Select Page

Have my recovery attempts ruined my metabolism, Matt?

Blog Forums Eating Disorders Have my recovery attempts ruined my metabolism, Matt?

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
  • #9456


    I’ve been a huge fan of 180 Degree Health as it is such an informative and witty anti-diet haven. In the fall of 2011, I decided to get “healthy” and, at 16 years of age and 5’6, went from 138 to 115. My effort to add more fruits and vegetables lead up to full blown exercise addiction (waking up at 5am to walk to my university gym to run 5ks 4/wk), orthorexia (I know how to make french bread and almond milk from scratch) and an overall attempt to restrict calories, going under 1000 and even in the net negatives at time. (Plus the food obsession slash ‘I want to go to school to be a chef!’ sentiments) And I almost forget my vegan/paleo/intermittent fasting blimp.

    After reading articles on the dangers of stress, I’m now convinced that the stress of moving away to college at such a young age, despite my overconfidence, was the biggest trigger.

    Then, in November 2012, I found Gwyneth Olwyn’s work on YourEatopia and followed it for a little over 3 weeks until breaking under the pressure of loved ones asking ordering me to find ‘balance’ and to stop my ‘gluttony’. (My mom is fitness trainer) I’d gained up to 140. So I stopped, and ate more than I used to, but not without general anxiety sprinkled here and there. Months passed, and the horrible water retention and discomfort ended and left me at 150 lbs. I found myself skipping meals again and running and ‘bingeing’. So I knew it was time to get back to conscious recovery.

    I went back to YourEatopia guidelines and have been eating that way for 18 days now. I’ve never felt/been this heavy in my life. I feel like refeeding is being pinned to a speeding train on route to the hospital. If you jump off, you end up breaking more bones, and wind up worse than you came.

    But right now, all I feel like doing is feeling the runner’s high, playing good ol’ tennis, eating whatever I want (whenever I want), and working on building a positive body image. I’d even go to counseling if it would make things better. I have no fear foods. (Heck, I’ve eaten a tub of cream cheese frosting in a day!) I’m just trying to find ‘balance’, I guess. Not food wise, but body-wise. I feel like I’ve got a small child clinging onto my stomach all day long. But I feel like my attempts in recovery is no better than yo-yo dieting and I feel like I’m messing up my metabolism even further! I just want to get it back to the way it was. 180D time frame is much shorter than YE and I wish I could just get this whole thing over with. I’m so frustrated and lost and swollen.

    Have I really repaired my body or am I just driving myself crazy? Is it possible to be recovered and fit?

    Many many many thanks!

    • This topic was modified 10 years, 10 months ago by wordstospeak.
    • This topic was modified 10 years, 10 months ago by wordstospeak.
    Matt Stone

    At your age recovery should be quick. For you it definitely sounds like a matter of balance. There is definitely a middle ground between refeeding and starving yourself combined with tons of exercise.

    I think you should immediately implement the “Play hard, eat hard, sleep hard” approach and stick with that for a couple of years. Eating great and sleeping great but kicking ass and taking names in between. You are still ridiculously young you just slipped up and took it a little too far. You are probably extremely close to putting all the pieces together and thriving. Don’t despair too much here. All is not lost because you weigh 150. You wouldn’t believe how many women I speak to who ballooned from your weight 300 pounds from age 20-30-ish by trying to lose 20 pounds. So don’t let your madness continue to escalate. Settle into a good routine with all the components well taken care of and wait, wait, wait.


    Thanks Matt. Great timing! I just cried (and I’m not a crier by any means) because after looking at old pics I can’t believe I thought I needed to lose weight in the first place. I definitely do not want to be 300 lbs at any point in my life. I love your Play, Eat, and Sleep Hard mentality because it sounds like my childhood. I feel like I have so much energy to burn, even during the 7 months I spent not consciously overeating. (If it weren’t for those damned body dissatisfaction thoughts…)

    Do you think I could go back to eating to hunger (without restriction ) and running/playing tennis? Whatever weight I know I’ve gained in these past two weeks are beyond uncomfortable, and if I knew I had a year to live, I wouldn’t spend it feeling like a beached whale.

    Would it be ok to start playing hard in this way without messing up my metabolism?


    Hello slightly younger me. No seriously, I’m 22 and your 18, we are pretty much exactly the same height and weight and have had almost the exact same eating disorder pattern, we even the exact same heinous body image issues….except you are the luckiest person in the whole world and I would give anything ANYTHING to be you. Why?

    Because you have 4 years on me. I would give anything to be 18 again, to be able to go through recovery and come out of it and have my 21st birthday back and have my time at university back and have my friends and all those first times of carefree adulthood back without the constant preoccupation with my body and the hatred I had for it. I missed out on so much and I have had to come to terms with that and it has cost me so much.

    Please believe when I tell you that you DO NOT want this illness for a 1 SECOND longer, let alone another 4 years. It will take EVERYTHING. your whole life will continue to be consumed, you will get sicker and sicker and sicker and sicker and eventually you will end up in hospital and eventually you will realise that the only way to escape is recovery or death and I don’t know what you will choose then but if you do choose recovery it will be harder and longer and there will be more weight gain because you’re body has been through more years of hell and it will be more mentally horrendous because you will have become more and more dependent on the eating disorder as a coping mechanism not just for body image issues but for the whole of life itself. GET OUT NOW.

    I do mean to scare you, I hope this scares the fuck out of you, I hope the idea that you could be in for another four years of eating disorder and body image hell scares you more then possibly gaining another 10 pounds ever could.

    I would highly recommend working with a therapist who specialises in body image issues and I’d stay away from the exercise until you can honestly look yourself in the eye and say that it has nothing to do with weight loss. Unless you deal with the body image issues exercise will always lead to restriction which always leads to a living hell.

    I wish I had the strength to recover at 18, I’m sending you all of mine.


    velvetsquishyYou’re post was the first thing I read this morning, and I’m so glad you wrote that. ‘Powerful’ is an understatement. You’re right. Like one hundred percent right. Your anger and passion really fueled me to get mad it too. It’s really not something to play with and it’s no way to live. I learned that from remembering all the mental hell and missed periods I experienced. Since last November, I haven’t relapsed back to those old habits to the extent that I had. It’s just those sometimes rare and lingering thoughts of feeling that everyone should be thin and all that garbage jazz. I’m 165 now, and the key to overcoming those thoughts (so they don’t toy with my eating habits), is to love every single ounce of it. Because that’s me. It’s part of me and no one really cares. And even if they did, they could screw themselves mind their own business because hating myself is the worst thing I’ve ever done. No one takes care of a car that they hate.

    That’s why I’ve written Play Hard, Eat Hard, Sleep Hard, on an big piece of paper in my room. At first, I thought Matt had been incredibly vague. Inspiring, seeing that he had written it and all, and incredibly timely, but a bit vague. So I meditated on it for hours up until now and it makes perfect sense. I’m not really sure where my metabolism is at, and I know the Minnesota Starvation Experiment results concerning it, but what I do know that the body is incredibly resilient.

    So this is what I got from it…
    Play Hard: Not exercise hard. Not ‘burn off your food’ hard (as if it were that simple). Not ‘she’s so fit, I should be to’ hard. But play hard. Like children who run around climbing trees and chasing stuff with no consideration of the ‘health benefits’. Like you said, look myself in the eye and say that it had nothing to do with weight loss. That’s the key. Intentional weight loss isn’t the answer.
    Play hard means playing soccer and tennis with friends because I’ve loved them from the time I learned to walk. It means hiking these beautiful mountains I live on and get away from the glare of my computer. If it’s fun, I shall do it. And do it hard.

    Eat Hard: Not eat ‘clean’ hard. Not ‘consider the calories’ hard. Not eat ‘when it’s convenient’ hard. It’s eat whatever I want, whenever I want, even when it’s not convenient, until I’m satisfied (not when I think I ‘ought’ to be satisfied). It means eating like I don’t care, because I don’t. And I shall eat it…hard.

    Sleep Hard: Not ‘is it midnight already?’ hard. It’s using the timer I installed on my phone and using it well. Shut the lights and shut my eyes. Hard.

    I added another one, and of course at this point I’m just writing down my thoughts, is to Live Hard. Not ‘watch the days pass by’ hard. I mean genuine childlike-wonder-exploration-imagination-humorous-selflove living.

    So what’s different from the last time I tried to be normal? I’m going to suck it up and see what kind of therapy I could get for body image and actively love myself. No negative thoughts. Ever. I’m not going to give myself permission to love myself until after x amount of weight is loss. That’s what messed me up the last time.

    Thank you all so much!

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 10 months ago by wordstospeak.

    Wordstospeak… So much love. You are a New Year’s Eve fireworks display, you are waking up and seeing the sunrise on a mountain top, reading your post is a lot like winning the lottery. You have taken something and out it your brain and jumbled it all around and produced possibly the most powerful statement of living I have ever read. Possibly the most righteous statement out there. You have just changed my life irreversibly and forever.


    This has been a very motivational thread. I also like the motto “eat hard, play hard, sleep hard.” For me, it will be much harder to put into practice than it sounds, but it sounds like a recipe for happiness.


    velvetsquishy..sending love right back at you! I’m glad my crisis could produce thoughts that inspire. (Hard?)

    David..Yes! That motto is so great. It really is a recipe for happiness. Have you read 180D’s new blog post Input=Output and The Extinction of Absolutes? It’s like the same thing! And I love it!

    It’s definitely worth a (re)read and I think can be implemented either gradually or all at once. As long as the gradual doesn’t take so long that we forget. *Fist bump of support*

    I think the whole point is that nothing will make anyone happy except for actually being happy and Christ Himself. I’m taking a shortcut past the overthinking and overexercising and want to get to the meat of it.


    Thanks for this post guys. It is a good reminder that my current obsessions with weight and exercise are just feeding the ED like crazy. I am not sure I will ever be 100% free but I can sure fight like hell. I have wasted a ridiculous amount of time on this ED. Thanks again


    Yeah, BauerPower, I like to think of this ED as my asthma. When I was much younger, I had season passes to a hospital near where I lived. Since I was around 5, every fall, without fail, I was sure to have a room booked just for me. Stay 4 nights, get the 5th night free deals and all.

    I spent my 10th birthday in the hospital and never even got to eat any cake! But I digress…

    Outside the hospital, I’ve awoken many nights thinking there were cats screeching (or whatever that demonic noise they make is) in my room, only to realize it my own breathing. Then came the fun part of being rushed by an ambulance or having to pull out the old trusty nebulizer. Running and cold weather were like tar to my lungs. (I tried ice skating once. It didn’t go too well.) It wasn’t until I was 14-15ish that I didn’t need to carry my inhaler around my neck. In middle school, I played 2, yes 2, wind instruments, not to mention soccer, tennis, and just a little thing called track. Exactly how I managed to do this with and live is beyond me, but I haven’t spent a night in the hospital for a good 4 or 5 years now, and I hardly ever have to use my inhaler, unless, of course, I’m looking to make an otherwise boring afternoon fairly interesting.

    Before, during, and after the lowest point of my ED, I was able run a crazy amount of miles without feeling like I was breathing through a straw.

    And I mean all this to say that I still have asthma.

    It’s controllable– not something you could lose switching purses or really grow out of.

    But to thine own self be true.

    You think you’re good, and then, bam, you’re in a pet shop and you’re allergic to bird powerdown. Then boom, you’re wheezing and need to pull out an inhaler (like a boss). And then you’re fine again.

    Asthma is like lung allergy. ED is like a brain allergy. (Probably a bad analogy, but you get the point.) And so just because I haven’t been as sick as I was for years, it doesn’t mean that I should burn every inhaler I own, pick up a smoking habit, buy a bird, or all of the above. They’re called triggers, just like with ED. One should avoid them at all cost.

    So at this point in my life, I can either tell someone I have asthma or choose not to. Either way, it’s not as direct as a latex or peanut allergy (at least not anymore) and doesn’t conflict with my daily routine. Likewise, I hope one mid-morning, whilst drinking a whole milk chai tea latte (because I won’t have ED-induced lactose intolerance anymore) with an oversized cinnamon bun, sitting somewhere beautiful with an equally beautiful man in front of me (because you know…), not caring about my stomach rolls underneath my dress or my thighs touching, he can reference a family member with an eating disorder and I’ll find a twinge of familiarity and connection with it, like remembering someone I’d gone to school with. I’d I’ll remember the year I lost 30 lbs and my period, and can say ‘I’ve got that, too.’

    Or maybe not.

    Because it really wouldn’t matter either way.

    So yeah, BauerPower, we can totally do this!

    It may seem like such an impossibility, but ten years ago (I was probably in a hospital room) I would struggle to laugh if you told me I would go on to do the things I’ve done with my same pair of lungs.

    Starve the heck out of the ED!! Personify him. Then defriend, block, and ignore his birthday texts. When he says that we look [negative comment] here, slap him with a Yo Mama joke. Key his car. Steal his dog and give it to a shelter. Break his charger. Lick the icing from between his Oreos and eat the marshmallows from his Lucky Charms. Leave his fridge open.

    I think I’m having too much fun with this..

    He doesn’t deserve our time. [insert time here] is too much time. We’ve got this sucker in the bag.

    Filled with toxic gas.

    Suffocating him slowly. ;)

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 10 months ago by wordstospeak.

    That was AmaZAzing. Such a great reading to sit down to first thing in the morning. Truly gives me such a great perspective to begin my day with. I will be saving this little life saver of a post :) Thanks again!


    Just wanted to check back on this thread. Maybe someone could benefit from it.

    Observations: Still 165 :). The initial water retention I’d accumulated with three weeks of refeeding is receding, but I can still feel it every time my laptop or socks leave marks in my skin. My stomach doesn’t bulge out as much. My hair and nails have been growing like weeds.

    Patterns: I’m getting about 8 hours of sleep every night according to my Sleepbot app, and I’ve been eating whatever and whenever. I’ve also been practicing self-compassion and mentally hugging myself when I’m stressed to keep my stress hormones from spiking. Sounds silly, but it works.

    Biofeedback: I’m feeling generally more tired throughout the day. After breakfast, I’m back to yawning and want to crawl back in bed. This is strange because when I was forcing myself to eat large amounts in the refeeding sessions, I think that part went away. Tuesday night, after eating, I felt my core get really warm, die down, and then flame up again. It was like someone had been stoking a fire in me.

    My brain isn’t necessarily in a fog, but my stuttering has gotten worse and my otherwise mild speech dyslexia has been more noticeable. Combining words, switching words, having to start over. I haven’t had it this bad ever since I was a child. Right now, my hands are a bit cold, but I’ve always had cold hands. I just found my therm and I’m 98.2.

    The fatigue has been getting to me though because not only does it make my head feel funny, but whenever I get tired, my stomach growls and I don’t know whether it’s actual hunger or general fatigue. All I want to do is sleep. It’s Saturday, which means no classes/commitments, so I’m going to hurry to finish an assignment and go lay down again.

    Not sure if these are normal, but I haven’t been consciously restricting, over-non-restricting, or exercising.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.