February 3, 2014 at 8:35 pm #14950wire0701Participant
So sorry for the novel, but I am just putting a voice to my history for the first time, and I really need help!!!
For most of my life I never had traditional eating issues. Especially on this forum, as most I read refer to chronic avoid this/that with minimal excess weight, mainly undernourished, while I am certainly not!
So I know I had a strong emotional attachment to food as I remember being home alone, searching the cupboards and crying because I was hungry. (the cupboards weren’t bare, but it was probably food that needed to be prepared in some way.)I know I had body issues, that were probably family related because growing up I would say I was average(size 4/6 following puberty, size 8 in high school), but I was on the meatier side of average, very solid, and very curvy, I feared being fat. Growing up with my mother who was naturally thin,(6 kids and even pregnant never weighed more than 135), never obsessed on food/weight too incessantly. As I got older through reading letters my mom wrote to my older sister, who was a very lean child (incidentally as adults our body structures are fairly similar) about how we were exercising a lot because I wasn’t skinny like she was, but I don’t remember any of the exercising. I also craved very sweet calorie dense foods, My mom said I was also too sensitive because she would find cookies, and ice cream eaten up and ask, “who ate all the ….”, and I would defensively reply, “why do you always blame me, it wasn’t me.”
When I obsessed about my appearance, I would go gung-ho on the exercise.(usually to the point I could barely walk in recovery mode), but I usually always ate to appetite 3 meals, no aversion issues, because it was pretty normal if not on the small side. At 16, using a condom, losing my virginity, I got pregnant. I feared telling anyone, and tried convincing myself I wasn’t. I was able to stay in my size 8(135-140lbs)until 5 months along, although it sometimes caused major back pain. Finally I accepted the pregnancy, and was overcome with craving, and for the first time that I remember I began binging on food to the point of discomfort for a month. The pregnancy instantly became noticeable. My go to craving were salad, soup, and ice cream. They weighed me when I checked in for labor at 176lbs, delivered a 7.5lb baby, and at check out I weighed 174lbs, WTF?????? I had ravenous cravings for a
week or so, then my minimalistic appetite returned, but the weight never came off. I maintained within 10lbs for 1 year, and probably for the first time in my life became calorie obsessed. Ironically at this point I had a caliper BMI measurement that came back within the high end of “normal”, I felt obese. :(
Slowly the weight piled on, fast forward 11 years, 240lbs, 2 years of trying, and finally my second pregnancy. No appetite but for the first time in my life sign of “hypoglycemia”. Experienced minimal or no weight gain for this pregnancy, and lost a more normal 10-15lbs at delivery. However, eventually I began packing on more weight up to 260lbs, but able to get pregnant in one cycle. Again, no weight
and 20lbs lost at delivery. I felt amazing, but for the first time ever I was always freezing my ass off, I joked that my daughter stole my heater, suspecting it was female hormone related as my other two were boys. Maintained weight for 2 years till heat came back, and slowly have gained back up to 280lbs.
So obviously I have some major issues, I have refused to diet for the because despite my weight, except on emotional binging days, I only consume 1300-1800 calories per appetite, and diets actually increase my intake because my brain does not work with deprivation. I hate to exercise, and if I do I usually over do it, and I burn out pretty quickly. I always tell people that, “I think you need to be in the “right” place for diets to work, otherwise they would work for everyone, I don’t know what that place
is but I know I am not there.” I refuse to follow any diet that tells me to not eat ………, if its natural, because I know from a biological standpoint that those foods wouldn’t still exist if they have not had something consuming them, to spread seeds or encourage reproduction to prevent extinction, and because I try to make logic of what I see in nature, and the fact that only domesticated animals suffer from species eradicating disease and obesity.
I have always been in awe of my body, because minus the obesity, it is incredibly acclimating. I have no health issues, great blood pressure, awesome cholesterol, normal glucose range, etc.. The only medical issue I have is something called Gilbert’s Syndrome, (not sure if this is a definitive diagnosis, because: in my teens it was noticed my eye whites were yellow, had blood work, ultrasound, and no other issues,so oh, you have this syndrome, its genetic, but because it doesn’t cause any problems, we do no further testing, and now doctors don’t even flinch when I tell them about it. So, essentially it means my liver is “lazy” resulting is high bilirubin levels (total= 2.8mg/dl), (I have noticed my globulin level is also usually on the high end of “normal” 3.9-4.3g/dl, and GGTP in the low 60 U/L range, if that matters or means anything to anyone.) I’m usually always warm, and people love sharing a bed with me because I am like a human heater. I have to watch overdressing, because even a medium coat can overheat me, and cause nauseousness, and I live in MN where winters are historically below 0 without windchill. I have no appetite, and eat strictly for craving or boredom, I hate the taste of chemical low fat sweeteners, rarely drink any pop because it taste too sweet to me, and am so-so for candy, because I guess my body thinks sugar belongs with fat and flour, I don’t really crave salt, and when I am around “skinny” people and following their eating schedules, I feel like I am non stop eating, as food sits in my gut. I have always slept like a rock, and once adjusted to any fluid increase I only pee at most 6 times a day. In my youth I wasn’t constipated in a painful sense, but regularly had weekly/bi-weekly bowels.
However, as an adult I have regulated to daily, and only have issues if I hold it too long, I assumed because I have low/little gas. So I have very little “low metabolism” symptoms. According to Recovery2 I should be RRAFRING nearly 6000calories a day, and I can’t do it. I have noticed that eating right away, and force feeding myself, does create some appetite, but I don’t know how to get above 4000calories. Is it going to be possible for me to find my metabolism, or am I biologically broken??
On an emotional level, for the longest time I thought I was trying to hide in the fat, because I got a lot of inappropriate negative male attention in my youth and was sexually abused, but I am pretty “healed” from that. I have issues with feeling loved, that I have been working on, but other than hating the way the fat makes me feel, or looking really ginormous in pictures, I really am okay with ?me?. After really thinking about it, I realized that a lot of my weight gain was due to location. While in MN I live fairly rural, despise the 6months of crap winter weather I have to deal with, and get bored with what “rurality” has to offer me. In fact the two times I was successful at losing weight effortlessly I was living in the metro NW, and was always going, “somewhere” or doing “something”, because the real me hates ritual, and sitting around.
I cannot move from my home, but my situation depresses me, and my weight or lack of metabolism are draining me. Plus I also recently started working the graveyard shift which has my circadian rhythm all out of whack. I believe what Matt says, as it follows the beliefs I’ve always had, but the Cynic in me thinks maybe I’m the ?one? who can’t change their metabolism. Please help, what can I do??
P.S. I am 34, and 5’5″ish.February 3, 2014 at 10:42 pm #14954ErinElizabethParticipant
Welcome to the rabbit hole that is 180 degree health!
One thing that stands out is I don’t see you reporting your temps, have you taken your temps first thing in the morning and at various times throughout the day? You don’t have many of the typical low metabolism signs but you aren’t eating very much so I would be surprised if you had normal body temps. A lot of Matt’s writing is aimed at the dieters/foot nuts/eating disorder recoverers but stress can tank a metabolism too and it sounds like you’ve had enough in the past to set up some emotional causes for your personal metabolism issues.
I’m not familiar with his philosophies (I just found him through the conference Matt participated in last week) but Matt spoke well of
Marc David of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating and it seems like that might be a good supplement to 180 for you.
As for the 6000 calories, holy cow, that’s a huge jump from a typical less than 2000. I try to not worry about the calories too much and just try to eat more. I counted my calorie intake at first and found I was way undereating unintentionally myself and struggled to eat more until I started drinking a lot of my calories (mostly whole milk). I find I can easily drink a half gallon of milk in during the day which is a solid 1200 calories on its own without it affecting my appetite. I also have started drinking juice and sweetening my tea for a bit more there (that took me a while as I was coming from sugar phobic territory).
I’ve missed a lot I’m sure but my three year old says I’m done. I wish you luck!February 5, 2014 at 4:53 am #14979celticphoenixParticipant
I am sorry for your current situation. My Mother, who is now much older than you, had a similar history and symptom set. She was very overweight, but always appeared to have great energy, didn’t seem to need much sleep (and always claimed to sleep well, even though she had bad sleep apnea), always ‘felt’ warm, hated the taste of salt and didn’t crave sugary things much at all. In fact, she would often complain about how sugary and salty people made their foods. Fast-forward to last year, and she was suffering big time from many hypometabolic problems, including diagnosed MS, arthritis, glaucoma, eczema, chronic fatigue, and some other things. Clinically, she had normal thyroid levels except very high reverse T3. She tried dieting several times in the past, and her weight really got out of hand within a year or two after her first Jenny Craig attempt during college, and then continued to accelerate after each child.
The good news in my Mom’s case is that she has seen many good (though incomplete) improvements the past 6 months or so since we started having her eat to appetite of whatever she craved (including a lot of chocolate chocolate chip ice cream!): even her aversion to sugar and salt is almost gone now! It has been interesting. We’ve take on the world view that she has essentially been an anorexic for 40 years, but with a BMI of 40 (at 5’2″), and that eating MAY be the answer to many of her problems. Only time will tell, but the slow progress so far has been nice (smoother skin, outer eyebrows which had been gone since her mid 20s are coming back, better sleep, better mood, blood pressure down from about 160/90 to 140/70, teeth and gums never looked so good; but digestion still sucks, worse than ever edema in feet, still tired often…) I hope you (I hope we all!) are able to avoid some of these long-term complications of poor health.
I am not you, but please consider some pointers I thought of just while reading your post
I think your symptoms sound like the combination of low thyroid with Sky High Stress Hormones. Your consumption of 1300-1800 Cals per day is simply not enough. The fact that you were arriving there by eating to appetite implies that your body MADE it enough by jacking up compensation hormones (‘stress’ hormones). I think you are right to look into ‘refeeding’. I am not sure that 6000 Cals is the magic number, but I think, as per Anorexia recovery guidelines, likely 3000-4000 is probably appropriate for you, considering age, weight, and history. You may want to read through YourEatopia.com for some similar reasoning. As ErinElizabeth says, you may be best off NOT counting per se, but just diligently eating large’ish meals throughout the day (I’d say at least 3 ‘square’ meals, and snacking if you ever get hungry) and letting your body and appetite re-equilibriate slowly. Calorically-dense foods that require less digestive powers such as sugar (fruit, honey, cane sugar, maple syrup, rice syrup) may help you more easily eat higher amounts without the bloat and ‘fullness’ that starch, protein, and/or fat gives. I think all classes of nutrients (starch, protein, fat, sugar) have their importance, but ADDING a couple handfuls of raisins or spoonfuls of honey at the end of your meal or as between-meal snacks may help. Drinking juice and milk is great if it agrees with you. Keep it up! You may also consider digestive enzymes, apple cider vinegar capsules, and/or betaine hcl capsules. Some notice benefit, some don’t. But it’s something to consider while your digestion gets back into gear.
I also have so-called ‘Gilbert’s syndrome’ and I found my bilirubin would hover about 1.0-1.5mg/dL when I was young and healthier, but rose to about 2.0-2.5 when I finally got sick from metabolic issues later. Metabolic health (read: ‘hormones’) regulate the conjugating enzymes to some extent, so you may find your high biirubin comes down with increase thyroid/metabolic health. But something not often talked about is that this partially inhibited ‘glucuronidation’ of things (including bilirubin, but also estrogen and cortisol and other hormones, molds, some pharmaceuticals, etc.) means slower detox of these things in general. Glucuronidation is a major detox pathway for many foreign and endogenous substances. It is one of a few so-called ‘phase 2 detox pathways’
What this means is that someone with Gilbert’s syndrome is more likely to accumulate certain toxins and metabolic disruptors throughout heir lives, and they MAY be at risk more than the average person for having higher body and blood levels of these things. Thus, more than most you may consider the possibility that plastics, molds, synthetic junk will effect you. Allopathy hasn’t even asked the question: “what does this mean practically for someone with Gilbert’s?” But please keep this in mind going forward. Providing your liver with enough energy (glycogen from carbs; short chain fats from vinegar and coconut oil and fibers; enough protein including some glycine from supps or gelatin/collagen; and ideally overall lowish toxin load) should give your liver the best shot in handling this obstacle.
I wish the answers were all simple. But I’m pleased that you are on here searching. Whatever happens, please keep us all updated on your progress and findings. I think the more anecdotes out there, the more potential there is for people with seemingly unique situations to find some help.February 5, 2014 at 11:52 am #14985wire0701Participant
Thank you both so much for posting, you really don’t know how much it means to me.
@ErinElizabeth- I have been taking my temps, but they haven’t been reacting normally. i.e. the first day I was averaging high 97’s, then the second days I was hitting mid 98’s, and on the third day I was in the 99’s steadily, but when I did eat per mild craving/possibly slight hunger, it would lower my temps, so it almost discouraged me. So I didn’t think they were reliable enough to post.
Regarding the fluids, thanks it did help yesterday I was able to hit above 4000, without much “overfeeding” feelings.
@celticphoenix- Thanks you have reassured me quite a bit. I have always felt like I was in some denial, because whenever I had my food diaries analyzed, it would come within the 1300-1800 range, and some comment regarding how I should be losing weight, yet, I continued to gain. So was I REALLY that obsessed with brownies & cake that I binged on them to obesity?? All of this is really reassuring. So has your mother been able to loose weight in refeeding at all? not tham I am obsessed with it, but just don’t think I have much flexibility to gain much more without being physical taxed.
Wow, is all I can say about the stress hormones. I always thought I handled outside stressor with ease, now in hind-sight I see that, that could have simply been because my body was so use to running high on its internal stressors, that a few extra external ones didn’t mean much. The last couple of days has also showed me two things; when I have that cement brick feeling in my stomach, and when I am unbearably hot, with a nausea towards eating, that food surprisingly makes me feel 100% better. Is this perhaps my biofeedback that I am burning something other than “food fuel”?
also- thanks for the info on “gilbert’s” as no one has every delved into that with me. I have always been restrictive & conscious towards “drug” consumption, a “my body, my temple” thing. (yes, just another thing to make me feel guilty and hypocritical for being fat.)
Thanks again both, I will look into the sites you recommended.February 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm #14992celticphoenixParticipant
I am pleased that you have found the comments useful thus far. I wanted to follow up with some of your questions.
My mom HAS GAINED weight during the past months of eating. She is eating 3000-5000 Cals per day, probably averaging 4,000 Cals per day. She eats a lot of bananas; home-made mashed potatoes with butter, ground beef, and peas (like a ‘Shepard’s pie’); raisins; raw honey; scrambled and boiled eggs; liver sausage from US Wellness Meats; yogurt; Cheese; other fruit; and sweet potatoes. We buy everything Organic/Grass-fed from stores, and eggs are pastured from some local farmer’s markets. That’s her ‘healthy food’ that she eats a decent amount of. But, SHE ALSO eats throughout the week AT LEAST 2 Medium pizzas from Papa John’s; 1 burrito from either Chipotle or Qdoba; some beef teriyaki with extra rice and no salad from a local Teriyaki place; LOTS of Organic Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream; and MANY of the Organic Nature’s Path Pop-Tart-like things (toaster pastries). So, she definitely balances ‘health food’ with ‘junk food’. She and I have both found that we simply feel better (energy, mood, sleep, other symptoms) when we eat some calorically dense foods (sugar, salt, fat) in addition to our fruit/meat/starch. But the opposite is also true. If she eats pizza and teriyaki several days in a row, she’ll crave a couple meals in a row of just fruit and yogurt. So, she has found it best to just FOLLOW CRAVINGS/INSTINCT. (But we do try, within reason, to avoid vegetable oils, corn syrups, artificial preservatives/flavorings/colors.)
My Mom started at about 285lbs on 5’2″ several years ago with MANY health problems. I got her on the paleo bandwagon (which I do now regret, in hindsight) in about 2008. She lost weight to about 175’ish (with slight fluctuations) by summer of 2010. She had better energy than she had in years, her arthritis was improved, and her skin was consistently better. But, starting in middle 2010, she started to worsen in EVERYTHING. By summer 2013, we really became desperate. We had tried by then nuances of the low carb/paleo thing including the Perfect Health Diet (slightly higher carbs, about 100-150 grams per day mostly from potatoes and rice), the no starch ‘Specific Carb Diet’ approach, and some Intermittent Fasting. Nothing worked and her health kept getting worse. So, the idea was: ‘If restrictions aren’t working, let’s do the opposite and see what happens.’ I don’t know her present weight exactly (she won’t tell me), but she says she’s gained about 20 pounds since summer 2013. Coming off of low carb, intermittent fasting approach, the bulk of that is water and intestinal mass, but surely some is also visceral fat. In anorexics, the weight ‘overshoot’ is typically 10%, and it has been reported that ‘chronic dieters’ may overshoot by 20%. Then, after many months (6-18 months for most), the weight redistributes and/or comes off (without dieting, just due to an increase in natural metabolism). So, we’re just trying to have her live instinctively for the first time in decades and we’ll be patient.
I would expect that you WILL GAIN weight, and you should expect that. If you have some people around you who judge your weight to be somehow ‘moral’ or a ‘personal pejorative’, then this may be tough for you. If you are the one who judges the person in the mirror, either stop looking into the mirror or try to focus on something else, like how much strength you have in trying to overcome the demons of health, or how unique your struggles have been and how beautiful you are in light of these. I would recommend you consider putting your scale away somewhere if you think it gives you anxiety.
But, the good news is that weight gain implies your body IS WORKING, since it is smartly trying to protect itself for next dieting go-around, which your lifestyle has led it to think will happen again soon. The typical progression is weight gain (water, intestinal mass, visceral fat) -> then stable wight with body temperature normalization and improvements in hormones (mood, period cycle, sleep, etc.) -> then (last) tissue regeneration and weight redistribution, fat loss. I encourage you to see on YourEatopia.com various experiences with anorexics trying to recover. MOST ARE NOT skinny when they start recovery, and MOST DON’T EVEN KNOW that they are anorexics, until they get some help from someone. Like everyone, we all are effected by the ‘cultural wisdom’ around us, and ‘Eat Less, Exercise More’ is the Self-Evident Truth that our culture won’t shut up about, even though most ‘scientific data’ refutes it.
I also wanted to comment on your note that your temp drops after you eat. My mom and I have both experienced this, and MANY MANY people say the same on this and other forums. Food and Eating (especially starch) is very ‘Parasympathetic’, meaning that it shuts off the ‘Sympathetic’ or ‘Stress’ hormone system of your body. (Think of Parasympathetic as ‘rest and digest’ and Sympathetic and ‘fight or flight’.) In cases where the stress hormones are the primary system raising your body temperature (as opposed to thyroid hormones, which are not ‘stress’ hormones), then eating will very quickly make you cold. This PROVES that you are overrun with stress hormones. So, eating enough and consistently will, overtime (weeks to months) raise your thyroid hormones and lower your stress hormones and prevent you from being so cold after you eat. For my mom and me both, it took about 4 months. But some days we still notice a little of this. But last summer, before re-feeding and coming off of Paleo and Intermittent Fasting, I would be shivering very uncomfortably even with a sweatshirt and pants on after a big bowl of rice. So, the point is, do what you can to be comfortable, including wearing more clothes, but KEEP EATING. Your body is ‘telling’ you that it needs it.
Your brownie and cake cravings are a sign that your body needs quick calories. Your are good to deliver the goods. Such strong cravings will go way eventually, but please keep following cravings wherever they may take you. I wish you a quick and pain-free recovery, but I would put money down that that won’t happen. The road will be long and arduous. But there is light on the other side. Please keep us all updated on your progress and setbacks.
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