T Nation

Help Repairing Metabolic Damage


#1

Hi everybody.

I’m a girl at 20 years old from Denmark.
I started my fitness journey 7 weeks ago.
In my past i ate very restrictive and i have been on a super low calorie diet for almost two years… I lost 13kg and i was super skinny - actually unhealthy skinny and i had no muscle mass… I was modelling and i participated in beauty competitions, so i had a pressure on me…
For over 7 months i have been trying to ‘‘repair’’ my metabolism and in june i had actually gained the weight back… Now i just stand here and i don’t really know what to do… I started to train 7 weeks ago and i can already see it on my stomach and i’m starting to get abs again… I eat between 1700-2100 calories a day, it depends on what my body needs. I actually try to listen to my body instead of doing those crash diets… BUT my question is!! Will i ever be able to get in shape again? I’m not fat, but i’m a little bit fluffy and i really feel uncomfortable in my body right now.
I’m a small person and when i gain a little bit fat it looks like i have gained a lot…

Sorry for my english i hope u guys understand the text… I really hope that u can help!

Best regards Kathrine!


#2

This is an incredibly common problem. Google and read about “reverse dieting” specifically articles by layne norton.


#3

You are very young, so I believe pretty soon you will see tangible results, especially if you are training with weights, it´s just a matter of time, effort and knowledge too.

Just some comments from an “amateur lifter”:

Try to go to a gym where you see muscular people (at least some). Gyms where everybody looks like a cooworker normally aglutinates people who basically will look always the same. My opinion is you can train at a place like that ONLY if you really know what you have to do by yourself and do not need inspiration from people around you (I don´t think is your case).

If you don´t know how to find out about a good gym (which means, with real BBs training there) find out (google) the phone of the local BB federation and ask them from which gyms come most athletes that compete for them.

Gruss aus Deutschland!


#4

Be patient. I’ve you’ve been under eating for almost two years, then expect that your metabolic rate will gradually adjust back to normal over the few months, to a year.

Resist the impulse to drastically cut calories or start adding a bunch of cardio. Both of these things are counter-productive to bringing your metabolic rate up. Try to get adequate sleep.

Small person here! It’s true, a few pounds show more.

Also, it’s normal to feel “fluffy” when you’ve come out of a period of dieting. Some of that is likely just water, as you were likely eating very few carbs when you were under-eating. Some women (and men) get addicted to seeing themselves carb-depleted (manipulating water) because you instantly look leaner, and more defined. I suspect that’s part of what you’re seeing. Try to not get caught up in that because it will just mess with your mind.

Best of luck to you!


#5

Thank u! I have really been struggling these days… But as Powerpuff says i have to be patient…
I’m glad that u believe this is possible… It takes so much of my energy try to find out what i have to do about it…

Thank you so much! ‘‘neighbour’’ :wink:


#6

Sorry but if u knew how many times i have been googling this…
I want to hear this from persons who have tried it before.


#7

Thank u so much!
It really helps me a lot - i really have been struggling these days, and my motivation has been shit…

Thank u so much :slight_smile: <3


#8

Don’t be sorry. Your choices don’t impact me. One’s ability to take responsibility for self education as opposed to reliance on someone else spoon feeding information is in direct proportion to results and success. You can’t expect people to type out an encyclopedia of information on a topic when it already exists. If you’re wondering how to repair metabolic damage, research reverse dieting.


#9

To be extremely honest. As young as you are, I highly doubt you’ve put yourself through enough to cause any permanent damage whatsoever. And this is coming from someone who has recovered from 14 years of an eating disorder.

What does your workout look like?

What are your macros like?

How much cardiovascular or conditioning work do you do?

What are your specific goals?

It’s not hard, in fact rather simple, to find a good workout plan, run it, and adjust it accordingly. I take it you’ve read enough to have a good base and you know what to do.

But as far as metabolic damage, you probably don’t really have any. Just need to put in solid for a few years, good nutrition, and decent amounts of conditioning to see results.


#10

I’m glad to hear…
woow i have so much respect for you, 14 years is a very long time!
I always do fullbody programs and i don’t count my macros. I actually don’t know how much i need…
My specific goals are to get toned, lean and healthy.
I don’t train cardio because it is very stressing…
Generally i feel that my metabolism is so much better… My body has been in ‘‘recovery’’ which mean no dieting for 8 months now…
I really just want to lose that fat i’ve gained back… I’m not fat but i’m fluffy, and my frame is actually pretty small so it’s easy to feel heavy…

Thank you!


#11

Just a suggestion, based a bit off of @planetcybertron’s comment.

You’re only 20, and you’ve spent at least two years under eating. What you may feel is too soft, may be your healthy adult female shape.

For example, if you’ve been under eating, you’d expect that eating more healthfully might mean you’re a size or two bigger in clothes when you’re healthy, especially if you were carrying body fat below 18% to model. Just throwing that number out there.

Also, your body image might need to adjust to having more softness to your hips and thighs and being OK with that, particularly if your body fat was below where it would need to be to support normal hormonal function. That may not apply, but it’s often the case with women who have severely restricted calories for ballet, modeling, etc…

Building muscle while you work on better health may not go with your goals of looking…

I suspect that you’re already used to being very lean, having low body fat, just without much muscle. Just a caution. You still see a lot of disordered eating in the figure/fitness world. People who are trying to live at levels of leanness that aren’t healthy or sustainable, and that will drive their metabolic rate down. Be careful not to fall into that. Some women imagine that they can look like the fitness cover models all the time. It’s likely not healthy to try to do that.


#12

Dear everyone :slight_smile: I just want to say that i’m never ever going on a diet again!
I eat intuitively and i always eat until i’m satisfied!..
I actually don’t believe in any diets… We are meant to feel our hunger cues and our bodies do not want us to be fat…
And yes i actually like that i’m a little softer now, but i’m also too soft at some places…
But i have seen this happen to other girls and they started to eat balanced and they also reached their healthy goals, so i hope i can do it too.


#13

For sure! Just working on better nutrition is a good goal, as is trying to add some muscle. You want to make sure you’re eating adequate protein. Other than that, if you develop some healthy habits, you can just make gradual adjustments up or down in terms of caloric surplus, depending on your goals.

Please don’t take my comments as discouraging. :slight_smile: I haven’t seen your body, or your training. I have seen, or experienced, some of the common pitfalls. With regard to body composition, lift weights, then progress to lifting heavier weights. Eat adequate protein. Be patient.

About finding a healthy and sustainable way to eat. Something like the Zone macros have worked really well for me as I’ve worked on both strength and body composition goals. I shift calories up or down depending on what I’m doing, and how I feel. It’s not fancy.

I have tracked calories and macros enough over the years, that I don’t need to do that anymore to know where I’m at. If you find that eating “intuitively” isn’t getting you to your goals, then tracking what you’re eating for a few weeks is a good way to see if your caloric estimates and macros are on track. It’s a pain, but you don’t have to do it forever.

Best,

Puff


#14

Thinking about resources for you. You might like Sohee Lee. She has an Instagram and FB presence. Sohee Fit. I don’t know your height, but she’s a small woman as well. I like to find knowledgeable people who have a similar build.

She has a more pragmatic and sustainable approach to eating, much like you’re talking about. And an emphasis on weight training.


#15

Careful with that logic.

Instinctive eating can work, if you eat very clean and are conscious of your eating.

It can also be a very liberating way to eat when you find a balance that works for you, and it sounds like you have so that’s great.

However its definitely not true to say our bodies don’t want us to be fat, the obesory crisis is definitely not being caused by people ignoring their bodies or force feeding themselves. Sugar is addictive, and you will crave it when you don’t need it, moreso the more you consume it.


#16

Thank you! Nice information :slight_smile:

I actually count my calories now to make sure that i get enough… Can i really trust a BMR?
Do i have any tips to find out How much food i need?


#17

Can you trust a BMR to be accurate? Not a chance in hell. Can they give a start point if you dont knwo where you should be targeting? yes.

However you have diet experience, and already watch what you eat.

My suggestion would be log a week or two of eating, or look back at a week or two or past logging, and look at calories and macronutrient breakdown. If you maintained your bodyweight over that period, that is your baseline for that level of activity, you are already at the answer.

If you gained or lost weight, look at how much.