17

votes

Is it possible to "screw up" your metabolism?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

My wife and I were talking and we knew a girl in college who was anorexic/bulimic for a lot of years. She later got past that but had a huge weight problem. She claimed that her metabolism got "screwed up" by starving herself and after that, she could no longer get herself regulated.

So my question is, is it possible to damage your metabolism to the point that eating right for a period of time won't fix it? Is this what folks mean when they say "metabolically deranged"?

And a second question, I'm messing with a VLC flavor of Paleo at the moment, trying to put myself into ketosis. Could this "screw up" my metabolism?

--Matt

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 19, 2011
at 12:46 AM

Jeepers! Two downvotes...which is fine. I have no problem with downvotes. But I'd really appreciate down-voters thoughts. Give it a spoin, whoever you's are. You must have had a pretty strong response to the info presented. Would love to know the basis of your responses.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 08:51 PM

@Rogue: You've convinced me. I'm going to read it.:) Thanks for the persistance!

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on August 18, 2011
at 08:38 PM

At the risk of sounding like a broken record for recommending this book so often on here(I have no financial affiliation with her, I am a student and fan only!)...I highly recommend reading, or giving her The Diet Cure by Julia Ross. It is written with recovering dieters and people in recovery from eating disorders in mind, and is based on Julia's 25+ years treating people via diet and amino acid therapy in her Bay Area clinic. http://www.dietcure.com/julia_ross.html

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 08:36 PM

(con't) all they do related to that, they may indeed experience biological ramifications related to yo-yoing and other extremes.The "take homes?" Eating disordered people, people who yo-yo diet, weightlosers, especially radical losers will all experience varying degrees, which are sometimes SEVERE, of psychoneurobiological , metabolic and energy phsyiological change. As is true with virtually all things, these will occur on a *continuum.* And they are NOT TRIVIAL. Bottom line: Know that your brain *is* responding and adapting to whatever messages you are giving it.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 08:18 PM

Bill and Don: This was a specific question about metabolic damage and it was asked specifically in relation to *disordered eating.* In my world, there are virtually *no* absolutes. But I also have NO question whatsoever about the damage that is done, which is sometimes quite permanent, in some people. Does it mean the vast majority of ppl cannot still lose weight, build muscle, make progress? NO, it doesn't, IMO. But, the path may be significantly different for them. And THERE MAY BE NO TOTAL "FIX." Body builders are basically and outlier group. And if and when they STOP body building and

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 18, 2011
at 07:55 PM

That is I lost a lot of weight doing lower carb weight training with refeeds. Never a slow down. I think you're right that it does help a lot with partitioning. But it needs to be intense but limited. I did little cardio.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 18, 2011
at 07:51 PM

How many 300 lb 50 year old women has berkman worked with? A great many integrative doctors and others can fix the hormonal state of fairly young and healthy men and women. Most men are apparently not too hard to normalize. But I can never get past berkman's "debunking" to tell if he has anything interesting to say. I lost a lot of weight training with refeeds. Straight lowcarb or overtraining seems to often need additional cortisol help

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on August 18, 2011
at 06:00 PM

oh....no, anorexia is a physiological disease...not a 'starving diet'

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:54 PM

i wanted to add...the recovery process done by conventional doctors is assbackwards and so harmful. i have see girl after girl after girl go to recovery, come home become an overweight binge eater and complain of being diagnosed with hypothyroidism... they start treatment wroong, go about it wrong and end it wrong

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:52 PM

hmm....well being a recovered anorexic, i used/use a high fat low carb approach for the most part. if you want to understand it you may want to read about starvation response in AMPK and the genetic switch which occur. some argue they cant be undone, some see it different. read and decide for yourself. i personally will say i have screwed my metabolism but it was at the result of downgraded muscles/organs which resulted from starving. much more to it than 'metabolism'. if a VLC diet is don't CORRECTLY i think you'll see improvement (things outside of weight).

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:31 PM

martin berkman of leangains has some great stuff. Of course bodybuilding is not eeryones cup of tea and I don't think one needs to go to some of the extremes that he and his clients go to, but his results and his clients show a mastering of hormonal manipulation and homeostasis. Many of his best results came from clients who had been on a long long diet stint and whose hormones were just shot to hell.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:25 PM

I think were Many misstep though is with the importance of carb refeeds combined with resistance training... It really provides the right stimulus for the body to learn where to put it's fuel.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:23 PM

Agreed, sorry Don I thought you were providing a counter argument!

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:19 PM

I "alsoed" before Bills last response. Actually Kruses work is very similiar to what is in the book Mastering Leptin.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Also, Bill makes a good point about hormones. I would add cortisol/dhea to that. I'm actually have the heretical thought that exercise as a/the primary tool may be part of the problem. Maybe hormone balance, especially signaled by the ability to go 6 hours without food, may be the critical metric.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:04 PM

Because those skinny kids hormones are probably in good shape... Although their coritsols might be high with all that fidgeting.. But your answer isnt a counter arguement as your tone might be suggesting... My examples just how that this is a hormonal issue when it comes to the starvation issue from dieting. Fix hormones, fix the starvation response. This is the science behind weight stalls and cheat days. In order to maintain healthy weight, hormones must be aligned. This is basically what Dr kruse goes on about alot. Leptin, sex hormones, thyroid.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:52 PM

Long term weight loss maintainers may exercise because they are lucky enough to have established metabolic drives towards activity to burn off excess calories. Skinny kids who fidget when given sugar aren't deciding that more movement is necessary to burn off the extra calories.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:48 PM

I use bodybuilders as an example perhaps because they are some of the few who go in depth into the science of weight loss and body recomp, where many who just diet have no clue about the hormones and stuff like that

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:46 PM

Agreed. The methods may not work for everyone. But normalizing sex hormones, thyroid, leptin will allow for homeostasis. It's just the how that is different for everyone.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:44 PM

Bill, I think you make good and interesting points here, but I'd also caution against only looking at success stories and say, "See? It works!" Just as Taubes's critics are (rightfully) saying LC successes shouldn't render LC failures invisible, it's pretty clear to me that bodybuilders' successes with various methods shouldn't be glibly generalized as tested, bulletproof prescriptions to everyone. The best strategy *right now*, in the absence of unimpeachable evidence, is N=1 experiments, guided by as much information as we have (which at present is still not enough).

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:17 PM

Fix leptin, sex hormones, and thyroid and the 150lb person who lost 20 intentionally can eat and stay as lean as the natural 130lb person. It just takes work... you can;t just cut calories for a month and then eat whatever you want after. This goes hand in hand with the studies that show that those who keep weight off long term usually do some kind of exercise.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:16 PM

This is definitely true, but there are obviously ways to avoid the pitfalls of dieting. Bodybuilders obviously do this, and no I am not talking about the ones on steriods. By cycling macronutrients and using resistance training, they manipulate the body's responses to IWL, thus when their cut and bulk cycles are done, many of them maintain lean physiques (obviously their exercise is a major part of the equation). The trick is to manipulate leptin, sex hormones, and thyroid. It's not just that "brain thinks your starving and you have to convince the brain your not"...

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 04:14 PM

Amen, Rose, amen! Total agreement.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:06 PM

Terrific links, mem. I especially appreciate the quote you pulled about "the biology of the post-weight loss state." I think weight loss will prove to be as significant a game-changer in the body as carrying children to term, or even being born male or female.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 18, 2011
at 03:53 PM

Very interesting, Shannon. I have found that I must stay VLC/ZC to maintain; deviations lead to weight gains similar to what you describe. Fortunately for me, I suppose, I haven't felt ill; that must have really sucked. A third option you don't mention is age -- as we get older, weight maintenance often gets harder. I lost a bunch of weight on standard Atkins years ago, but even VLC failed me after age 40; hence my current ZC status.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 03:00 PM

+1 for an important question. There's alot of mythology out there and alot of simplistic crap that does not serve many who have arrived at a place of altered metabolism. Rigid ELMM and CICO, and "just push away from the table" is often expressed out of abject ignorance. And it isn't confined to the general public. Countless healthcare professionals do not know the level of their ignorance in this area.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 02:55 PM

Nice one, Rose! +1

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 18, 2011
at 02:13 PM

Nice, objective answer. Well put, Rose!

3f3c952a1a31a12fc2ac49528888c073

(135)

on August 18, 2011
at 01:55 PM

Great answer. Thanks!

  • 3f3c952a1a31a12fc2ac49528888c073

    asked by

    (135)
  • Views
    13.9K
  • Last Activity
    1407D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

8 Answers

6
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 03:55 PM

Our brains, in relation to weight, are responding, adapting and planning "machines." Just for a single example, the brain of an anorexic has learned that it is STARVING - that food is very, very, very scarce and that it needs to absolutely maximize any "energy" (food) that it gets. Given that our brains/bodies are not separate, and "metabolism" is a whole-body process/event, this has profound implications.Just because in time the body/brain begins to be fed does not mean that it will just "snap to" and interpret this as the new "normal." It has learned, sometimes over many years that food is extremely scarce and when the next food/energy is coming is unpredictable and can take a loooooong, looooong time from last ingestion and even then will be in a scarcity amount. Thus, it responds accordingly.

Even yo-yo dieting brings about huge changes. And that makes sense as well. Our brain is our "regulator." It learns with yo-yoing another version of the above. Who knows when the next time of scarcity with come...

The implications are very real for those who have been substantially overweight, eating disordered, have a history of yo-yoing 10 lbs up and down, sometimes many, many times in their lives.

One of my favorite pieces on this is Ned Koch's blog piece on compensatory adaptation...which doesn't just apply to eating...but to all behaviors and delves into the less than conscious mechanisms that are at work in response to even subtle signals in this adaptation process. What it boils down to for me, in "person-speak" is that we are constantly signaling and communicating with our bodies/brains and our bodies/brains in turn are continuously responding and adapting...for better or worse. We may not think or know we are "communicating," but we are.

http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2010/06/compensatory-adaptation-as-unifying.html

For me, Dr. Sharma is high, high on the list of those who truly understand the metabolic issues of eating disorders, weight issues on a continuum, and what "maintenance" REALLY means.

"In reality, because of the obligatory homeostatic counter-regulation that occurs with weight loss, to sustain this degree of weight loss, patients would need to maintain a diet that is generally well over 500 KCal less than they started out with. Always remember, that many of the successful weight-loss maintainers of the National Weight Control Registry are surviving on 1200-1400 KCal per day! (not very different from the effective caloric intake of a post-bariatric surgery patient)."

http://www.drsharma.ca/when-will-health-professionals-understand-obesity.html

"A single IWL episode increased the risk of becoming overweight by age 25 almost three-fold in women and two-fold in men. In fact, women who reported two or more IWL episodes had an even higher (5-fold increased) risk of becoming overweight at age 25." NOTE: IWL= Intention Weight Loss.

"These findings not only confirm previous studies that dieters may be more prone to future weight gain but also provide evidence that, this obesogenic effect of dieting is apparently independent of genetic factors."

"All the more reason to warn against the widespread obsession with ???cosmetic??? weight loss - as I have said before, all weight loss attempts should be medically indicated and anyone attempting to lose weight needs to be warned that they may in fact be increasing their long term risk of becoming (even more) overweight or obese."

http://www.drsharma.ca/obesity-will-losing-weight-make-you-fat.html

"As readers will recall, the biology of the post-weight loss state is nothing like the biology of someone who has never lost weight. There are countless ways in which the psychoneurobiology, energy physiology and metabolism in anyone who has lost weight are remarkably different from someone ???naturally??? of that weight."

"Simply stated, someone who was 150 lbs and has lost 20 lbs cannot hope to maintain that weight loss by simply eating the same amount of food or doing the same amount of exercise as someone who is ???naturally??? a 130 lbs."

"The 150 lbs person who has lost 20 lbs, to maintain their new 130 lbs, has to actually now live like someone who is ???naturally??? a 110 lbs; just eating like someone who is 130 lbs but has never lost weight, will simply result in rapid weight regain."

"Whoever said that treating obesity was simply a matter of ???eating less and moving more??? (ELMM) probably also believes that they can live forever by simply breathing less."

http://www.drsharma.ca/obesity-why-diet-and-exercise-is-not-a-treatment-for-obesity.html

You may find that reading each of the entire articles is worth the time and effort, as there is much more that is fleshed out beyond these snippets.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:06 PM

Terrific links, mem. I especially appreciate the quote you pulled about "the biology of the post-weight loss state." I think weight loss will prove to be as significant a game-changer in the body as carrying children to term, or even being born male or female.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Also, Bill makes a good point about hormones. I would add cortisol/dhea to that. I'm actually have the heretical thought that exercise as a/the primary tool may be part of the problem. Maybe hormone balance, especially signaled by the ability to go 6 hours without food, may be the critical metric.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:16 PM

This is definitely true, but there are obviously ways to avoid the pitfalls of dieting. Bodybuilders obviously do this, and no I am not talking about the ones on steriods. By cycling macronutrients and using resistance training, they manipulate the body's responses to IWL, thus when their cut and bulk cycles are done, many of them maintain lean physiques (obviously their exercise is a major part of the equation). The trick is to manipulate leptin, sex hormones, and thyroid. It's not just that "brain thinks your starving and you have to convince the brain your not"...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:44 PM

Bill, I think you make good and interesting points here, but I'd also caution against only looking at success stories and say, "See? It works!" Just as Taubes's critics are (rightfully) saying LC successes shouldn't render LC failures invisible, it's pretty clear to me that bodybuilders' successes with various methods shouldn't be glibly generalized as tested, bulletproof prescriptions to everyone. The best strategy *right now*, in the absence of unimpeachable evidence, is N=1 experiments, guided by as much information as we have (which at present is still not enough).

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:23 PM

Agreed, sorry Don I thought you were providing a counter argument!

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:17 PM

Fix leptin, sex hormones, and thyroid and the 150lb person who lost 20 intentionally can eat and stay as lean as the natural 130lb person. It just takes work... you can;t just cut calories for a month and then eat whatever you want after. This goes hand in hand with the studies that show that those who keep weight off long term usually do some kind of exercise.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:46 PM

Agreed. The methods may not work for everyone. But normalizing sex hormones, thyroid, leptin will allow for homeostasis. It's just the how that is different for everyone.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:19 PM

I "alsoed" before Bills last response. Actually Kruses work is very similiar to what is in the book Mastering Leptin.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 04:14 PM

Amen, Rose, amen! Total agreement.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:52 PM

Long term weight loss maintainers may exercise because they are lucky enough to have established metabolic drives towards activity to burn off excess calories. Skinny kids who fidget when given sugar aren't deciding that more movement is necessary to burn off the extra calories.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 19, 2011
at 12:46 AM

Jeepers! Two downvotes...which is fine. I have no problem with downvotes. But I'd really appreciate down-voters thoughts. Give it a spoin, whoever you's are. You must have had a pretty strong response to the info presented. Would love to know the basis of your responses.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:04 PM

Because those skinny kids hormones are probably in good shape... Although their coritsols might be high with all that fidgeting.. But your answer isnt a counter arguement as your tone might be suggesting... My examples just how that this is a hormonal issue when it comes to the starvation issue from dieting. Fix hormones, fix the starvation response. This is the science behind weight stalls and cheat days. In order to maintain healthy weight, hormones must be aligned. This is basically what Dr kruse goes on about alot. Leptin, sex hormones, thyroid.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:25 PM

I think were Many misstep though is with the importance of carb refeeds combined with resistance training... It really provides the right stimulus for the body to learn where to put it's fuel.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 18, 2011
at 07:51 PM

How many 300 lb 50 year old women has berkman worked with? A great many integrative doctors and others can fix the hormonal state of fairly young and healthy men and women. Most men are apparently not too hard to normalize. But I can never get past berkman's "debunking" to tell if he has anything interesting to say. I lost a lot of weight training with refeeds. Straight lowcarb or overtraining seems to often need additional cortisol help

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:48 PM

I use bodybuilders as an example perhaps because they are some of the few who go in depth into the science of weight loss and body recomp, where many who just diet have no clue about the hormones and stuff like that

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 05:31 PM

martin berkman of leangains has some great stuff. Of course bodybuilding is not eeryones cup of tea and I don't think one needs to go to some of the extremes that he and his clients go to, but his results and his clients show a mastering of hormonal manipulation and homeostasis. Many of his best results came from clients who had been on a long long diet stint and whose hormones were just shot to hell.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 18, 2011
at 07:55 PM

That is I lost a lot of weight doing lower carb weight training with refeeds. Never a slow down. I think you're right that it does help a lot with partitioning. But it needs to be intense but limited. I did little cardio.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 08:18 PM

Bill and Don: This was a specific question about metabolic damage and it was asked specifically in relation to *disordered eating.* In my world, there are virtually *no* absolutes. But I also have NO question whatsoever about the damage that is done, which is sometimes quite permanent, in some people. Does it mean the vast majority of ppl cannot still lose weight, build muscle, make progress? NO, it doesn't, IMO. But, the path may be significantly different for them. And THERE MAY BE NO TOTAL "FIX." Body builders are basically and outlier group. And if and when they STOP body building and

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 08:36 PM

(con't) all they do related to that, they may indeed experience biological ramifications related to yo-yoing and other extremes.The "take homes?" Eating disordered people, people who yo-yo diet, weightlosers, especially radical losers will all experience varying degrees, which are sometimes SEVERE, of psychoneurobiological , metabolic and energy phsyiological change. As is true with virtually all things, these will occur on a *continuum.* And they are NOT TRIVIAL. Bottom line: Know that your brain *is* responding and adapting to whatever messages you are giving it.

5
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 18, 2011
at 01:39 PM

I think it's possible to alter your metabolism through various behaviors. One of the biggest recent steps forward in the nature v. nurture debate is an improved understanding of gene expression, or the way in which environment interacts with genes and changes their function in the body. We are more malleable creatures than we once thought, even after we're born.

(Even so, it appears that gene expression patterns aren't infinitely malleable, of course, but depend on the genes you actually started with.)

So the thinking goes that maybe if you starve yourself repeatedly, your genes "think" you're living in an environment of scarcity, and ramp up your fat storage abilities. Or if you're Matt Stone, your genes think there's food everywhere, and change some transcription factors so you burn it all off, lol.

As far as VLC screwing up your metabolism is concerned, I don't know if it would for someone who doesn't already experience problems with carbohydrate. Many people, myself included, go VLC/ZC because it's clear to us we already have an issue with carbs, regardless of the origin of that issue. VLC is the solution, not the problem. And, of course, to my biased eye, it looks like ketogenic diets are excellent therapy for a number of issues, so I'm inclined to say "don't worry," but I think the real answer has to be we have no idea yet, at this early stage of scientific interest in the widespread use of keto diets.

3f3c952a1a31a12fc2ac49528888c073

(135)

on August 18, 2011
at 01:55 PM

Great answer. Thanks!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 18, 2011
at 02:55 PM

Nice one, Rose! +1

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 18, 2011
at 02:13 PM

Nice, objective answer. Well put, Rose!

2
8634d4988ced45a68e2a79e69cc01835

(1617)

on August 18, 2011
at 04:33 PM

I believe that it can, in many people. I believe also, that through dieting so many different ways and being fed on (sorry for the pun) misinformation from a million different sources, people have no idea how to eat properly. The are confused about what's healthful to eat, in what amounts, and when or how to exercise. They lie to themselves often too. In a graduate class I took on eating disorders, it was discovered in one study that obese people had a tendency to greatly underreport amounts of food eaten. It also appeared unintentional in most instances.

Extreme low calorie dieting or starvation/intentional anorexia can warp the metabolic process for years, possibly for life. I'm 50lbs lighter than I was at age 13 (I'm 32 now), but I lost weight slowly it hasn't come back. I even when through a starvation phase for a few months in my 20s when I was having a difficult time dealing with a family tragedy. Despite all of that, my metabolism isn't too damaged. I can handle carbs, and lots of them, with no problem. Hell, as a vegetarian for 15 years carbs were my main food source and I wasn't overweight during that time at all. Since going paleo my weight hasnt changed (except for a few lbs I gained during a low carb experiment. I lost the lbs already.)

So yes, I believe you CAN 'break' your metabolism. You can't abuse your body and not do damage. I don't think the after effects are permanent in every case, however.

1
7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

on August 18, 2011
at 03:46 PM

I am wondering the same thing and have been formulating a question in my mind based on personal experience in which it feels like something of that nature occurred. For a handful of years, I was able to keep my weight within a range I found reasonable (I was also in my low- to mid-twenties) simply by counting calories, restricting carbs somewhat, etc. If the weight crept up, I could tamp it down again without much difficulty. Then about two years ago, in an effort to really lose the last bit of fat on my midsection, I tried the 70-80% fat, LC approach. I really ate only one smallish meal at dinnertime (which did include a serving of starch). I achieved an all-time low weight and lost the fat, felt triumphant, but also started feeling ill. I ate some fruit here and there, but mostly filled up on coconut oil, olive oil, butter, cream and coffee. Now, interestingly, I am powerfully intolerant of those foods (did my body rebel against it or did I unleash a nascent, genetic? intolerance of salicylates and yeast/histamine?) and when it started to feel like deprivation to swig acrid olive oil from the bottle and drinking coconut oil in coffee became nauseating, I added back in more "food," carbs, etc and skipped the oil slicks. My weight ballooned and for the last year I have been trying all my old tricks, eventually resorting to calorie counting and going LC again - no dice. Still can't wear half of my clothes.

My weight rocketed out of what I consider my "reasonable" upper limit by over 15 pounds. Never, ever had a problem like this before until my little 80% fat experiment lasting half a year or so. I keep pondering something like a week-long fast but don't know if I have the fortitude and wonder if it will simply add another layer of metabolic derangement. At 28 I'm shocked to have this level of resistance in losing even 5 pounds (which would feel great at this point, even though I'm aiming to lose 10-15).

However, my other theory is it wasn't the fat percentage per se but the inflammation caused by unleashing food intolerances that is now causing intractable weight gain. If so, maybe I'm SOL until I figure out how to stabilize mast cells/reduce cytokine activity etc. (and stop eating anything that tastes remotely tasty - and lower food reward as a fringe "benefit.") D'oh.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 18, 2011
at 03:53 PM

Very interesting, Shannon. I have found that I must stay VLC/ZC to maintain; deviations lead to weight gains similar to what you describe. Fortunately for me, I suppose, I haven't felt ill; that must have really sucked. A third option you don't mention is age -- as we get older, weight maintenance often gets harder. I lost a bunch of weight on standard Atkins years ago, but even VLC failed me after age 40; hence my current ZC status.

1
Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 18, 2011
at 02:36 PM

The metabolic slowdown would be her sex hormones and thyroid crashing, thus causing all her weight to be put on back as fat.... this can obviously be reversed via resistance training, high carbohyrdate and low fat (sorry, but fat does not have a refeed or metabolic stimulating effect and that if why people only "Carb refeed"). Optimizing hormones would allow muscle development and once hormone homostasis is reached, she should be at her "normal" weight.

1
3fe2bf1367970868757ddf7ed7c62531

(817)

on August 18, 2011
at 01:39 PM

I have a similar story. I was all all sorts of diets from 11-18. I think that is gave me some troubles. In the earlier diets I ate low carb/atkins - from them I think the ungodly amounts of 'diet' drinks messed with me - I had terrible spouts of headaches. Had a spout of bulimia. Did a while with whole grains. Another with low fat. Then I did the soy thing.. which in turn seems to have been the final kick to my thyroid. Once my thyroid was gone I gained around 50 pounds in 2 years despite my best efforts.

I think (from what I read) that It can be fixed though - I would think that a mix of Paleo + GAPS would be the trick for her. I am now (obviously) eating Paleo (+dairy to offset the boneloss thyroid meds), I feel that I am healing.. even if it is slow.

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on August 18, 2011
at 01:31 PM

You can mess up your metabolism by eating improperly. In particular sugar and refined flours.

Going low carb will help your metabolism. Ketosis won't mess it up.

0
B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

on August 18, 2011
at 03:05 PM

I think it's possible. I'm one of those people who has done multiple diets over the years and the effect seemed to be that each time I came off a diet my weight went higher. Dieting is basically just semi-starvation and the body reacts to it, I think, my making it easier for you to put on weight so that you will survive the next famine/diet. I would think that anorexia would have the same effect. All our body knows is that food is scarce and it reacts to protect us.

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on August 18, 2011
at 06:00 PM

oh....no, anorexia is a physiological disease...not a 'starving diet'

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!