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My 21 Y/O Fiancee's Metabolism is Absolutely Horrible and I Don't Know What to Do

I have never met someone her age with a worse metabolism. She’s 21 years old, 5’10 207 and I honestly think her daily calories burned rate is probably 1100 even though all the calculators online say she should be burning 2600 per day. She works out very intense with weights 3 times a week, runs around with kids all day at work, etc…

when she eats 500 calories (basically 1 healthy meal all day), she loses like 1 - 2 lbs a week… when she eats 1300-1800, she gains all the weight back. I have her tracking every single thing she eats on the app. I’ve spent entire days with her, where I watch every single thing she puts in her mouth. I’ve seen multiple days where she only eats 1 healthy meal all day long (basically meat and veggies), skips breakfast and lunch. Even on a semi cheat day on Saturdays, she’ll have 2 meals all day and probably 1700 calories at most. I eat 3x what she eats during every meal… She doesn’t drink alcohol, doesn’t drink pop. I make sure she eats high protein, veggies and other healthy stuff. She probably eats 90% clean with 10% semi junk but the overall calories are always super low. I have taught her how to measure and track calories and measure what she eats. She now knows how much is 100 calories of rice and everything. I would say she’s about 95% accurate in her calorie estimations everyday

Seriously wtf is this? She should be 160. I had her do a full comprehensive blood test and all her tests are absolutely perfect. Nothing wrong with her hormones or thyroid at all. Should I have her do clenbuterol or something? I’m so frustrated. She desperately wants to lose weight. I’m going completely fukking crazy that I can’t help her

No dude, wtf. You seem overbearing to me.

Surely there is more to the story than “my fiancee eats really clean and trains really hard but is still fat”. If I could guess, you’ve stressed her out with all this and she is closet eating McDonalds.

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Your fiancee’s metabolism is absolutely horrible because you guys are crashing it. She is gaining weight back because her body is constantly adapting to crazy low caloric intakes and then she’s upping it once a week. STOP THIS. Her estimated maintenance calories - if you were to plug it into a TDEE calculator, based on her age/height/weight/activity level is 2700 calories. Her once-a-week high day is 1700 calories and it sounds like she never eats 3 meals a day.

Do not put her on clen. She needs to spend several weeks eating over 2000 calories. 2200-2300 would be a good place to start. Maybe even 2500. During this time, she should limit her cardio as well. She will gain weight at first, but then it will level off. You HAVE to trust this process. After a couple weeks of no movement on the scale, you can drop a couple hundred calories from the diet, and once you start to get near 2000 calories again you can reintroduce more cardio.

Simply put, your fiancee is starving herself 7 days a week and never eating 3 meals, and she will never lose the weight and constantly be miserable about it. If you put her on clen you won’t solve anything, she’ll just gain it back, and you’re probably putting her at risk because she’s already severely underfed. You need to use the absolute highest calories you can to begin fat loss and SLOWLY reduce them. Crash diets don’t work. You’re not helping her by doing this.

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This. May not even be stress just overeating. Her metabolism is not crashed, barring some medical conditions it is not a thing.

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You do know there are professionals who specialize in this very thing right?

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That’s not true.

Metabolic DAMAGE is a myth - you don’t DAMAGE your metabolism. But you can adapt to a crazy low intake. And it’s devastating to crash dieters who have a lot of weight to lose. Unless you think that metabolic adaptivity is a myth.

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I saw that @eyedentist was posting, but now he’s not, and I’m disappointed because he’s a wealth of information and obviously knows about dieting down like a pro. Would be interested to hear if I’m totally off base here and I know the OP would benefit from hearing his take too. Either way, this must be a super unhealthy and stressful process for the girl in all of this, being taken for blood tests, being offered fat burners, etc.

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I too was interested in what @EyeDentist had to say. I can’t even imagine a 500 calorie day.

This is good news, as it means she very likely doesn’t have a serious medical condition causing her weight issue.

Absolutely not, and for multiple reasons, the main one of which is this: It’s a virtual lock any weight she lost on clen would come right back shortly after she stopped taking it. I say this because the way she is eating right now has her weighing 200#+, and a cycle of clen would not change anything about the way she eats.

Given that her metabolism is intact (as evidenced by her labs), there should be only one reason she is not losing weight, and that is that she is not in a caloric deficit, ie, she is taking in enough calories to sustain a BW of 207# at her current activity level. How many calories is that? For most women, their basal metabolic rate is around 11 cals/lb/d. But let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she drew a bad hand metabolism-wise–that she is one of the relatively few women cursed with a BMR of 10 cals/lb/d. This would put her pre-activity BMR at ~2100 cals/d. Add in a couple of hundred cals/d burned through activity, and she’s at 2300/d as her maintenance cals. Now let’s make her a metabolic unicorn and give her a crazy-low BMR of 9 cals/lb/d. That would still put her maintenance cals at ~2100 cals/d–way above what you say she eats.

Clearly, there are calories in play that are not being accounted for. So where are they coming from? There’s really only two possibilities–either she’s miscounting her intake, or she is eating ‘off the books’ (ie, surreptitious eating).

I’m happy to share more thoughts if you’re interested, but first I’d like to gauge your response to what I’ve written thus far.

Edit to say hi and thanks to @flappinit and @ChickenLittle!

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No problem, appreciate the detailed response.

Question - how low can the human body’s metabolic adaptation go? I’m certain it’s not 500 cals at 207 lbs, but assuming metabolic adaptation to lower caloric intakes is a thing - and I’m pretty certain it is - what’s the lowest range that somebody could conceivably hit?

Eye dentist, what you’re saying is what I lean towards but during the quarantine, we are spending lots and lots of time together. I’m watching her diet habits very closely… she eats a third of what I eat

I’ve had multiple days where she ate 500 calories all day. When I eat 500 calories for 1 or 2 days, the scale immediately goes down 3 to 4 lbs

Flapping it, I think calorie/metabolic adaptation is a myth

Even if you believe it, it’s probably more realistic with bodybuilders at 6% bf. Its typically very easy to lose weight for casual lifters at high bodyfat

I was 5’10 240 in high school. When I did a hardcore low calorie cycle, I lost tons of weight immediately

So have I - but the weight loss stalled. As does most weight loss without repeatedly lowered calories. Either way in this, if you’re knowledgeable about caloric intakes and metabolic adaptation, why are you watching your fiancee eat 500 calories in a day? Is that healthy?

Also:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6086582/

But I’m still not sure it’s a thing - lot of pushback here, but there should be a concensus that this is an unhealthy way to have her lose weight.

I don’t know anything about dieting so I’m not going to be offering this dude any advice but this is interesting.

My mom, 5’ & 200lbs has been trying to lose weight for a couple years. Most strict period of this was two straight months earlier this year of eating a diet of basically plain meat, rice and veggies, courtesy of a nutritionist. I think she’d spend 3 days at 1700 cals, then 2400, then 2200, then 2000, then the 7th day of the week was a 24 hour fast. She was told it was a carb cycling diet. She adhered to it perfectly the whole time (I lasted 10 days, haha.)

I know you’re not a nutritionist so if you have no idea that’s fine, but you think eating over maintenance for several weeks before trying to slowly cut back is the way to go?

(She didn’t lose any weight on the diet, just dropped to the bottom of the 5lb range her weight usually sits in. She has a thyroid problem but knows that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to lose weight.)

I said over 2000 calories. I didn’t say over maintenance. Her maintenance at 207 lbs is almost certainly over those intakes. What I said was that she should use the highest possible calories that yield any sort of fat loss. If she’s sneaking food, it’s because she’s having days where she basically eats nothing under the watchful eye of her fiancee, and those cravings which are leading her to sneak food are there because of those stressful low days.

If she’s eating low intakes, then eating around her maintenance would likely result in some initial weight gain, is all I meant. Then, once she’s out of the vicious cycle of undereat-overeat, she can begin to slowly drop her calories.

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Gotcha. I was confused.

Didn’t mean to come across as questioning, I just actually wanted to know what you meant.

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Yeah, I’d have questioned that too if someone was like she should eat a fuckload. Obviously, I know less than I thought I knew about this a few minutes ago, haha - but what has always worked for me and for anyone I’ve helped is to use as few tools as possible to get as much as possible, and then to add those tools in as slowly as possible to stretch the weight loss out. Perhaps that was less about adaptation and more about slow steady results, but if there’s no metabolic adaptation or starvation response I’d be interested to know why a rebound can occur so quickly in people that have crash dieted.

MOST IMPORTANTLY - if you know, or think you know anything that I don’t and I’m saying it like it’s gospel, which happens - call me out on it, questioning or not. I’m opinionated, but I’ll drop my argument in the face of evidence or reason. Couldn’t be further from a problem, brother.

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My mother has a thyroid problem and I made her lose 15 kgs and she wasn’t even at 1500 cals so I can’t even fathom the damage 500 would cause. I have a friend who’s like this. He doesn’t do sports or anything, will eat like a monk for several days, then will splurge and cry he doesn’t lose weight. It has been for years

Can you tell us exactly what she ate in some of these 500 calorie meals?

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