I have been lurking around here for a few weeks, and I am a little bit afraid to post this, that you will just give me bad advice because you think I am lying about my measurements, etc. due to the troll known as friedrice. The thing is, my situation is similar to his.
But the difference is that there is no psychological problem with me, and that I actually am fat, by which I mean, my body fat percentage is actually high, rather than it just being me worrying about an extra pound or two of fat.
To condense the explanation but still clearly describe my situation, I will say this:
I am 16 years old, 5’7’’, about 175 lbs, was anorexic for about a year and a half, lost a lot of weight, am still fat (around 27% body fat, apparently), have little muscle, and want to make some kind of notable progress soon but am afraid that I am stuck somehow.
Here is my long explanation, which may be necessary to read to understand:
About two years ago I was very very fat, in fact I have been fat all of my life, but my fattest was probably the end of being 14 and beginning of 15 years old. I would say I weighed at least 220 lbs around then. About a year and half ago, I started to become basically anorexic.
I am not sure if it really is anorexia, because there was nothing psychologically wrong with me. I had no “fat phobia,” and did not want to become skin and bones, I just wanted to stop being so fat, and I was one of those ignorant people who thinks “Well, if I eat less, I will lose fat right? And the less I eat, the faster I will lose it!” and knew nothing about the body going into starvation mode or that starving myself would cause muscle loss, etc.
It did work, it worked well in fact. I lost a lot of weight, which was my goal, but I should have had clearer goals. Here is how my anorexia went:
Around the summer of 2005 I started eating about half of what I normally ate (in calories). I am not actually sure, because I made no effort to eat healthier foods, I just ate less. So eating half of the calories I ate before was probably not so bad, because my whole life I was a pig and had a terrible diet.
But after about a month of that, I went lower, and lower, and about around September of that year I was probably eating around 1000 calories per day, and around the end of September through to the end of October I ate literally no more than what I thought I needed to survive.
I ate the same thing daily so it is pretty easy for me to calculate my caloric intake: somewhere between 250-400 calories per day. My daily diet during this time literally looked like this:
Breakfast: 1 piece of beef jerky (I always have loved beef jerky)
Lunch: A slice of cheese
Dinner: 1 bite of whatever my family ate the night before (leftovers were always available, if not, I would just find something like a piece of bread and take 1 bite of that)
I ate a bit more during November, around 500-700 calories per day I think. I ate a bit more around December (plus a bunch of large meals, you know, family gatherings during the holidays.) Then it was back down to 500-700.
Around March of this year I started going to the gym, thinking it could only help me lose weight faster (I was surprised at this point that I still had fat left, since I ate so little for so long. I am not surprised now, knowing what I know.)
But recently I have found that apparently, blasting my muscle at the gym, then giving my body so few calories to rebuild with, only whittled my muscle away at a faster rate. This is not a good thing. Around May I started eating normally, well, what I considered normal then. I would say it was 1200 calories per day at the most. During the summer I ate a bit more, then less after summer.
This leads to now. Or, recently anyway. Around the middle of October this year, I was frustrated that I had not lost really any fat for a few months, nor had I EVER had any muscle gains despite working out at the gym, and I started reading places like this on the internet about fitness.
So, I upped my calories gradually to about 1800 near the end of October to keep cutting, but then I decided cutting may not be the best thing to do since I had so little muscle and I knew my metabolism was messed up from eating so little for so long.
So I started to bulk. This started the last week of October. I ate around maintenance level for about a week and went much heavier on my lifting (I had lately been going easy on myself, from feeling exhausted I guess).
Even just eating at maintenance level, I was able to go up in weight for some exercises after only a week; newbie gains I suppose. The next week I was up to about 2900-3000 calories per day, and the next week about 3100-3500 calories per day, until the end of my bulk. I stopped bulking on Thanksgiving (or, I guess, after Thanksgiving…since I ate like a beast on Thanksgiving anyway.)
I ate slightly under maintenance level for about three days after, then down to about 2000 calories for a few days, and now I am eating about 1800 calories per day (my limit, to keep from making the same mistake again).
You are probably wondering, why even cut? You were anorexic for so long, and need some muscle. Well, yes, both of those things are true. It is also true, as you might guess, that much of what I lost while anorexic was not actually fat, and I had a LOT of fat to lose.
Now, my body fat % is…well, according to http://www.he.net/~zone/prothd2.html I still have 27% body fat. I know that the site should probably not be trusted too much compared to a mirror, but when I look in the mirror, I look pretty flabby as well.
When I look in the mirror I do not look fat in the same way I used to. I look skinny fat, but to an extreme level. The skinny parts of me are quite skinny, and the fat parts are quite fat. I can just grab a whole handful of fat on my thigh or gut, but around my shoulders for example, there is nothing.
So because of being skinny fat, there is more reason to believe that the body fat % measurement is incorrect. Also, the fat is not really “surrounding” me as it normally does a fat person, it is more like it is hanging off of me.
I have no moobs anymore, like I did, my chest looks pretty lean, but my gut has this blob of fat just hanging off of it, and despite it I also have some loose skin there. And I can just grab a handful of fat on my thigh and pull it up, like I am moving my whole leg or something. It is truly weird.
But, now you are maybe thinking the opposite. You are thinking, why even consider bulking, 25% is a bit too much. I agree completely, being that fat sucks. But I am wanting to make real progress as soon as possible. I feel like if I try to cut down to say 15% before bulking, it would take a long time because I went so long without eating, so maybe even after a month of bulking, my metabolism will just quickly adapt to 1800 calories.
But I am also thinking if I continue bulking, then I may not gain muscle as efficiently as I would normally (although in just the month I bulked, I did get a nice amount of muscle growth…which is to be expected from almost nothing), since my bf% is so high. And if I just maintained, that would not bring any progress.
So, I do not know what to do. My first instinct is to cut, because frankly, I am sick of being fat. I have been fat for the past ten years, which is a long time for me, being only 16, and I have pretty much decided that it sucks. But when I think about it, I am afraid that if I try to cut, my body will just adapt quickly again and I will just waste more time making no progress. So then I should bulk? But I am already very fat and from what I hear, that is not so good.
I can already predict what I am going to be told by you guys, because everyone told this to friedrice over and over, but I want to be sure, since friedrice is a skinny twig with little branch limbs, and I am more of a big marshmallow with four toothpicks sticking out of it.
My body fat% is supposedly 25%, friedrice looked more like 10% in his pic (but it was blurry). I do not have a very hard time believing my bf% was so high, but I want to hear what you guys think.
Also, would bulking for a month be enough to get my metabolism back to a normal state for a long time, after anorexia for a year and a half? It does not sound like it to me, but I do not want to bulk if it is not a good idea.
Someone please give me suggestions, because I feel as if no matter which way I go, it will not have much benefit. Thank you for reading, and thank you for any help.
By the way, sorry for lack of pictures. I have no camera or recent pictures of me.