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How To Repair Metabolism After Yo-yo Dieting

Thermic Effect Of Food

REVERSE DIETING…Can You Fix A Slow Metabolism?

This may surprise you, but it takes energy to digest food. Digestion is an active metabolic process.

TEF is the number of calories you burn by eating, digesting, and processing your food. This represents roughly 5-10 percent of your energy out.

In general, youll burn more calories in your effort to digest and absorb protein and carbs than you do fats .

And as noted before, youll burn more calories digesting minimally processed whole foods compared to highly processed foods.

Reverse Dieting Vs Going All In On A Diet Recovery Process To Heal The Metabolism

Its different for some people.

But overall I do not recommend reverse dieting to regulate extreme hunger and/or binge eating or the metabolism, which you can read more about in this post.

Some people when first starting out and this is totally new, often gravitate towards the slow increase in their fear foods and in their overall caloric intake.

But it is absolutely miserable and torturous for them.

Other people actually do better and heal quicker if they just committed themselves to going all in on a diet recovery process and ate a lot of calories, to complete satiety, without slowly easing into it

(even if theyre so hungry that they get up to eating 10,000+ calories a day in their early diet or eating disorder recovery and nutritional rehabilitation phase, then so be it

Like myself and the men in the Minnesota starvation experiment, you can read more about this in my book damn the diets!)

How Long Will It Take

Every person is different. The time it will take for your metabolism to recover does depend on your body and the damage that was done. Do note that it does take some time. Over time, you will not only look better but more importantly feel better. That is what counts!

Remember that being healthy is more important than how you look. Treat your body right and get into the best shape so you can feel your greatest. If you are interested in more information, feel free to check out this YouTube video.

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What Not To Do For Metabolic Damage

So, now you go and get some help. Maybe your personal trainer tells you, Youre in starvation mode. You need to eat more and ease up on the exercise. You bump your calories back up and do the elliptical while reading a magazine instead.

Guess what happens? You blow up like a balloon. That was not the best thing to do with your metabolism still moving at a snails pace.

Maybe you go see a doctor, get some blood work, or you give up completely. Recovery will take more.

What Causes Your Metabolism To Slow Down

12 Tips On How to Repair Metabolism After Yo Yo Dieting

You probably already know that your metabolism determines the number of calories you burn each day. Consequently, this determines how much food you can eat before you start gaining unwanted weight.

But I want to go one teeny-tiny step further and explain the three pieces that make up your metabolic speed…

Stick with me hereonce you have these metabolic pieces down pat, you can being taking steps towards improving your metabolism and start losing weight with ease!

1. Resting Metabolic Rate

RMR refers to the number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions each day. Its the energy you burn BEFORE exercise.

Individual RMR’s vary depending on factors such as sex, height, weight, fat mass, and fat-free mass .

The ole’ metabolism not kicking the way it was back in high school?

Aging effects the speed of your metabolism too.

Most of the time, though, the decline in metabolism from aging is a result of increases in fat mass, decreases in fat-free mass, and less daily activity.

Sidenote: If you feel like your metabolism has dropped from aging, then the above paragraph should be fantastic news!

It’s totally possible to stop your metabolism from slowing down and even speed it up by increasing your muscle mass and being more active throughout the day!

Genetics play a role in our RMR too, but studies show that folks of similar body compositions only vary 200-300 calories at most.

So STOP blaming your slow metabolism entirely on genetics!

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Develop A Solid Nightly Sleep Routine And Manage Your Stress

Sleep is just as important to your success as nutrition and activity levels. Dont pretend that you can get by with less. It simply isnt true.

Often, when people lower their stress, they lose a lot of body water. Then they also notice that they may have lost fat too.

This includes mental and emotional stress. Research on cognitive dietary restraint shows that constantly and negatively fixating on what you eat can have the same unhealthy effect as actually dieting stringently.

Yet we need some stress to actually help with progress and growth, so find your stress sweet spot.

What Is Metabolic Damage / Metabolic Adaptation

Metabolic adaptation, better known as metabolic damage or starvation mode, is the bodys response to long term caloric restriction or starvation. The term metabolic damage tends to make this seem like a really negative unfortunate side effect of caloric restriction or extreme dieting. In fact, metabolic adaptation is a normal and natural survival mechanism. When our body doesnt have enough energy available to use, it slows down our metabolism to burn fewer calories throughout the day. This is literally a desperate attempt to preserve energy for the body to use for normal every day functions like breathing, digestion, walking, standing, etc.

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Gaining Weight To Lose Weight

If you are someone with severe metabolic adaptation, meaning your metabolism has been severely damaged through decades of repeated yo-yo dieting, then this means you will probably have to gain weight to lose weight later on.

I understand that this is a very difficult pill to swallow and if you fit into this situation you are probably someone who is very sensitive with your weight, to begin with.

I do actually understand the paradox that exists here but I am suggesting that, at least currently, there are very few ways to fix the problem.

One of those ways has to do with increasing the calories that you consume.

This ultimately leads to weight gain, initially, but it’s necessary for long-term and sustained weight loss.

And isn’t that what you want?

You don’t want to temporarily lose another 5-10 pounds with a fad diet.

What you really want is to lose your weight and keep it off for good.

And after you lose it to be confident that it won’t come back despite occasional indulgences .

Let’s break down how increasing calories increases your weight but helps you long-term:

Once you increase your calories you will start to gain some weight back.

The amount of weight that you gain will be proportional to the metabolic damage that exists in your body.

Let’s use an example to help illustrate this point:

Imagine that you are someone who burns about 1,000 calories per day due to severe dieting over the years.

You must consume that 1,000 calories each day in order to maintain your weight.

Go Easy On The Cardio

How To FIX Your Broken Metabolism

Cardio is good for burning stubborn fat. But overdoing it can cause muscle loss, especially when on a calorie deficit.

Limit your cardio sessions to 30 minutes.

HIIT workouts will give you better results since they boost metabolism and increase muscle mass. Try hill sprints if there are hills in your neighborhood.

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The Energy In Is More Realistically:

The actual number of calories consumed

So this information is readily available from food packaging or calorie trackers. However, according to the FDA, the nutrition information on the food label can be off by up to 20% and still be considered compliant. So the calories you see on the nutrition label or the number youre logging into your myFitnessPal may be very different than what youre actually consuming.

Mindset + Cardio + Metabolism

Hours and hours of endless cardio can suppress and lower the metabolism, especially when the mindset of guilt or shame is driving it.

An example of guilt mindsets are you may think:

I need to do this cardio to earn my calories to be able to eat

I have to exercise to purge the calories I ate last night because I feel so guilty and bad for eating so unhealthy

“I have to get in 10k steps today even though I’m exhausted / sick / on my period / injured / etc”

I have to exercise even though I hate the treadmill because I dont want to gain weight because I hate my body

These habitual thoughts can be just as harmful as a physical restriction or starvation, keeping the body and brain stuck and unable to heal or balance out.

If you are extremely depleted of energy and have not spent a good while in a diet recovery process, aka:

  • you still havent got your period back or it’s irregular and it’s never consistent,
  • you still face extreme hunger all the time or regularly overeat or binge eat

you obviously should not be working out at all if you want to heal your metabolism.

You need to take a temporary break from exercise altogether or at least cut back to just light stretching literally.

And rest for several months and eat.

If you’d like a step-by-step guide to how to go through an exercise rehab process and thereafter reintegrate sustainable balanced body movement thereafter, be sure to check out my Find Your Balance Program.

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The Nuts And Bolts Of Weight Loss And Crash Dieting:

  • Studies have shown that rapid weight loss reduces your metabolism more than gradual weight loss
  • Our bodies have adapted to survive, so crash dieting makes them hard-wired to burn less energy when food is scarce
  • Rapid weight loss can lower your metabolism for years and make it difficult to maintain weight loss, trapping you in a cycle of yo-yo dieting
  • Understanding your unique responses to food and working with your body to improve your metabolic health is the best way to reach your health goals

A History Of Extreme Dieting

How To Reset Metabolism After Yo Yo Dieting

Its a sad fact of fitness that many people undertake extreme diets year after year and get into a cycle of trying to be lean all the time. This is common among competitors who want to step on stage every year or models who do shoots every few months.

But this line of thinking isnt just limited to physique athletes. There are plenty of people outside of the fitness realm who have been on and off the fat loss bandwagon their entire lives.

Extreme dieting is usually linked to a drastic cut in calories and carb or fat intake, the elimination of entire food groups, or blindly following a meal plan with no consideration of macros. But there are also flexible dieters who subject their bodies and metabolisms to the perils of reckless dieting, spending the majority of each year in a deficit.

When you return to a higher calorie intake, your body is primed to gain excess fat

Doing this can result in adaptive thermogenesis, where your body acclimates to a lower calorie intake. To survive on less food, your organs start to use less energy, fewer calories are used for hormone production, and your subconscious activity levels drop . Even your muscles start to use fewer calories during exercise. As a result, when you return to a higher calorie intake, your body is primed to gain excess fat .

To prevent this from happening, a reverse diet is required.

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Increase Your Energy Intake

This is by far the most important of these 3 steps! First you must start increasing your intake. There are a few different methods that you can use to do this such as reverse dieting or going all in. Essentially, reverse dieting is a more calculated approach where you gradually increase calories whereas with the all-in approach youre immediately and likely drastically increasing your caloric intake.

I talk more about the all-in approach, which was actually created as a way to treat hypothalamic amenorrhea, in my blog post about how to regain a healthy period.

The way that I teach how to do this in The SociEATy is based on the compound effect. Start by asking yourself what is one thing that I can do today to work towards increasing your intake? Maybe you add some extra peanut butter to your toast. Maybe you go out for the milkshake when your friend asks which you previously would have said no to because you would have thought it was too many calories.

I believe in this snowball approach because it creates sustainability. When I was going through the process of fixing my own damaged metabolism one day I was all excited about eating ALL of the food and then the next day Id be in panic mode and resort back to my restrictive eating patterns. Going from one extreme to the other terrified me and I believe ultimately set me back.

How Do You Tell If Your Metabolism Is Messed Up

Metabolism is a process in which whatever you eat or drink is converted into energy. When something happens wrong to your health, it is hard to identify its source. When the metabolism is correct, then you will not face any problems, but when it is out of whack then you will feel symptoms like:

  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling hungry more than usual
  • Fast heartbeat
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    Can You Lose Fat Without Cardio

    4. Avoid Excessive & Prolonged Calorie Deficits – both of these things are a recipe for disaster…

    Similar to doing too much cardio, your body will start to adapt to extreme and long-term dieting by reducing your RMR and spontaneous activity throughout the day.

    If you’ve ever tried dieting on ultra low calories, then you’ve probably experienced feelings of lethargicness and lack of motivation to workout… or move in general!

    The best way to avoid this adaptation? Stick to a moderate calorie deficitaround 20-25% below maintenanceand have a small cheat meal every couple of weeks to give your body a break.

    You’ll still lose fat, but you’ll also have enough energy to workout and feel like a regular human!

    5. Be Patient – If you’re trying to lose weight in hopes that you’ll be 50 pounds leaner in just a few short months, then prepare to be disappointed.

    Losing weight and building healthy diet and exercise habits takes time.

    It’s ain’t sexy, but it’s the cold hard truth.

    There’s a popular saying: “weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint.”

    I disagree. Weight loss isn’t a sprint, and it’s not a marathon either…

    It’s not about making temporary and uncomfortable changes to your diet and exercise so that you can lose weight and return to your old way of doing things…

    It’s a lifelong commitment to being healthy and taking care of your body. It’s about making permanent changes that improve your health forever.

    Hit A Peakand Stay There For A While

    How to Fix a DAMAGED METABOLISM (Reverse Dieting vs All In)

    Heres something you hear a lot of people say:

    I reversed my calories up to 3,000 before I cut again.

    You can replace that 3,000 with whatever number you like, but typically, the figure quoted will be one that sounds extremely high for the person in question. What has usually happened here is that the reverser has legitimately gone this high with their calories, but only stayed there for a week or two.

    After reversing, its critical to keep calories at their high point for at least a month or two before trying to diet again. Doing this will give your body and metabolism time to adjust to your new, higher food intake.

    Think of it this way, just because you jumped up and touched a high-calorie intake doesnt mean that your metabolism has actually adapted to that intake. If you hit your peak and go straight back to a deficit, odds are that your body will be less responsive than you hoped. To ensure a successful reverse, you should hit your peak and stay there for a while.

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    There’s Nothing Wrong With You Or Your Body

    Your body is not here to mess with you.

    Your body doesnt want to gain a bunch of weight for no reason, just like you don’t…

    The body is on your team and working to survive and thrive.

    So the body does what its biology is designed to do after starvation bouts .

    If youre coming from this place of restrictive eating and/or excessive exercise, pretty much all you need right now is to eat!

    And it would be best if you ate, a lot.

    You need to feed your body and nourish your body to get your metabolism to rise again to trigger your body back out of the survival response of starvation mode.

    Your body needs to sense that it is having an abundance of nutritional energy coming and coming in consistently, which therefore allows for the body to slowly begin to raise the metabolism again.

    This process is called – diet recovery, or restrictive eating recovery.

    You need to:

    • not cut oil or starchy carbs or saturated fats
    • not drink gallons of water a day.
    • You need to have a balance of all macronutrients and as much as your body is asking for .
    • It would help if you got back to living a normal life based on experiences, not based around food and your body looking perfect.
    • You need to embark on a self-love and self-acceptance journey and find all that you can to heal this unhealthy relationship with food and your body.

    How To Fix Your Broken Metabolism

    So, are we doomed to a life of ever growing waistlines? Hardly. Remember, one key to weight loss is to maintain energy expenditure .

    There are two compartments here. The body will get energy from food, or stored food . So one answer is to unlock the door which is preventing us from accessing our fat stores. High insulin levels contribute to keeping fat energy locked away. Insulin can block the door so that we cant get to that basement freezer. Once we understand that, one potential solution is clear. We need to lower insulin. The key is to release the pent-up energy stored in the body fat. The crucial junction in weight gain/loss may not be the calories, its likely the insulin because that is what opens up the door to release the fat for burning.

    Lowering insulin will allow fat burning . This provides our body with lots of energy. If we have lots of energy coming in, the body has no reason to shut down its basal metabolism. The quickest, most efficient way to lower insulin? Fasting. Ketogenic diets will work, too. But remember that insulin has many inputs and is not simply carbohydrates. Cortisol, fructose, insulin resistance, vinegar, and countless other things play a role in determining insulin levels. Generally, though, cortisol and insulin resistance are the things least likely to be treated.

    This is the George Costanza method. If everything you do makes things worse, do the exact opposite.

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