By Bella Dodds of Higher Mind Health
There have been great posts written on adrenal fatigue so I thought we could expand on this topic and look more closely into the body’s bio-logical purpose and response to stress… which then leads to symptoms like anxiety and adrenal fatigue.
But before we jump right into looking for the bio-logical purpose, we first need to address the nebulous mind-body-emotion connection. At this point in 2013 we are finally starting to make the slow and steady mass migration away from the 1600’s Descartes belief system that the human body and mind are separate – to the present day scientific understanding that yes in fact, the brain is actually inside the body affecting the physiology, (rocket science here!) and that emotions are neuropeptides – biochemical messengers communicating with every cell. You cannot separate the mind-body-emotion complex because they are one unit, intricately interconnected. Essentially, breakthroughs in neuroscience are debunking the 400+ year belief system that western medicine has been running under for centuries – that the body and mind are separate, and that disease is a mistake of the body completely separate from the influence of mental and emotional stress. In the past several decades accumulating research now proves the exact opposite to be true. Today we now know that 85% or more of all diseases are linked to stress, and as Matt Stone’s research shows here on 180D – stress can also be equally created by a poor diet and/or extremely taxing workout regimes – among many other triggers.
Actually, I find it quite humorous that our modern day society has taken so damn long to make this obvious connection. Seriously! Did we really need the invention of the microscope to grasp this incredibly logical connection that thoughts and emotions impact disease?! We preach to be the most intelligent creatures on the planet, but how disconnected and unintelligent did we have to be to believe that emotions, thoughts and stress weren’t related to severe health problems? When we experience everyday feelings like nervousness – where do we feel it? In our guts. If we experience mental overwhelm – we can get headaches or tension in our shoulders. If we experience joy and love – we feel this powerful energy in our hearts. If we are happy we smile. If we are sad our spine slumps over and we cry. We don’t experience thoughts and emotions as ?concepts? floating next to ourselves like some 3D projected image of Princess Leia by the ever epic R2D2. So how then could disease within the body be completely separate from emotions, thoughts and stress? Could a highly stressful event or events cause a greater lasting physical impact on the body than say a passing nervous stomach?
This?brings us to the focus of today’s post: What is the bio-logical purpose behind anxiety, adrenal fatigue and all other diseases for that matter? How does the body respond to the cascade of thoughts and emotions and extremely stressful events? Could there be meaning within disease? For centuries we viewed disease as a mistake, but what if the human body having survived a rigorous evolutionary journey spanning millions and millions of years is actually a highly intelligent organism? What if the body is doing all that it can to respond and meet the demands of the perceived environment?
Depending on the level of questions we ask ourselves, will effect the quality of answers we can awaken to and discover. For a moment can we ask ourselves – based on the evidence that the human body is a 70 trillion-celled organism carrying out immeasurable functions every second to keep us alive -?if we have?a high level of intelligence in order’to be able to?orchestrate such a complex and grand design? If the human body is intelligent, then is it possible that disease can also be intelligent and have meaning. Further, could disease be a part of a meaningful healing process in which the body is trying to recover from the stress put on it? META-Health (formally known as META-Medicine) is an international association dedicated to the research and scientific understanding of answering these very questions.
META-Health is an integrative approach to understand the stress, psychological, and the biological purpose of any illness. It looks at disease as a meaningful process with the goal of adaptation, evolution, self-healing and survival of the organism. It recognizes that disease is not a mistake of the body, rather a program that originates from a very stressful event or events. Through understanding the science behind the body’s biological survival programming, META-Health maps physical symptoms, via the brain, back to the primary cause of the disease. And the way you react and perceive a conflict determines how your body will respond and absorb the stress (ie. which area of the brain will register the stress and how the organ corresponding to that area of the brain will respond to meet the demand).
For those who have wondered (like I had for years!) what was the CAUSE behind symptoms in the body – a breakthrough in the mind-body-emotion connection was discovered through CT scans that were able to pick up measurable ring patterns in the brain. Through the study and application of this system, research discovered (using over 40,000 case studies) each brain area is linked to a different organ and tissue in the body, and these associated organs respond to and react to specific stressful environmental situations. We now have an in-depth map of the brain-organ relay, the brain germ layers, and bio-logical response of the organs that correspond to specific forms of stress. This now allows you to know which stress you need to address in order to aid in your body’s natural healing process.
In the case of anxiety, Rob van Overburggen Ph.D, shared with me a CT scan of an anxiety constellation. (Note you do not need to have a CT scan to to address your symptoms – your symptoms tell your META-Health Coach exactly where you need to look and what stress needs to be resolved.)
In this CT scan if you look in the front portion (the pre-fontal cortex) you can see a small light grayish colored ring pattern in the upper left darker area, and a slightly larger, fainter ring in the the upper right hemisphere (behind the forehead).
This dual ring pattern on both the right and left hemispheres of the brain show up in individuals who have anxiety.
How are these ring patterns linked to a bio-logical purpose of disease in the body? In the case of anxiety, these ring patterns correspond to organ functions that increase the sympathetic fight or flight response. The common conflict shocks associated with this pattern are:
Right Hemisphere Stress: Fear of Attack or Fear of a Future Attack or Problem
Emotions and Thoughts Associated: Something or someone is coming right at me and I cannot protect myself from them, nor do anything. Seeing a car coming right at me in an accident. Being verbally or physically attacked. Seeing someone else who is being verbally or physically attacked. I am afraid of them. ?They might lose it on me. ?They are going to attack me. I am not safe. ?Something bad might happen. ?The future is unsafe or unsure. (Note often times these patterns have origins in childhood when we are more vulnerable and dis-empowered)
Bio-logical Response: Amplifies the sympathetic fight, flight or freeze response to fight back and protect the organism.
Left Hemisphere Stress: Feeling Powerless
Emotions and Thoughts: Helplessness, fear of losing control, wanting to be in control, vulnerability. Feeling unfit, ineffectual, helpless, impotent or weak. ?I’m incapable. ?What can I do?? ?It is too much to handle. I can’t do anything. I am overwhelmed. (Again common origins begin in childhood)
Bio-logical Response: The body releases thyroxine increasing metabolic rate, oxygen intake and the body’s sensitivity to adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The body gives the organism extra energy to overcome the powerlessness conflict to survive.
Symptoms from these Meaningful Bio-logical Responses: Anxiety, nervousness, panic, difficulty sleeping, light-headedness, adrenal fatigue, scattered and disassociated behavior, etc.
You want to treat the CAUSE not the SYMPTOM. If you focus on the symptoms you are forever cutting the top of the weed without getting to the root. The emotions, thoughts, and inner panicky feelings of anxiety are linked to these two bio-logical conflicts of Fear of Attack or Powerlessness (there are others as well that can easily be involved but these two are very common). Unresolved stress from the past and present will keep the body responding biologically with an increased sympathetic response to meet the demands of the perceived environment (even if there is no threat in the current situation – the body is locked in an unresolved program from the past biologically). To get to the root cause of anxiety or any other health problem or disease, you want to investigate the underlying stress pattern that caused the symptom to exist in the first place. When you know the stress that your body is responding to, you can isolate the inner conflict causing the symptoms and assist the body to heal itself through dissolving the mental and emotional strain associated with it.
You may have heard health professionals say, ?You need to rest. You are suffering from stress. But this is a very generalized approach that does not pinpoint the exact issue you need to address to help your body to heal. META-Health moves away from masking symptoms with expensive medications that do not offer long term healing, and toward finding the reason behind disease and treating the cause.
If you are interested in learning more about META-Health specifically for anxiety or insomnia I have two free ebook downloads on my website on the right hand side of the home page: http://highermindhealth.com/ that offer a more in-depth explanation than what I can go into here. If you suffer from generalized stress and you are curious to understand more about your emotions, negative repetitive thought patterns, conflict in relationships , personal/professional, etc. I have a Free 7 Steps to Dissolve Stress ebook that you can find on my About page.
Perhaps in the 21st Century, maybe in 10-20 years, we will begin to transform our perception and understanding of disease and view it in a much more meaningful, comprehensive way. Just as Galileo changed a belief system of the earth not being the center of the universe, but actually being a planet within a larger, more beautiful whole – so too might our society shift in its belief about disease… One away from an an unfortunate stroke of bad luck, to an opportunity that presents a profound level of growth and healing on all levels of our being. Because in truth our bodies cannot lie to us. They are a perfect map reflecting unresolved stress in our lives that is holding us back. Many physiological symptoms actually have their root origin of stress taken on from unhealthy behaviors in our childhood, which means we are all acting a lot out of our childhood pain, rather than responding to life from a sense of inner power and confidence as an adult.
Your body can become one of your greatest teachers and allies if you let it. Instead of resisting your health problems and just wanting to get rid of them, you get curious about them. The approach to Integrative Health is not as easy as taking a pill, I am not going to lie or sugar coat this for you. It requires your total commitment to yourself, your life and your path from illness to wellness. It doesn’t happen in one week to work out patterns that you have been running from for 30-50+ years. It may take a month or several months to resolve a stress that has deeply affected your life, but the gift is that when you do resolve your stress, you come through your process as a much more integrated, empowered, and evolved person knowing more of who you really are, and how you want to act and interact with others in healthier, more fulfilling ways. When you get the lesson your body is teaching you and you fully resolve the stress, you allow your body to shift and find a new state of equilibrium to self-correct and self-heal from the inside out.
gotta check out the tool of “tapping” or emotional freedom technique. My three favorite resources are http://www.thetappingsolution.com, http://www.fastereft.com, and thrivingnow.com. i’ve learned so much from these practitioners that mesh perfectly with your work, Rob.
EFT is a method used by the founder of META Medicine, but Bella prefers other tools from what I understand – more of a conscious rather than a subconscious approach.
Neat perspective. Loved it.
Nice! What about OCD? I’d like to know the root of that, for someone I care about.
With OCD I think you would have to talk with each person individually. At least from my experience it could be any number of roots. First and foremost you would look for what triggers their OCD.
You might look into inositol for OCD. It seems to help with that.
A little off topic, but an update for me… I’ve been RRAARFing since mid December. Mainly to try to improve fertility as I have been infertile for unexplained reasons for the last 8 years. I’m 38 years old, and went from a stable and reasonable weight up to where I am now, which feels pretty fat and uncomfortable. Just as predicted, I gained 15lbs the first month, 10lbs the 2nd month, 5lbs the 3rd month and now seem to have plateaued. I was never a hard core exerciser, but I definitely had some degree of orthorexia beginning in my late teens. I did natural hygeine, macrobiotic, vegan, raw food, almost fruitarian for a while, low carb at times and WAPF. By the time I got to WAPF I was no longer restricting food consciously, but I was at the point where I was naturally IFing due to not being hungry for most of the day. I was just about to do GAPS in an effort to fix myself when I stumbled upon this site and it finally dawned on me that maybe I just wasn’t eating enough to get pregnant – not something that had ever occurred to me as I was never underweight, nor did I ever have a body that changed all that much – up until the last few months I was always around my high school weight with a fluctuation of about 10 lbs up or down.
Anyway, my appetite hasn’t been so great after the first two months of RRAARFing – I have to make a real effort to eat breakfast. Lunch is easier as long as I remember. I’m an artist and have a hard time sticking to a routine. My skin has been bad since I started but I’m thinking the acne might just be a side effect of hormones that are busy sorting themselves out. My temps are definitely better than they were though.
I’ve been lurking here pretty intensively, and I’m very grateful for this site and all your comments, but I’m at the point when I’d love to hear from some of you have been doing this longer. I’m a little worried that my level of energy hasn’t really improved yet. I still feel like sleeping all the time! Any words of advice or encouragement would be appreciated!
I was actually thinking about giving an update on myself as well, came here to see what’s currently being talked about, and saw your comment. I feel compelled to reply. Do you know how many calories you are eating a day? I ask because there is an essential minimum based on age and sex. I know Matt does not like to give specific numbers, but in this case I believe he is totally wrong (no offense, Matt, but I think you need to seriously reconsider posting Gwyneth’s guidelines for recovery as being non-optional). Gwyneth, over at youreatopia.com, has substantial evidence for this. This is THE CORNERSTONE for true healing vs. quasi recovery. This aspect is not optional, nor up for our “appetite” to decide how much we eat as the body’s appetite during recovery is not dependable at this point. I believe this is the reason that so many here have complained about simply gaining and gaining, myself included. Not eating enough causes the body to respond in a starvation mode manner, which is to continue to keep the metabolism suppressed and to store as much of the calories as fat as it can.
The more you eat at minimum amounts and above, you keep the body out of starvation mode, and the less likely the body stores the calories as fat and instead uses the energy for repair work and increasing the metabolism again. I have read nearly all of the information at youreatopia.com to sort myself out on this issue because of my continuing weight gain. I realize now that if I had begun Matt’s protocol eating the minimum required calories from the get go, that I would not have gained so much weight. I have now increased my calories to 2500-3000 calories a day, aiming for closer to 3000, and my weight has stabilized. Here are some links from Gwyneth’s site that might help to make things clearer for you.
Oh, and you absolutely cannot exercise while recovering (Nola, this is probably a big part of the problem you’re having with recovery).
I think there is something to this. My Mom has counseled a young woman that she works through infertility to a healthy pregnancy and baby. What she said was to eat plenty of fat and to gain a little bit of weight. I’m guessing that my Mom knows what she is talking about since my brother and I are here. ;)
I think there is too…I was eating to appetite in December, which looking back was not a good thing. I was eating at random times and waiting til I was too hungry, and probably not eating enough. I started to have low metabolism signs- itchy scalp, constipation, etc. So in January I decided to eat A LOT. I really, really went for it and it was hard. I gained weight (on top of what I’ve gained in recovery already) and just felt gross. But the low metabolism symptoms went away….and two weeks later I got pregnant. And I did not have periods in 2011 and very sporadic ones in 2012, so getting pregnant this quickly into recovery was a huge surprise. The extra weight sucked, but I just remember that my body isn’t stupid and it knows what it’s doing. Plus with the terrible morning sickness I’ve had I can’t eat much of anything, and my body probably needed that extra weight. Also, having Gwenyth and Matt’s info makes me feel much more comfortable with weight gain during pregnancy. I don’t feel any need to use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I want like many women do, because I already ate whatever I wanted. I also trust that my body will normalize after the baby is born. Good luck, Lorna!
Congratulations, Stephanie. Yes, pregnancy is a great example of the body taking care of things just fine without our interference. Thankfully, I was smart enough to know not to restrict my calories during pregnancy and while nursing, but after nursing stopped, I immediately began dieting to help get the rest of my post-pregnancy weight off. Sadly, looking back now, I realize if I had just left well enough alone my weight would have normalized on it’s own, but I was impatient and figured I could get it to happen quicker with the aid of dieting, not knowing how damaging dieting was. My sister once told me that you’re pregnant for nine months and you need to give your body at least nine months to recover. So true, but of course my mind locked onto the nine months post pregnancy time frame she mentioned, and seeing that all my weight did not come off after nine months, I felt the need to step in and help my body out…hahaha, silly me. I think it’s interesting that this coincides with the 18 months average that Gwyneth speaks about. You go through the healing and gaining phase, and then your body recovers it’s natural weight set point. So, I’m seeing this first phase as my “pregnancy” phase, and now I’ll be going through my “post pregnancy” recovery and weight loss phase. :) This time around though, I’m informed enough to know not to interfere with the process.
Happy pregnancy and post pregnancy recovery to you. :)
Thank you Emma! I had a friend who had a baby and got pretty big during pregnancy. She did nothing to force it off after birth and it was exactly about 18 months later she was back to her pre-pregnancy size. If she would’ve freaked out at 9 months she might not be in the good position she is now (I’m so jealous of people without EDs haha) Pretty amazing! I always enjoy your comments and I absolutely love Gwenyths site as well…helped me immensely. Good luck to you!!
hmm I never lost my pregnancy weight, except for my disastrous experiment with T3- then it all came back with some friends. I can think of several women I know who gained reasonable amounts during pregnancy, and then gained huge amounts months post-partum. I don’t know why that would be.
I have been looking at Gwenyth’s site too… I feel like her calories estimates are on the high side- but I am not in recovery, I have been ETF’ing for years now… I am experimenting right now to see what calorie level I can sustain without getting very hungry. So far I know 1900 is not enough. Aiming today for 2200.
I just typed up a long response and my stupid computer froze!!! I don’t have the heart to try and remember everything I said and type it all over again.
In summary, every person’s circumstances make it impossible to guess the reason why they are the current weight they are. Also, the calorie guidelines that Gwyneth gives are not hers, but information that she has gathered from current scientific clinical data on ED recovery that is used in many of the up-to-date recovery clinics. These numbers apply to everyone, not just those recovering from an ED. The physical requirements are the same because the difference between ED and non-ED individuals is the neurobiological component of those who have ED. This component does not change the physical caloric needs of individuals. So, essentially, you are under-eating by continuing to eat below 2500 calories. Also, 2500 is the MINIMUM. It’s highly recommended to eat more than that because healing occurs more quickly, with less weight gain, on higher calorie amounts. Many of the women on Gwyneth’s forums have talked about this. They would continually gain weight while fearfully sticking to the minimum, and then when other encouraged them to increase they calorie intake in order to slow their weight gain, their weight would stabilize. Several women even mentioned that when they had a mini relapse and decreased their calories, their weight immediately jumped up a few pounds. Of course, they immediately increased their calories again, and the weight they had gained would disappear.
We need to eat more to lose weight, not less.
“We need to eat more to lose weight, not less.”
I should have said, we need to eat more in order for our body to be able to stabilize at its optimum weight. If starting out at a normal BMI weight, weight gain will happen during the healing phase, but then the body will lose any excess weight that is above its optimum weight once it sorts everything out. Of course, those who are beginning underweight are going to be simply gaining to reach their optimum weight.
Does this also apply for someone who is a compulsive over-eater?? Someone over weight because of that? Is that considered an ED??
I appreciate your point of view, but I am not healing from anything. (I was bulimic many years ago, in case anyone remembers me saying that, but I basically grew out of that.) I have been eating whatever I wanted for many years now, and keep on gaining. I’ve never found it true for myself that eating more= losing weight. I think I basically over-eat without being very aware of it. Like I mentioned, I often finish my kid’s dinners. I dislike counting calories but right now I am experimenting to see what level I feel comfortable with. My goal is to find the minimum calories that lets me get by without very much hunger (looking to be around 2200-2300). It is an interesting experiment for me to look more closely at how much I am eating, instead of what types of food.
The minimum calorie requirements that Gwyneth speaks about are based on “normal” people who don’t diet and don’t have an ED, so it’s not based on the need for healing. Because of that, calories above that minimum are strongly enouraged for those who are healing from dieting/ED because it helps the healing process to go more quickly.
That said, I respect your decision to do what you feel is best for yourself, and I don’t want you to feel that I’m trying to push the issue with you. I just wanted to be sure that you were clear about the calorie amounts so that you could make an informed decision.
According to studies Gwyneth quotes, compulsive over-eating is not an ED, rather is stems from possible psychopathologies. http://www.youreatopia.com/frustrated/post/1880244 Why you (Not literally you. I’m not assuming you’re referring to yourself, I’m speaking in general terms.) would truly be over your weight could have many causes, including whether or not you restrict and then “overeat”. Restriction of any sort eventually leads to reactive eating. So, what you are speaking about depends on whether or not being ?overweight? possibly normal for you, if you consider eating certain amounts to be overeating based on society’s skewed sense of what’s a normal amount to eat, or if you have the true RARE genetic condition that causes a person to be over their normal BMI regardless of how they eat. Also, it depends on what you mean by being “overweight”. Gwyneth’s reiterates over and over on her site that studies consistently show that the people who are the healthiest are those who fall in the BMI range of 25-30. So, being “overweight” is a relative term. If your body’s natural BMI is 30 but you have dieted and/or restrict/react eat yourself to BMI 35, then that would be considered to be over your weight. So, a simple answer to your question is that if someone is truly above their natural weight, it is more likely that it’s from restrictive eating (no matter the form) than “overeating”. Consistent “overeating”, where consistency is the key and there is NO restriction, increases the metabolism to match the incoming amount of food, making it actually difficult to gain excessive amounts of weights, beyond the initial jump in weight with increased calories until the metabolism catches up. Apart from the increase in metabolism, your body may also make you feel the need to move more, decrease your appetite, etc. in an effort to get you back to your normal BMI. So, whether restricting or ?overeating?, the body works to keep you are your healthy BMI range. Here are some articles that might help you.
I hope that helps.
Tierney, I think you’ve said also that your weight gain is medication-induced. No way is any eating style going to overcome medication-caused weight gain. I think anyone on here expecting that will be disappointed. The meds affect the brain/hormone systems at a deeper level.
Amy- honestly I don’t know. My weight gain coincided with pregnancy first (not on any meds), then I lost a lot on T3. The T3 basically caused my nervous breakdown (old-fashioned term, but it best describes what happened to me) and I stopped T3 went on Zoloft at the same time. So all those factors, plus the fact that I probably eat more than I normally would because a) I finish my kids’ plates and b) my husband eats a lot of food and I am influenced by that- a lot more meat and less salads than when I lived alone, etc. I don’t “know” if a small reduction in calories will help me lose weight, but I’d like to find out. But you are right that my situation is different from most people here.
Here’s another link that might help you to discover the answer to this question.
I know a fair amount of people who have been on SSRIs, and every single on of them struggles with their weight. Sounds like it may not be the only factor going on, but I wouldn’t discount it. One of my friends struggled for the whole time on the meds, not realizing the cause, then came off the meds and lost 20 pounds effortlessly with no appetite issues anymore. Thyroid issues are also very tricky for sure. Sorry T3 caused a breakdown for you. I’d heard that can happen when people treat only the thyroid and not adrenal issues, etc, I was prescribed cytomel once by a horrible endocrinologist when I was going through stress and exhaustion. After taking it for one day I had a racing heart like I’d never experienced in my life. I chucked it then and there! My problem was stress, not reverse T3 or whatever other crap he told me was the problem.
Absolutely! Meds is a whole other story. I wasn’t even factoring in meds, but that’s absolutely a factor that a person needs to take into account with how much they realistically will weigh. My sister was on meds that caused her to gain a bunch of weight. She couldn’t handle the weight gain and took herself off her medications. She felt that living with the pain and nature of her disease was better than living with the excess weight. Ultimately, each person has to decide for themselves what they can live with.
BTW, when I went to my yearly endocrinologist appointment last week, she obviously noticed the huge weight gain, was shocked and asked me what was going on. I told her that I decided to stop dieting and allow my body to be whatever weight it wants to be. I expected her to respond negatively, but she agreed with me. I then continued to tell her how much better I’m doing since I stopped dieting, better hair, sleep, energy, etc. And she said I was not getting enough micronutrients when I was dieting, and that was why I had been having those problems. We both had thought that those symptoms were just a side effect of my thyroid disease, but apparently not. So, she was happy that I wasn’t dieting anymore and that I was showing improvement from eating more, and I was happy that she responded so positively and supported me in my decision.
Oh I’m not discounting the SSRI. I would “like” for it to be that because I hope to taper off soon now that I have Lamictal which is turning out to be much better. I would much rather lose weight effortlessly that have to count calories! But I have to face it that I have gone on/off SSRIs several times and never had such weight gain. I’m not discounting being older either…
I would rather weigh 300 pounds than feel how I did before. Which is not to say I am always happy about being on meds. I have days where I start to think I should just go off everything. But the minimal side effects I have are not bad. Just my weight. And I wouldn’t even care about that very much if I could just find clothes that fit me.
I, also, wasted years trying to fine-tune my thyroid and blaming all my symptoms on that, when my labs were actually very stable on synthroid. I wasted tons of money on alternative Drs obsessing over rT3, adrenals, iron, etc. STTM was a really bad influence for me. I lost weight with T3 but about half my hair fell out and it still hasn’t fully recovered. I just kept thinking, “no, that can’t be, everyone says T3 makes your hair better.” (everyone being STTM.) I am so glad to be off that merry-go-round.
and that’s great you have a supportive endo!
Another good thread…
Oh gosh! Didn’t realize there were all these new comments here! Thanks everyone, I’ve got to read through it all carefully, including all the links…
BTW it’s horrid seeing all those tabloid pictures in the supermarket harping about pregnant Kim Kardashian being too fat…Poor Kim, I’m sure she’s doing what’s best for her baby!
Hi Lorna, there you are. :) I was hoping you were seeing all these comments. I hope the links are helplful to you. Take care, and happy recovery to you. :)
Oops. I meant for that last link to begin with part one. Anyhow, if you want to skip ahead to where she begins to speak about BMI and weight then you can start here:
Also, this is good to read if you haven’t already:
Hey Emma, glad to hear you’re doing well. Everything’s getting easier for me now. I gave up on ‘everything home made’ and can comfortably maintain 3500 a day now, fairly easily. I see everything I’m doing as part of my destiny; helps me to relax and let go of worries.
Gwyneth’s articles and Matt’s Diet Recovery 2 has been invaluable for getting me to see food as food, not as good food/bad food. So I eat Mc Donalds on occasion, or Subway etc. but I’m also learning new recipes at home, my current lunch-time favourite being grilled lamb with mashed potato and bearnaise sauce, which I make with my Vitamix.
I’ve added crumpets as a breakfast thing, and so far,so good. All this is helping me to release my anxieties and chill out. I was thinking to myself this afternoon whilst having lunch, that I’ll probably look back on all the silly fears I was having now in a few years and laugh. Fears eventually fade away if we choose not to react to them. It’s a Zen paradox :D
My orthorexic perfectionism was worse than any food I could ever eat. I thank whatever gods may be for bringing me here and steering me toward a more realistic and sustainable future. Now I’m off to chill :D
Oh, Corey, I’m so glad to hear you are doing so good! I’ve had to ignore a lot of anxiety, stress, and fear with all of this as well. I’ve had to push myself forward every step of the way.
I’ve read all of Gwyneth’s posts and tons of the archived forum conversations. The more I’ve read, the more I’ve solidified my trust in the process and my determination to see it through. At this point, I want a life of freedom from dieting no matter how difficult it is to get there. The more I’ve read over at Gwyneth’s, the more I’ve realized that the higher one’s calories are, the quicker the recovery and the less weight gain occurs during the healing process. I wish I had known this from the beginning.
I’m about nine months into my recovery so far, but because my calories were not high enough throughout the first part of my recovery, it may take a little longer for complete recovery to happen for me. I’ll come back every now and again to give you all an update. Hopefully in about a year from now I will have completed my recovery. Gwyneth says that the AVERAGE recovery time is 18 months. I would love it if, despite my slow start, I still make that timeline, but I’m okay if it takes a little longer.
Keep up your good progress. I look forward to hearing how you’re doing the next time I check in.
Thanks Emma. One of the ways I have been calming myself down is by remembering how robust I was when I didn’t care about the food I ate. I always remember feeling better at 17 eating whatever I wanted.
I actually find counting calories reduces my stress and anxiety, since I can reliably hit a precise target every day and see it on paper. I also started slowly when refeeding, but I don’t think this is a bad thing at all. It gave me a chance to adjust to higher food intakes and various foods I had not eaten in a long time. The only time I ever have problems now with digestion is if I drink too many fluids (particularly late at night) or my stress levels get high.
That’s one of the extra bonuses of going through all this for me. Learning to control my emotions and stop trying to control things I have no control over. The way I see it, these are challenges that help us to grow and become healthier and balanced as a result. Life supports those that do the work, and I am certain that hanging in there and persisting day-to-day will yield fruits at the end of the struggle.
Keep going Emma, you’re going to get there. I’m looking forward to a couple of years time when I can look back at all this and feel glad that I continued and won.
Thanks, Corey. Yeah, I’ve decided to continue counting calories at least until my weight levels out. I tried to for a short time but kept coming up short of what I need to be eating. My mind/body still hasn’t completely adjusted to this new normal. I recall one girl over at Gwyneth’s site saying that once she was weight recovered and started to eat intuitively, if she gained any weight she would immediately eat a lot more food and her weight would go back down. So, she uses her weight to let her know if her calories are not high enough. I thought that was pretty cleaver and will probably use that as my guide as well once I’m at my optimal weight. I definitely don’t want to count calories forever.
I forgot to mention something. Remember before when we were talking about not having an appetite and feeling nauseous about food? Remember I had increased my calories from 2500 calories to 3000 calories and then bumped it back down to 2500 because of the stuffed and nauseous feelings I was having? Well, the more I’ve read the forums over at youreatopia, I learned that it’s totally normal for that to happen and that we just need to continue to eat our minimum through those moments in order to be able to push forward in our recovery. It’s just the body needed to catch up to the increase in food. Once I understood that, I increased my calories back to 3000. I’ve had a few of those stuffed and nauseous moment and still don’t have much of an appetite, but I’m pushing through. It can take several weeks for those feelings to subside, but we’ll never reach that point if we don’t push through those moments. It sounds like you’re doing good on that front. Anyhow, I thought you would like knowing that it’s totally normal and actually part of the healing process to go through that.
Cool, thanks for the info, Emma. I think my lack of appetite was caused by some negative emotions and depression I was going through (which I’ve now released, thank god). But I guess it’s a chicken or egg thing.
Healing can produce all sorts of symptoms. I had really bad back pain when I started rrarfing, then my feet ached all the time. I’ve also been dealing with sinus headaches lately. Dairy (ice cream, mainly) can still mess me up, it seems. My morning temp today was 97.8 and I’m hitting 99 in the afternoon, now. I probably need to drink some water? I generally drink about 600ml of liquid a day. A Coke and 1 raw milk smoothie does the job. This week I’ve gone up to 4000+ calories a day. It’s really helping keep my temps high. I’m planning on sticking to 4000 now, even though I’m 35. It can be challenging, but there’s no point in going at it half-hearted.
People think I’m crazy, but I can see a better future ahead of me.
All the best, Emma!
Great new picture! Yeah, I can understand how negative emotions could cause the same problem, but I guess that’s a “normal” part of the process as well, right? Learning how to respond in a healthy way to stress. I am so glad to see how far you’ve come.
4000 calories sounds great for you. The minimum for men is 3500, and anything above that is just icing on the cake. My temps have consistently been mid to high 98 in the morning, and just yesterday for the first time my temp went to 99.2 midday. That’s the first time, at any time of the day, that it’s gone into the 99 range.
But, we are crazy, aren’t we? Crazy GOOD! :D Despite the weight gain, I’m feeling so good and and free now. I know my weight will balance itself out in time. I’ll check in again down the road sometime and let you all know how things are coming along. Until then, eat well and be happy.
I take full advantage of fast food now to help with variety and palatability. Initially, home made was enough, but now it isn’t. So I eat everything fresh/ whole as well as processed. This is the only way I can sustain what I’m doing. This is particularly important on days when low exertion/workload is unavoidable. Just eat the Big Mac and enjoy all that energy!
I meant high exertion, lol!
Hi Emma, it’s great that you’ve had success! In theory I could agree with you about the min. calories, but I always think about people recovering from WWII starvation, and their recovery. None of them were counting calories, and yet people still recovered just eating to appetite. Look at Miep Gies, the woman who helped hide Anne Frank. She went through the awful “Hunger Winter” in Amsterdam and yet she recovered after the war and went on to live to 101. Lots of people did the same (although some did die in the aftermath because they couldn’t recover). I don’t think they all ended up with massive weight gain either. So what happened? I think there are different variables – the food supply was more nutritious then, people drank whole milk, there was not the dieting culture, etc. It would be interesting to look at why they were able to recover eating to appetite. I wonder if our typical diets today make it harder to reach the minimum than what people were eating back then.
I’m guessing the pervasive dieting culture we live in now has a lot to do with it. People recovering from war time starvation would not be looked at funny, or feel judged, if eating a lot of food as everyone else would be doing the same. I would think they naturally ate enough calories for a robust recovery. That’s what I think anyhow.
I know one of the stresses I’ve had to overcome is the feeling of judgement by others (whether real or imagined on my part) over how much I eat now. Because I have gained weight (which is normal during the healing process), it’s hard not to feel like people are judging how much I’m eating. Sadly, a lot of people can’t deal with the stress of feeling that way and continue to limit how much they eat as a result of our current social pressure to eat less and move more.
Yeah, that could very well be true. One example I find interesting is Audrey Hepburn. It’s pretty well known that she suffered lifelong health problems from the starvation she suffered in Holland during the Hunger Winter. When I read her biography, it said that very soon after the war (likely before she recovered) she became a ballet dancer in London, where her teacher put a lot of pressure on maintaining a low weight. Then she was “discovered” and shipped to New York for her first moving filming there. On the week-long trip she really hit the food (pastries, cakes, etc.) and showed up much heavier. The film director put her on a crash diet of only beef tartare until her weight dropped again. And her whole life she watched her weight and was quite restrictive. I think she is representative of what happens to a lot of dieters. She never allowed herself that recovery period.
Yes! Especially considering that the AVERAGE time period for full recovery is 18 months. Most people don’t last that long before going on the next diet, much less eat recovery amounts of food even if they are not technically on a diet. That’s what happened to me. After years of dieting, my metabolism and appetite were suppressed. So, even when I was ETF ala Diet Recovery, and no longer dieting, what I thought was a large amount of food because I felt stuffed, wasn’t. I was hitting probably around 1800 on average, which felt like a lot after eating only 1200 calories. So, when I made the jump to eating 2500 minimum, I could clearly see that I had not been eating enough food for the prior 6 months even though I thought I wasn’t restricting and was gaining. I’m guessing with time, as my appetite and metabolism normalized I would have eventually reach a normal amount of food intake since I was no longer actively restricting, but it was causing me to gain a lot of weight. Immediately increasing the calories to a minimum of 2500 corrects the metabolism and appetite more quickly, therefore less weight gain occurs. The slow and steady approach may work over time, but most people do not have the nerves to wait for a longer healing period to take place while weight just piles on (because the body continues to store the calories as fat until you finally reach the point where you’re taking in enough calories for your body to get out of survival mode).
I just read all these long threads..lol
I have been thinking to write on here lately,but just hadnt got there.
I too have been surfing the Eatopia site and found it invaluable.
Ironically enough- I was just going to give the same information that you have put out here,
and was hoping you would be around to hear it! lol
So we must have been on the same wavelength somehow..
Key info for me:
If you just eat more calories, but still not enough
(ie the excess needed for healing the diet damage in the body and restore metabolic functions to normal),
the body just uses the calories to store weight/fat,
but does not heal.
So the extrapolation from that is that eating more,
but not to the level of the true amounts required, causes fat restoration, or fat gain,
but not healing of metabolism,
and so the weight doesnt stabilize, and you just get fatter and fatter without healing.
Thats how I read it anyway.
For me, it is a bit confusing too- because her minimum amounts would still have me in starvation territory, and in fact I would be losing weight..lol
So while some of you have trouble eating the minimum;
my appetite leads me to eat about 5000 cals a day, while fairly sedentary!
It may drop in the future- we will see.
And yes Emma, I sadly put my gym membership on hold today.
I have been doing negligible exercise over the past two weeks, and now have decided to give it a full rest for a while.
Anyway thanks for all your information and updates here.
I too think it is critical stuff.
All these years I have been trying to heal, I have eaten more, but not quite enough- all that happened was that I gained fat endlessly and did not heal.
The other bit I read on Eatopia that really struck me, was how when there is an energy deficit, the body starts cannibalizing itself to provide the energy – bones , muscles, tissue etc.
I kind of knew it a bit , but not the extent of it,
and that it happens even at small deficits.
And also- it takes months and months of high calorie intake to heal the damage,
not just a short time..
It is really good to hear from you, you were on my mind…
questions too Emma if you are still around…
Have you experienced many healing symptoms apart from weight gain?
How long roughly did it take to stabilize after you upped the calories to 2500-3000?
Are you going to keep eating that amount for a long while?
I have been at 5000 roughly for the past two weeks.
Yesterday I was not so hungry and dropped to 4000.
And I am kind of wondering at this point if I should let my appetite drop naturally if it wants to , or keep pumping the extra food.
Its extremely unlikely at this point that my appetite is ever going to drop below the minimum..
But I just wonder if for healing purposes and weight stabilization it is better to stay higher rather than lower calories?
I have actually organised a consult with Gwyneth to ask her help with a game plan in my case,
though it may end up being just similar to the guidelines on the site…
Hi Nola!!! I’ve been checking the thread nearly every day hoping that you would comment. I just about gave up hope hearing from you and wasn’t going to check any longer, but decided I would check one more time. I’m glad I did.
I’m so glad to hear that you have put exercise on the back burner. I was convinced that exercise was a part of the weight gain problem after reading over and over at youreatopia that exercise MUST cease in order to heal since it is taking calories away from the body during recovery; it’s a form of restriction in recovery. I don’t know why, but it took a while for that to sink in for me. Then I thought, “Oh my gosh! Nola!!! She exercises a lot still. That’s probably why she keeps gaining. I need to let her know.”
I’ve been in the 2500-3000 calories range for about 2 months now. My weight has been stable for the most part. Once I decided to permanently keep my calorie minimum at 3000, I had a small jump in weight, which is normal when you initially increase your calories. Unlike the last time when I experiences nausea at 3000 calories and immediately dropped back to 2500 (remember that?), this time I pushed through it as Gwyneth says to do and my appetite is finally starting to come back. For example, I’ve already had my 3000 calories for today, but my stomach is starting to growl as I’m typing this. So, my hunger and appetite cues are starting to pick up finally, and my digestion is slowly improving. I decided to up my calories to 3000 calories because the more I read at youreatopia, the more I realized that the 2500 was just an absolute minimum amount, but more is strongly suggested for quicker healing and also because 2500 is the minimum maintenance amount and I realized that if my body will be maintaining on that as a minimum, how would it repair what needs to be repaired while in the healing phase? As I’m sure you noticed, girl after girl there said that once they took the plunge and increased their calories above the minimum then began to really notice a more rapid improvement. That was enough for me to take the plunge and push through any initial uncomfortable feelings. I’m still just improving in a general way…sleep, temperature, regular bm’s, no more muscle cramps,etc. But since I’m essentially just beginning true healing vs. quasi recovery/weight restoration, I’m guess it will take a little longer for more improvements to occur. I’m still waiting for the lanugo on my face to go away, the dry skin on my lower legs to clear up (I always wondered why my lower legs were always dry even with the use of lotion, but Gwyneth (?) said that dry extremities is one of the signs of malnourishment – aha moment for me), bone restoration (I developed a slight C curvature at the top of my spine during my most restrictive period of dieting. I don’t know if my body will be able to reverse that or if that will be permanent, but I’m hoping it will get better. I have been experiencing the bone and joint aches that accompany recovery, but I haven’t noticed any of that pain being in my spine.), complete appetite/hunger cue restoration, complete energy improvement (I’m better than I used to be, but I still have bouts where I have to take naps. This one’s hard to gauge anyhow as being tired is one of the most common aspects of recovery, but I am looking forward to being on the other side of recovery and having consistent energy again.), complete hair restoration (it has improved but it’s definitely not as thick as it used to be yet), memory improvement, muscle improvement, and, of course, normalized weight. I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t think of anything else right now.
As far as your calorie requirements are concerned, since the 2500 is the absolute minimum, anything above that is great, and even encouraged by Gwyneth. I’m sure you’ve read all about extreme hunger, and even if it’s not extreme hunger that you’re feeling right now, if your body is simply hungry for 5000 calories, then that’s what your body needs. The problem comes for those who are not hungry enough to reach the 2500, then it’s a matter of pushing to reach that minimum, and beyond. I was shocked when I came across information where Gwyneth said that the most damage is done during the first six months of restriction/dieting. Beyond that, the damage is cumulative. WOW! Here I was thinking, ?Well, I’ve only dieted off and on over the years, and never below 1200 calories, so I probably don’t have as much damage as some of these girls who have been anorexic/bulimic for years and years on end. Ha ha, that knocked me right out of my wishful thinking. My most extreme period of dieting consisted of 3 years, averaging 1200 a day. The more I read over there, the more I’m knocked over the head with the reality of how much damage I’ve actually done to myself, and how critical it is to get AT LEAST 2500 calories for real healing to even begin, and more if you want to heal faster. It has definitely been a learning process for me. I’m starting to realize that if I think I’m an exception to the rule in any way, I’m likely not so I need to just move on and do what Gwyneth says. I can always find the answers later, instead of waiting to find answers first and delaying the process.
I am glad you checked back in!
I just was too busy looking at Eatopia to come over here..lol
Would you ever go over the 3000?
It sounds like your hunger could take you further at this point?
I have dry lower legs, hands, and around the elbows..
Very thin hair, end of eyebrows nearly gone..
I am pretty much starting from quasi recovery at this point..grrr
I have gotten a lot fatter in the past 2.5 weeks,and in ways I couldnt have imagined..
fatter than Ive ever been..
Today I am just thinking- I dont know if I can bear it any longer?! Surely I cant gain more.
I dont know how to live with it..
I feel in a state of emotional and mental trauma.
I seriously dont want to see my body, and am always afraid to see in the mirror evidence of yet more gain and clothes not fitting.
And not knowing when the gain stops?
How do you deal with it?
If you were to get a lot hungrier and start eating more-
would you be afraid of more gain?
At this point I dont know if the solution is to max out calories even more to stop more gain?- like that girl you mentioned who ate more when she started gaining, and the gain would stop/drop off?
Or would I just gain exponentially more weight?
I too got a surprise when reading Gwyneths stuff and understanding more deeply the damage to the body from diet. And most people view it as a “healthy”, and “admired” thing to do!!
Out of my two sisters who have been semi-anorexic for many many years-
one has excruciating osteoporosis,
the other a strong C-curvature of the upper back area, and has just been diagnosed with an enlarged heart..
Thanks for all the details re experience and recovery. It
I understand and totally relate to the anxiety of continuing to gain weight. As I mentioned previously, I never had anxiety attacks before. Going through this process has also introduced me to the world of anxiety. I have been having mini panic attacks nearly every day. I try not to spend too much time looking in the mirror – just long enough to check my outfit before I head out of the bedroom, and I try not to weigh myself because that doesn’t help at all, but I have been weighing myself recently because my mind just wants to know that my weight isn’t just continuing to climb (see, that fear is always there even though we “know” it won’t happen).
A huge factor in feeling panicky right now is that our son is graduating this year (next month) and we have family flying in for the occasion. I am terrified to have them see how much weight I’ve gained and look at me with questioning glares, especially my MIL who is anorexic (she’s very judgmental about what others eat and how much they weigh). There’s no way I could explain to her what I’m doing and have it make sense to her, much less have her agree with me. I’m also agonizing over having to buy a dress for the occasion. A couple of weeks ago, I was in full anxiety mode for a couple of days thinking about all of it over and over in my mind…”What if I gain even more weight before they get here? Is it possible to lose any weight before they get here? What will they think? Oh S__T, I’ll have to be in pictures!!! Will there even be a dress that I’ll like how it looks on me? How will I eat all that I need to while there here without them noticing how much I’m eating? How can I get out of this…I can’t. Oh my gosh, why is this happening to me NOW? Why couldn’t I be going through this next year when there are no graduations or big events happening? Why, oh why, can’t I just go hide in the mountains for the next 1-2 years, and wear only moo moo’s until I’m through this, and then come back at my normal weight without anyone seeing what I’m going through? This way I won’t have anybody looking at me and I won’t feel so self-conscious.
On and on the questions, thoughts, and anxiety went through my head and body, and then I got a grip over myself and decided that yes, although I feel this way, I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow anyone or anything to derail my progress. I want to heal and get back to my normal weight as quickly as possible, and finally be FREE from this whole issue, and being this stressed is not going to help me.
So, my quick answer about how I deal with the anxiety is that I feel it and then push through. There is no easy way around it; you just have to push through it. I guess that’s where my stubbornness is a great help to me. Once I get a handle on my anxiety, my determination not to allow anyone, including myself, get in my way takes over. I get into a focused state of mind, re-focus on the goal at hand, and plough ahead until the next wave of anxiety hits, and then I go through the process again. Desperately wanting the freedom of not dieting ever again is what pushes me forward and through all the thoughts and emotions that I go through. With each set back I see the goal moving away from me, and with each step forward I see it getting closer to me. And now that I know each set back only causes more weight gain, I’m even more determined not to have a set back if I can help it, because no matter what, my body has to go through the healing process in order to heal and I have no control over how it needs to heal. I do have some control over how much “extra” weight I gain, and how much extra stress I place on myself while going through the process though. Keeping these thoughts in the front of my mind helps me tremendously. I really have no sage advice. The only thing I know to tell you is to hang in there, despite how silly that sounds, and maybe to find the stubbornness, determination, and focus within yourself to help pull you through. There has to be something within yourself that you can hold onto for the duration of the ride.
As far as the calories and increase in food, yes I will eat more if I need to, despite the fear that I might gain more weight. I would just apply what I said above to get me through. ?Feel the fear and do it anyway. is the motto that we need to live by.
thanks Emma ,
for such a lovely reply!
It is reassuring to know the realities of how it is for
not that I am happy about it;
but that its not just about me flipping my loop about it –
it is a really really challenging thing to go through!
I know all the stuff you mean about family,
and what will they think!
In my case it is my mother who is the most critical one- and views weight gain with horror;
and “you need to lose weight!!”
As if that hasnt been what I have desperately trying to do for the last 30 yrs..lol
I also struggle with clothes, and the increasing difficulty of how to find something to look halfway decent in. It is ouch..
I just want to bury myself at home and not look in the mirror or see my body.
And yes!, I have thought of going to live far away,
where no one knows me, and preferably in a place where fat doesnt matter!
Just to be able to see out the process with less angst;
and worry over socializing, wearing clothes , looking fat, what people will think/say, etc.
But you are right:
“feel the fear and do it anyway”
I have in the last week been aware of how much underlying fear there is in this process, and have been working on moving through that.
Because at the end of the day, being ruled by the fear is not the answer.
I realise I have been responding to the fear for most of my adult life, and never broken through it.
Fear around eating food and gaining weight;
and fear of all that gaining weight means;
my own inner feelings of self-hatred,
the feelings and judgements of others,
the fear that it never stops!,
the feeling that I am becoming huge and horrendous..
I want to push through –
I want to be able to just eat
and to fulfill my body’s needs,
without the fear and reality of forever and on-going gain.
I would also like to be able to enjoy and feel good about my body.
For some reason your reply brought a tear to my eye. I think because it’s been so hard for me, and it feels good to have someone verbally reply to me personally about how hard it is, and to identify with what I’m saying. I feel like I’m doing this on my own because although I’m reading all I can at Gwyneth’s, I’m just reading old conversations, I’m not a part of them.
This is one of the hardest things I’ve done as well. To be sure, I’ve been through more difficult things than this, but this is right up there in the top five most difficult things that I’ve had to go through, and my anxiety is a clear sign to me of just how much more difficult this is than I thought it would be. When I gained the first 15 lbs., I thought, okay, I can do this. But then, as the weight kept getting higher and higher, my fear and anxiety increased as well and I began to really struggle with whether or not I could continue. Discovering Gwyneth’s site changed everything for me. I no longer feel like I’m just going to gain and gain endlessly, which was the path I was on. I’m seeing my weight stabilize finally, and all the evidence at YE for staying on this course gives me hope that I haven’t had in a long time.
I hadn’t intended to come back here often, but I think I’ll at least check the comments section regularly in order to keep in touch with you so that we can continue to support each other. I will resist getting sucked into the articles and nutrition discussions though because I need to keep my mind away from that stuff, especially right now because I don’t need to overwhelm my brain with excess information…kwim? That’s why I left to begin with.
Thank you. :)
This is definitely right up there with one of the hardest things I have ever dealt with.
Even some of the most painful things I have experienced dont compare.
It is also the continuance of it! The longevity.
It just doesnt happen, and then its over;
its a continual battle of waiting, and fear , and the unknown.
And living with the weight gain on a daily basis.
If I gain another 5 – 10- 15
pds will I have the courage to continue?
A part of me is banking on my weight stabilizing right now,
and hoping like hell for immediate weight loss!
This may be foolish though.
I do hope Gwyneth gets the forum going again – it would be so good to have the extra support and more peoples experience to compare with and learn from.
Some of her information has been a lifesaver for me too,
and reading the messages gives me hope at times when I am overwhelmed and in a negative state.
Yes, lets keep updating. It is so good to hear someone else’s experience.
You’re right, Nola. The longevity factor is a huge reason that it’s so difficult, and why support is so important. Having to keep yourself going for so long is challenging.
I don’t remember if you said you have an ED or if your struggles are non-ED? Being that my struggles are non-ED, I feel like it wouldn’t be right for me to join Gwyneth’s forums even when they start up again. I previously checked out the group that Swanner provided the link for below, for ED’s Safe Haven, and, again, I just felt like I couldn’t join since I don’t technically suffer from an ED. I went there hoping that the conversations were still going strong, but they seem to be much less active than they were on Gwyneth’s forums for some reason. How about you, have you checked it out, and do you plan to join either group?
I will answer in one post below under Swanner’s post on the ed-haven..
Ok, Amy and Emma;
I know I have come to this conversation late so I hope you guys are still around!
But actually this debate of whether to eat to appetite or not ,
or whether it is beneficial to forcefeed beyond that at times,
is in my mind right now.
In Emmas case- she had a suppressed appetite – I did not/do not.
In her case , she had to eat beyond her comfort and appetite levels to be able to eat the amount critical for healing and weight stabilization.
In my case ,( at the moment anyway), my appetite leads me to high calories (5000), which theoretically should be enough for
healing and weight stabilization.
And now I am wondering- if my appetite drops- should I continue to overfeed at the high level whether I feel
like it or not –
in order to facilitate healing and metabolic healing.
Or would my dropped appetite be a true indicator that my body doesnt need that many calories any more??
Gwyneth says the body needs to overfeeding for months and months to catch up- will appetite naturally guide this,
Will appetite only guide this if unsuppressed?
Or , is it a case of eating beyond appetite- suppressed or not?
DO you get my drift?
I guess underlying issues are;
is the appetite the guide of where calories need to be?
Obviously if appetite is suppressed, it needs to become unsuppressed to do the job properly.
But in the case of an unsuppressed appetite- is it a reliable guide?
or is eating more than appetite really the ticket to better
healing and a higher metabolism and better weight balance,
in the long run??
I understand exactly what you’re saying. I think I pretty much summed this up in my reply above, but I’m glad you will be getting Gwyneth’s support just to be sure that you’re doing what you ought to be doing for your body.
I know for the most part Gwyneth doesn’t recommend eating to appetite until down the road, I think after complete recovery, because appetite and hunger cues may still be off during recovery. But, she does say that you can eat according to appetite/hunger anytime the hunger gets you above and beyond the minimum calorie requirement. Like I said previously, the main issue with eating to appetite is for someone who tends to dip below the minimum and struggles to meet their minimum calorie requirement. But since you feel that your calorie requirements may be different for you, this is where you’ll receive the benefit of consulting with Gwyneth so that you two can hammer out specifics.
Since stopping the exercise though, you may find that you don’t require as many calories as you used to. Maybe your need to drop to 4000 is a sign of that shift already taking place in your body. Because exercise creates a deficit, your body was not only needing extra calories for repair, but even more calories in an effort to make up for the calories you were burning through exercise.
One of the mistakes that Gwyneth points out over and over in regards to exercise, is that it’s a mistake to think that you can still exercise as long as you increase your calories to make up for the exercise. That’s just prolongs recovery. I’m curious to see how you adjust to not exercising.
Next time I check in, you’ll need to update me on how things are going. I can’t wait to hear how you progress.
Oh! I meant to share with you (all of you) how I’m getting my 3000 calories a day in. Initially, I was having a hard time with dinner because it’s harder to just relax and eat with the family when you’re having to measure, weigh, and calculate what you’re eating. So, what I do now is to get my minimum 2500 calories in by 3 – 3:30 pm, and then enjoy dinner and my after dinner snack knowing that I’m easily getting those last 500 calories in, probably more, without having to worry or think about counting any more calories for the day when my family is home. This has been so freeing for me. Hopefully it might help some of you who hate having dinner time “interrupted” with worry about calorie counts.
I will update, regardless of the path I take..
It is a hard day for me today..
I am sad to stop my weight training-
the rest of it I didnt care about.
A lot of my social life is connected to the gym.
I found it hard to explain to my training partner (male), why I was stopping-
I ended up telling him I just had stuff going on in my life and needed to step back for a bit.
I feel like I am dying inside all over the place at the moment ;
dying to be any kind of weight/body I am happy with,
dying to something I loved and have invested a lot in for many many years,
dying to feeling good about myself,
dying to so many things..
I have asked Gwyneth quite a lot of questions, and answers should be coming shortly – so I will post them here when they come,
as there could be some relevant info there.
I worked out an easy way to get lots of cals- half a cup of heavy whipping cream in a cocoa/coffee drink- about 450 cals! lol
I am sick of food today- tentatively started out the day deciding to try and make it to 7000, just to experiment if eating a lot more cals would cease the weight gain!
However it is 4.00pm and I am pretty sick of food in general and am not sure about making it to much over 5000.
And I am also uncertain if that path is advisable anyway..
I have asked Gwyneth if there is any more advantage to going higher in calories than my appetite dictates right now (4000-4500),
and if it would help to cut short the weight gain,
or just cause more gain?
So we will see what she says.
All the best
I’m so sorry that you’re struggling so much. I wish I could give you a real hug. I’m sure Gwyneth will give you good advice based on your specific needs. Well, what calorie intake have you noticed that seems to cause you to simply gain while trying to restrict/control maximum calorie intake? My guess would be that for now you would need to be about 500 calories above that point, and then allow your body to dictate if you need more beyond that with the extreme hunger that kicks in for those whose body needs more. For me 2500 calories or less is where I just simply gain and gain. I will increase it even more than where it’s at if my body is indicating that it needs me to. Right now I feel really good where I am, but I also know that extreme hunger can kick in at any time during recovery. I’ve had one day of extreme hunger where no matter how much I ate I felt starving, and one night where my body woke me up in the middle of the night starving, and I couldn’t get back to sleep so I had to get up and eat just so I could fall back asleep. So far, these are the only occasions where my body demanded more than the 3000 calories. Anyhow, just remember that you will likely see an initial gain with the increase in calories. This is the second time I’ve gone from 2500 to 3000 back to 2500 calories and both times I gained about 5 pounds. Because of that cycle, I refuse to go below 3000. I don’t want to keep gaining 5 extra pounds every time I get confused and think that maybe 3000 is too much for me so I’ll just drop back to the minimum. I think in recovery especially, the body responds to this drop as a sign of oncoming starvation again and responds by hoarding the calories momentarily until the calories come back up. So, with each shift the body responds with weight gain. Once the body is done with recovery, minor shifts like this won’t cause such an extreme reaction and are normal.
You won’t continue to gain and gain like you are afraid of. Yes, you might gain more weight than you’d like because, let’s face it, one more pound is too much more for us at this point because we desparately don’t want to gain any more weight AT ALL. But, I can tell you based on my experience, and what I’ve read from the other ladies at YE, that you will gain more than necessary if you keep bouncing back and forth between quasi recovery and recovery. I’ve noticed that the quickest, most aggressive recoveries over at YE tend to be those who jump in with both feet and don’t look back, those who feel the fear but don’t let it bring them down. I remember at least one girl who mentioned that every time she would start to panic about how many calories she needed to eat, she would force herself to eat even more. This helped her to face the panic directly, push back, and to stop it in its track.
I read this post this morning from YE:
I found it encouraging and hopeful!
I am not sure where my calorie levels are best terms of gaining/not gaining/stabilization.
It also may change now that there is no exercise.
Because I have never really reached weight stabilization when eating to hunger ,
I dont know where the best spot is for me.
The only weight stabilization I have experienced is with caloric restriction (in which situation I am hungry and can feel it !).
Eating to a level where hunger is satisfied has so far only resulted in gain,
which is why I am wondering if eating to a level beyond actual hunger might be a faster ticket to weight stabilization?
And for me that level would go over 5000.
But really, it is only recently that I have actually eaten to the level of true hunger satisfaction consistenly day after day.
I realize now that even when I ate 4000-4500 for a month, that it was still a restriction, there was still hunger at times there for me.
Basically- I am still trying to work out where is my best calorie level to be giving the body what it needs, and also to enable gain to cease.
Do I just need to keep eating where I am at ( eating to true fullness and hunger satisfaction),
and wait a bit for the stabilization;
or would eating more enable the body to stop gaining faster?
That is my big question right now.
And I think it is an important one for people going through this process:
at what level of calories , comparitive to hunger, is it best to eat to enable healing and minimize unneccessary gain?
I did tentatively think of eating to 7000 yesterday, just to see, but in the end hit 5000-
it is actually hard to forcefeed beyond hunger.
It is really pertinent that at 2500 you gain and gain,
but at 3000 stabilization was reached,
and pretty quickly too by the sound of it.
It does make me think that getting to the right level of calories is the critical key to ceasing gain?
And is that critical level above actual hunger?
If we could all hit the right level sooner- we could save ourselves a lot of angst.
I think many doing this process may not in fact eat enough for long enough?
Still waiting for Gwyneth..
I do wonder if there may be some latent hunger still in you;
because you did restrict at low levels for a long time.
Though maybe consistently eating is sufficiently filling the long-term deficits.
The hunger I have now I dont even call it extreme hunger, its just steady, solid hunger.
I know I have had extreme hunger at times in the past (when heavily dieted);
and if I had eaten to appetite (I never did, lol), it would have easily taken me to the 10,000 mark !
Nola, from all that I’ve read at YE, eating as much as you can is best; the more you’re able to eat, the quicker you heal and the quicker you become weight stable. Like you said, it’s hard to truly eat too much. If you can get it in without throwing up, you’re good. :) Although you probably won’t want to take it to that point. So, considering that you were definitely above 2500 and 4500-5000 was what you felt you could get in, that’s probably right around the range you’ll be at, unless extreme hunger hits.
I probably could get 3500 calories in at this point, and probably get close to that on many days, but since I stop counting my calories before the dinner meal, I don’t know for sure how high I get. Recently, I’ve felt hungrier than usual, so my body is adjusting in some way. As far as extreme hunger is concerned, Gwyneth says that it can hit at any point during recovery – beginning, middle, end, some variations of those three, or throughout the whole process. Every body is just so different in how it responds to the recovery process. There’s no one right way for the process to unfold, just what’s right for your body. I can’t wait for you to hear from Gwyneth.
BTW, that article is very encouraging. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. These girls are eating massive amounts of calories and reaching weight stabiliztion, and then beginning to lose at these higher levels. Remember, that’s exactly what happened with Billy as well? Not yo-yo-ing and consistently eating well above the minimum really seems to be the trick.
…and, that’s with them starting out with crashed metabolisms after years of being undernourished. You would think they would immediately be gaining tons of weight eating 5000-10000 calories a day with severely damaged metabolisms. Just goes to show you how quickly the metabolism can heal and get back in step with your calorie intake when you are providing your body with ENOUGH calories.
Yep, I keep remembering Billy Craig-
I’m hanging on to it in hope!
I am taking the policy right now of just stuffing in as much food as I can, but not to levels of real discomfort.
I find it is just better to eat in a constant stream, rather than to have heavier larger feeds.
I am hoping like crazy my body gets the message: food is in abundance- no need to store..lol
That sounds like a good plan for now until you hear back from Gwyneth.
You’ll be able to handle any weight gain, even though it seems like you won’t be able to right now. At every point along the way, I would think the same thing to myself…”If I gain any more weight, I don’t think I’ll be able to take it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep going.”… and every time that happened, I would find the strength within me somewhere to keep going.
Well, to be quite honesty, I find the strength from reading Gwyneth’s forums. Every time I start to panic, I read as much as I can at Gwyneth’s until my anxiety subsides. The girls’ stories and experiences always reassure me. Just when I think I can’t go on, I come across a thread, like the one you shared, and I’m reminded that this process does work and if they can do it, I can do it. Actually, I have extreme admiration for them for tackling recovery head on like that with their ED voice screaming at them. Yes, I have anxiety from the unknown, and I feel uncomfortable with my body being this current size, but I can’t imagine the level of anxiety and struggle they have to overcome in order to push forward with ED trying desparately to hang on and remain in control. That’s why I feel like if they can do it, I can do it. I don’t have that extra level of anxiety and stress.
Nola .. http://edsafehaven.com/ seems to be a substitute for Gwyneth’s forum.
I have started looking on there. I am glad you pointed it out.
I dont have an ED as such, though I was close to it in my teen years.
However I think many years of dieting is pretty close to having an ED in effect;
both in terms of the psyche and the body.
I would feel comfortable joining in the conversations,
at the ED-Haven or Eatopia.
Even if I have not had full-blown anorexia, I can still fully relate and identify with so much stuff.
I think even people recovering from one short spat of dieting are welcome in those places.
I have not joined the ED-Haven yet, though I expect I will,
I have just started reading there.
I dont know if I can keep going.
I dont want to keep going.
I have had a day of just crying and crying. My size has just grown so exponentially in the last week – all of a sudden for some reason.
I wish I could explain it away as water weight, but there are none of the signs of water weight.
I have gone from a size 10 – 18 in the last 15 months.
I feel sick.
I just feel I absolutely cant go another single mile.
I dread seeing my body,
putting on clothes , looking in the mirror,
and even my face has become something else altogether.
How have your temps fared Nola, since beginning refeeding?
Oh my gosh…hugs, hugs, hugs, Nola! I do totally understand what you are going through. I’m crying with you. I’ve gone from a size 8 to a size 16 in the past 9 months. We’ve essentially increased the same amount. I sometimes have to pull myself back from getting mad that I did not know about the 2500 calorie minimum from the beginning. I’m SURE my body would not have gained as much fat if I had not been in quasi recovery for the first 6 months of this process. All we can do is move forward from the point we are now at. Going backwards will only cause us to gain more weight in the long run. Please, please try to completely surrender to the process. It sounds like you are already at rock bottom; you can’t get any lower than that. And from here, things are only going to improve.
Your recent weight gain definitely sounds like water gain. A big gain like that, after significantly increasing your calories, is going to be water weight. As much as you hate it, it’s a good sign. It means that you are finally eating enough that your body is starting to heal. I have put on a little water weight as well since I increased my calories to 3000. I notice it especially in my hands and face. I know it’s water weight because there are times when it calms down a little and I’m not so puffy, and fat doesn’t do that.
Also, did you get your thyroid checked yet? PLEASE do so if you haven’t yet. You may only need medication until your body heals, but your body will have a had time healing, and you will gain even more weight than necessary, if your thyroid is not functioning properly. It controls everything, including the hormones that affect our metabolism. Remember me telling you how 20 pounds melted off of me in one month, just by starting medication. If your body needs it, it needs it. If your body needed B12 or vitamin D, wouldn’t you take the supplement that your doctor would give you for it? When I was low in both B12 and vitamin D, I had to take mega doses in order to get my levels up to normal because my body could not get the levels up to normal on it’s own. If I had not done so, I would have suffered permanent nerve damage. The same is true for thyroid levels (not the nerve damage part). If your body can’t get the levels up to normal on its own, you NEED to supplement. It is just as important, if not more so, than needing to take a vitamin supplement. And, once your body heals, you probably won’t need to take it any longer. But, your body needs it in order to heal. I know you’ve been hesitant to supplement your thyroid, but please please please reconsider if you haven’t already. Okay, I’m done hounding you on that point. :)
The forums…I agree with what you’re saying. I guess if I felt sure I’d be welcomed, and didn’t make anyone feel like I was intruding, I would probably join. The physical recovery is the same, and I know that our story could at least be an encouragement to others who are in the recovery process.
Do you have a story to tell? If so, do you mind sharing it with us? Are you a member of Safe Have or YE? If so, do you think they would mind me joining?
Well I have settled for now. The immediate crisis is passed, though I dont know how soon I might feel like that again!
I realise I am really just not prepared for more weight gain- it is taking me into territory I have NEVER been and seems nightmarish for me.
I just didnt think I could get much fatter I guess;
I have already gained so much I thought I would surely only gain a few pounds and then thats it.
So for now, I am just hoping that that really is it, and that I will turn some kind of corner.
Maybe it is not realistic, but that hope is the only way I can keep going on right now.
Thankyou for the support!
I really am resistant to having my thyroid checked- I dont even have a doctor! lol
Apart from subfunctioning symptoms,
I am fairly robust and healthy.
I guess I am pretty sure my thyroid issues and subfunctioning in general has been caused by dieting, and should be able to be remedied by the reverse.
And because I have tried so many remedies over the yrs, to improve various things in my body,
and had no success-
(I now realise that these things couldnt improve without adequate refeeding);
I am reluctant to take something which may not be the real underlying solution to the problem.
My thyroid does not seem to be chronic, just underfunctioning in general.
But I will let the idea sit with me, and see how it continues to feel as things go on. I will not shut my mind to the idea- maybe I am wrong.
It may be that stopping exercise may be a key – this has probably created unwitting stress on my body.
My appetite hasnt really diminished with the stopping of exercise though- I thought it might be, but nay…
I ate to appetite yesterday and the day before- and they both ended up at 4500.
I couldnt have cut it any finer without going into hunger.
Still waiting to hear from Gwyneth!
I would love to think that the weight I have gained is water weight- however the last time I ate up big- a similar thing happened- at first it looked like there was negligible gain, and then suddenly , in the space of a few days, it all landed. And it didnt go away.
I just dont have any obvious signs that it might be water weight either.
I am sure no one minds you joining at safe-haven. I have seen some posts on Eatopia by people who have just dieted, as opposed to full blown ED.
I think there is so much to be learned from everyone regardless of the scale of their experience.
I have been through hell and uncountable anguish on account of this stuff, anorexia or not!
How many diets I have suceeded at, only to be turned around and slammed in the face by failure again!
But fingers crossed!
Sheesh, fudged the bit at the end there somehow:
The ” but fingers crossed” bit was supposed to be higher up in the email after the water weight paragraph.
Never mind, it still kind of makes sense..
I have not been taking my temps for a while- kind of gave up since they were not changing,
I just took a few in the last 24 hrs, they seem to be similar to the past.
I only just stopped exercise in the past week, maybe that will change it.
My refeeding has been up and down too..
I’m glad you’re feeling better today, Nola. I was wondering how you were doing.
Not exercising anymore will definitely be an adjustment for your body. I’m curious to see any differences that you notice.
EFT is great. There are a number of invaluable techniques out there – as there should be! We are all very unique, how we take in a perceive life and challenges. For some triggers I use EFT, but more when other techniques don’t seem to work. Emotions can be very powerful healing tools for helping us to learn and grow – so I try to harness their catalytic energy rather than diffuse them; however EFT is brilliant and I love it! ACE (Advanced Clearing Energetics) is relatively new technique, but profoundly powerful and I am using that as well, as are a number of my associates who have used EFT for years. Now they go to ACE. It is exceptional with pain.
Emma, I’m 46 years old male, and gone from 30″ to 40″ waist jeans since August, so enjoying a similar ride to you and Nola. I’m not a member at either of the ED sites, but have read enough to know that all are welcome! The likes of us who have stayed “slim” for years by “watching our weight” are definitely ED sufferers, albeit not extreme examples.
Hey Swanner, I just realized that you did mention this before. Sorry, I forgot. There’s too many people for my poor mind to keep straight. :)
Yes, I agree with Swanner- watching your weight for years definitely does qualify as ED suffering.
One of my friends has started to do this too. She has dieted on and off over the years, and has over the last yr and a half just gaining lots! of weight , even while making restrictions.
I gave her the information from Gwyneth’s site and she has jumped on the bandwagon.
She has started from a really overweight weight, and is still packing on masses!
Why does the body need to gain more when there already is an over-abundance?
Her food intake with the refeeding , going by hunger, ends up being around 5000 – similar to me.
Since as I know what I am going through now- I feel bad that I have put her up to this- what if she keeps gaining and gaining?
What if it doesnt work out and she retains the weight?
I did read this very good thread on Eatopia today,
about the realities of fat, and hating it, and different perspectives around it,
it was brutal, and honest,
and did help me;
That was really good, Nola. I agree with what was said. That’s the battle I have with myself constantly as well. I start to feel anxious and then I have to talk myself out of the fear with these kinds of thoughts.
Honestly, I think it would be easier if my husband could care less what my size was. He’s far from being a jerk, he just misses me being my normal size, the size I used to be before I entered the world of dieting. People are attracted to what they are attracted to and have their prefernces, so I don’t have an issue with that. It just makes me more self conscious knowing that he misses the smaller me. I’m now at my largest size again. I dieted (and had some severe stress at that same time in my life) my way to this size once before and never thought I’d see this size ever again.
Even though I’ve explained the process to him, he’s not 100% convinced it will work. He sees how much I’m eating, how much I’ve gained so far, and wonders if I’ll just keep gaining and never go back down to my normal size. Having him witness me get larger and larger is very stressful. I understand his fear because it is mine as well. At the same time, I agree with what Gwyneth and the other girls in that post said, and I will never diet again just to try and force my body to be that size again. I have accepted that I may never get that small again, but I do hope that I’ll at least drop some of the weight I gained.
That is hard Emma.
I have a semi- boyfriend, an ex who still wants to be a current.
He still expresses that I look just as good as before,(I think he is deluded),
which kind of helps me to feel less leprous-
though does not truly overcome the feeling of my own yuck.
I have explained to him what I am doing, and sent him lots of info from eatopia- and now Gwyneths answer..
He understands to some degree- though as a natural skinny for virtually all of his life he cant fully comprehend.
He has commonly expressed in the time I have been around him that people are fat because they eat too much, dont exercise enough, wrong kind of diet etc. etc.!
So for a long time I just refused to discuss this stuff with him- knowing he would not comprehend, and had big judgments around “fat”!
He has started to shift his perception a bit though, and understand more,
through my experience, and some of Gwyneths stuff!
Mainly it is hard to truly explain this to people unless they have experienced the futility and back-firing of dieting and food restriction;
and the reality of how it feels and actually is to be perpetually
underfeeding the body.
And yeah, dieting to force your body to that size again is just another form of self-hatred.
I hope your husband can come to understand more and support you in what you are doing. Its hard enough on our own without another person negatively appraising the experience.
It is one of the hardest things about doing this- is that people dont get it, and you cant share what you are going through in the normal way.
If you are upset and you say- my dad died! people will sympathize and understand.
If you are upset by the fat gain and eating and eating,
people will just say- stop eating, and diet!!
(underlying assumption- you have brought it on yourself and cant complain about it/can do something about it!).
Some of the things even one of my closest friends has said have made me want to kill her!!
Exactly, and I understand that because I used to think that way. I think for a lot of people it isn’t so much fat hatred (although for some it is outright hatred) as it is social conditioning. We’re all told by every field of expertise, and otherwise, that being overweight is unhealthy and what constitutes being overweight for the human body. And if you are overweight, all you need to do is eat less and move more. Therefore, someone who is overweight doesn’t care about their health, are too lazy to do something about it, or doesn’t bother about it because they are too busy and their checkups show everything is normal anyhow; they’ll do something about it if anything changes. I swear, there are no other options that people consider, except possibly medical issues, but that’s the last thing people consider, if they consider it at all.
My acceptance of that “expert knowledge” changed once I reached the point in dieting where I would gain so easily after eating just slightly more calories. I remember telling my husband in frustration, pretty much a billion times, “This is sooooo stupid! It should not be this hard to stay at our normal weight.!!” I would go up in weight with just the slightest amount of food over my calorie allotment, and I knew there was no way I had eaten anywhere close to 3500 extra calories, so how could I have even have gained a pound??? Now I know exactly why that happens.
Anyhow, with “eat less, move more” ingrained into social thinking, it’s impossible to explain to someone that the opposite is actually true. That’s one of the reasons I can’t wait to normalize and have fellow women ask me, “How can you eat so much and not gain tons of weight?!” Then I can confidently share my blog with them and have them actually want read it and believe it because they see that it worked/works for me. It’s hard to say that to anyone at this point with the weight I’m currently at and the amount of food I’m eating. There’s nothing about that scenario that prompts them to ask how I can eat so much without gaining weight. :D One day though, and I can start spreading the word more, and hopefully begin to make even a small dent in the current thinking…beginning with my husband. Just like everyone else, he’ll need concrete evidence that it’s true before he believe it 100%. He’s half way there at least. The basic concept makes sense to him, but…
Yes, I have experienced that dieting thing over and over.
Where you gain disproportional weight with the smallest infraction of calories!
It is profoundly discouraging when you have dieted and starved for months to have a small calorie increase result in a ridiculous gain.
I too painfully learnt that eating less calories and dieting and adhering to the diet did not work!
I was strict in adhering to things so couldnt blame a lack of “discipline” or “willpower’ for the diet failing!
So when my friend said to me-
“maybe if you didnt eat those biscuits?!.. (you would not be having this problem with weight)”,
I was mad beyond all words.
You could probably say I got to where I am now because I didnt eat biscuits! lol
I hope we can change it for ourselves and others. But to be able to fully trust and know that this process does work we have to get through it ourselves.
I am still not certain at all. Fear hounds me constantly.
“….However, all return to an optimal weight set point, so getting all hung up on whether you will or won’t is usually just a way for the eating disorder to keep you locked in its grip….
It may take your body two years to return to its optimal weight set point and it can only do so if you maintain an unrestricted eating pattern steadily throughout that time.”
Everyone gets down to an optimal weight for them?
From looking around it seems that some dont. I am already overshot- I am sure of it. And how much more?
Will I go back to a weight I might have been if I had never dieted?
Is the criteria two years of consistent eating? And that level of eating determined by hunger, or the minimum, or a combo of both?
How long to not exercise? 6 mths ,9 mths, 2 yrs?
Still trying to grasp what it might all entail.
My appetite dropped a bit yesterday- it has been around 4500, then yesterday down to 3800.
Should I let the appetite drop and eat to that, or stay at the higher level?
Could letting the food intake drop too quickly compromise results?
Ah yes, and I will stay at this weight and heavier ?(wherever my weight ends up ),
for 9 months,1 yr, more?
One more day at this weight is too much for me!
Yeah, I know, not very positive – but how do love and accept something you just dont.
How to live with it when its your body you dont want to see or acknowledge?
From everything I’ve read at YE, the food intake is a combination of both – you eat at least the minimum and more than that according to hunger, but never less than the minimum regardless of hunger. Also, I believe exercise is not resumed until after you are completely done with the healing process.
I think to help us get through this process, there has to be a certain amount of “F— you world!” attitude that we have to develop in order to keep ourselves from worrying too much about what others are thinking. It probably wouldn’t hurt to tell our fear and anxiety to f— off as well. :)
Oh, the biscuit comment! Just goes to show you how much insanity we’ve developed around food and weight. If eating a normal amount of biscuits (or whatever food) is going to make me overweight then I’m for sure never dieting again. That’s exactly why I stopped dieting, because I realized the insanity of it all and recognized the truth of what Matt was saying. My gut knew it was so, but I didn’t know what to do about it until now.
It doesn’t matter what size you are to begin with. Everyone gains weight with the healing process because the body is in a suppressed state when they begin, whether underweight because of restriction or overweight because of yo-yo dieting. If there’s anyone that hasn’t gained at least a few pounds, I haven’t heard of it yet. The body holding onto fat for healing is only one reason for fat retention.
Ok, thanks emma- that is a really good answer.
I will pass it onto my friend.
I got Gwyneths answer today, but it is long! Too long too post here.
But if anyone wants access to it I can email it to them or something?
How does it go- do I just put my email here? or is there some
I would love to read her answer to you. You could e-mail Rob or Matt and ask one of them to e-mail your address to me, and then I’ll e-mail you. I recently e-mailed Rob when I needed him to help me with the DR2. His e-mail address is email@example.com. Just remember to say EmmaW.
Did her answer comfort you at least?
I have forwarded Gwyneths answer to Rob, and if anyone wants it you can contact him and he will send it to you.
Emma- I have asked him to forward it to you.
Well, I cant say her answer comforted me! lol
Mainly I just have to keep going as I am and wait it out.
The bit I did probably find most helpful was about fat being an organ, and needing to be its optimal size for proper hormone production, bone formation , optimal metabolism, etc.
Thank you (and thank you, Rob), I got it. I guess there’s not really any comfort to be found, is there? It’s more a process of looking for encouragement all along the way to help keep going. I think that’s where the support groups are so helpful. Are you considering getting the therapy that Gwyneth suggested?
By the way Swanner,
has your weight stabilized yet?
Don’t think so .. 35 weeks in tomorrow and up from 148 to 215lb! One thing that stands out for me is that I’ve never got my morning temperature above 36.5, and it’s still somewhat erratic despite focusing on getting decent sleep. Have just introduced turmeric a couple of times a day as a liver boost. Will let you know if any change.
My morning temps are around 36.6 in the 2nd half of my cycle,
and 36.2 in the first half of my cycle.
I just took one now at 1.00 pm and it was 36.8.
My highest temps have reached 37.0, and only during the day, and not
all that often.
Do you eat to appetite, or to Gwyneths minimum guidelines? or both?
Do you know how many calories you eat a day?
Has your appetite dropped over the months?
Do you exercise?
Gwyneth says- some people overshoot their setpoint, but usually only by about 10 -15%.
But- it seems some people way overshoot? and why?
And- if you are already starting the recovery process already in overshoot through dieting or whatever – what then??!!
I guess I am trying to work out my way through this maze too.
And if I do do exactly what Gwyneth says- is it really going to work out like that!
Does it work for everyone?
Nola, that’s exactly the problem you’re having. You are starting out in the overshoot range while NOT in recovery, how much you gain during recovery may still fall within the 10-15%. The pre-weight would not be considered recovery weight gain, just quasi recovery weight gain, which is not a result of following the program. Since I’ve begun following the minimum calorie intake, I’ve gained somewhere around 5-10 lbs., and a few of those pounds came from playing around with my calorie amount some trying to find the highest number of calories that my body is comfortable with. But, since I’ve been consistent once I found that number (3000 calories), my weight have been stable. So, since I began following the minimum guideline, my gain has been approximately 5%, while during my first 6 months of ETF and being in quasi recovery my gain was approximately 30% – quite the overshoot! But I don’t technically count that as part of the full recovery gain. Yes, I do count it as part of my overall gain, but not as a result of recovery. It was the result of quasi-recovery. That’s why I’ve bemoaned the fact that I wish I had known about the minimum requirement from the beginning because I’m SURE I would not have overshot by this much overall if I had.
How much will you gain with recovery? There’s no way to say for sure, but I doubt it will as much as you’ve gain with quasi recovery, and how much more you will continue to gain with quasi recovery if you don’t remain committed to full recovery. Also, don’t forget, you will likely gain more, as water weight, because of recovering from exercise, but it won’t be true fat gain, and, from what I’ve read at YE, most seems to have their bloat dissipate within a couple of months of consistent recovery. So, you won’t necessarily be at your high weight for the duration of recovery. Honestly, I’m guessing that you already have some water gain from the attempts that you did make with full recovery that your body is not going to get rid of, along with the fat it’s holding onto. So, my guess is that between the water weight you’re carrying now and the water weight you’re still going to gain with full, consistent recovery, after a couple of months the water weight will dissipate and you’ll settle back down around the weight you are now, and then begin to lose whatever excess fat your body no longer needs as healing completes. Once you’re on the downside of healing and your body begins to lose the excess weight, I really don’t think you’ll mind the process taking two years at that point as long as you see the weight coming off. Your anxiety is coming from the scale going up. With your weight going down, the anxiety is likely to be very minimal, if at all, and you’ll feel much better about relaxing and allowing your body to continue on its path, even if it takes another year for the weight to completely settle…as long as the weight is going DOWN, right? :)
This is all just a guess based on what I’ve read at YE, but I think it’s a realistic guess, and I hope it gives you enough courage to keep both feet firmly planted in full recovery territory. Start gauging your progress from this point forward, while in full recovery, not the dumb quasi recovery gain. Hang in there, Nola. You can do this…we can do this!
I dont weigh Emma, not normally, only once in a while, and I am certainly not going to weigh now!! I dont want to know.
But I know I already had 30 pds on, and since then another size increase equivalent to another 10 or more it seems.
My size is now 18+ .
I am just being fully honest when I say I dont know how I can live with it .. I dont want to live with it.
And more gain- I just cant encompass it.
I am kind of making plans to do something (diet?)if I dont have some kind of emotional or physical breakthrough by the end of the week
I dont know how I can diet anymore , but it cant be harder than this.
If my weight/size would start going down, yes, I would be happy with the process and continue no worries.
But I have already been to my limits and beyond in all this.
I have to be able to function on a daily basis- I have a nine year old son whom I cant abandon- and feeling the way I do at the moment is not functional.
I know I have pretty much gained most of this weight in quasi recovery, but it is too late now.
Yeah, I knew that you knew the weight you have gained so far was from quasi recovery, I was just fleshing out and rounding out my thought process.
I’m sorry that you’re having such a difficult time. I wish there was something I could say to make you feel otherwise, but I know I can’t. Ultimately, the decision will be in your hands no matter what anyone says. I’m here for support whenever you need it. Hugs.
I am sorry for being so negative- I appreciate the support!
I have vented here because I know its somewhere where someone will understand.
I am having a big crisis.
But I certainly dont want to drag anyone else down with me.
For 30 yrs I have done everything I could to stay slim,
being the opposite is a mind blower for for me.
Re your comments further up- thanks.
I am eating to appetite right now, and that takes me well above my minimum. So I will stay with that for now.
Dropping the exercise and 15 yrs of accumulated strength and muscle gain is a big let go factor,
but not as much as the weight gain.
There wasnt much comfort to be gained in what Gwyneth said! Just bluntness.
I am working with some therapies, similar to what Gwyn is talking about, and will continue..
I have joined the Ed-haven.
My user name is akiwi
Though I havent written anything yet.
No, please don’t worry, Nola. You’re not bringing me down. I just wish I could put you in a coma, pump 5000 calories a day into you, and wake you up 2 years from now at your normal weight. I wish it could be that easy for all of us, but I know that there’s no way for it to be. That mountain re-treat is still alluring to me, but my husband and kids would miss me if I went away for 1-2 years. :) I just really, really hope for your sake that you can hang in there and not go back to restricting.
I can see how Gwyneth’s response did not bring you any comfort. It’s all about the facts right now. I’m not even sure anything can bring you comfort while you’re gaining weight because the pain of gaining weight overshadows everything else for you right now. But, I’ll keep pushing you as long as you want me to. If you flat out tell me that you don’t want me to push you anymore, then I won’t. And, please, don’t hesitate to do so if that’s ever the case, as I don’t want to pester you. A good push is helpful, pestering is not.
I am happy to be pushed Emma, I am glad for it!
The coma thing sounds a good idea..lol
I have thought of going to live somewhere more quiet and rural for a while so I could quietly deal with this ,
but because of my sons needs for companionship and activities etc., I havent.
Gaining weight seems to trigger abnormal trauma for me. I havent managed to fully decipher it yet.
I am still eating, though my appetite has lessened, by about 500 cals? , and I am following that, though being careful to eat when hunger shows itself.
One good sign is that my head is in a better state – particularly at night which is when it would be a bit foggy/strained?
Physically I feel good – I am not tired, no achy muscles, or other negative symptoms that some people have.
I think that is because I have been more careful about my exercise over the past year, and listening to my body’s needs for rest and recovery.
And I was not in too bad a state overall.
I just needed more calories!
It sounds like you’re doing okay right now. The idea of moving to a rural place for a couple of years actually sounds like a good idea if you can do it, especially if it will help reduce your anxiety while in this process. A rural setting would probably be more calm and peaceful as well. My sister used to live out in the boonies. I loved visiting with her. It was so peaceful and quiet. She has since moved and misses the peace and quiet of living there. You should ask your son what he thinks about it. He might actually like the idea. Kids at that age like to run around and play, and he might really enjoy having more space to run and play. You won’t know unless you ask him.
Yeah.. rural would be nice! And not having the pressure to be out and about so much.
I will “put it out there” that if it is the right thing an opportunity will arise.
That sounds reasonable, Nola.
I liked the link that persephone recently posted for the fat heffalump blog. Did you see that? I read through her blog a little and it did make me feel a lot better about my current size and the family flying in in a couple of weeks. Her refusal to “diet away a part of her body” in in order to make others happy, is a good reminder that this is about more than weight. It’s about accepting what our natural weight/size is meant to be and accepting that others may not prefer it, but that’s their preference and it doesn’t change that we are meant to be who we are, and we don’t have to feel the need to change that because of another person’s preference. On the flip side, people need to stop expecting others to change in order to suit their preference. Everyone is different in various ways, and everyone has their preferences, but that doesn’t mean we have to change a part of our body because something about us is not within the norm of preference. Of course, people regularly do change parts of their body for various reasons, including perceived social pressure, but it’s not actually expected of them by others to do so. With weight it’s different though. People do EXPECT others to lose weight if they are considered to be “overweight”. Of course, some people could care less what others weigh, but there is an expectation from society in general to be a certain weight (within your bmi range, or less, but definitely not more). When you look at it that way, you begin to see how weird the whole issue really is, and that it’s even an issue.
My perception has definitely changed since reading YE and Junkfood Science. The medical and nutrition field has a lot of catching up to do with the current science and knowledge of fat/weight. And, sadly, as long as they are using out of date information, and keep putting it out to the public, the public with continue to think incorrectly on this issue. I can’t wait for the day that happens.
Right now I’m in the 25-30 bmi range, where people tend to actually be the healthiest. I know that my healthiest weight will be whatever the natural weight range for my body at my current age is, and if that means I end up settling within this 25-30 range, so be it. I am never dieting again, and I’m not willing to compromise my health in order to control other people’s perception of me. Yes, my weight may not be their personal preference, but they don’t have the right to expect me to change it simply because it’s not their personal preference. Or, even if they are trying to convince me that I’m not at a healthy weight; their knowledge is out-of-date anyhow. I’m realizing that how I feel about my weight has more to do with what I think other people are thinking of me vs. how I really feel, and I’m honestly and truly getting tired of holding myself prisoner to what I think other people are thinking of me. I just want to feel the freedom of moving about in this world in a body that is ?normal? for itself, and be okay with that and not feel self-conscious. I think I’m reaching the point where I’m just tired of all of it, and tired of being a part of it; it’s all just nonsense really. I just want to live my life thinking about things that actually matter.
I think part of the reason that my thinking has evolved so much recently is that someone who is very close to me has been suddenly thrust into a life altering crises, and I’ve been helping her to deal with it. Seeing suffering like that first hand really puts things into perspective. Not that someone else’s suffering negates my struggles, but it’s making me realize that I’ve been struggling by choice because of my resistance to accept what’s normal for my body (including going through healing), and allowing others opinions about what an acceptable weight is control my choices, whereas she has no choice. She has no control over what she is going through. She can’t stop it.
Yes, it’s difficult to make this change because feelings are attached to the choices I’ve made up to this point, but I’ve changed my mind (choice) and it will get easier with time as those feelings begin to fall in line with my new choice. This is where my stubborness kicks in and takes over. Once I’ve made up my mind about something like this, it’s hard for someone else to change my mind/thinking. My stubborness pulls me through and then I’m okay once I’m on the other side. I’ll be okay; I am okay.
Your post was very good for me to read today. I am having issues around accepting my current size.
And yes, people do expect you to lose weight if you are overweight! Or at least to be seen trying..lol
My mother even thinks I am overweight when i am at a normal bodyfat level. That has messed with my head big-time over the years.
Needless to say, I am not going near my mother for a long time. Not so much because I am afraid of her opinion- but that I am really angry and resentful of all the stuff she has said to me over the years about my weight/body etc. I also dont want to be put down and exposed to denigrating comments in my current state.
The last time I was there , and was still a normal fat level- she acted like I had turned into some huge unsightly monster. ( I was thinner before)
It gave me a real soul shock actually, and not in a good way. The trauma has kind of imprinted itself on me.
I am just checking out the heffalump blog-
I am loving it! thanks – I hadnt seen persephones link.
I am glad to read what you are saying –
even though a part of me resists it and whines:
“but I dont want to be this size!”
” I’m realizing that how I feel about my weight has more to do with what I think other people are thinking of me vs. how I really feel”
I am thinking on this one- I am not sure if it is that for me or not-
I think I hate myself more, as opposed to being affected by what others think.
If I actually liked my size and body ,
(which I dont- I feel like I am in an alien body and not a good one)
– I would not be so bothered by others?
I’m so sorry that you had to grow up having your mother place the burden of her insecurities on you like that.
“I think I hate myself more, as opposed to being affected by what others think.
If I actually liked my size and body ,
(which I dont- I feel like I am in an alien body and not a good one)
– I would not be so bothered by others?”
I understand what you are saying, but I’m guessing you feel the way you do about your body because others (your mom) made you look at yourself that way to begin with, and you’ve viewed yourself in a negative light ever since, yes? I bet you would not see yourself the way you do now if your mother had not been negative about your body as you grew up.
Thankfully, my mother never said a word about eating or my body when I was growing up, my self consciousness over eating and weight developed after leaving home (the weight gain that came with pregnancy). Of course, in high school I was well aware of the general state of weight consciousness among all the girls, but, thankfully, I didn’t feel any pressure personally to try to diet myself to an abnormally low weight.
One of the things that has helped me to realize that I’m mostly affected by what I think others think of me, based on societal expectations, is that I honestly don’t think I would care at all about how I look if I were by myself, hence the wish I’ve had that I could go live in a remote cabin in the mountains for a year or two until I was done going through this healing process. I know if I were to actually do something like that, I would not have the stress and anxiety that has accompanied me so far in this journey. Thankfully, those feelings are beginning to subside, but even so, it would still be easier because there wouldn’t be all the triggers surrounding me. Since I don’t have that luxury though, I have to face those challenges head on now, instead of later. Either way, I will accomplish what I’ve set out to accomplish.
I still feel like I live in an alien body at times. There is a period of adjustment when you gain weight fairly quickly. I kid you not, just yesterday when I was in the grocery store I noticed that my walk was more of a waddle instead of my normal walk, where my hips are more involved with the movement. As I was walking through the store, I consciously involved my hips in my movement and I began to feel like I was walking normal again. It was such a weird moment, realizing that my walking had not adjusted to my new size.
Yes, you are right Emma, if I hadnt had so many shaming and derogatory comments around weight and my body via my mother and sometimes others,
I would find it a lot easier to accept myself.
It just that some things become so deeply ingrained that they become like a part of our personal self.
I love the idea of the mountain cabin, and being able to come to acceptance of this process without the outside pressures. It would be lovely.
I am trying to work out how to incubate myself as much as possible over the next while to give myself the space and time to come to terms with it all, and go through what needs to be gone through without having to perform or socialize too much.
Lol about your hips!
I have put on lots of weight in my butt. I cant lie on my back anymore for long periods (during sleep), without getting a very sore back.
I am wondering it the growth of my butt is somehow causing that- my back doesnt lie so flat any more or something??
or if something else unrelated has caused it..
And my breasts! I am not used to having large ones…
“It just that some things become so deeply ingrained that they become like a part of our personal self.”
Yep, it literally becomes a part of you, identified as any amount of undesirable visible fat, which just “proves” everything that has been said to you, right? The thing is, you know better now and you can begin to reject everything that was ingrained into you, and begin to replace those thoughts with what you now know is true; it’s not something you HAVE to live with for the rest of your life. You need to begin to tell yourself the things what you wish your mother had said to you, and not say those things to yourself that you wish she had never said to you, otherwise, you continue to reinforce everything she said to you as being true. Even if it doesn’t feel true at first, it will begin to, and will become ingrained in you and feel like a permanent part of you, replacing the untrue things that you were taught to believe. But, you have to consciously begin to replace your current “reality” with your new reality in order for the swap to happen.
I know it’s easier said than done because you likely want your mom to realize herself that she was wrong and to tell you so, and to finally tell you that she loves and accepts you for who you are, whatever size you are, from this moment forward. You don’t want to be the one that has to do that for yourself, when it should be her doing it. You can change how you think about yourself, but that sense of rejection from her will remain if it doesn’t come from her.
I haven’t had this happen to me as a result of weight issues, but I have experienced this dynamic in another way, so I get it. Of course, I could be totally wrong, and maybe there’s an element of this type of rejection that I don’t understand because I haven’t experienced it in the way you have, but I’m guessing it’s pretty similar since it involves that feeling of rejection. I hope I wasn’t completely off base.
On another note, my 16 year old son has actually managed to make me feel better about myself during this process. As I began to gain weight, every time he would hug me, he would poke his fingers into my sides to squish the fat. It was uncomfortable for me to have him do that because of how self-conscious I was initially, especially because he’s naturally very thin and all muscle. I was beginning to think he was poking my fat because he was shocked by it and couldn’t resist touching it out of pure curiosity, or something. I really wanted to know what he was thinking though, so I finally asked him, “Why do you always poke my fat when you hug me?” His answer made me feel so good. “I like it, it’s so soft and squishy.” I know that answer may not make most women feel good, but it made me feel good because he likes it. The reality is, I am squishy and soft right now, BUT he likes it. He’s not disgusted by it. Ahhhh, there really are guys out there that still like women to be soft. His answer helped me to release some of the anxiety I was feeling.
In a way I want to say something to my mother, and in another way I know she is so far from understanding I will just look idiotic!!
I dont think she would be able to comprehend what I might want to say, and would not understand the depths of how I feel, or how the things she has said have had something to do with it.
So I just figure I have to deal with it myself,
and do much as you say;
try to change the programming so I can at least feel good about myself, regardless of her thoughts and attitudes, or others thoughts and attitudes.
It does hurt however, moving through the painful levels of self-hatred. Sometimes I cant even begin to say something nice about myself when I am at a fat level that I feel is unacceptable to me!
It is lovely about your son. Made me smile.
My friend said her 6 yr old son loves to lay his head on her (fat) tummy. Kind of similar.. he likes it..
I know what you mean, and the reality is that she probably never will acknowledge anything, or change. Parents are very resistent to do so, especially if they are older. They can be pretty set in their way of thinking.
At this point, it will be more a matter of accepting that she isn’t going to do for you what you need her to, and moving forward with helping yourself despite that. As hard as it will be, you can heal without her input. It will be different than if she were a part of your healing process, but you can still reach a place of healing that will bring you peace finally.
Focus right now on learning to accept yourself for who you are as a person, that you have inherent dignity in your existence, etc. It’s not about your body right now, although I know that that’s probably all it feels like it’s about right now. Being okay with your body will come with time; it’s more important that you learn to be okay with who you are in an overall sense right now.
Its a slow process this accepting stuff..
seeing my body this morning and thinking,
holy shoot! I want it to just go away!
It does feel like its about my body.
“…and the reality is that she probably never will acknowledge anything, or change. Parents are very resistent to do so, especially if they are older. They can be pretty set in their way of thinking. ”
Yep- that is how it is, exactly.
I think if I go to see my mother I just need to have some words prepared so that if she starts talking about my weight and making negative comments;
I can make some clear boundary;
like, “I dont want to discuss this”
Just so I actually dont have to be on the receiving end of unwanted comments.
It will be so important for you to think about what you need to say to her ahead of time for sure, and be firm about it so she knows there’s no room for discussion about it.
I decided that I’m going to let my mother-in-law know about my weight gain before they get here. I wasn’t going to at first, but then I realized that if I didn’t she would constantly be looking at me the whole time trying to figure out what’s going on, but wouldn’t dare say anything, although when I’m not around she would ask my husband what’s going on. Instead, I’ve decided that I’d rather be the one to tell her and have her mentally prepared and used to the idea of me being bigger before she even gets here. It will be less stressful that way, I think.
I initially had the same thought in regards to my MIL, but the more I think about it, the less I’m inclined to deal with her in that way. With everyone else, yes, but I know she’ll want an answer and go to my husband to get it, and I don’t want him to be put in that position, nor do I want anyone else to give answers on my behalf. I want to be the one to speak for myself. Nobody else I know, who sees me, would even ask, or say anything. They might be thinking, “What the heck!”, but they don’t say it to me, and I feel no inclination to say anything to them.
I don’t live near my family, so they don’t even know that I’ve gained weight. The only issue will be with my MIL, and that’s only an issue because she’s coming to visit, otherwise I don’t see her often and wouldn’t have had to say anything if that graduation wasn’t coming up. Know what I mean?
Yes, lets keep in touch at YE now. It will be easier.
I am hoping like hell that tapering will be happening before that time frame ! Yeeks.. So long to wait..
Reading this conversation has been so helpful to me! I’m pretty much in the same place – started in December and have gone from a size 8 to a 14. Was never larger than a 10 at my largest so I feel like I don’t know how to dress myself anymore! And struggling to push through the lack of appetite and keep the calories high. Luckily for me my husband is supportive. He wants kids as much as I do and he’s been following this site and gaining a bit along with me, although actually I think he looks great – not all bulgy and flabby like me! And my mother has been supportive also. I feel pretty awful at the moment, achy and tired and blah and my skin looks bad, but I feel so encouraged after reading what you all have to say. It’s good to know that we’re all following a somewhat predictable pattern, that gives me a lot of hope. I wish I had found out about all of this 8 years ago when I first started trying to get pregnant. I probably would have been so much better off EingTF instead of putting myself through fasts and all kinds of other efforts to try to heal myself. Never having been obviously underweight it just never occurred to me that a lot of my problems may have stemmed from consistently eating below maintenance level calories.
That’s wonderful that you have such great support, Lorna! The hard part for me is just hanging in there, knowing the average healing time is 18 months. If I had not known that, I would have given up by now assuming it wasn’t working for me. Initially, I had truly thought that it would take just a couple of months.
Your symptoms are very classic. The sad thing is, because feeling worse initially with healing is part of the experience, many people stop doing it because they think something is wrong, that they should be feeling better, not worse.
I know what you mean about having symptoms at a normal weight. I was never underweight either, so have been shocked to realize all my symptoms have been simply from dieting. The sad thing is, no doctor will tell you that you need to eat more and stop dieting. They don’t realize that there’s a direct connection between the common symptoms and dieting. Because, after all, dieting is a healthy thing to do, especially the 1200 calorie recommendation for women!!!
I feel like I’ve been duped, and I’m angry that doctors, diet gurus, and nutritionists could even think that that’s a healthy amount of calories to be taking in, and regularly recommend under eating. How is it that all these so called experts don’t know what the hell their talking about? I used to love watching The Biggest Loser, now I can’t watch it. It now makes me sad that the show is reaching a national, and now world-wide, audience to perpetuate the nonsense. As a world, we are only going to get more malnourished and suffer increasing health consequences because of it. When will they all wake up and start telling people to eat more?
I’m glad you have figured out what you need to do to help yourself and that you will find yourself pregnant at the end of this journey. And now that you know better, you don’t have to diet for the rest of your life and you will continue to live with good health and have energy to be a good mom. I wish I could get back those years where I just existed and had to push myself to get through the day. My kids knew that I had health problems, so they didn’t take my low energy (less involvement) personally, but I still hate that it was that way. I just wish more than anything that I would have known that I just needed to eat more. I still can’t believe that the answer was so simple all along.
I have explained to my oldest daughter (20 yrs. old) what I’m going through and she completely understands and supports me. Intelligent woman that she is, she told me that when she was in high school and there was that pressure to under eat and be super skinny that she thought through the issue and decided that dieting was dumb and that she was never going to do that to herself. Instead, she focused on accepting her shape as it was because, as she said, “We’re meant to be different from each other, so why would I want to force myself to look like everyone else?” She’s naturally a size 4-6, and beautifully shaped with womanly curves. Can you believe at her size there is pressure to be even smaller??? Thank goodness though, she recognized that she’s meant to be curvy, and not have that pre-pubescent size 0 look. She told me that she looks forward to the day that she is a chubby grandma because, in her mind, grandmas are meant to be soft and cuddly. I can’t tell you the good it did my heart to have her tell me all of those things. It’s good to know that I don’t have to worry about her going down this road. She has seen first-hand, from what I’ve gone through, that it doesn’t work and only causes suffering and misery. Thankfully, you’ll be able to share this information with your kids as well and can save them from a life of misery.
If you haven’t done so already, you can click on my name and all of this information is gathered into one spot on my blog. The blog is not an interactive blog, just a space where all this information is easily accessible.
Good luck to you, and please keep us updated on your progress.
Ditto all that Emma says!
I found the Eatopia site really good for understanding that dieting damages the body- underweight or not!!!
Some of her stuff;
Here’s the example I constantly use to illustrate this point:
2 women same height. One is optimally mean to be BMI 24, the other BMI 21. The first one starves down to BMI 20 and receives a bunch of compliments for her weight loss. The second one starves down to BMI 17 and enters an inpatient program to re-feed.
But which one has anorexia nervosa? Trick question. They both do. They both have the same physical damage and health risks associated with their weight loss. Dieting is dangerous for absolutely everyone.
Given this scenario, yes it is exactly the same recovery process for everyone
When you restrict intake relative to your body’s actual energy needs, then it makes up the energy deficit by pilfering energy from everything in your body, not just your fat organ, but also muscles, bones, all other organs etc.
Our society believes that dieting is benign and is merely about trimming down ?excess? fat on our frames. The reality is that fat is not a storage compartment, but a critical hormone producing organ and the body also does not discriminate when it comes to trying to make up the energy deficits either.
In addition to the heart muscle being destroyed in the process of the body catabolizing energy from all the cells throughout the body, it is also possible that the volume of blood in your body is reduced such that the heart muscle has to work too hard to get the blood moving through the circulatory system.
The body is busily catabolizing all your cells when you create daily energy deficits and it strips the myelin from your nerves as part of this energy compensation.
In a way I applaud what you are doing re your MIL.
I think it is courageous.
But in another way I think- why should we even have to justify or explain our weight?!
Why should it even be considered an issue to have to explain or account for.
If you know what I mean..
oh yeah, and this link persephone sent me re cellulite and fat/weight/womans bodies.
I love it!!!
how to feel normal when u are not thin!!
Oops, Nola, I accidentally answered you above just a little.
Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.
I can see your point of view re your MIL- and protecting your husband!
I hope it goes well.
Quick update. After being weight stable for several weeks now, I had a sudden jump in weight. I don’t know if it’s bloat, or what, but I feel like I’m doing really good regardless of the reason. I’m not sure, but I think I’m about to turn the corner in this journey. The last week my appetite and hunger cues made a HUGE jump in improvement, to the point that I feel like they have finally normalized completely. For the last week, my hunger cues consistently prompted me to eat. I didn’t need to “plan” when I would eat at all. For the last couple of days, I decided to eat to appetite without counting my calories to see what would happen, and my appetite and hunger cues easily took me to my minimum calories every time.
I feel 100% ready to start eating intuitively. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. My appetite and hunger cues being messed up has really bothered me a lot. I hate feeling like I can’t rely on my body to let me know what it needs. One of my main goals has been to get to the point where I can follow my hunger cues and not have to continue counting calories because I don’t want to count calories for the rest of my life.
I’m assuming this means that I’m close, if not already at the point, where my weight will start to work its way to its normal range. I’m not weighing every day any more, but I will probably weigh once a month to track my progress and see what my weight does at this point.
I have been wondering how it is going for you.
That is good about your appetite and hunger cues.
I wonder what is the difference in physiology between someone who loses them and someone who doesnt.
I dont think I ever really lost mine. I simply tried to ignore them, or shut them down (high volume -low calorie food, exercise) as I dieted, to keep calories low and weight down.
Over the past years I have been observing them more carefully to understand what is my true biological hunger, and now I am pretty clued into my hunger signals!
Hunger and intuitive eating leads me to eat well over the minimum.
My average of cals each day is around 4500, still sedentary.
I am not sure what is happening with my weight- I dont weigh, and I dont look too closely..
Sometimes I think I might be weight/size stable , other times I am not sure.
I know with my body fat can creep on here and there, and then suddenly, I seem to get larger all in one hit..
So I guess a part of me is afraid of this, that I am growing without realising it- because I am not wearing close fitting clothes..
I am have been struggling with the size I am, it is a daily thing for me. In a way I cant jump off the band wagon, but in another way I am thinking- how can I get my body to stop gaining weight and start losing!
So far, I am still going..
From reading on Eatopia- being weight stable for a month is a sign of the metabolism coming up to speed , and being in good working order again.
So for me that is my marker for the main healing I am looking for-
a metabolism that enables me to eat to appetite/hunger, without gaining.
(and – at the end of the day,
ending up a nice weight??)
I survived the family visiting. I’m thinking that the jump in weight was due to the stress I was under before they got here. Between the stress of family coming to visit and dealing with the life altering crises of a loved one, my body just had stress overload. My weight has been stable ever since the family got here and that initial stress of them seeing me was over, and things are getting better on the crises front. Now to see if the scale starts going down.
How are you doing?
I am glad things are getting better your way.
it sounds like it has been challenging.
I am doing a lot better – it looks like I have had a small taper in weight,
(going by visual/clothes, since as I dont weigh).
I am mainly eating around 4000 cals, so a bit less than before,
but around my period that goes up to 5000 some days.
I am not sure if the taper is temporary, or a sign of ongoing things-
but it has been a major encouragement, whichever way you look at it.
I am still pretty hungry- so I take that as the calories being needed by the body for ongoing healing.
I had tender swollen breasts last month- wondered if I was pregnant- lol,
but they dissipated, and this symptom has not returned- so it seems to have been a one-off ;
something must have been going on in my body.
I hope for more tapering!
My friend who is doing this is still gaining- but she does have a lot of stress and incidental activity in her daily life, and I wonder if this is hindering things.
But I feel bad , because I have encouraged her in this path- and she is bigger than either of us now.
She started at a higher fat level.. I hope things will work out for her too!
I’m so glad that you’re still hanging in there! It sounds like you’re doing good despite how difficult the process has been. You have really come so far. I’m so happy for you.
Aside from the inherent difficulty of the process, is your friend doing good, or is she having doubts about the process because of the weight gain?
I’m so happy that the YE forums are open again. I hadn’t anticipated joining but did join now that the forums are open to members only. Reading through the forums really provides me with the ongoing support that I need, so I felt that I had no choice but to join. :) Are you a member of the new YE forums? Are you posting under your EDSH name?
I am at Eatopia under “acora”
Which is also my name on the Uzilu forums.
I have found the Uzilu forums great- far better than Ed-haven. Do you know about the Uzilu forums?
I am glad too about Eatopia reopening.
It is a lifesaver reading other peoples stuff when you are going through this process!
I had a bit of a blip since I wrote last- my hunger went up ,and it looked like my taper reversed a bit.
So I was freaking out again..
I have had to stop counting- because I was becoming tempted to restrict to the amount that causes a taper (4000) . But my hunger went back up to around 5000 again.
Overall though, across the month I dont seemed to have enlarged anymore than the intial gain.
My friend is struggling- she had inadvertently dropped calories too low and was eating a lot less
and still gaining!
She is Hobbitzes3D on Eatopia.
She has a lot of stress in her life and I wonder if that is hindering things.
But she has raised her intake again and is plugging on.
She is afraid that it is not going to work though, and that she will keep gaining and gaining. She is at the knifes edge, finding the weight gain pretty unbearable.
Ahhh, you’re acora!!! When you said that I might remember you from 180, I was searching my brain trying to remember that brain, but just couldn’t. Know I know why. I had no idea you were acora at Uzilu. I never go there. I’m happy to know now that you’re at YE, and who you are. :)
Those blips are hard to get through. Every time I think my weight has stabilized, I have an unexpected gain in weight. I hope this time it’s for real. I don’t want to go through anymore gains.
Im sorry your friend is having such a hard time. We all think that this process won’t work for us. It is really such a tough thing to get through, but will be so worth it in the end. One of the girls at YE just mentioned today that she’s 15 months into full recovery and has yet to start tapering. Another girl is 12 months into full recovery and is just now beginning to taper. That made me realize that I may have to be prepared for another year at this weight before it starts to taper. I’m glad to know that though because I would have started wondering what the heck was going on in another month or two if my weight was still not budging. I was sort of hoping that the 18 months median timeframe included the body reaching it’s optimum weight. Oh well, that’s not going to stop me. I will get there come hell or high water. You keep hanging in there, too.
I’ll just keep in touch with you over at YE from here on out, if that works for you. Let me know.
Yes, lets keep in touch at YE now.
It will be easier.
I hope tapering will not take that long! Eeks! It is a long time to wait…
Thanks for this article! Very timely in my life!!
Huh. I lost my computer (and bookmarks), and when I did a search for 180health, what popped up on Google said you were shutting down? Please tell me it was an April Fool’s joke!
Also, the Fiber Menace guy is posting articles on The Healthy Home Economist, and his last post and resultant comments are making me hope you’ll head over there for some kind of smackdown. The only coherent thought I could form was “Where’s Matt Stone when you need him?”
(Sorry for being totally OT. *Goes to read article now*)
Please don’t make me read Monastyrsky, or the comments.
Is that the Russian guy who shits pellets and whose skin color looks like a hue of green?
Ay comrade. That’s the one. He’s a funny bastard but unfortunately an incurable know-it-all. Worse than me even. Yeah, that bad.
Um, his haircut alone scares the shit outta me!
Monastyrsky is a freaking crazy narcissist and I can’t believe The Healthy Home Economist blog owner is even letting him do these articles…maybe he paid her to let do them? There has been a lot of backlash on the article you linked to. And this article, I think, is the 4th one in a 40-article series! Gah!
Well I dunno- Monastrysky filled me in on one detail I hadnt realised;
too much fiber is not cool-
for me anyway..
Check German New Medicine. It consider cancer as a healing reaction of the body to an emotional stress.
It is not true that it took us 400 years to discover to connections. It was only the mainstream science that was on the wrong path. People have always known that, hence traditions like encouraging forgiveness and thanks giving.
Carlson, who lived on the roof used to say: Relax, relax and eat rich food!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXe2sLKmU8I V?rldens b’sta Karlsson!
How timely indeed, I am sitting at a Tim Hortons right now after wrestling with my anxiety all day and finally convincing myself to go out. I am having a lot of anxiety lately, it’s very tough to deal with but I know without a doubt it hearkens back to childhood and stuff I’ve never been able to resolve in my own mind. I believe everything Bella had to say and have thought as much myself before. I’m one of the few people I know who don’t believe swallowing a pill is the answer to almost anything but still suffering with a lot of unwelcome anxiety. It’s funny how really debilitating it can become even when you know that rationally you shouldn’t be letting it hold you back…
Yes you hit on the key point – logically knowing you should be able to get a handle on your anxiety but just not being able to. I think it is very empowering to understand why that is – so as to avoid making the matter worse by being really hard on yourself. It is almost impossible to calm down when biologically your body is responding to unresolved stress – causing the release of sympathetic stress hormones to be flooding through your system. So even if your conscious mind says “I’m okay” the unconscious mind, which is said to be 90-97% in control of your thoughts, emotions and biological function is saying the opposite: “There is a threat or a problem. We need to fight off this threat – we need more energy to overcome this!” – And your body responds accordingly to help. Your body is locked in this program until you clear the stress triggering it. For many who don’t like to stay stuck in their story or their past – it is about what you do with what has happened to you that matters. Instead of weight holding you back, you use past challenges as fuel help you move forward in life, and turning a challenge into growth and a meaningful opportunity.
I have had a tremendous amount of success with guided meditations for my anxiety. I also journal. Sometimes I take ashwaghanda. Its an ayurvedic treatment for anxiety. I don’t know if it would work for you. I’m not saying swallowing the pill is the answer. But, when you are taxing the body to the extent of having panic episodes, I do suggest that you might seek out either the meditation or an herbal solution and also use either journaling or some other method to grapple with your childhood issues. I had a tricky child hood as well and once I did come to terms with my childhood issues they would still crop up occasionally and I call that having ‘dementors’ (like in Harry Potter) or a ‘bogart’ (like in HP, what can I say, JK Rowling is good at describing the world I live in.) I also really do well with a combination of lunar yoga (soothing) and a lavendar bath. I only like the Dresdner brand of lavendar, but it depends on the person. I use just 1/4 of the little individual size packet and I add epsom salts.
You might think that your anxiety is caused by the issues from your childhood. I’m not saying those are not the issues that surface. I’m sure that you suffer from PTSD and anxiety. However, you need to know that bad chemistry in the body can cause and induce the episodes. The body replays the right tape from your head that matches the bad chemistry in your body. Its a form of state dependent learning. Your body is experiencing anxiety state, so it plays back the last experience you had under which you had this anxiety state cascade of chemistry. Luckily, that doesn’t mean that you must suffer indefinitely or needlessly.
Once you have worked out what you need to with your child hood issues, it becomes easier to set them aside and to recognize the anxiety for what it is: bad body chemistry. The experience at the time was real. The sadness, grief, fear, or confusion was and is real. The chemistry is real, thats why you feel (frankly) crappy. The thing that has helped me move on with my own life the most has been coming to understand that what happened to me was not actually about me even though it happened to me. (Life altering burns in my case) The adults should have done a better job. But their failing is not my failing. Whatever happened to you was not your failing either. You seem to really understand that.
The other thing that you said that I noticed was that you seem to think that you ‘are letting hold you back’ well, would you be ‘letting it hold you back’ if your leg was broken? What the issue is, is that your brain has a pathway that is old and well worn, you need to create a new pathway and over time re-educate the brain to go down a different path. You might look into ‘brain plasticity’. That has helped me to understand my own brain.
I hope that some of that is helpful.
The most powerful statement for curing anxiety (in my opinion) is this. “Whatever happens it is OK”. Say this statement every time your feeling anxious, and try to believe it. I’m having a panic attack in a grocery store, I think I am going to have a heart attack or pass out. Whatever happens it is OK. If I pass out so what, it will be fun. If I have a heart attack so what, I have to die sometime.
Never say “what if, replace “what if” with “so what”. So what if I lose my job, I will get another one. So what if WW3 breaks out, it will be interesting to live through history.
Excellent way to turn it around. I like ‘So What?”
I’m taking a wild guess that you don;t have kids…
Ha ha! Well said Tierney.
Does EFT work for children- a 17 month old toddler to be specific? I have been researching like crazy trying to find something to do to help my son with what seems to be asthma attacks that keep coming on. I know you hear alot about allergen triggers and food allergies, but what about emotional triggers? His coughing always begins when he starts crying or get very angry. Any insight on healing this, or at least not doing more harm to an already stressed system?
Asthma from META-Health research has to do with: Territory-fear-conflict or a Shocking-fear-conflict.
Emotions: Being afraid, apprehensive, perturbed, someone threatens to invade my territory.
Has your son had someone that he didn’t know or like come into his territory (your home) that caused him to have stress?
Is he having trouble breathing on the inhalation or the exhalation?
Hi Bella- thank you for the reply! I could see him fitting those emotions. He is VERY clingy, whiny and has extreme seperation anxiety. I rarely ever leave him, and when I do it’s always with his father(he doesn’t even like that too much). There were a couple times my sister has watched him and he was ok during the 1st few hours, then had a difficult time, but this after the asthma symptoms had already started. He doesn’t really like when people he doesn’t know visit, but he is getting a little better and more familiar with our family that comes around. I hear wheezing in both the inhalation and exhalation, but I would say he does definitely have a difficult time exhaling.
I feel for you and your little boy . Please look up asthma, good/ bad fats, particularly on the Weston A Price website . We need to avoid bad fats at all cost, while including abundant amounts of good fats in our diet. Best ofluck!
Sorry if you have written about this before.What diets did you try before ?
And what do you eat now?
I’ve done Atkins, calorie counting, WW, low carb, Gaps, Paleo, etc. You know, all the most common ones out there. Right now I eat anything and everything I want. I have no restrictions whatsoever with what I eat, except I don’t eat whole grains because bran causes me to have severe depression, but I do eat them if they are refined… white flour, white rice, etc. I limit nuts because they cause me to break out, but they don’t bother me in a digestive way. I’m hoping as my digestion improves I’ll be able to eat them more regularly.
“…but they don’t bother me in a digestive way. I’m hoping as my digestion improves I’ll be able to eat them more regularly.”
I realized that might sound confusing. What I mean by that is I’ve heard of other people who can eat food that previously bothered them, in one way or another, once they have healed. The body, once healed, is able to handle and process the foods without the body having reactions to them.
EmmaW, I’m a grandparent of 5 (9 months – 13 years) who’s been using EFT from the time they were born with stunning success!
I first tap for any fear, anxiety, guilt, etc. that I have as that can be a big block to helping someone close. After that I use QT or EFT while also breathing into my heart and beaming love to the recipient. It doesn’t seem to matter if they’re in front of me or in another room or even city!
I could’ve sewn buttons on a favorite stuffed animal but I bought a “Tappy Bear” a few years ago; he makes it easy to teach even babies and the grandkids love him!
German New Medicine/Meta Medicine rocks! It can be verified in every case and for many it completely erases the fear of suffering & disease, replacing it with knowledge and empowerment.
This is actually german new medicine GNM youre talking about, the founder was dr.hamer. dr.hamer reputedly treated over 20,000 cancer patients with a 90% cure rate. He was later prosecuted and had his medical license revoked, despite having over 6000 former patients write to the court expressing the success they had with his treatment. I think he lives in norway now and is opening a GNM hospital there.