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What's it like on the other side of the mountain?

Blog Forums Raising Metabolism What's it like on the other side of the mountain?

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    I’m Kristi, a 37-yr-old mom of 3. I’ve never been overweight by much because I’ve fought against it tooth and nail since I was 14 (the first time I went on Weight Watchers). Regardless of my 23-year search for the perfect “diet” and gobs of endurance exercise (I was a runner/triathlete until I had bilateral knee surgery last November, and I’ve done P90X, Tapout XT, Insanity and the like), I’ve still had to fight to keep my weight down to where I’m most comfortable, and I’ve experienced many of the low-metabolism symptoms listed in 180DegreeHealth stuff. So, I’m finally liberated!! Well, kind of…

    Over the last couple of months, I’ve been eating all kinds of stuff that had been off-limits (I was a sugarphobe ever since I can remember. Used to be that I substituted fake sugar for the real thing, then I *tried* to cut it out altogether, including high-starch fruits/vegetables, gluten, and all grains), I stopped doing cardio pretty much, I’ve done a very small amount of resistance exercise and yoga, and I’ve gotten lots of sleep at night. Many of my low-metabolism symptoms have improved or disappeared and I’ve gained about 10 pounds (ugh…having a hard time embracing the weight gain, mostly because it’s summer and I’m busting out of my clothes). I seem to have reached the upper limit of my weight gain, but am still having a hard time keeping my temp up in the second half of my cycle. I’d like to hear from others of you who have gone through RRARFing and have made it happily and healthily to the other side…

    How long did you RRARF before feeling the boundless energy Matt writes about?
    What did you experience during the process that was “priceless” to you?
    Share your experience with me, and give me some encouragement to see this process through, rather than jump back on some diet or exercise bandwagon!


    Matt Stone

    I don’t think you’ll necessarily experience “boundless energy.” Most former exercise addicts/adrenaline junkies think that a normal amount of energy feels like fatigue.

    10 pounds is an incredibly small amount of weight gain to have already noticed big improvements in major metabolic markers with such a harsh dieting/exercising past. You are lucky it wasn’t 40 pounds!

    If your temps are low 2nd half of the cycle that is definitely abnormal. I would assume you’ve got a little ways to go before you are running at peak function and producing healthy amounts of progesterone and what not.

    Anyway, welcome to the other side. Sorry you fought such a hard fight all those years in vain.


    I’m sorry, I can’t add to what it’s like on the other side but I can add a couple of experiences along the way! I am 4 months into RRARFing and my temps did not stay up for the 2nd half of my cycle until I gained 50lbs (:-(). Hopefully, that wont be the same for you (I don’t mean to frighten you) but I was in a very sorry (thin) state having done low carb for 3 years, then for the final 6 months of that time topped it off with high intensity circuit training! Doh! So my body has packed fat on like there is no tomorrow…grrrr! My boyfriend is, erm, a bit worried to say the least but it seems to have levelled off now and I have not gained for the last few weeks. My temps are now usually 36.5 on waking and I can usually get them close to 37 by the end of the day but I probably need them to get a bit higher right? So, lets see…the positives… I do feel warmer in my hands, feet and nose. My anxiety has mostly disappeared, although playing with the different things I eat, I have found that I can eat thousands of calories per day but if a high percentage of them don’t come from sugar then the anxiety comes back. Providing I eat plenty of sugar then I have a bit of enery (no, have not experienced anything like boundless energy!!) and I have mental clarity and calm, which means I can deal with the weight gain without freaking out! Still to come…hopefully…a good nights sleep. I still can’t get through the night without making a jam butty at least once (around 2.30-3am)! Softer skin…still slightly dry on hands (improving though, I think) and more energy so that I feel like doing stuff! Would be useful! Oh, and not least, weight redistribution and maybe some fat loss???? Oh yes please! COME ON!!! There is no way for me to jump ship (even if I wanted to – which I don’t as I understand what Matt is saying) as if I lower the calories (especially from sugar) my anxiety immediately comes back. I guess even the huge weight gain is worth it to not have to deal with that anxiety for 1 minute longer!! Cheers Matt!! Lovin the 80’s stuff btw!


    Matt, thanks for responding. Luckily for me, I’ve never been able to stick to any harsh diet for very long, so I wasn’t in as bad a shape as many people are! The difference now is that I don’t think of sugar/starch as “bad” or as a “treat” with guilt attached when I eat it, but as a necessity for my body to function normally (I had already started eating saturated and monounsaturated fats in place of pufas several years ago, so that isn’t a recent change). My weight, at it’s highest (outside of childbearing years) was 135 and at it’s lowest was 120 (I’m 5’3″). I’ve bounced back and forth, up and down over the years, but I seem to be topping out at 132 right now. We shall see! Anything specific you’d suggest to boost my progesterone production? Other than the obvious eating lots of food, sleeping a lot, and not over-exercising? My husband would be ecstatic if I had a sex drive. LOL

    Kaza, good luck girl! Wow, 50 lbs DOES scare the bejesus outta me! I would have a very hard time with that. But, I have no idea where you started or how low your metabolism was when you started. My lowest temp, when I first started this process, was 97.0 upon waking. Other symptoms I had were middle of the night waking, hair falling out, dry hands/feet/legs, acne (though not terrible by any means), irregular periods (but always 24-28 days, nothing too crazy), moodiness, anxiety (in certain situations, not nearly all the time), gallbladder pain along with headaches (which have completely disappeared as I started eating SUGAR and starch!), frequent/urgent urination, and zero sex drive. I was worse off when I was running and doing triathlons, but didn’t have a clue why I felt so crappy all the time. My husband is an Ironman triathlete and ultra-marathoner, so my no longer running has been quite an adjustment for many reasons. I can really be thankful for my knee trouble…otherwise, I’m sure I’d still be running too much and wondering why I gain weight every time I complete a marathon (only twice, thank goodness). Enough rambling…thanks for sharing and I hope things continue to go well for you!


    Kristi I have similar stats as you- same body type, weight, never an extreme dieter but with the attitude that any time I ate fattening, sugary, simple carb-y type foods I was eating poorly. I never did any sort of endurance sports but I have been a regular moderate jogger off and on for about eight years.

    I feel like this process will not be so extreme for me either. I’m already seeing higher temps after a week and don’t feel too terribly worn out or anything.


    It is so interesting how different we all are physically. I’m also 5’3″ and since early high school, the lowest I’ve been able to *force* my weight down is 135. My body won’t budge below that. And this past time, it took me almost 2 years to get to that point and I started showing signs of low metabolism and had so many food sensitivities that I only felt safe eating a few foods. Backed into a corner, seriously.

    Now I’m just accepting that we are all different shapes and regarding my thick lower body pear shape….I realize….I get it from my mama. :p


    Chelcw…good point about peoples’ differing body types. I try not to stress about a number on the scale, since it really tells us ZILCH about the state of our health. If I get to a point where I feel comfortable and healthy at 135 or 140 or a number much higher than I “like,” then so be it. I’m just not comfortable or feeling healthy yet! I feel like a beached whale, my underwear is creeping up my booty, I have a serious muffin top going on, and I’m having to spend money I don’t have on new bigger clothes…me no likey. But, I do believe in this process, and I’m far enough into it that I can’t see ever going back to an intentional weight loss program. I’m just not patient, so I want to hurry up and get to the higher metabolic state of good health and *hopefully* a leaner body!

    mighty m

    @Matt wrote: “I don’t think you’ll necessarily experience ?boundless energy. Most former exercise addicts/adrenaline junkies think that a normal amount of energy feels like fatigue.”

    Great comment … I can really relate. I am trying to reform my adrenaline-junkie — and highly caffeinated — ways and go with “easy does it, easy gets it done,” as a new slogan. By and large, I’m glad. I’m not sure I was so productive getting all hyper anyway, I think it was often just the illusion of busy-ness. And eating plenty makes it much easier to drink just 1 cup of coffee instead of 3; I think I used it as a “food substitute” before mostly for the sake of convenience.

    , to address what you wrote and not thread-jack! For me, the first 10 pounds and couple months felt like a lot of bloat. Then, I think some muscle began to come along and I had the energy to be more active, especially being active two days in a row, that was a milestone. The muscle (not obvious, very subtle looking) and energy came with the 2nd 10 pounds. Lookswise, my limbs began to look sturdy and shapely, instead of kinda scrawny. About 4 months of re-feeding approx? I started really gradually rather than diving in as some do, because I was nervous about my digestive capabilities.

    So now, I’m 20 pounds heavier and one clothing size larger, but at this stage it doesn’t feel like dead weight the way the 1st 10 pounds did. Still in the process! But that’s a report so far.

    I don’t want to emphasize weight numbers, because like others say, that’s probably the ***least*** reliable indicator of health. But, I have a feeling it might help your worries: For your reference, also 37yo, 5’5″, lowest adult weight *ever* was December, semi-paleo, 143? and just really dragging and semi-functional in all the ways you’ve heard from others. But “ideal” weight, hahahahaha. Now, about 165, much improved vitality, hoping for more improvements still. This is +/- my size before the paleo fiasco. BTW, I didn’t diet to lose weight, ironically I had come to be content with being slightly over “ideal weight.” Instead, I went grain and sugar free because I was having stomach troubles. Helped short-term maybe, but I guess I continued too long and it boomeranged on me.

    Sorry so long, hope this helps a little.

    mighty m

    I’d like to add that the stomach troubles (OK, that’s a euphemism for reflux!) I mentioned mostly disappeared once my temp started staying steady above 98, AND I reduced fluid intake. All that paleo took the edge off, but didn’t really fix it. Still hints of them if I get water-logged, but I have a feeling they’ll go for good once I’m solid 98.6 all the time.


    Thanks for sharing, @Mighty M! I started into Paleo-ish, or pseudo-Paleo as I often called it, AFTER I was told by a functional diagnostic nutritionist I was working with that I was likely gluten-intolerant. I had gobs of health improvements going gluten-free initially. But, as I’ve learned through 180, I had the same kind of issues as many people who start removing foods due to intolerance…I became intolerant to more and more things. I ended up completely grain-free to the point that I didn’t even want to use skin products that had grain-derived ingredients! I didn’t seem to have problems with dairy, so I didn’t completely eliminate it, but I’d feel like I was “blowing my diet” any time I had dairy or sugar, so I definitely had some psychological ties to certain foods. Anyway…I’m glad to be on the road to diet recovery. Keep reminding myself I didn’t get this way overnight and I won’t heal overnight! Patience… Now, if only I could find some energy somewhere, that’d be super. :-/


    I am not too sure how far up the mountain I am, but just thought I’d give my own input. (Apologies if too long and if language too lame – not a native English speaker).

    I am a 5`2 female, currently 131 pounds.

    My story goes a little like this:

    Child ballerina, always on the skinny side. Started gaining at 14 and freaked out – started following Weight Watchers with no success. Quit ballet at 16, instantly gained 16 pounds. Started taking amphetamines, laxatives, Reductil in cicles which lasted until I was 20 (with kidney stones and labyrinth problems in between). Thats when I discovered vegetarianism and macrobiotic - vegetarianism lasted 12 years. After that, did many versions of vegetarian, including whole foods, calorie restriction, 2 years low-carb, few months vegan, few months raw vegan, until I found Paleo. Started eating meat again, felt great initially, decided to go low carb, felt like shit (1 year with 0 period and 100000x bitchiness). Added back the carbs for about 4 months but nothing improved (was 110 pounds by then, always shivering cold, constipated and miserable - I will never forget thinking about a meat roast during sex, that was a real low point). Then one day my mind just shut down and I went through 1L ice cream and a whole french baguette drowning in olive oil, just couldnt stop till I was physically sick. My period was back the very next day and has been clockwork ever since. Gained a bunch of weight and found this site shortly after, when I decided to give Matt`s protocol a try.

    Fast forward to today…It has been about 5 months since I have been eating lots of every damn thing I want. Including store bought cookies, Nutella, bread, pizza, EVERYTHING I want. Sometimes I have ice cream for breakfast and as a snack 3 other times during the day. I still eat tons of natural stuff, but I eat all the crap food I want as well and refuse to call it crap.

    Well, in the beginning I shot up to 140 pounds, at a point gaining 2 pounds per week!

    I started eating even more, and I felt I was still gaining a lot, because my love handles are spilling out much more off my clothes. Today, though, I weighed my self at the gym and saw I am 131 pounds.

    I still get scared because my cellulite shows even more, but I am confident the crap phase will pass, my workouts will continue to improve and veeery slowly I will attain a more balanced look, but I will never EVER sacrifice my mental and physical well-being for any skewed ideal standard EVER again.

    Thanks to Matt, his blog companions and this forum for helping me make this possible, one day at a time. :)


    Has anyone completed the refeeding phase in a relatively short amount of time? Like a month or less?

    I notice a lot of people who are refeeding are rebounding from extreme diet and exercise lifestyles- is there a chance that the length of rehab time could be less for people who were just somewhat “out of whack” before? I noticed that my temps are easily staying above 98 after just a couple of weeks.

    I had low temps before and have had cold hands feet and uneven energy as long as I can remember but my worst issues were negative attitudes towards food and eating as a way of stress management which helped create cycles of high stress in my life, not really restrictive dieting or extreme exercise.

    I’m just hoping to be able to speed up this process.


    I think trying to speed up is unnecessary stress, at least it is for me! I have looked in the mirror and said – this is how my body will look for as long as it needs, to heal from all the damage I have imposed. I have began to exercise more, because I am having lots of fun doing it – some days for 1 hour, other 20 min, whatever I feel like!

    Just think about how great it is to get energy from such a delicious process, called eating! Think about how wonderful it is to eat. I also associated food with thoughts of self-destruction and punishment and now I am thoroughly enjoying how it really feels to nourish my body with joy! Sorry if it is too Hippie for you, but works here :) Best of luck!


    Thank you- I guess I was just hoping that for some people the rest and refeeding process “naturally” is much shorter, and that maybe I could possibly be one of these people.

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