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One week in… Questions and concerns

Blog Forums Raising Metabolism One week in… Questions and concerns

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    Hi, all. Thanks in advance for reading this post. I read “Diet Recovery 2″ and am one week into the refeeding/resting/fluid-reducing process. Here are my thoughts, questions, and concerns:

    1) My major symptoms are: panic attacks and anxiety, low testosterone, cold feet and hands (not always but a few times a day), waking up in the middle of the night (not to urinate, just waking up and being wide awake at 4AM).

    2) I’m never been much of a dieter, so I’m not coming from a low-fed background. I’m 5’4” and about 135 pounds (oh, and I’m male). My calorie intake was around 1,500, mostly consisting of non-junk food. With refeeding, I’m eating closer to 2,000, and I feel stuffed all the time. I can’t imagine eating more.

    3) I’m following the HED as detailed in the 2013 version of Diet Recover 2, which means I’m eating everything I crave, whether carbs, sugar, junk food, whatever. In that book, Matt says he no longer believes the more traditional whole foods method is necessary, and that calories are the most important thing.

    4) I’m trying to drink less and eat less liquid-filled foods. My urine is usually pale yellow, now, sometimes darker, and I urinate probably every 3 to 4 hours. Really, is proper hydration more important than calorie intake? I know people who eat way more than and drink “normally”, and they suffer from low-metabolism symptoms. Is hydration the difference between the HED restoring a person’s metabolism and the HED just making a person obese?

    5) A week ago, my morning temp (with ear thermometer) was 97.2F. This morning, it was 98.4F, so around a degree improvement. Pretty good, I think.

    6) So supposedly my metabolism is up, but my symptoms are still present. Is there a delay between increasing the metabolism and seeing symptoms improve?

    7) I’ve got indigestion pretty much all the time. Matt’s book said this will improve within a month. Has anyone experienced this at first and then seen it improve while keeping the same high-calorie diet? Also, is it ok to take an antacid once a day to relieve the indigestion?

    8) I have a concern that on this forum and in reviews of Matt’s books, I’ve seen lots of people saying their temperatures have increased, and they’re all like “YAY! I did it! It works!” but I’m really wanting to see people say things like “I sleep better”, “my anxiety is gone”, “my hormones are finally normal”, “my PMS is gone”, etc, etc. All the promises beyond simply being warmer. Has anyone seen these? It’s such a controversial mind-blowing diet, that it would be encouraging to hear some success stories.

    9) This is a good thing: I went to a holistic doctor a year ago, and he suggested that it might be wheat and dairy causing my panic attacks, so I stopped eating those for a while and saw no improvement. But what I then found was that I was scared to eat those things! Completely irrational, but even looking at a slice of bread would make me anxious! I’ve had serious phobias regarding wheat and dairy. With the HED, I’m realizing that, yes, I can eat these things, and aside from my digestive issues, I’m surviving. So I’m please to say that if nothing else, I’m learning to not be afraid of foods.

    Gosh, I know I just posted a ton of stuff. I appreciate all your attention, and I appreciate all the free and cheap advice in Matt’s books. I think there’s truly good stuff in there, hopefully life-changing. If anyone has any thoughts on my method or the results I’m seeing, or if anyone would like to post some encouraging success stories, it would mean the world to me!

    Thank you!


    Hi @NewAtThis-

    If you’ve looked around the forums, you’ll know that my opinions conflict with some of those expressed in Diet Recovery 2. I’m going to share my thoughts with you, but I understand if you’re not interested in my approach. I’m just presenting a different point of view.

    First of all, I think the best news in your post is that you no longer fear wheat and dairy. Getting over orthorexia is, in my opinion, one of the most important first steps towards becoming a happy, healthy human being. There are people who have real problems with wheat and dairy, but it’s a small minority. For most of us, we only increase anxiety and social isolation when we give up foods that are so common in our society. Congrats on your improvements in that regard.

    My next point is that, while it’s great you’ve gotten over some of your fears, you should think carefully about what you’ll gain by force feeding. BMI isn’t a perfect measurement, but at BMI 23 your weight sounds pretty reasonable (19-24 is the normal range). As a guy, I’m sure you’d rather be at the upper end of the normal range than the lower end (that’s how I feel anyway), but simply increasing calories is mainly going to make you get fat. In my opinion, there’s only one way to increase your metabolism (i.e., your daily calorie expenditure), and that’s through exercise. Both fat and muscle mass burn calories, but muscle burns more.

    You mention issues with low testosterone. I’m not sure about my own levels, but I can tell you that I have more sexual interest and energy after increasing my fitness through orthodox methods. I won’t go into detail because I doubt anyone wants to hear it, but most people are better in bed when they get in shape (for many reasons). That may not be your concern exactly, but it’s something to think about if you’re concerned about testosterone.

    You also mention indigestion. My digestion didn’t improve at all when I ate surplus calories, but it has improved through exercise and portion control. I literally never get heartburn anymore, and I can drink a glass of milk without concern. I used to take antacids and drink baking soda with reasonable frequency, so that’s pretty significant.

    I don’t know exactly why exercise has worked so well for me, but I think it’s because my body has become more efficient. When I ate more calories (and didn’t exercise), I just got sluggish. On one hand, it was fun to eat lots of candy and pizza, and I felt nice and relaxed after big meals, but I became increasingly immobile and even developed problems like high blood pressure. A low point for me was when I lost my breath bending over to tie my shoes, or going up stairs, or even talking too much (and that happened even at a BMI of 32!). Those problems disappeared as I lost weight (again, through exercise and basic portion control), and now I like moving around. I don’t know if you also suffer from low energy, but I can tell you that getting in shape usually makes people more energetic.

    I’m not saying that thin people are always more healthy than people who are overweight. I’m just saying that gaining extra fat is unlikely to make anyone healthier, unless they are too thin to begin with. I’m a good example of someone who was ill at a normal BMI, but I still got worse when my BMI went into the overweight and then the obese range. For whatever reason, my body just seems sensitive to excess fat, maybe because it goes straight to my gut and blocks up my organs. I honestly don’t know.

    I’m not sure what my average temperatures were when I was the most ill, or even when I was overfeeding (though I did feel uncomfortably hot during that time), but I got a reading of 98.6 at my last doctor’s appointment. So cutting calories and doing lots of cardio hasn’t killed my temps or anything. But regardless, I think how you feel is the most important indicator.


    Hi, David! Thank you so much for the thoughtful post. It’s amazing how different it seems to be from what Matt Stone recommends. I don’t mind that at all. Before I started this, I was eating a diet slightly tilted toward saturated fats, and I was lifting weights 3 days a week. Both of those things are supposed to be good for testosterone, and sure enough, my levels came up slightly, perhaps a result of increased metabolism. And I felt better, too. So I’m in your camp regarding exercise, but when I found Matt Stone’s work, it got me thinking that I can gain more by focusing on metabolism and temperature.

    I have to ask, though, is there a Matt Stone book you agree more with? I assume that, as a moderator on the site, you must not be completely at odds with Stone’s theories. Are there any aspects that you really support?

    Thanks again for your post. I’m unconvinced about the refeeding thing, so it’s good to get all sides. Hopefully, someone will post a pro-180 viewpoint as well.



    Just another thought…

    Maybe my best tactic would be a combination of approaches, something like:

    1) Eat until full, but not bursting.
    2) Focus on saturated fats and limit “PUFAs”.
    3) Try to eat “warming foods” – starch, salt, sugar(in moderation).
    4) Enjoy the freedom to eat anything, but lean toward healthy food.
    5) Continue weight-lifting 3 times per week.

    I’d be interested to hear from David and others: is this plan too much of 180 or too little of 180?



    Hi NewAtThis, just wanted to respond to your question about indigestion. I am someone whose digestion improved by eating more calories. (I didn’t have acid reflux though, just bloating/abdominal distention mainly) When I first increased calories, I would feel this horribly uncomfortable too-full pressure in my stomach – and that was just from eating normal-sized meals that I used to be able to down no problem. I no longer have that uncomfortable feeling while eating the same amount, or more. I still get a bit of bloating, but I believe that is due to the estrogen dominance that I’m trying to deal with.

    Also you mention you used to eat 1500 calories. To me, that jumps out as being too little…I had symptoms of not eating enough and a slowed metabolism at 1800-2000 calories, and I’m a 22-year-old female who was doing no exercise. But I also had a much lower BMI and couldn’t afford to lose any of the weight I lost while eating 1800. So yeah. Everyone’s different, just wanted to share my experience!


    @NewAtThis- I’ve been following 180 for several years, and I’ve experimented with a lot of Matt’s ideas. For me, what sets 180 apart from most health websites is that it challenges the notion that certain foods are evil. Our health does not depend on whether we are sufficiently obsessive about what we eat. Pizza is fine. White bread is fine. Sugar is fine. Etc. Many people who come to 180 have experience with WAPF, paleo, low carb, veganism, and other extreme diets, and they need to hear someone give them permission to relax a little.

    I also think that temporary overfeeding can be good at certain times. @Dania’s experience above is a good example. It sounds like she was underweight and needed to put some pounds on. It’s also a good idea to occasionally feast even for people who aren’t underweight. I think it’s important psychologically, and it can keep you from burning out if you’ve been working out and cutting calories for a while. I just don’t think the overfeeding should continue indefinitely, because you’re almost certain to end up with a weight problem.

    Your plan doesn’t sound unreasonable. Continuing with the exercise is important, and it’s good to feel freedom with your eating. I personally couldn’t care less about SFAs versus PUFAs, but my diet isn’t that high in fat anyway (because I find carbs are generally better for exercise). The main thing I’d be careful about, which you don’t mention, is to eat enough protein to recover from your workouts. You don’t need bodybuilder levels, but more than the official recommendations. I usually get around 120 grams a day (or so), and I weigh 170 pounds. In fact, when I construct a meal plan, I mainly consider whether I’ll get enough protein for recovery, enough carbs to sustain exercise, and still have a small calorie deficit for burning fat. Besides that, I just eat what I like.


    Dania, thank you for your response! Yes, I actually did go through a phase where I wasn’t eating as much as I had. It was a time of high anxiety and panic attacks, and my stomach was upset most of the time, and I was also told by my holistic doctor to avoid dairy and wheat, so all of the sudden I didn’t feel like eating, and I was afraid to eat certain things. At some point, my wife read on the internet that excess acid can be caused by not eating much, so I ate a big meal, and the acid problem went away! Since then, I’ve been eating my standard size meals without too much indigestion. But, yeah, when I started stuffing myself on 180, my stomach hurt all the time, but today, I ate normally, and my stomach is fine.

    As for the 1,500 calories, maybe that’s a sign that my metabolism really is low. We’ll see. If my metabolism speeds up, maybe it will take more to satisfy me.

    Thanks again for your insights. I really appreciate it!



    Thanks, David.

    I’ve actually been reading “Diet Recovery” the past couple days (offered free a few days ago). I’ve only read the first few sections about metabolism (how it works, how different macronutrients come into play), but I can see that in comparison with “Diet Recovery 2”, “Diet Recovery” seems to be worded in a more scientific way, explaining how things work and why, and the advice thus far seems more structured. For instance, in the section about starches, it says something like “these starches result in higher metabolism: potatoes, beans, etc” whereas in “Diet Recover 2”, it seems more like “starches result in higher metabolism, but just eat a ton of whatever you want, and you should be fine.” Not that either way is better, but I’m more comfortable with the food list, as long as I don’t get too dogmatic about it. I still will enjoy a cookie or fast food fairly frequently.

    As for PUFAs, I like Stone’s advice in DR2, which is to just cook at home with saturated fats, and then don’t worry about it otherwise. I’ll try that.

    And I hope to get started back on my exercise this week. I think I’ll be better off for it.

    David, thanks again for your help!


    Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Steven. Best of luck to you!

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