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New user experiencing symptoms guidance needed

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    New user to this site. Background. 38 yr old male, long history of adrenal fatigue and diet related problems brought on by years of over exercising and under eating to the point my body had stopped supporting itself, low body temps, hair not growing properly on body, thin hair on head. Always checked food labels, ate food that was ?healthy? etc etc with the idea that 2,500 calories was loads and I could sustain 2 hrs of solid exercise on this!

    I am now on a refeed working toward 3,500 cals (more if I can) but finding it tough with the volumes of food but edging closer, probably about the 3,000 mark at the moment but facing the following issues. Apologies if these have been covered before.

    Weight gain from water with pitted edema. I have a spare tyre around my mid-section which is basically water and accumulated very very quickly.

    Skin marks really easily, if I lean on something then I have a mark from whatever that was also from my socks etc and the sheets from my bed.

    Hair falling out, mainly in shower when washing with hair on my pillow in the morning. This is coming from the top of my scalp.

    Feeling tired, joints stiff around the knees, I expect this is a double impact from the edema and also the weight gain in general?

    I have dark patches under my eyes but I think that is from my liver / kidney’s having a problem with the fluid imbalance and having to work extra harder with the edema.

    On the up side, I used to have dandruff but that has stopped, my hair is growing on the sides of my head, I have lot of little hairs growing over my body that have sprung up, solid sleep although a little prone to waking earlier than I want.

    One thing that I am a little worried over is am I eating to meet my bodies demand or am I eating for the sake of eating? I can’t distinguish between the need for food and the idea that I have to eat

    I am enjoying the freedom to eat what I want and really enjoying the food but when other people went through this, did they find that your body told you when it was time to stop and back down on the quantity, did you find that you could quite literally sit on the end of a conveyor belt and open your mouth and let the food drop in?

    Any help is much appreciated.


    The Real Amy

    Hi Alan, these all sound pretty normal to me. Edema is definitely a side effect of recovery from starvation, as is belly fat. Your hair can also fall out when you first start refeeding. It *should* start to regrow once you get nourishment in. Make sure you’re eating a nourishing diet so you know you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals. And eat on a regular schedule, too (like 3 meals plus 1-2 snacks, eaten on a regular schedule).

    In terms of knowing when to eat, it sounds like you’re not tuned into your hunger signals (which I’m guessing is how you ended up underfed to begin with). Start paying attention to them, they will let you know how much to eat. And pay attention to why you’re eating as well as what you want to eat. It takes time, but once you get the hang of it you won’t have to worry, you will naturally fuel your body in an appropriate manner. Eat as mindfully as possible (i.e., not too fast and not while driving, or distracted on the computer, etc.) Don’t feel you have to be perfect right away, it can take a few months, but just start paying attention and eventually it will become natural. Good luck!


    Your symptoms seem to be all connected with refeeding, which is normal. Your hunger cues will develop in time, it took me months. I am recovering from Anorexia and overexercise and I didn’t get real hunger cues that I could actually distingusih for quite some time, I often still have trouble with them. Eating at specified times helped to regulate my eating, whether I felt hungry or not. Overall, your body is hungry from dieting and exercise so consider yourself in need of some good food!
    Could you tell me more about your about your adrenal fatigue symptoms?


    Thanks for the replies. I have now stabilised, it happened shortly after my post. I seem to have found a pattern that is working and I can achieve without too much hassle. My stomach has gone down a bit and I have a bit more zap in me so I have incorporated some exercise back into my day now and will build up slowly. I worked out what I was eating in calories out of curiosity and its about 3,000 including a glass of wine with around 350g carbs, 110g fat (25 ? 30 g sat) and 90g of protein (milk, eggs, meat I don’t count plant based foods). My body now does not want ?junk foods? so I am mixing it up between things like oats, spelt bread (homemade) fruits, starchy veg, rice, dark chocolate, fruit juice etc. If people are interested I can post a couple of days of things I eat. I don’t intend to count calories, I just need to keep an eye on what I am eating more along the lines to check I am eating enough. If I need to eat more than I simply add onto what I have found that works for me.

    I have been able to add some more liquids in like a milky coffee, some watered down fruit juice etc without too much problems as well. Looking forward to saying goodbye to this belly though that has been the hardest bit. I have lost the puffiness from other parts of my body as well so looks like the fluid retention is receding.

    Regards to the adrenals the signs of fatigue are hard to diagnose as they are similar to other signs you have for other problems. The big give away with AF is aching or sore calf muscles even with a small amount of exercise or walking or simply standing. Another tell tell sign is dark circles under the eyes which is actually more related to stressed kidneys but stressed kidneys means stressed adrenals. Lack of hair on the front of the body is the other major sign. You may have lots of hair on your head on the sides but thin on top. This would be the same with your arms and legs, hair grows on the sides not less on the back and front.

    AF is all about too much stimulation, for me it was simply way way to much exercise (cardio) with not enough recovery time and enough calories to compensate.

    I am going to focus more now on strength training than cardio with limiting my cardio to just walking and the strength training based on body weight exercises like press-ups etc.

    Just as a side note, I have been working with a kinesiologest for years and he keeps telling me that foods are not my problem, I am the problem. So all that excess cardio which has created things like AF and low metabolism meant that I had problems with wheat, dairy, candida (suppressed immune system) Foods are NOT the problem, they are simply triggers. Shame it has taken me 3 years to learn this?..the hard way!

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