April 19, 2014 at 3:15 pm #16194
So I’m a bit new to this (I’m sure you’re all used to people like me), but I’m willing to give it a shot. I really would like to improve my health since I am so young.
My name is Cassidy and I am an 18 year old senior in high school. I have struggled on and off with binge eating, orthorexia, and I have been struggling with secondary amenorrhea for 2 years now. I have incredibly cold hands (very yellow, too, because I eat a lot of carrots and pumpkin) and feet. I am hardly ever “full”. I don’t always know when I’m hungry. I don’t always know when to workout, though I am very active in soccer (varsity soccer and club soccer; will most likely be playing in college as well). I don’t always get adequate sleep or go to sleep early enough, but when I do, I wake up in the middle of the night. I’ve recorded temperatures for a couple weeks, and my lowest was 94 F and highest was 98.6 F. I’ve got more side problems but those are the major ones I’ve dealt with.
It all started in March 2012 when I was standing at 143 lbs (5’5) and I was unhappy with my appearance. I started calorie counting (surprise!) and eating 1,200 calories a day as an active 16 year old girl. A couple months went by and I lost 15 lbs and developed amenorrhea, as well as binging (not so severe). Since I was so active, I started feeling very weak at my long soccer practices. In October or so, I increases my caloric intake to about 1600-1800, but would still have days when I would “binge” to around 3,000. Don’t even get me started on Thanksgiving and Christmas eating.
I love experimenting, so I have tried many different lifestyles. I tried vegetarianism and that failed after a few months because I was still very active in soccer and I was losing muscle mass. I tried raw and that obviously failed because I was 17 and had influences that opposed such habits. I tried IIFYM, but that didn’t work very well because I never had a physique goal, so I hated the idea of restricting myself to a certain number that is constant throughout the whole week.
So now I really don’t know where I’m at and I could use some more direction. I was directed to this website by someone when I told him my temperature ranges of 94F and 98F, so I’m so thrilled to see others who are working toward the same prize. At the moment, I am trying very hard to ditch the calorie counting and get my instincts back, but I’m having a hard time. Sometimes I’ll still eat multiple servings of nuts because I crave fat. Sometimes I’ll eat 12 oz of potatoes at one time because I crave the carbs. I don’t always get balanced meals so maybe that’s why? Also, I’m only 18 and I live with my parents and younger siblings, so the food I have around the house is not the best. I tried eating ice cream a few days in a row and I noticed my temperature getting higher, but my ED mentality is just kinda screwing with my desire to recover. I really don’t want to gain much weight (obviously everyone says that, especially a young teenage girl), since I am a healthy 123 lbs at 5’5. I still have amenorrhea, though, so that’s definitely a problem for me.
Anyone deal with the same problems and experience recovery? Any feedback would be appreciated.April 23, 2014 at 8:29 pm #16215
Hey there! It sounds to me like you do not have a binge problem you are having reactive eating episodes triggered by restriction. Please visit youreatopia for more information regarding that! 3,000 is not a binge, and a healthy and active young female like yourself should IN NO WAY be eating much less than that daily. I am recovering from Anorexia and I completely understand your fear of weight gain, it sucks, but it is necessary for optimal health.April 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm #16222
Sigh. you are so early in this, please please take the warnings in this site and others seriously and try to get this turned around now. The longer you go with the sick ED mindset, the harder it is to change. Don’t bring it to college with you. Bauer’s right, you aren’t binging. You’re just hungry. What you did-1200 calories plus exercise-isn’t at all healthy for an active growing teenager and your body is reacting appropriately by driving you to eat more more more. You are also risking future fertility and especially bone health with the secondary ammennorhea. You have your window of opportunity for bone development now, and it won’t stay open forever, so you want to capitalize on it. Right now, you are losing out.
You have got to let go. You aren’t a healthy 123 pounds at 5’5″, sorry. Based on rapid loss on a very restricted diet, the weight you’re at isn’t natural for your body. You might not have liked your appearance in the 140s, but THAT is where you were healthy and its unlikely that the ED mindset will subside if you continue to try to maintain below that. Its not what you want to hear I know-we want the best of all worlds, to have a body that others envy, that we like because it’s ‘slim’ and we also want to have that without the ED mindset. But you do have another alternative. IT’s this: allow your body to be healthy and free your mind from restriction. Then practice learning to love your body exactly as nature intended it to be. I PROMISE you that it is better to do this than to waste your college years chasing after something that can never be. Look around the ED forum here and you’ll see plenty of folks who’ve wasted years trying to be “healthy” while refusing to accept their natural weight. You can’t do it and live in peace and it is not worth the tradeoff.
Get counseling. Go full stop at changing your mindset. In the meantime, do everything you can to remember your pre-ED habits and ditch the diet ones. Don’t worry about “binges.” Just accept that if you are driven to eat more than you’re comfortable eating, it’s biology, not a moral or character failing. And biology is pretty damn smart if you stay can get out of the way. You are at a point in your life when you should be having a blast and enjoying everything, not counting calories. How sad! Please realize that your problem is not your body. It’s the fact that your mind has decided to force your body into a size that is probably 20+ pounds smaller than what biology intends. And biology is fighting back, as it should.April 24, 2014 at 7:33 pm #16223
Listen to tennosea :)April 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm #16224
tennosea – thank you for such a well written response. When I first started eating such a low amount of calories, I obviously felt very weak and unnatural. I was only 16 at the time and I honestly thought that’s how you were supposed to feel when losing weight. I have learned much more about the weight loss process now and I even hope to study nutrition in college.
I suppose I’m just frustrated because I’m not a fan of my body’s fat distribution. I have incredibly small and veiny hands and arms but my midsection looks and feels disproportionately large compared to my other features. Yes, that’s a very common statement for a teenage girl to say: “I have flab on my tummy and big thighs” – I get that. I enjoy big thighs because they give me power. I enjoy being thicker than a stick because I feel energetic. If I could see JUST the positives, I would. It’s just hard once you develop a certain viewpoint/image of yourself.
About the counselor – my mom has actually already helped me find someone. She even told me that she’s a former soccer player, so I’m happy about that. However, I’ve never been in favor of counselors or therapists because their information isn’t going to be cookie-cutter clear to each individual, obviously. I’m afraid she’s going to tell me the same thing that she tells the rest of her patients. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing advice and all, but I truly want to “recover”. I think that’s the reason I’ve been so open to experimenting; I know how my own body works.
I’ve never been “anorexic” or “bulimic” – I don’t have a problem with eating 3000+ calories if I’m hungry, but it just scares me sometimes knowing that I need to eat that much. I guess it’s just hard being around a bunch of unhealthy friends who eat according to their instincts – I’m jealous of their instincts, but irritated at their habits.
Thank you for your input – I’m new to this community but I have a lot of hope in finding the way to a happier and more comfortable lifestyle. :)April 24, 2014 at 7:53 pm #16225
BauerPower – thank you for your input as well. I agree with you; it totally sucks, especially when you’ve lost weight on purpose in the first place. But now I’m focused on achieving health and happiness rather than a certain physique. :)April 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm #16234
I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “unhealthy” friends. It seems to me that if your friends are eating according to hunger and instinct they are the healthy ones. You are feeling weak and foggy and disparaging your body which sounds quite unhealthy to me.
Don’t guess at what the therapist will tell you, just give it a try. If you don’t like the first one try another one. They arent going to read to you from a textbook. A good therapist will never take a cookie cutter approach to any patient.
Since you have a history with and propensity toward ED behaviors and obsessions, I would seriously reconsider studying nutrition in college. Sometimes too much knowledge is the worst thing for an eating disordered person to have, and being in those classes will surround you with a population heavy in EDs which is also not the best environment. Also, I’ve had a few dietitians through my own treatment who obviously had some issues with food/weight and it was NOT helpful; in some cases downright harmful. You’re clearly very intelligent and have an analytical mind so put it to use doing something that doesnt perpetuate this cycle. Plus, dietitians dont make much money anyway.
April 26, 2014 at 1:19 pm #16236
- This reply was modified 9 years, 5 months ago by tennosea.
tennosea – I probably should’ve clarified a little better on what I mean by “unhealthy”. Yes, they appear to eat according to instincts (I can’t be sure since I’m not them), but they still lack a lot of important micronutrients and they drink alcohol often, whereas I enjoy eating vegetables and I don’t drink. Also, some of them have been gaining weight as they have been getting older and keeping a less active lifestyle. I’m not saying weight gain is bad. I’m not saying I’M the healthy one. I’m just saying it’s really hard to be around these types of behaviors that conflict with mine to such an extreme. You probably know that, too.
I can guess what the counselor is going to say because I’ve already signed up to see one! Soon enough I’ll be able to tell if I was wrong about them. :)
I’m glad you made that statement about dietitians, though. A couple years ago when I started learning more about nutrition and started struggling more with my habits, I had two occupations in mind: a nurse or a dietitian. Of course, I only developed the passion to be a dietitian because I wanted to know how to “cure” myself, if you will. Cure myself like a degree in nutrition was the magic spell to stop my annoying and disordered eating habits. I just wanted clarity. I still do. I know I’ve been ignorant, naive, and immature about how I’ve gone about my diet; I’m still ignorant, naive, and immature. If I could just let go my fears of calories and macronutrients and all of that then believe me, I would. You probably know how hard it is to “recover” from something like this – it’s not easy and it’s not fun especially when you have to gain weight when you think you’re big enough.
Thank you for your insight – everything you have told me has been a kinda of wake up call for me. I’m sorry if I seem like I’m in denial or anything – I’m certainly not trying to be. I just want to be “healthy” again I suppose.April 26, 2014 at 2:38 pm #16238
When you went hypocaloric at 1200, even when you didn’t consciously restrict carbs, that becomes ketogenic or close to it depending on your activity level and protein intake. So you’ve starved yourself for a couple of months.
That hormonal dysregulation is so common among those who go Paleo or low carb. They’ll never warn you about it. It’s not just low T3, it’s overall hormonal dysfunction. Blood sugar problems could follow due to faulty insulin secretion engineered by cortisol. But the most serious problem is immune dysfunction. Cold hands are thought to be from low T3. But that could be Raynaud’s and generally compromised immunity; if I were you, I’d check my WBCs and Globulin levels. I’ve actually seen some who develop serious immune disorders like hypogammaglobulinemia, lymphocytopenia and neutropenia. In fact, among those who VLC, globulin tends to be under 2.2 or so.
This is the danger of long-term VLCing and hypolcaloric diets. What you see are the exact same phenomenon among people who starve themselves. Immune defenses break down because there isn’t enough glucose to mount mucosal immunity. That’s why you end up with dry eyes, dry mouth, dry colon and constipation. As for amenorrhea, that’s the hormonal dysregulation engineered by leptin, which became deficient. Leptin’s main function is to maintain hormonal and immune homeostasis; the satiety function and its role in obesity is secondary. A leptin deficient state will induce a cascade of hormone dysfunction, some of which are low T3, dysregulated cortisol and insulin secretion, and, if female, male hormones.April 27, 2014 at 9:50 pm #16262
Napster, where did you learn about “blood sugar problems could follow due to faulty insulin secretion engineered by cortisol”? I have been hypoglycemia all my life but it has recently been REALLY difficult to stabilize and I am dropping multiple times a day. I am going to see an endocrinologist in a couple of weeks for that as well as many other symptoms like hot flashes and racing heart.April 27, 2014 at 10:22 pm #16263
Most of the high BG problems encountered by those who VLC are cortisol-related. It’s cortisol which will affect insulin secretion. Some of them think it might be physiological insulin resistance which is keeping their FBG high. But that problem could persist after you increase carbs.
And most people who VLC do not have “reactive” hypoglycemia. If they truly have hypoglycemia and it’s confirmed by BG readings, then it’s not reactive. Hypercortisolemia will keep your BG readings high, not low. What most low carbers think of as hypoglycemia is really hormonal dysfunction — heart palpitations, mood dysfunction, racing thoughts, etc. — from going too low on carbs.
If you truly are hypoglycemic and it’s followed by hyperglycemia, then, yes, it could be reactive. You need to rule out other sources of hypoglycemia: glucagon and liver dysfunction.
April 28, 2014 at 11:04 am #16266
- This reply was modified 9 years, 5 months ago by napster4ever.
Cassidy, denial is part of the disease. No need to feel badly about it; the fact that you acknowledge it makes you better off than 90% of others in your predicament. I still live in denial a good amount of the time and I know way too much about this disease. Regarding your friends, weight gain with age is healthy and normal-despite what the obesity panic commission would have you believe. A 100% vegetable, alcohol-free existence is something I know quite a lot about. I did it hardcord for a decade. It’s wreaked havoc on my body. I am certainly not healthier for it. Friends who drank, indulged, and generally didnt give a flip, however, have aged well, lived their lives, and actually experienced things rather than watching them pass by.
You’ll get some info like the last two replies that is scientific or technical and its good info in some cases but I doubt its what you (or BAuer, for that matter), really need. ED personalities are typically overly technical. Information overload does not lead to freedom and sometimes it even makes things more difficult. Your body is not a spreadsheet nor is it a black box system where inputs equal outputs. I doubt anything you could learn in studying nutrition will be helpful for you. I went that route for 2 years in university and there is a heavy focus on the “health” that has gotten you in trouble in the first place: the “more exercise/vegetables is always better than naps and pizza” viewpoint is prevalent. Its damn near impossible to recover in that environment.
I’m glad you remain open. I think, though, that you will benefit more from searching for non-technical information. How to accept the body that nature intended you to have? How to live life and not obsess over externals? How to love fully and without restriction? How to encourage the movement of our society towards less anxiety-driven behavior and more life-fulfilling/enhancing behavior? I get it that it feels better to focus on things like macronutrients. Hell, I’m an engineer, not a therapist. And my technical brain does a lot of good for me. But only when I channel it appropriately. I can engineer a bridge or culvert. I cannot engineer my body fat percentage. It’s an important distinction. It’s a life and death distinction, really.April 30, 2014 at 1:37 am #16287
Napster – actually, I was the kind of newbie who thought fat makes you fat. I ate a lot of carbs (fruits and vegetables – so lacking the leptin boosts) and a decent amount of protein, but very little fats. After a few months of eating like that, I realized I had developed secondary amenorrhea. Accidentally starved myself, yes, but I was mainly lacking fats. I was literally eating under 20g a day. I also didn’t eat many refined or processed carbs – wheat bread and cereal were my main processed foods. I was drinking skim milk, too, because it had less calories.
I didn’t do all of this to be intentionally unhealthy, no. In fact it’s the opposite – I thought I was being healthy.April 30, 2014 at 1:57 am #16288
Tennosea – I agree with you about friends who drink and indulge and such. I know that it makes them happy, which can lead to stronger mental health, which is very important to attain. However, I’m not saying I restrict myself from alcohol – I just have no interest in drinking it. I know that I’m more restrictive then they are, which is obviously unhealthy, but I think that my daily variety of foods that I eat compared to theirs is better physically on the body. Not always mentally, though, as they eat the foods they want and are satisfied – unlike my restrictive habits that leave me craving lots of different “unhealthy” foods.
Your take on studying nutrition is an opinion that I only recently adopted. It took a little while for me to understand that “information overload” is probably more detrimental to my mental health more than anything. For the past couple weeks, I’ve just eaten whatever, whenever. No calorie counting like I would’ve normally done. It’s maddening because I sometimes can’t tell if I’m hungry or if I just desire the sensation of eating – my body enjoys that sensation because it’s been lacking the right amount of fuel for so long. It’s also maddening because I know I’ve gained weight in the past couple weeks. I don’t have the most slim abdominal section to start off with, so adding more weight definitely irritates me. I’ve heard some girls with amenorrhea say that they’ve recovered by gaining a few pounds – some 5, some 20. However, I’ve also heard some people say that eating warming foods will help with the problem as well, so weight gain isn’t necessary. What do you think about the whole recovery process? Is weight gain necessary?
I really DO wish I could live a balanced lifestyle. I’ve tried to be balanced, but for some reason, my annoying self screws it up because I don’t always know what “balanced” means. The word sounds so glorious and beautiful: balance. It sounds so healthy.. But when my body craves sugar or unhealthy foods, I can’t accept that I’m trying to give myself “balance”. That’s the thing – I don’t really know what it is or how to achieve it.
I, too, am very technical. I started to become increasingly interested in math, which helped me with counting calories. I never thought it as a chore. So when I first stopped, I had a hard time. I mean, I’m STILL having a hard time. I’m just having trouble with identifying my body’s healthiest and happiest state – something I haven’t felt or seen in quite some time!April 30, 2014 at 9:24 pm #16290
Cassidy, when you go hypocaloric, it doesn’t matter whether you’re eating 90% carbs. At about 800 kcal, even if you eat 90% carbs, you could be ketogenic if you’re active. That’s because this is a matter of clearing a hurdle, an absolute number, not some % of your diet coming from carbs. At 1,200, you could possibly avoid that. But if you ended up in starvation mode like you said you were, then it’s likely that amenorrhea and hormonal dysfunction arose from that deprived condition, which really is a disease state for infections, immunity and hormones.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.