padua at age 98″

            It isn’t scientific but shows that a person can live a long life on relatively few calories.

            As I mentioned before, the really old people that I know are slim and don’t eat a lot. A small appetite that is satisfied by quality foods is probably better than a high metabolism with large food intake that includes a lot of junk food.

            I read somewhere–but I can’t remember–that nature favors people who eat less as they age because they are not taking food away from the young. That makes sense. For most of human history (even today in many parts of the world), food has been relatively scarce or difficult to obtain in large quantities. And since nature has no use for us after the age which we should have already passed on our genes, why not just give a heart attack to the older person who is eating a lot and so is taking food away from his grandchildren.

          • I disagree. All my family members who calorie restrict have chronic health conditions that are “genetic” or otherwise intractable. The ones with a healthy appetites have cared much better, although they are bigger. No difference in length of life, but quality seems to be vastly different. Also, and this is the most important aspect to me, the ones with healthy appetites also have more vibrant social lives and better family relationships. I don’t think this is coincidental.

          • Ann, that’s a sad way of thinking.

          • In my extensive experience, any nutritional assertions that “make sense” are the ones to be weary of. The ones worth their merit Speak Truth.

  9. Starvation diabetes is an interesting thing to Google.

    Reply
  10. Some newbie feedback for you Matt: have been eating low carb for a number of years now to try and lose weight, ease up some aching joints and keep blood sugars down – all unsuccessful. After starting the 180 guidelines at the beginning of January it took only about three days for my hip joints to stop aching and for strength and energy to return to my legs. I still have a long way to go – a basal temp which sits in the 35-36C area and at least 20kg to lose. But you know what – for the first time in a long time I feel happy and very contented :) and my hips don’t seize up which is a huge bonus for someone who is a yoga teacher!!!

    Reply
  11. Where has my appetite gone? I lost about 50lbs 9 years ago. 5 years later I apparently crashed. Low blood sugar problems, insomnia, and the problems that go along with those. But I had a solid 4 pack for the first time in my life. I started doing some things that made me get better but of course the fat started coming. I hadn’t found your site yet. So I came across Sisson. Within a month I was back to the adrenaline surges, heart palpitations and all that good stuff. Then found you and the Rubins. Worked with Jeanne for a while and started to gain weight like crazy. Went from a 32/34 waist to 44 in about a year and gained about 80lbs. All during this time, and even now, I rarely feel hungry. When I wake up, I’m not hungry but I eat anyway. Been working over the french toast lately. I’m not hungry at lunch or dinner but I usually eat anyway. Any ideas why this may be happening and any guess as to when it might return and what I might start to notice before it does?

    Reply
    • My first instinct is that you are preventing what would naturally occur if you were to just obey your appetite. When the body wants to lose weight, often the appetite disappears. If you fight that by continuing to force food down your throat you may be disrupting that.

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      • The problem in my experience is that hunger, as in the physical manifestations of not eating, like stomach pain, fatigue, trouble keeping warm or jitteriness can be dissociated from appetite by overfeeding. Long-term overfeeding decreases appetite but it seems to if anything increase hunger and make you more dependent on constant feeding to feel right.

        If I followed nothing but my appetite right now I likely wouldn’t eat much at all and most of it would be liquid, but then eating this way makes me physically miserable. How do you get out of this situation? I’m thinking that it is probably related to leptin resistance. Am again trying Richard Byrons leptin diet plan to sort it out.

        Reply
        • Umm… this is interesting. I definitely have something similar. I gained a little bit of belly fat coming off low-carb and doing HED (think I went from a 30 to a 31). The main thing is I’m never that hungry and I can’t imagine eating the very small amount my appetite would naturally direct me to eat right now. I feel like maybe I should just let it sort itself out and after a few weeks natural appetite would come back. Who knows?

          Reply
          • I say let it. I’ve done this myself actually. I still would eat 3 meals a day, but maybe let them be very light if that’s what you want. It’ll normalize pretty quickly. If you eat too little for your body’s needs, I assure you the hunger will come roaring back. (NOTE: this only applies to people with a healthy metabolism, which it sounds like you have)

          • I second Matt and Amy on that too. If you’ve been eating a lot of food for a while, gained weight and hunger disappears, it is probably your body trying to sort the weight out. Like Amy said, perhaps just listening to your body will help. If you don’t want the french toast, maybe at this point you can have something else. Just like you, I overfed for about 6 months and gained 50 lbs. The first few months were very needed I think, but when I apetite dropped like crazy, I kept over feeding for another few months and kept gaining. I stopped that a little while ago and things have been normalizing ever since (the weight not fast, but hunger and all other functions.) Must have lost around 5-7 pounds too, not much but it does feels better. To get in touch with what my body wanted, I just started by stopping to eat when I’m full, when for 6 months I ate past that point from fear of under-eating (I was a little traumatized at how ill under-eating had got me). That helped a ton…I started enjoying food more. When I felt like my body needed something, but I was repulsed by food like sweet or fatty foods, I had a fruit and a little piece of cheese and it really hit the spot. The most incredible thing for me is that my digestion is actually going back to normal since I started listening to my body – no overfeeding and no going hungry, both were terrible on my digestion. It was such a concern for me, caused me so much pain and trouble, and now things seem to be getting steadily better :). The guidelines on this site are lifesavers, especially when you’re coming out of a rut, but always keep in mind your natural instincts. The guidelines on this site work even better if you really use them in harmony with what your body signals, especially once you’ve done some good healing.

        • Yes, agreed. 3 meals a day is really helpful in re-establishing proper signals.

          Reply
        • Very true, at first eating is way too intellectualized and giving yourself a little push to eat a variety of foods works well on so many aspects, especially mentally. Listening to the body is sometimes even impossible at the beginning as its so foreign. 3 meals a day is a great start.

          Reply
          • How do you start again with eating a variety of foods?

            Bc my problem,also in the past when I was oblivious about food,is that I’m kinda a creature of habit,so I tend to eat a lot of the same at set times/days usually bc I like eating it(which has shown to be a negative thing for me,as it slowly becomes more&more&bigger in other words negative addiction I guess) and also bc of ‘lack of inspiration’ and/or convenience.
            Also automatically not varying with stuff….for instance my aunt,I wrote about,she had to buns with ham&cheese when I was there and I asked her if she didnt put any butter on it.Then she replied:”Sometimes I do,sometimes I dont,whatever I feel like”…..she’s really intuitive in that sense,whereas I always did put margarine automatically on my bread back then bc it was a habit and just plain meat or dry cheese on it would be so dry-tasting. I just don’t know anymore,was it a habit or was it intuition? My head/thinking seems to always be,in everything, my enemy…..
            I just don’t even know anymore what feels like a ‘normal meal’/eating in my head. Lots of stuff I eat can be considered kinda Paleoish but when I actually think of “eating Paleo” I get such negative/resistant feelings.

      • Matt,
        What you’re saying seems to contradict what Gwyneth over at youreatopia.com says. It seems more natural to follow my appetite, but she’s saying I need to eat a minimum of 2500 kcal/day no matter what….along with NO exercise. What say you?

        Reply
        • Depends on where you’re at. Most people can eat to appetite AND exercise. Monitoring body temp and biofeedback extensively for signs of improvement is what really matters.

          Reply
    • I dont have much of an apetite either most days (spoke with matt about this a few mo.ths back) on days i lift/fight i make sure i get high kcal food in me like a few spoons of häagen with lunch or dinner, or i eat popcorn for dinner if i dont feel like anything, just to get some kcal. I dont sweat it though, im grateful food doesnt occupy my mind anymore. Once in a while apetite increases and those days i do eat alot. Always what i feel like eating. Weight is slowly creeping off, not that i had much to lose to start with but nice to see my abs returning completely effortless ^_^ yay for intuitive eating ^_^

      Reply
  12. Rob from tech support suggested I post this post here even though it’s not specifically relevant to what’s above:

    Two questions.

    1. If you are middle-aged and unfit then surely doing HIIT is very unwise as this extra strain is likely to put undue pressure on your already less-than-resilient heart? And thus the best exercise is something like yoga, walking etc? So HIIT is by definition a young(ish) person’s exercise?

    2. Some say the biosignature is not so good and are very critical of it eg:

    http://josephagu.com/2012/05/03/an-objective-look-at-biosignature-modulation-part-1/

    others say it’s fantastic.

    What is your view?

    Reply
    • I would assume biosignature is mediocre at best, and know some people who got plenty screwed up by it.

      HIIT is, in theory, an old person’s exercise that strengthens a weakened heart (young people have strong ones). At least, that is what the old dudes who write books about HIIT (Campbell, Sears, etc.) say.

      Although, it is damn stressful and I have trouble facing such high levels of intensity. So I don’t really do it anymore. When I do exercise I never take it to such grueling and uncomfortable levels anymore.

      Reply
  13. I’d like to believe it all comes down to Calories in and Calories out when it comes to gaining or decreasing general mass (fat and/or muscle), but of course to achieve favorable body composition that is a whole separate set of requirements. Is it impossible to lose weight with a caloric deficit if your adrenals are shot? and why is that so?

    Reply
    • Shot adrenals or overtapped anything in the body is not good. I don’t think you could expect very favorable results until everything is restored and healed. As most people are borderline out of balance in our culture, this is what HED accomplishes… helps the body bring everything back in line.
      Personally I shot myself in the foot with obsessive diet orthorexia a few years ago. I most likely had adrenal fatigue plus who knows what else. It’s improved a long way but I’m still nothing like the way I used to be. Personally I can’t imagine doing the type of exercise I used to do. I think results have to come after your body’s back in good condition and your hormones are in order.

      Reply
  14. Thank you! When I was doing my “Paleo-binge-every-other-weekend” diet, my triglycerides increased sharply, as well as my bad cholesterol numbers. My “good” cholesterol numbers decreased. I many low carb proponents talking about this as if it were okay. I think I saw something crazy by Jimmy low carb la vida about it too! While most of the rest of the world was saying, “You shouldn’t have numbers that high!”…the Paleo crowd was shouting, “Oh yes you can! It’s due to eating more higher quality fats and the mainstream medical groups are wrong!”

    I gained about 30 lbs RRARFing, learned to love myself MORE and am now energetic enough to exercise. I’m starting to really crave movement and lifting. I am starting to lose a little bit of weight by eating a crapload of food and exercising no more than 30 minutes a day (primarily with kettlebells).

    Reply
    • That’s generally how the process should go. Recover metabolism, then lean out eating to appetite and working on your strength and fitness in a progressive way.

      When you lose weight on a diet, the body’s reaction is to gain weight after.

      When you gain weight on a non-diet, the body’s reaction is to lose weight after.

      But I find for some it does take some action – actually obeying your body’s cues for movement and lighter fare instead of perpetually trying to override that with more rest and more food.

      In other words, you can eat lightly and exercise your brains out and lose weight. If it doesn’t feel like a diet, and your body isn’t shutting down metabolically like you’re on a diet, you’re probably not going to have a post-dieting reaction to it.

      Reply
      • I agree. There are some days when I crave different things or don’t eat as much. Other days, I eat more, but I’m not doing it on purpose. I don’t want to override anything at this point.

        I have found that on days when I eat more, it can sometimes help raise my temps or help with digestion the following day, and it usually turns out that it’s what I need to do all along. One night, I was craving some ice cream, but it didn’t help with my temps. So I fixed a piece of toast with butter, salt, cinnamon and sugar and THEN had much better temps and was pretty satisfied. :D

        I think me getting out and being around more people will help too! I’m getting a gym membership tomorrow and am thinking of going back to work next year, when my daughter starts kindergarten. I love talking to people, and doing things like going to the gym and/or work will help “push” me out the front door and not be so secluded at home.

        I am finding that what I’m doing is an anomaly though. I freak people out when I tell them what I’m eating (most of the guys I know don’t even eat as much as I do) and that I don’t believe in diets. I’m overweight, so people are probably judging my lifestyle a bit too…that happens. And then people tell me that they’re exercising to the point of puking on a diet of sparse calories and that THAT’s how one loses weight. This is certainly a fun and exciting endeavor!

        Reply
        • It is interesting to be overweight (as I am) and tell people I don’t believe in diets, as you do. You don’t get the positive reaction you get from telling people you’ve lost 10 pounds with X plan.

          I also have been reading “The Diet Myth” by Paul Campos and I’m astounded by the studies the back up the fact that dieting makes you gain weight. Also it’s interesting to not the anorexic mindset of the American populace at large, and how it influences our definition of “getting healthy”.

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      • I have also been craving healthier foods, which I have really never done. In the past, I only ate them because they’re “good for you”. Now I really like eating fruit as a snack vegetables with dinner. But if I feel like eating ice cream or desserts, I’ll do that too.

        I’ve just never craved healthy foods like this and it’s been interesting.

        Reply
        • It’s interesting. My daughter and i feel like eating cooked broccoli instead of cookies. So funny.

          Reply
      • “But I find for some it does take some action – actually obeying your body’s cues for movement and lighter fare instead of perpetually trying to override that with more rest and more food.’

        Thank you for stating this, Matt.

        One of the problems I have with many people on the Peat-inspired websites is that they feel physical activity is harmful and that force feeding is a good thing. They are so obsessed with keeping cortisol and adrenaline low that they constantly force feed themselves lots of sugar and salt.

        In an interview, Ray Peat said that in one study, 30 minutes of walking which did not raise the participant’s pulse rate caused DNA damage. Maybe that is true. But, I have to believe that our bodies are capable of repairing any damage caused by 30 minutes of leisurely walking. Otherwise, our species would have died out a long time ago. Our ancestors did not sit around eating and doing nothing all day. They had to exert energy in order to acquire their food.

        Many of the Peat followers complain about unrelenting anxiety and stress but refuse to engage in physical activity. They think that sitting for hours under a heat lamp and eating lots of salt and sugar will lower their stress hormones and increase their metabolism. It has not occurred to them that their anxiety/stress may be their bodies’ attempt to get them to be more physically active because they have too much stored energy.

        Reply
      • what do you suggest for someone who feels the urge to move, misses it, but is physically injured and cannot do what she wants to do? When walking to the shops is a big deal? When she may be unhappy because she cannot do what she wants to do in non exercise related activities i.e play a musical instument?
        When she is fed up with being fed up and cannot fit into any of her clothes and feels blah!

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    • And how are your Cholesterol numbers now?

      Reply
      • I haven’t retested yet, but will in 3-4 months and I’ll try to post it here.

        Reply
  15. Beth, May I ask what age range you are in? Also, how long did it take you to gain the weight and then notice some loss? I RRARF’ed for two months and gained 15 lbs….also had the best cycle in forever the first month but now having serious problems (worse than before RRARF’ing…going strong on day 12 and no signs of stopping!!). I can’t figure out what that could be…anyone have any suggestions? I’m starting to wonder if RRARF’ing works well for under 40 year olds, but for 40ish women, it may not work so well? Could our distinct health issues during this time, or our inability to rebound as quickly as when we were younger be complicating things?

    Reply
    • It doesn’t complicate things, it’s just that the improvements that can be made in one’s health diminish the older you get.

      Chaotic menstrual cycles for the first few months of tweaking with metabolism are the norm not the exception. But you’re saying that there is an exacerbation of previous problems and not sudden and wonky menstrual changes?

      Reply
      • Aging…what a bummer, huh? :) Normally I have a 21 day cycle (which I do not think is good at least for me) and period lasts 10 days with only a few days of actual bleeding. Now, I am on day 12 and every day but 3 of them have been extremely heavy. I’m talking major heavy where I’m taking measures to help with possible anemia. On the internet I find things like “PCOS” which says those with it need to eat little to no sugar and I’m thinking. “GREAT!! That’s exactly what I have been eating!” . These sites also say things about watching out for insulin resistance and things like that. So, I’m just freaking here a bit, since I don’t know what is going on, I’m not used to carrying this extra weight, and I have always been very athletic. I have exercised 2x in the past few weeks (that sounds crazy saying only 2x, for only 15 minutes each time, so I can’t imagine that having anything to do with it. Thanks once again for your feedback!

        Reply
        • hopeful, what exactly do you mean by “I have always been very athletic”? I ask because, to me, that description plus your mention of shortened menstrual cycles, is a red flag for diet and exercise being a major cause of the disruption to the menstrual cycle; PCOS has something like a 50% misdiagnosis rate, and it’s been known since 1985 that undernutrition can cause many of the symptoms. You can’t diagnose yourself; only a scan that reveals cysts is a diagnosis, and even then, for a lot of people the cysts resolve with adequate nutrition and rest. So, if you spent two months re-feeding, the menstrual cycle will do some wacky stuff as it normalizes. Please please please don’t listen to any of the dietary-restriction advice on the ‘net about PCOS. Danny Roddy has some good articles on it, if I recall correctly, or talk to Matt, or check out Go Kaleo’s advice – she was a great reality-check for me when it came to just how many calories you actually need to support athleticism. Especially since under-eating gets more common as you age, I’d look at whether your intake was adequate (before Rarrfing) and, if it wasn’t, just keep eating until your cycle stabilizes and try to be gentler with exercise. Phew, long comment, sorry!

          Reply
          • There is an interesting concept in health which I personally have found to be true. When the body is forced into situations, it will rebound with a stronger opposite response. So, if you starve yourself the body responds with a weight gain rebound when you start eating again. If you take medicine to suppress a symptom – let’s use anti-anxiety medicine, the brain calms but when it wears off the body responds with even greater anxiety. So, with periods, yours may have been supressed and now it is bouncing back with ferocity. My first period after going off the pill was rough. For the first time ever in my life I had to buy “super” tampons, and was going through them quickly. Then it normalized for the next period to a strength that was pretty much what it was before I went on the pill. Now, if it doesn’t normalize after a few cycles, there may be something going on. But it is very normal for this to happen for at least one cycle.

          • Neesha and Real Amy! Thanks so much for responding! I did not check back under this post, so I didn’t notice you responded until just now. Well, I say I’ve been athletic, but for the last few years, I haven’t really exercised much (except the short stint of intermittent fasting back in September and October that was horrible) except normal life of taking care of 5 children and the activity that that entails. I just have somehow always held onto the athletic body , that’s why I can’t stand this weight. But as for the periods, for 10 plus years I’ve had the sluggish 2 periods a month but then also did vegetarian, then SCD, weston a price then GAPS, so I wonder if my cycles were messed up from that? I am on day 14 of a majorly heavy period. I think but not sure that it might be lessening a bit. I will disregard the PCOS advice for sure! I did happen upon a site that mentioned lack of vitamin A and D can cause major hormonal problems, so I started taking 3 T of Blue Ice cod liver oil 3 times a day. I listened to this interview (Forgotten Vitamin A) with Sally Fallon: http://www.superhumanradio.com/645-forgotten-vitamin-a.html and it made me think that could be a problem as well. Any thoughts on that? Anyway, I will continue to eat and thank you so much for your responses!

    • I said the same thing on Julia’s post, that 40 is likely a turning point metabolically where you probably won’t ever see that “spontaneous” weight loss that she was talking about. But I hope I’m wrong (I’m 38) :)

      Reply
      • I think also that the pounds I have lost might be “water weight”, also.

        My cycle has never been abnormal, but it HAS been hard. Lots of cramps, fatigue, lots of breast pain and migraines. And my PMS starts 1-2 weeks before my period – fun! I think I miscarried recently too.

        I started loading with natural progesterone cream recently (I have lower levels of this too), which has made the symptoms a bit worse. I’m experimenting to see how things go in a few months and hoping I can regulate the hormones as I lose body fat and gain muscle.

        My cycles were getting consistently better when I was RRARFing though and if I had to do things over, I wouldn’t have started on the progesterone.

        Reply
    • I turned 38 last November. It probably took me about 4 months to gain the weight, but then my weight stabilized and I stopped gaining. I have been at my same weight for a long time though and it has taken me a year to want to exercise. I just started craving it a few weeks ago and since then have lost a few pounds.

      I am not exercising to lose weight though. I think losing weight will help more with my hormone imbalance, however, and DO want those results. :D I am exercising because I crave the movement and it’s been feeling good.

      Getting enough sleep helps also. I’m not good at it and it’s one of the things I want to focus on this year.

      Reply
  16. Love posts like these- so helpful :) I lost arouund 20-25 pounds 4 years ago by eating 1300-1500 calories per day and picking up cardio and obsessive calorie counting. I got down to 107 (lowest) at 5’6 and also developed an ED over the next 4 years that turned into the need to exercise every day in order to eat my diet of 1800-2500 calories. I “maintained” a weight around 112-117 for the next 3 years up to now through restriction and exercise.

    I totally agree with every point here. My metabolism dropped increasingly in order to protect my vital organs, my depleting energy levels, I developed sleep insomnia, inconsistent bladder problems, constant migraines/headaches, depression, OCD habits, cold hands and feet, always sick and improper hormone balance…..all thanks to losing weight on a calorie restricted diet 4 years ago.

    All thanks to that I now have lingering health problems. I have been trying to recover from my ED and exercise addiction and have been doing pretty well. I have given up the cardio for the most part (although I have an active job 4 hours a day 4 days a week) and I have been eating between 3500-5000 calories every day for 4 months now, every day. I seem to be pretty much staying steady at my weight of 120-125 now on this amount.

    Your posts really help me realize the connections between everything again. I already knew this, but it just helps as a reminder as to why I need to continue to get better every day.

    Do you think I have affected my “set point” at all through the past restriction and over-exercise?

    Reply
    • I think it sounds like you are doing surprisingly well. And at your height, if you do moderate amounts of strength training (not jump back into total exercise OCD) in lieu of throwing baby out with bathwater, and stay at 120-125, your body composition can be as good as you want it to be. No need to ever be below that weight to look great. In fact, I know lots of women under 5’3″ and over 150 pounds that are quite lean.

      Reply
      • Great! Thats awesome to hear, thank you! DO you think with the weight I am at, and in lieu of putting exercise back into my life on occasion, that me continuing to eat 3000+ is appropriate? As well as 450 grams of carbs per day?

        Reply
        • Not Matt,
          But I think you are doing well too! Relatively speaking you have gained very little weight , and with a major calorie increase.
          And staying steady at that weight on that many calories! I am jealous of you!

          I would continue with the higher calories if that is how you feel good. If you are not really hungry for that many calories and still feel good eating a bit less then do that.

          And like Matt says- do a bit of strength training –
          your body will most likely improve its composition naturally and easily that way without any need for calorie cutting.

          And also- I am 5ft 2, and at 125 pds would be super lean.
          I do a lot of strength training. In fact I currently weigh a bit over 150 pds and both my boyfriend and training partner say- “there is no fat on you”.
          Something I wouldnt fully agree with with.. lol. But I am not fat as such.

          Reply
          • Hi Nola! Your body comp. sounds wonderful! It sounds like your strength training is doing well for you! :)

            Thank you for your input! I will most likely keep my calories up in the 3000-3800 range for now, just because I still have many lingering health issues that were caused by trying to “maintain” my low body weight 115 with 1800-2300 calories roughly during my 4 year over-exercise addiction. I can only hope that those lingering health problems go away soon!

            Thanks for the reply! :)

          • More calories is better as far as I concerned, especially when weight is not being gained!

            And yeah, I too think the most stress I have put my body under is about not enough calories and too much exercise.

          • Hi Nola,
            I’m struggling with almost a 40 pound weight increase. I’m 5’3″ and 170 pounds! the heaviest I’ve ever been, I have gained a lot on my boobs and butt but also have belly fat. What kind of strength training do you follow?
            How many days a week do you recommend?
            when i saw my weight on the scale my first thought was to start cutting calories and increase aerobic exercise. I’m trying to hold off on that instinct and eat at regular times without calorie counting but the weight is really haunting me.

          • Sorry! that question was in response to Shannon’s comment

          • I can relate to struggling with weight increase and the desire to jump back on the diet and exercise wagon.
            In the long run though it only prolongs the cycle..

            I do some traditional bodybuilding type training and some powerlifting style, and some cross-fit/metabolic type work.

            3 times a week is plenty ,and when you have established a base of strength and learning the basic exercises, you can train less.

            I think , once you have gotten your body used to basic weight training and or bodyweight exercises, then just lift hard and heavy, training more like a man,
            or if doing bodyweight stuff, do the hardest variations that you can reasonably do.
            Something that you can “only just manage to do”, for 5-10 repetitions is a good basic strength/weight-training guideline.

            I would suggest- try to resist the diet approach, and keep getting ideas from here , Chiefrok, and similar.
            There are a few of us like this- trying to get off the diet cycle, and eat normally, but also wanting to get back to a weight we like and are comfortable with.
            Some seem to have made it, and some not yet..

        • Shannon, have you checked out youreatopia.com? It’s Gwyneth Olwen’s site for info on restrictive eating disorders. I assumed you had because you sound like you’ve been following recovery guidelines in terms of amounts, but if you need confirmation that what you’re doing is exactly right, I’d suggest digging around the site index and forums.

          Reply
          • Neesha- Yes, I have. I have been following those direct guidelines, thank you!

          • Thank you Shannon, Neesha and Jennifer for mentioning youreatopia.com. I went and took a look around and as someone who has been seeking a way to recover from 25+ years of restrictive eating, exercise addiction, orthoexia, it ties the biophysical and mental aspects together in a way that finally makes sense. Thank you thank you thank you. I think I may actually be able to get through this, huge sigh of relief.

    • @Shannon,what is it that you do for an active job? As I’m trying to get a paid (active) job for 2years now and not getting anywhere is seriously depressing me….

      Reply
      • Dutchie,

        I work in a small/ slow pace restaurant 2 days a week and teach movement classes 3 days a week (3-4 hours per day)

        Reply
  17. Is there a way to reset your metabolism without gaining a bunch of weight? I have already gained 18lbs eating what my “maintenance” should be, I don’t think I can handle gaining anymore.
    I am 34, have lost over 100lbs and have “maintained” it for about 6 years(including a 45lb gain and 60lb loss after pregnancy!), but the strategy is just been dieting and exercise, if I eat more then 1700 calories per day, I gain. I have gained this 18 back since starting to eat “normally”. I have gone back to counting calories and keeping it under 1600 to try and lose some of it. I have excess skin, so I never really know if I NEED to lose more fat or not, but I always FEEL like I do. I am very unhappy with the current tight pants situation.
    I feel hopelessly lost in this cycle, but I can’t let myself become terribly overweight again
    either.

    Reply
    • Yeah, I can emphathize Marie,
      I have also been trying to reset metabolism without gaining a bunch of weight.
      I cant say I have figured the answer. I have not been able to find the way.
      I gained 20 pds, even with eating less than appetite and some restriction.. just eating a small amount more..

      I went back to calorie restriction and still managed a gain somewhere along the way..

      Reply
      • Calorie restriction CAUSES weight gain when you go back to eating healthy amounts again and this is due to a suppressed metabolism. You have slowed down your metabolism by consuming too few calories, and therefore it shuts down as many body functions as it can to save energy which leaves you feeling sick, unhealthy, low energy and feeling cold and unwell in general, it also stores all calories given to it as fat to protect vital internal organs. Therefore, when you start eating naturally again, yes, you will gain weight because your metabolism has bee suppressed. But, it WILL even out.

        Believe me, I went through this in extremes as I dealt with an over-exercise restricting ED.

        Reply
        • I think where my confusion always lies is how do you know if you have a suppressed metabolism exactly? Maybe my maintenance amount IS 1600-1800 calories, how do you know for sure??

          Reply
          • If I follow your original post correctly you are exactly where you were after you lost a hundred pounds give or take a few. Is that right? (You said you gained 45 during pregnancy and lost 60 and then have gained about 18 back. That is a net gain of three pounds. Or am I wrong?)

            To answer your question, you can find out if your metabolism your temps will be low. Measure your body temp, first thing in the morning. If it is below 98.6 than it is too low and you have supressed metabolism. Follow Matt’s directions for getting your temps up (read Eat for Heat) and hopefully you can do it reasonably quickly without too much more weight gain.

          • Your metabolism is running slow if you gain on low amount (and yes 1600 is LOW!!!)

            Also BIG signs and Ive had them all, cold hands feet, chills, irritability, constant feeling of being unwell, moodiness, etc.

            Like, I said I have revved my metabolism back up (and the only way to do so is to eat more (really)} I have been eating 3200-3800 for 4 months and am 120-125 pounds.

            And I sure dont have super speed metabolism I dont think because I suppressed it for so long with active exercise and eating too little calories for my running body(which was 1800-2500) at that time.

        • I fully agree, undereating supresses metabolism and buckets of women are in this position.
          But, how to get out of it without ending up at a permanently elevated weight??!!

          For some they have managed- and gone the big eating route and then their weight has naturally come back down after a time.
          For others, they have done the big eating thing and gained weight, and maybe feel better;
          but even over time, their weight has not lessened or normalized to a level they are comfortable with..

          And it is those of us who have still not been able to normalize weight at a level we are comfortable with,
          while eating wholesomely;
          who are still looking for the answers for us!

          Reply
          • BTW, you don’t have to have/had an officially recognized eating disorder for this information to apply. This advice also applies to those of us, like myself, who just dieted and unknowingly ate too little trying to lose weight, and messing up our metabolism in the process. The healing process is still the same physically.

          • Yes , I have read it now..
            Thanks Emma
            I found the stuff right at the end particularly helpful, and the need for all the extra calories to repair the damage of undereating.
            There is a lot in that article!

          • And to add to the general conversation here this article would suggest that 1600- 1800 cals is way too low..

            And that after a period of undereating (diet) you need a period of refeeding (much higher calories) , for the body to recover and also to restore normal leptin function;
            and the ability of the body to normalise weight without diet and food restriction.

            In the article it says if recovery is followed correctly, and the body given all the food it needs for this, and no restrictions placed (trying to lose weight again too early in the piece);
            the the body will naturally normalise its weight!!

            Ok- a rough summation- I hope I got it right..

            In short- overfeeding is needed for the process?
            And to trust throughout the process of gaining weight, that the body will drop the excess once the body has healed and done all it needs to with the extra fat and calorie protection.

          • Nola- This is what I have been following for 5 months now. I went from eating between 1600-2300 for 3 years and have now been eating 3000-4000 for 5 months.

            I have gained from 112 to 120-125 and my weight seems to be stabilizing. The gain was quite slow and steady and it is “overfeeding” it is all calories that we have deprived ourselves of for years during sub-optimal intake (and 1600-1800) IS TOO LOW.

            Just a story and first hand-experience. It works. You just have to let it. You have to learn to trust your body.

          • thanks Shannon
            I am amazed at how little you have gained really!!

            Which makes me wonder if refeeding in a big way is bettter than a small increase.
            ie you virtually doubled your intake.

            Most do not do this, and I certainly have not when I have increased intake in order to heal metabolism-
            I have been very conservative about it and I suspect not really eaten enough to allow my body to get truly safe and relaxed and feel it is in an abundance when it comes to food intake.

            And then I tend to pull back when the weight gain becomes more than I can emotionally and mentally deal with.
            Since I have spent the whole of my adult life trying to create a body I am happy with and enjoy;
            gaining weight is seems the very opposite of what I want and have worked so hard for , and I find it extremely hard to deal with.

            But the question I am wondering about is – have I just not eaten enough when I am trying to refeed, and this has hindered my body from stabilizing,
            and kept it in a weight gain cycle;
            so that it seems that the only thing to do to prevent from becoming eternally and increasingly fat is to go back on a diet again?!

          • Exactly, Nola. I followed Matt’s re-feeding protocol, but without counting calories. After reading this article, I decided to track my calories to make sure I was getting the minimum 2500 calories. I’m glad I started tracking because I quickly realized that I was still not eating enough. Going from 1200 calories, it was easy to feel like I was eating a lot but I was probably getting around 1800 calories based on how much more I feel like I’m eating. Interestingly enough, within only a few days of increasing my calories to 2500 I began getting hungrier. When I was eating fewer calories, even when re-feeding, my appetite actually went down. I’m actually finding it easier to eat more calories rather than less, and my digestion has markedly gotten been since increasing my calories. I was sort of taken back by all of these improvements because it seems counter intuitive to traditional thinking, but knowing what I know now, it’s just confirming what I’m learning. So, I’m amazed but not really at the same time.

            Because my digestion is picking up so rapidly and I’m finding myself hungrier than ever before, I’m actually considering increasing my calories to 3000 a day. I can’t even believe I typed that. Previously, that amount would have sounded crazy to me, but my body is responding so positively to increasing my calories to the 2500 minimum. The extra weight I’ve accumulated does not distress me so much now that I understand why it happens, and now necessary it is.

          • BTW, I’m also following Billy Craig’s advice of eating your meals at the same times each day and with the same amount of calories for the meals. He feels that this consistency is an important part of the metabolic healing process by re-training the body, especially with training your body that the same amount of food will be there consistently each day. This allows the body to trust that starvation is not just a meal away. That makes total sense to me. We have to teach our body to trust us again, that we are not going to under-nourish it any more. We talked about it here in the comment section.

            http://www.billycraig.co.uk/1/post/2011/06/does-cutting-your-calories-down-work.html

            Combining Matt, Billy, and Gwyneth’s methods together is proving to be the most effective.

          • Hi Emma

            I have been reading your comments on Billy’s site.
            His stuff is fascinating.
            After reading his stuff and the eatopia site, I am sure if my refeeding attempts have been too little calories!
            And am wondering if going overboard on the calories is the secret to truly getting the body to the point where it is willing to naturally lose or normalise weight.

            Billy does advocate consistency to the dot- so the body can feel safe and know it is getting a certain amount each day and relax in that .
            It is an idea I had not fully considered before , and am thinking on. It does make good sense..

            You are brave- it takes a lot to see this process through- especially in the face of weight gain.
            I keep thinking- can I handle more?!

            To put you in the picture- I do currently eat between 3000-3500,
            but for me I am still hungry and underfed at this amount-
            which is due to the fact that I am active and have a bunch of muscle,
            and also due to my body needing a big catch up from 30 yrs of underfeeding.
            If I ate to hunger- it would be between 3500 and 5000 cals.

            So really- I could probably eat 5000 a day as a healing amount, no worries, and probably be more within
            the ballpark of where I need to be for restoring function and allowing the body to get to a point of safety and lowering setpoint etc.

            I just dont know what kind of weight gain that would involve! And if I could live with it.

            Thanks for your links and sharing your experiences-
            it is truly helpful.

          • I think you’re correct. You sound like you’re doing well, actually. I’m planning to quickly work my way up to the 4000 calorie minimum that Billy talks about. I would start at 4000 immediately but want to give my body a few days to get used to more food. I’m thinking I’ll do 3000 calories for a couple of days, then 3500 for a couple of days, and then by next week be at 4000 calories. So far I have not gained anymore weight than I have to this point. I’m curious to see what will happen after increasing to 4000 calories. At this point I don’t care if I gain more weight (well, I do, but you know what I mean), I just want to heal my metabolism completely so that I don’t have to struggle with this issue for the rest of my life. 1-2 years of metabolism healing is really not that much time in the large scheme of things.

          • In response to Nola-

            The reason you are stuck is because you are NOT EATING enough and you are not responding to your hunger cues. That keeps your metabolism suppressed and keeps you gaining on little amounts of food. THATS WHY. The only way to get your metabolism completely revved up and working properly again is to eat 3000 calories and then your body will learn to trust that adequate calories are coming in to be able to support the body, at all times. Thats when you will find yourself being able to eat 2500-3000 and more without a big gain, and ir will steady off. But, if you continue eating under, you will keep your metabolism suppressed and you will continue to gain weight because you ARE NOT EATING ENOUGH.

          • Hi Emma
            It will be interesting to see if how your metabolism and weight deals with 4000 cals.
            I am thinking of going there myself, and higher,
            but maybe 4000 to start.
            And you are right 1-2 yrs of healing is not that much in the scheme of things- especially when compared to 30 yrs of struggle (in my case).
            I

          • Hi Shannon- even though I am eating a bit over 3000 cals now, my metabolism has still been supressed-
            and my body still in the “fat gaining mode”, with gaining weight at the drop of a hat,
            or less..lol.
            And needing to maintain rigid control over calories and appetite to lose, maintain, or try to prevent weight gain.

            I am just functioning at a higher level of calories than most previous dieters, but am still in the same trap essentially.

            I have in the past at times eaten a great deal less though- subsisting on 1800 cals or less despite high levels of activity/exercise.

          • Nola-

            Oh okay I understand! So, yes, that would explain why you are still gaining even though you are eating 3000 as you say. it is because for you personally, that amount is still restricting because even you have said that you still feel hungry at that amount. Until you fully embrace the hunger completely, you will still find yourself stuck :/

            I really, really hope you can up your calories for yourself and your body to get back to being fully functional! And think about it- once you up your calories and get your metabolism back to working at full speed again, you will be able to eat more for the rest of your life ad not be stuck eating less than 3000 and gaining weight. You’ll actually be able to maintain your weight on that amount most likely!

          • Nola,

            I’ll keep you all updated with how I’m doing and you do so as well, okay?

          • Hi Emma and Shannon

            Yes I will keep you updated Emma. Its a deal!

            It is scary though to contemplate leaping of the cliff in terms of eating ,
            and letting loose with hunger and appetite.
            And facing more possible weight gain.
            I keep tossing it all over in my head.
            And thinking , can I do it, am I ready, am I willing to accept potential weight gain?

            And ,
            should I go for 4000+ cals straight off;
            or go for a gradual increase- trying to mediate weight gain.
            Or will trying to mediate weight gain have the opposite effect- and still lead to a body that wants to gain weight?
            Is it better just to leap straight into the highest calories possible ?
            Or is it better to just follow appetite and eat to that..

          • Nola,

            I would say the jump to 4000 for you would not be too dramatic and I truly think your body could handle so. Since you are already at 3000-3500 you can definitely handle it!

            I would say aim for 4000 as soon as you can and see how your body responds to that :)

            Best of luck! Keep us posted :)

          • Ok, it looks like 4000 cals will be it then.

          • Great, Nola! I can’t wait to see how you do as well. I’m really looking forward to Billy’s answers to your questions.

            Keeping my fingers and toes crossed for all of us.

          • Nola,

            I just saw Billy’s reply to you. I guess it would have been good if he knew that you are already eating around 3000 calories. It sounds like he thinks you’re starting from a lower calorie range.

          • Hi Emma
            I didnt tell Billy I am already in the 3000 cal range because it is kind of long and hard to explain why 3000+ cals is still the hungry zone for a 5ft2 44yr old woman! lol

            But it is , and genuine hunger too.
            Eating to 4000 cals the last couple of days is a different feel. My brain has more energy!

            I did however tell Billy that I think I am more to the end of the healing journey than to the beginning, because I think I am .
            Time and this next stage will be telling I think.

            Maybe I should have filled him in some more though..

    • Hi Marie, I’ve also gained over 15lbs in the past 3 months by eating at my “supposed” maintenance. I knew I’d gain and I’m the fattest I’ve ever been and it is so difficult to not go screaming off to the nearest milkshake diet but I have to have faith in the eating more camp…..I can’t spend the rest of my life on this emotional roller coaster….. I want to live a normal life. Good luck x

      Reply
      • Thank you for all your comments, I will try taking my temps and see what it says. I did it a few weeks ago and it was 97.6, I didn’t think that small of a difference was anything to worry about! I am always cold, and I seem to be sweating in my sleep alot. I also don’t sleep well and always feel unenergetic and sore.

        You say 1600 calories is low, but isn’t that dependent on activity levels and such? It doesn’t seem unreasonable that I would only need 1800-2000 to maintain, right? The highest calorie amount I have ever gotten from the online activity calculators is about 2100. I am a 34 year old female, 5’5″ with an estimated 10ish lbs of excess skin from weight loss. This morning I was 151 on the scale, my lowest ever was 130. I am not married to a number on the scale, but ideally I would like to fit back into my size 8/10 jeans instead of these 12. Plus it seems like I keep going up slowly no matter what I do! I have a desk job for 8 hours per day, I recently got a sit to stand desk, so I am starting to stand for 3-4 hours each workday. I strength train 3xper week for about 35-45 minutes and get in a couple 10-20 minute metabolic conditioning workouts in each week as well. Other then that I do try to walk as much as I can, but with a 3 year old and a full time job, there is not much time! SO I would consider myself light to moderate in activity, I don’t push all that hard when I am active either.

        I get so much conflicting info, I just don’t know what to think! I don’t know if I can handle anymore weight gain, plus I can’t afford to go buy bigger pants again this year! I too want to have a normal life, but I can’t help but wonder if this eating more is a pipe dream for me and that this is normal for me if I want to not be obese again.

        Reply
        • People may disagree with me on this, but personally I would advise seeing a chinese medicine doctor or classical homeopath (just make sure to really do your research on who to see, and look out for any red flags, as there are great ones but also quacks out there). Since you lost 100 pounds, it will be impossible for you to follow the guidelines outlined on this site without gaining a lot of weight (possibly all of it) back. That’s just how the method here works. Things like accupuncture and homeopathy can help balance the metabolism without you having to gain it all back – they prompt healing responses in the body when done right.

          I am one of the people who gained very little on Rrarf but I started out underweight and was already healing when commencing Rrarf. I had an eating disorder and gained 25 pounds back (5 of those were on Rrarf), and subsequently lost 10. I am now thin but a healthy weight, about right where I should be. This whole thing took 4 years.

          Reply
          • Oh I forgot, or the “Gabriel Method” could potentially be helpful for you, too. Lots of visualization exercises and tips on using your mind to help your body get out of famine mode.

  18. What does it mean when beginning back on eating one very large huge breakfast (at least 1700 cals) and crashing hard after for a few hours :/ I started a few days ago, 1 large meal and am slowly gaining and crashing after. What am i doing wrong? Should i be eating over a longer window? I am trying to avoid gaining =/ help.

    Reply
    • You are suppressing your metabolism by eating only one meal a day. You should be eating at least every 3 hours. I eat every hour or two. Best way to rev your metabolism.

      Thats why you are gaining weight. You are not eating enough. At all..

      Reply
      • Breakfast is probably the worst meal to do this for, too. The digestive system is not revved up enough to handle a massive meal like that. Lunch or dinner maybe, but breakfast would be killer. I can’t imagine how sick I would feel if I tried to stuff in 1700 calories at breakfast.

        Reply
        • I dunno- I eat half my days food at breakfast, no worries, 1500 cals..
          And sometimes could eat a whole bunch more!!
          I find my digestion better at morning than night.

          Reply
    • Thanks for the comments all. I lost where my spot was and finally found your replies :p so I seem to have stabilized. I tend to lose a bit when I keep meals larger at lunch. Today i ate 3 meals and skipped the gym. Never felt so guilty in my life! :/ My temps are better around 97.5-98 in the evening, low 97s in the am. much better then a few months ago. I dont like the ultra full feeling but im really glad that it has been many weeks since my ED kicked in. After that i would eat and never feel full until i was almost sick and wanted to pass out. Anyhow, now seems my appetite is regulating. I have to learn to stop “thinking” about eating and just understand when my body wants to eat. Perhaps it might just take some serious patience and acceptance, except everyone in my life is so hard on me when i gain, coming out of a divorce and everyone is worried about me and in their critical eyes- me gaining = depressed = needs help :/ Not even sure my new boyfriend would understand why i would gain so hopefully, the scales keep moving down. i think i am finding my sweet spot. I am going to try 3 meals, normal meals well rounded (i never do that) as i almost always just eat protein and save carbs for once a day. ok i still have a lot to learn! but i had to stop the huge breakfasts- i was crashing hard and i also dont like the big dinners b/c i am so full and uncomfortable. soo going to just try to enjoy food again, 3x’s a day. novel concept. lol. dieting for so many years- this is all really hard for me. but also kind of relieving. Anyone else suffer with this at first?

      Reply
  19. Matt, I have a question for you (and anyone else willing to chime in)

    The past week, I was thinking much of my troubles have been coming from an overactive sympathetic nervous system. The fact my hair wasn’t growing back, nails weren’t, I was shaking slightly all the time, bowels movements stopped, legs were frozen and it was more difficult getting to sleep, I thought it was the high amounts of water content and liquids in my diet.

    I hypothesized that when my stress system is on high-alert, that my urination would be less frequent and more yellow than it should be. Just a crazy guess.

    Well I added in more dry sugars, and stopped consuming a SHIT TON of rice all the time, stopped drinking like 1 1/2 glasses of liquids with meals, added in more bread, honey, and calories in general.

    The first day I did this, I found that my body would respond to MILK (which I previously thought was very hypertonic) very quickly and I would pee clear drinking the normal amount I’d been drinking the past month-ish. I thought I needed all the liquid because I wasn’t peeing enough and it was coming out fairly yellow. With a deactivated stress system, my body was more responsive to liquids.

    So it’s been about seven days, and lots of signs of SNS activity are going down/away. I’m sleepy at night again and my bowels are moving much more freely.

    I’m not scared of bread anymore either. I think this was the final hurdle. It makes me break out, but the benefits of a lowered stress system beat the shit out of a perfectly clear face. Plus I think the lowered stress system will eventually help the acne, too.

    I also realized that my problem with appetite (never feeling full after foods) was most likely from all the watery meals I was consuming. All my starches were watery (rice, sweet potatoes) and my sugars were from OJ and fruit…extremely watery. Drier foods have pretty much solved that problem.

    Anyway, my question is this. The past seven days, I’ve had many sandwiches and pizza and burgers…relatively good quality stuff for fast food (i.e. they’re not the cheapest crap I could find). It’s been heavenly. Feeling so full and nice after meals. However, I’ve been at this for seven days, and this morning I woke up and my intestines ached a little bit and my appetite is kinda lowered. I felt a little bit of heartburn (just a tiny bit…I did eat late and then go to bed)…

    I was thinking of taking it easy today as far as food goes. I was wondering if this sorta thing was normal for the process and if my appetite will come back again.

    It’s been nice feeling much more normal again lately…the progress has been quick and amazing, I’m just a little frightened of the minor setback and was wondering if you knew that this was a normal thing or not…

    Reply
  20. That reminded me of a Saturday Evening Post cover that I have (well, I have the whole magazine) from November 10, 1956 — http://www.coverbrowser.com/covers/saturday-evening-post/37 — people in a cafeteria; the plump lady with hardly anything on her tray gazing longingly at all the food the three young slim gals have on their table!

    Reply
  21. Matt-O-Licious…

    Since applying Eat For Heat, aside from feeling calm, having my cotton mouth let up, and just feeling strong again: I have to say that thing I appreciate most about this approach is finally being able to listen only to my hunger and thirsts and act accordingly. I only eat or drink as long as anything tastes or feels good going in.

    I have lost inches (don’t weigh myself) around the one place I usually never lose weight: my lower belly.

    The more I trust, the better things get for me. I think our bodies are infinitely smarter than our brains could ever be.

    Reply
    • Oh, and I’m more concerned with my overall health than weight loss. I just found it interesting and lovely that it occurred listening to my appetite (and Eat for Heat).

      Reply
    • “I think our bodies are infinitely smarter than our brains could ever be.”

      Or rather, our bodies ARE our brains–there is no dichotomy. There is just as much neural tissue in your gut as there is in your head, and it’s got a direct line up there. We like to think that we do all our thinking inside our skulls, but sometimes we need to shut up and listen to the other “voices”, y’know?

      Reply
      • Oh, I know… :)

        Reply
      • Yes and the gut-thinking-voices can make it very hard for one to trust certain ‘cravings/foods/addictions/opiates/amounts etc.’ unfortunately

        Reply
  22. But it is so darn hard to not fall back on those stupid diets when you gain weight no matter what you do.. As much as I love this post for validating that I’m not insane, I hate the fact that I am constantly being told I am insane because I can’t lose weight.

    Reply
    • It’s an awful feeling when no one believes you when you try tell them you’re not eating much but gaining fat

      Reply
      • So true Jax :(

        Reply
  23. Even if I understand what you are saying, and even agree with it, it doesn’t match what I’ve experienced in my own life. I lost 40 pounds 3.5 years ago, which has not come back and 10 more pounds 1 year ago, which has not come back either.

    So diets don’t work, except that they do! Can you elaborate more on why diets sometimes work and sometimes they don’t?

    Reply
    • Hi Sonja,

      A lot of Matt’s readers, including me, have wrecked our metabolism. Maybe that’s not true for you. I think a lot depends on what kind of health one is in before they start dieting (and what one has been eating.)

      Reply
    • Sonja,

      I was going to write something like what KarenE wrote, so if you didn’t see the (rather long winded) comment I left in response to a question Daniel made (see above), please read it, it may clarify for you why diets don’t always work.

      Reply
    • Sonja, are you still “on the diet?”

      Reply
      • No, I only dieted for 6 weeks (with calorie restriction). I do eat more sensibly now though than before but I don’t count calories. My weight had started to creep up, then year ago I lost 15 pounds when I stopped eating wheat because it was giving me allergies (well I stopped because I just couldn’t stomach it anymore, but ended up clearing up a lot of my allergy problems). (The numbers above are netto).

        Reply
  24. Would it help to be more patient with weight loss goals? For example, losing just 10 pounds per year for someone who needs to lose 30 pounds. Would the body be able to handle that gradual reduction and not go into freak out starvation mode?

    Reply
  25. “And there lies the problem with much of the way medical science is conducted in the modern era – simple research done in any one of these areas ignores a person’s powerful compensatory reaction to any diet and lifestyle intervention…”

    This quote says it all. People love to quote studies to support pretty much whatever, but one has to be very careful about the study was designed and really look at it from a broader perspective than the abstract.

    In other news, I was at the Lucky Jeans store the other night and tried on some skinny jeans (!) which I would normally have no problem fitting in (still barely a 30 waist), and there was some actual pudge hanging over the waist! Unheard of! However, since hanging out in the 180 universe the last few months, I’ve been on the Marlon Brando diet (at least a pint of ice cream a day, lots o’ potatoes, rice galore, tacos, yummm) and I’ve put on about 13 lbs, which for me – formerly 6′ 2” and 150lbs – is unprecedented,

    The thing is this: I am gaining belly fat, and I am wondering about how good this is. Maybe this is temporary as a compensatory reaction from a number of years in the SCD, GAPS, Paleo universe.

    Anyways, the skinny dude with belly fat thing is not really a good sign, as I recall….

    Comments? Ideas? Keep eating ice cream????

    Reply
    • To my understanding the recovery belly is a sign of improving health. Embarrassing perhaps, but absolutely necessary. It’s a precursor to the recovery of other tissues, so you will impede recovery if you try to prevent it. Keep eating as much ice cream as you want.

      Reply
      • “Keep eating as much ice cream as you want”?

        I like the sound of that…

        Reply
        • Question out of curiosity…..I read a lot of people on here saying they (daily) eat a pint of icecream. Is a pint an entire package?

          Also most here mention eating a pint of Haagen Dasz,is that for a certain reason? It is delicious,but quite expensive and hard to get around my neighborhood. I always thougth,that especially Americans,we’re much into Ben&Jerry’s :)

          Reply
          • A pint = 16 oz small container

      • I hope your right, Nira. I had some much needed weight gain due to wasting away on 80/10/10. I started at 71 pounds 3 years ago and just recently started eating a good 4500+ and have packed on the pounds quite fast these past few months. I’m now up to 120-125 pounds and most of the last 20 pounds went to my stomach. I keep going at it though because I fractured half my spine and lost about 4 inches of height doing 80/10/10 so I’m hoping that belly fat is a sign of the tissue regeneration to come. I want my 4 inches back. ;)

        Reply
        • Since I started on this website, I’ve been keeping a really scrupulous log of my measurements. I’m planning to share as an infographic after my body has healed and stabilized, so probably in another year and a half. It’s up to my body, so we shall see. I’m recording when different things have resolved health wise too, but I don’t think I will share that information. I’ve actually found this to be really useful, as I can see my progress and get a sense of the big picture. I’m hoping that I will get stronger bones from this too. So far my teeth seem stronger, so that is a good sign.

          This is actually the second time I’ve had to do this, the first time I was a teenager. And it sucked beyond belief. I was so miserable, because I was young and vain, but I was also angry and too exhausted to do anything about it. Anyway, the weight came off really quickly after a year and half (off the stomach first) and so I was at my curviest after I recovered. The temporary accumulation of stomach fat is one of the major things that prevents people from recovering from damaging diet and exercise regimes. The problem is that it hangs around for many months and people (including doctors) don’t understand what is happening, but it really is a sign that your body is recovering. So my take on it, is that you have to just eat through it: you will not recover until you do and you will always struggle against belly fat.

          Reply
      • From what I’ve heard,fatgain on the belly/around the waist is a sign of adrenal stress/fatigue, so actually not a good sign. Especially bc faigain at that area is considered the most unhealthy too…:s

        Reply
        • I tried to avoid the belly fat my first time around and suffered horribly as a result. It’s simply the aftermath, unhealthy for a short time but this is how the body recovers. Foregoing vanity was the best thing I ever did.

          Reply
          • Thank you, Nira for sharing. It’s sad how it took me this long to realise I was never eating enough. Especially when your told that 1600-1800 calories is normal for young women. Add to it a lifetime of digestive distress where eating less means your not in pain from the bloat and cramping and you have a recipe for disaster.

            I was actually thinking yesterday that I should take pictures and document the changes in my body. I absolutely believe our bones will heal. I have spoken and read so many accounts of people reversing osteoporosis and even a study that was done on the elderly. They took a group of elderly people and recreated the 1950’s and had them live in that decade for a period of time. Everything that surrounded them was of the 50’s. When the experiment was complete they took their height and finger measurements and noted that they grew. They basically were growing younger just by reliving their younger years so to speak. Anyhow, I found this very reasuring and now all I have to do is stick with the refeading and have faith that my body knows what it is doing. I just need to stop getting in it’s way. The hardest part was letting go. Not an easy one for me, but I had no choice. Shutting off the negetive chatter in my brain is something I have become quite good at.:)

          • I’m really glad that my story may be of help to others. Refeeding is the most important tool after a period of starvation and the medical community is beyond incompetent in helping people. I don’t like to think about the period of time after I experienced acute starvation to when I did a refeeding with a high calorie intake. It was brutal and no amount of yoga, or happy thinking or vegetables was going to fix it.

            While recovering I took inspiration from other people who I felt had been able to process their suffering and make something from it. The work of Rebecca Horn, Frida Kahlo and even Joseph Beuys helped me re-find my voice. I genuinely believe that it is possible to turn these experiences (some of which I still find incomprehensible) into something beautiful.

          • Jennifer, me too! I was eating 1200 calories a day trying to get my weight down. I had no clue that this could cause problems because “everyone” says that 1200 calories is the lowest a woman can safely go to lose weight so that’s what I did. Finding this site, and now Gwyneth and Billy’s sites, have changed everything for me. I can never go back to thinking about food, diet, and metabolism the way I used to.

        • Undereating for years on end is not healthier than a temporary “unhealthy” fat gain. Vanity and/or rationalizations keep many people from truly healing. Each person has to be truly ready for healing to take place, including the potential temporary weight gain that may occur.

          Reply
          • Sorry, that was a reply to Dutchie. I keep forgetting to mention who I’m responding to.

      • i hear you as almost all of my weight is concentrated in the belly. its spread around, but i gained about 40# about a year ago and since then have only managed to gain and lose the same 5-10 (20 at one point doing a ridiculous 30 day juice fast omg). no more dieting for me in 2013. i dont care. i dont want to spend any more years wasting my brain on such sillyness. i am even known as the “diet diva” to my friends. all of whom dont diet, and are slim!!! madness! :o

        Reply
    • This too shall pass.Find some fat jeans for the time being.

      Reply
      • LOL!

        Reply
      • Fat jeans? That term makes my hair stand on end. I know you were being playful but…

        Reply
        • For what it is worth, I would rather see a guy in fat jeans over skinny jeans any day! Most girls like a little flesh on their men!

          Reply
          • hahaha agree!!

        • You’re right. Fat jeans are bad. Sweats work:)

          Reply
    • The Marlon Brando thing is interesting – so many attribute his later life diabetes, obesity etc with his ‘over-eating’, and ice cream binges. You only have to google it to see how many people see him as iconic of the star that falls from grace because of his so-called lack of willpower, compounded by the stress of the public eye. No doubt on the latter, yet apparently, everyone harassed him to lose weight. One can only imagine how the binges, followed by the restriction, followed by the binges, would create an escalating weight issue.

      Reply
      • He was famous for hiring the local McDonald’s folks to bring up bags of cheeseburgers and fries and toss them over his Mulholland compound wall (as he didn’t want to actually interact with anyone) – then he’d throw over a wad of $20’s.

        Also, yes, he went through a gallon of ice cream a day sometimes…impressive. I wish I had the budget to do that!

        Reply
        • Don’t we all!

          Reply
    • Guys in skinny jeans- NO.

      Reply
  26. Okay… so this may be a little off topic, but this post and following comments made me remember this article about fat farms in Mauritania (and, no, they are not like the fat farms here.)

    http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/forcefeeding-in-mauritania

    Several points about the article that stand out to me–

    1) It takes torture to get these girls to eat enough calories to induce the desired fat mass

    2) They eat 16,000 calories a day!

    3) They are forced to drink a lot of water (why? perhaps, in part, because it lowers metabolic rate?

    I

    Reply
    • That’s a really interesting article.

      Perhaps Matt should start his own eat-for-heat fat camp???

      Potential here???

      Reply
      • I’m thinking eat for cheeks…I’m guessing the children of parents who do this have beautiful bone structure.

        Reply
    • I’m thinkin that all that water will keep their sugars more in check with all that food coming in?

      Reply
  27. So I’m new to the site and to the whole concept. Interestingly enough, I found out about 180 degree health by purchasing the whole paleo bundle from Toadally Primal (I am always interested in learning the pros and cons of everything I try).

    Anyways, I have been very interested in nutrition for many years now, but I have recently been struggling with my weight. I am a newly diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic and so I fell in to the Low Carb and VLC diet due to a desire to decrease my insulin usage, but I noticed myself actually becoming more insulin resistant and gaining tons of weight (mostly since I started taking insulin and my body was no longer consuming itself, but even after trying to restrict my carbs and calories). I did not realize how little I was eating and how obviously slow my metabolism had become (although my endocronologist did notice that w/in three months of my diagnosis, I had creeped closer to hypothyroidism). So I am hoping to reverse my climbing insulin resistance and hypothyroidism by following the principles recommended here (although I’ve mostly decided to stop overthinking everything).

    The healthiest (and thinnest) I’ve ever been in my adult life was when I was eating the most: basic training. Believe me, the Army DFACs do not serve low carb food (and at basic, you eat what they serve). Breakfast was scrambled eggs, blueberry eggo waffles w/ syrup, bacon/sausage, etc. Lunch was either an MRE (super high carb) or field chow: “salad” (crappy iceberg lettuce), a slice of white bread, and the hot meal (e.g., fried ground beef w/ brown gravy, or yakisoba) and a nutri-grain bar for dessert. Dinner was similar. And believe me, we at it all. Of course, we were constantly moving (or sleeping). I’d like to approximate this today. Move around a lot and eating whatever I want.

    Sorry this is so long. Matt, I’d love to discuss with you how 180 degree health might work for type 1 diabetics as well as type 2 diabetics (I don’t know if you covered that in your book, but I have not seen any specific mention of type 1 in anything I’ve read so far).

    Reply
      • That is interesting. I’ll have to re-read it to thoroughly digest it. I know studies have showing increase in Type 1 occurring in northern climates, especially in winter, so a vitamin D dificiency seems like a possible cause.

        I believe there is something at the root of my diabetes and it is my hope that I will one day no longer have the disease. To suddenly develop an autoimmune disorder practically overnight. Something must have caused it and I therefore believe correcting the imbalance or removing the cause is entirely possible.

        As a diabetic, you do not truly get the luxury of never obsessing over food. I have to think about everything I eat, every day of my life. I would love to be free of that.

        Reply
  28. I started anti-dieting pretty recently. I’ve gained a bit of weight which is extremely distressing and I’m really trying hard to not think about it. I do, however have a bit more energy to work out and I’m finding it easier to take a nap with my toddler (which I’ve been trying to do for a long time but was always too wired to do in the past.) One of the most interesting aspects I’ve found is that I suddenly have a lot more milk. I almost feel like I did when I just had him and it’s 2 years later!! I think I was totally tanking my supply eating paleo all this time. No wonder I was such a bad pumper and he was such a nurseaholic. I feel like such a doofus. As a consequence my son is suddenly nursing less at night when literally just a month ago he was still rolling over and latching on 4-5 times throughout the night. I kinda feel guilty that I was messing him up all this time too. I will not be making this mistake when we go for kid #2. No siree…

    Reply
  29. Anyone had psoriasis improve with a healed metabolism/raise in body temp? I have the hateful condition in my scalp which I only developed about 8 years ago in my mid thirties……I have been wondering recently if it is linked to my yoyo dieting over many years?

    Reply
    • Yep, my dandruff is virtually non existent, but I discovered that stress and anxiety make mine worse also. Not eating enough is stressful in itself, hence the improvement. I also get red, itchy eyebrows when I get pissed off and angry, lol. Drives me nuts!

      Reply
    • I have this problem too. Does it get all cracked?

      Reply
      • You mean the eyebrows? Yes. I also recently became aware of the detrimental effects of garlic and onions. I get extremely irritable and melancholy after ingesting those substances. The best solution I’ve found is not to touch the flakes, as I suspect they are fungal. I wash my eyebrows gently with Dr Bronners pure baby soap and towel dry. I also avoid moisturizers. My skin is still way better than it used to be, though.

        Here’s a link to the garlic effect

        http://absolutetruth.in/forums/topic/why-its-recommended-to-avoid-onion-and-garlic

        Reply
  30. Hoping Rob is reading this one.

    I’ve been rrarfing for 5 months now but have recently become sick of food altogether. I vary things quite a bit, but even the odd trip to junkland doesn’t interest me. I’m starting to get obsessed about what, and how much to eat again. It’s becoming an inconvenience to keep up eating the amount of food I’ve been smashing.

    I started out at about 143 pounds, now I’m 190 or thereabouts. My gut is the biggest beneficiary (I heard that’s normal), but I’ve certainly bulked out in the shoulders and chest as well.

    Should I just go light for the time being, or stick it out? I’ve noticed transit time slows when not eating as much. Going twice a day has become the norm, but goes back to once when appetite and intake drop. I’m also stiff and hard as a rock in my middle back when I wake up in the morning. I think my muscles are a little shocked from gaining so much weight so fast.

    Reply
    • How tall are you? Were you underweight to begin with?

      I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea that we should first make ourselves obese–eating unhealthy foods if desired–and then wait for our bodies to effortlessly shed the extra weight.

      Call me shallow, but I like being attractive and I don’t feel good carrying around an extra five pounds, let alone an extra 50, 60 pounds etc. Of course starvation is not good, but is overeating to the point of obesity the answer? Why not just gradually increase caloric intake by a few hundred calories at a time, eating nutritious whole foods and doing a non-strenuous weight training routine or yoga? It shouldn’t take an extra 5000 calories per day to get someone’s body out of starvation mode and back on the road to health.

      Can anyone give examples of human cultures–past or present–where people overate by thousands of calories every single day, were physically inactive and yet were healthy and slim?

      Maybe there is just too much emphasis on macro-nutrients and calories, and not enough emphasis on micro-nutrients. Eating lots of poor quality food may not provide enough of the essential micro-nutrients. There are nutrients–such as iodine, magnesium, chromium, b-vitamins and others– that can cause weight gain or health problems like hyperglycemia, if they are in short supply.

      Reply
      • I’m approximately 173cm tall.

        I’d say I was under to begin with (skinny fat though) and ‘allergic’ to lots of foods. Since rrarfing, all those ‘allergies’ have gone. My mental state has also been heaps better.

        I’ve eaten a clean diet since my early twenties WAP style, vegetarian, low-carb etc. etc. I’m eating mostly clean with rrarfing too, except for the odd pizza or McDonalds, though McDonalds makes me feel like shit afterwards. No problems with pizza; digests well, warms me up.

        I’ve been very starch heavy on rrarf, and rarely touched anything starchy before then, except for pumpkin and sweet potato. I’ve also noticed a steep decline in desire for meat and fat whilst rrarfing. I stick to moderate amounts of good quality butter and refined coconut oil.

        I was just curious if anybody else out there had a similar issue. I’ve been metabolically screwed for a long time (15 years I’d say), so I don’t want to undo all the good work, but it’s surprisingly difficult to maintain interest in food, lol.

        Reply
        • These are signs that your metabolism has healed and you can follow your appetite. I would recommend sticking to a regular 3-meal (or I guess 2 if that was working for you, but I think it’s less ideal than 3) per day schedule. (Maybe Chief would say 1/day is ok, but I think differently) Then just eat what you want at those meals. This is the part where you body has said, ok I understand the famine is over, I don’t need to keep all this fat anymore!

          The idea in all of this is to follow your appetite. Generally after dieting it will be very high and you’ll want to eat a lot (the appetite may be blunted at first but once you get going it normally comes back hard). Then once you’ve gained and healed, the appetite drops and you want to eat less. Obeying both is the idea, and your weight just slowly balances out to where it should be, and when your appetite picks up again to maintain the new weight, you listen to it as well (and don’t try to undereat to keep losing).

          Reply
          • Thanks for the response! I think you’re right. 3 meals a day is good for me, I find. I was doing about 5 a day when I started rrarfing.

            I’m riding my bike again just for fun, sunshine and fresh air + stretching and doing some calisthenics, squats and wall push-ups, which is helping me out with stiff muscles to a degree.

            The whole experience has literally transformed my life, mentally and physically.

          • Hi Amy and Corey,

            Corey I kind of did like you, I made was sick from under-eating that when I read about this site and another anorexia site, I was convinced I had to eat 3000 cals a day to get my health back. And I did for about 6 months, maube more sometimes, maybe less sometimes too, but a few months in I had completely lost my apetite, but continued eating (forcing myself) because apparently I had body tissue to rebuild. I don’t know anymore how much “forcing myself” was necessary as I gained 50 lbs over a healthy weight :S, and I find it tough to deal with. My body recovered (my health is pretty great now) and I’m SO thankful for that, but I feel very overweight and think that when my body was telling me it didn’t want all that food and I had listened to it, I would not have gained so much weight. Over the course of 1.5 years of getting myself back to health I learned, what I used to know intuitively before all the crap, is that the body knows best. It can never be said too many times. Now, I try (because I had completely lost touch with it) to eat when I’m hungry and not when I’m not. I agree with The Real Amy who says that it may be your body telling you it needs less food at this point and use some of your stores instead. So Ann, the feeing of whatever foods you want has a therapeutic effect for some time, when your body wants it, but at some point (it came for me after about a 1-2 months of having whatever) your body wants to real good fresh foods and things just go back to normal if you listen to your body. I didn’t bc I had forgot how to trust it, and some sort of weird self-control and the desire to do anything to get well again made me continue over-eating, when I didn’t need to). Some days, I’m a lot less hungry and if I obey that, I don’t feel any negative effects. I only feel bad when I don’t eat when I actually feel hungry. I hope to drop at least half of these pounds mostly to feel well and be comfortable doing sports. I’m just a little afraid that I’ve changed my set-point with over-eating for all those months. I have been exercising and obeying my hunger but the weight does not seem to move more than a few pounds…

          • Gwyneth, from Eatopia, says that the majority of women need to stay at 2500 calories for life (I don’t remember what the minimum was for men). That is the minimum amount needed for healthy body function/maintenance. We can eat more based on our hunger cues, but not less. My impression was that for some, they can rely totally on hunger cues if following your hunger cues keeps you at the minimum of 2500 calorie. At this consistent minimum amount, the body will eventually level out to its healthy set point for weight. The link I posted explains this really well.

            I think for some people like myself, having a minimum is a must because I can so easily not eat enough because I just don’t have much of an appetite. I’m hoping that will improve over time, but having a minimum is a good safety net.

          • It seems to me that getting enough calories on a clean diet is tough. Matt and Chief have helped me overcome my phobia about ‘junk’ food to a degree, but the phantom still lurks!

            Part of me says, ‘Screw it! I’ll eat what I want, but I struggle to fully purge myself of the notion of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ foods. My philosophical nature seems to scream to look at this process as a sort of holiday, where everything is permitted to be eaten if desired, so just relax and enjoy the ride :D

            I didn’t realize just how OCD I was about eating until I started recovery. Just gotta keep on truckin’ and learning as I go.

          • I feel like I am in recovery stage as well… with a bigger belly in tote =) But, I notice that my appetite comes and goes with my cycle too. I fluctuate between 163 and 170. Is that more hormonal, or am I not listening to my body? I am tired of the bloated phase that’s more toward the start of my period. I hope this makes sense… but it seems like after my period, I notice how bloated I am and realize that I have just been mindlessly eating, and then go back to eating for appetite and go back down to 163. Is that cycle normal? I would like to break through 163! But, maybe my body isn’t ready? I do finally feel like I can go back to working out. I’ve been doing HIIT and am about to start lifting weights again.

          • This is helpful advice for me. i really struggle with the notion that 3 meals = ok. i dont know why. just read too darn much i guess. about how breakfast is bad due to high cortisol levels and how 1 meal is better.. but for some women it doesnt work. i know i lost a ton of weight for my wedding years ago and managed to eat breakfast and a very large lunch so that i was too full for dinner. would do the treadmill (walking) at night and went down into the 120’s this way. wasn’t all that unreasonable now that i think about it. I was around the same weight i am now (170s) in high school and ironically also had issues w/ ED as i struggled again last year for the first time in like 10 + years (likely due to my divorce / stress). ok… getting motivated to heal myself rather then look like an anorexic model. thank god.

        • This was directed at Ann.

          Reply
        • Emma, thank you so much for that link. Wow. I feel so much better about my current diet and body composition. I actually think I’m right in track, but I didn’t know til now what track it was.

          Reply
          • You’re welcome. I felt the same way after reading it as well. I feel more encouraged than ever, despite the weight I’ve gained.

      • Ann, it isnt about macro or micro nutrients. Only about
        giving unlimited supply to food/ enrgy to your body, till it starts to get the balance back.
        You can eat the most nutritious diet, if your calorie intake is low
        you might even lack the possibility to absorb and distibute them.
        It is about reversing the tendency to store fat when when faced with surplus
        of calories and trow it in the energy cauldron. When you regain
        what most normal children got, the instictint of how much to eat,
        craving and thinking food only when hungry.

        Reply
  31. I can relate to this info from experience, I know calories in is irrelevant. When I was at uni I was recovering from illness that made me extremely underweight, I was never chubby to begin with, and was very popular with boys, but suddenly no one would look at me and I felt so ugly and boyish for the first time, even with socks stuffed down my jumper. I vowed to gain weight for my own self esteem, so began a regime of eating more than 3000 kcal a day of biscuits and chocolate, basically till my stomach hurt (I’ve only thrown up once when I was a baby so knew I wouldn’t get ill), but I just couldn’t gain any weight so continued to be a junk eater for 6 years. …until I embarked on the raw food wagon to try fix some health issues, the rest is history, I now eat half the calories (im 5 ft 1) and am not as thin as I was a couple of years ago on sig less (though still more than others) amount of food (2000kcal). Maybe it’s age but I don’t think so.

    Reply
  32. These are all interesting articles/views which I’d really love to believe it’s that easy but from my own experiences I quite can’t get on a ‘normal’ path.

    I think ‘starvation’ is also a really tricky thing,as you can eat whatever number of calories but if the body isn’t absorbing/getting all it’s vitamins&nutrients o disbalanced, it will feel ‘starved’.This is probably where healthy gut-function also is a key…also as far as energy-pattern.

    Secondly,I wonder how ‘fatty/overburdened liver’,as most only talk about thyroid function in regards to metabolism/energy, plays into fatgain and inefficiency to turn food towards energy?As the liver is also one of the energy-producing organs and storage place for glucose/sucrose and sat fats from what I read….
    That said….I have an aunt who about a year ago lost about 15kg (though she’s still not considered lean according to BMR) and she never dieted,just ate whatever she liked. This happened after a painful stomach-thing where she could hardly eat at all (does stomach-size maybe also a factor?). She never exercised or walked for that matter,never cared much for sweets,pies,pastries,cookies etc. She did smoke and drink alcohol a lot.
    Oddly,now that she lost weigth spontaneously eating still whatever she wants,she simultaneously now frequently walks a block around the neighborhood with her husband or towards appointments/relatives living nearby yet she still virtually sits most of the time at home and also at work. She naturally drinks way less alcohol and smokes less cigarettes overall (which usually is a cause of fatgain for most,the quitting-smoking-thing)
    Like said,she never had a sweet tooth but since her daugther started baking,she loves to eat those baked goods. They have always home-cooked and still do but not making everything from scratch,so storebougth stuff is in their daily-intake such as : bread,pizza,sauces,mayonaisse etc. They also eat lots of PUFA,like said mayonaisse,regularly fry foods themselves such as fish,eating pork,regularly cooking chicken drumsticks&wings though I don’t know if they cook it in butter or margarine. (I know my mother regularly makes comments about “how they cook really fat”and how that gives her stomachpain,nausea or whatever)It’s been more than a year,that she kept the weigth off without any thougth about foods/ratios/quantities or any ‘healthfood knowledge’ yet while develloping a regular sweettooth!
    I’m very happy for her,but her succes/secret is still beyond me as I find it very fascinating!

    Reply
    • Maybe the subconscious mind has a role in all of this. They say it is involved in your thoughts, feelings, actions, hormone output and all kind off stuff. There is a lot more to the human body than doctors have discovered. For example the leptin discovery is only 20 years old. That is relatively new in the grand scheme of things. They are discovering so much new information on micro nutrients and vitamins that we have no idea about. To think we can hold the body as a machine that carries out certain functions and always obtains the same results does not add up.

      Reply
    • Yes, as others have said, “It’s not what you eat, it’s what you digest.” All the more reason to have more food rather than less so that you body has more food from which to absorb what it is able to.

      Reply
      • Yeah well…..in the past,about 12years ago when I didn’t know about the stuff that was going on, I ate whatever,whenever,yet I suddenly ballooned up even more and became even more fatigued,health/hormonal&emotional problems.

        Reply
        • Eating less is not going to make things better.

          Reply
  33. This website is starting to make me think that looking fit/low body fat and being healthy are mutually exclusive and that really makes me depressed :(

    Reply
    • No they are not mutually exclusive. Do not believe it. There just is usually a transition time of weight gain. Then it comes off and looking fit is effortless. This is true at least for me, but a lot of other people on here have reported the same thing.

      Reply
  34. I have a question in regards to Eat for Heat…..are there any people on here,who experience this anxious/nervouss/OCD-thougths regarding food&fatgain feeling when they heat up?warm back,warm hands&feet. Pee just running freely,which is really embarassing.Usually happens rigth when I’m able to poop…

    I also get so thirsty,and also the anxiousness only seems to disappear when I move around/exercise/workout and drink a lot of green tea, despite already drinking much….

    Reply
  35. First let me say I’m scared! HISTORY: 50 year old post menopausal, pre diabetic with fasting at 125 in Nov – since RARRF it is 135-155 in the am. I’ve been treated for hypothyroid for 20 years (now on levothyroxine and time released cytomel) and I’m an ex- atkins/VLC/paleo/gluten free addict. Followed those diets for the last 20 years. Did HGH diet 4 years ago (500 calorie) lost 30 then gained 60! I am defintely a poster child for Yo-Yo Dieters as my first diet was when I weighed 150 at 15 years old.

    I have definitely suffered from restriction/rebound eating during that time such that at 5’3, I weighed 213 lb before starting RRARF 6 weeks ago (only 2500 kcal). I am now up to 225lbs. My husband is nervous with the amount of food I’m eating as he believes in the “eat less excersize more” philosophy. So stressing over the looks of disgust I’m getting as I stuff my face trying to push to 3500 kcal per Billy Craig and Eatopia.

    When I was undergoing infertility treatments (i know – what a suprise!) 10 years ago, my temps were around 97. Never did have a baby – go figure (this is continued unhappy stress for me). While I have always had hot hands and feet, my temps are officially good now.

    I am able to handle potato starches, oatmeat and grits fairly well on blood sugar measurement (20 -30 point rise), rice is not so good, and sucrose and fruit juice (ala Peat) still sends me off the chart (highest reading was 240 2 hours post prandial) So my glucose clearance is still FUBAR.

    So my questions are: Am I supposed to still push for sucrose and fructose tolerance regardless of high blood sugar readings? Or back off a bit? My appetite is still strange- at mealtimes sometimes ravenous sometimes not, so still overeat? Over eat MORE? How much more weight will I gain?? I stopped my metformin a week ago as it seems to only drop BS readings about 10%, should I go back on it? Oh and Matt, Dr. Berstein recommends Evening Primrose oil and Alpha Lipoic acid to reduce sugars, Is the Evening Primrose oil ok even though it is a Omega 666? Thanks in advance for your replies :)

    Reply
  36. I dieted for 15 years and have just recently stopped. Even though I think I might have been almost anorexic, I miss dieting, and wish there was some way I could keep doing it. If for nothing else, the feeling of control. All this “stop dieting” stuff is spooky.

    Reply

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