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Retraining Your Metabolism

Has anyone had any experience with rebuilding a slow metabolism? I've been discovering more and more that for my activity level, weight and height, I'm not eating nearly enough calories to really support an efficient metabolism. When I began dieting nearly 4 years ago, I was always under the impression, the less you eat, the better, so for a while, my metabolism got used to 1200 calories or less a day...not good. I visit the gym three times a week, doing cardio for about 45 minutes and weightraining for about 30. I also do tae bo three days a week, and balanced out by 6 days of yoga. I

've been reading up on how your metabolism needs to be "rewired" once you train it to only use that many calories. Has anyone had any experience with this? So far, I am experiencing terrible bloating and an enlarged abdomen, plus a 5-10 lb. weight gain. All of my clothes fit the same in my upper body, but I only seem to notice a difference in my hips and thighs. Does the bloating subside, and are there remedies to make this transitional period easier?

Mon. Jul 2, 6:38am

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eat every 2-3 hours, and build up the calorie intake gradually, not right away. (I'm talking weeks). You can add 50 calories per week if you want it to be as smooth as possible.

Also, avoid all processed meats, white bread and carbs, and fried things, which tend to aggravate the intestine.

Monday, July 02, 2007, 8:52 AM

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Are you doing the same exercises in the same order at the same intensity with the same weights? Your body adapts to the same routine making it less effective, which may account for why you're not seeing results in the desired direction. I love the advice - your body doesn't plateau, your routine does. Shake things up!

Monday, July 02, 2007, 9:53 AM

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Starvation mode

Sounds like you dropped into starvation mode. The body just naturally protects itself from starvation by hanging onto weight and becoming more efficient at using what it has. Need a threshhold of enough calories coming in so you continue to burn well...and not in starvation mode. All kinds of hormones support you not dying from up about leptin and ghrelin.

Also take a look at stress in your life. Corticosteroids can cause you to lay down belly fat. Maybe a meditation class is in order?

Also getting enough sleep is a factor. Are you getting your 7 or 8 every night?

Stirring it up and looking beyond the calories in/ calories out equations really helps. Losing weight is about getting's not the simple arithmetic some would have you believe....there is a whole lot more going on...

Best of luck to you. It's all about learning and playing with strategies. There is no failure....just some experiments that need some reconfiguration. You will figure it out...keep the faith and hang in there!

Monday, July 02, 2007, 10:29 AM

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Here's a link to an article you may find useful about re-setting a slow metabolism (author is a personal trainer).


Monday, July 02, 2007, 1:57 PM

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The article is good, but that woman was sedentary. You go into starvation mode if you're not doing any exercise to amp up your metabilism. If you're making sure to challenge yourself when you're working out, you won't be in starvation mode at 1200 calories.

Monday, July 02, 2007, 3:24 PM

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I have been trying to change up my routine a bit...I've been incorporating the free weight machines and trying new types of cardio (bikes, power walking, jogging), but I honestly think my body feels different due to the added calories I've been adding. Simply put, I've just been trying to eat like a normal person would, not following a strict diet, but eating with my head and listening to my stomach. I try to eat heathfully most of the time, but the biggest challenge for my system right now is relearning how to handle 1500+ calories. I've been experiencing bloating, constipation (I know, the details aren't glamorous), and weight gain, and I can tell it's sitting right around my belly and hips/thighs. However, I honestly don't even think I've been eating 1800 calories per day, every day, since attempting this new diet regiime. I think it's just a manner of getting my body used to eating normally again. I can't go backwards, as that would send my body into an unhealthy state. So, I'm experimenting and trying to be patient, as I've been told most of this weight gain is water retention and will subside once the body realizes it's capable of processing this much food again. I'll try to keep you posted of my progress!

Monday, July 02, 2007, 11:29 PM

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Good luck! I think it was mentioned before but do try to stay away from processed carbs (white bread, pasta, etc.) until your body is done adjusting. These tend to make you feel bloated (water molecules attach themselves to carbs and this often settles in your gut & "lovehandles" area). Try adding more fiber to your diet, and take Bean-o if it's too much fiber (but at least should get your regular).

As another poster said, be gradual - it will take your body a while to adjust - try adding just a little more calories per week. (If you're taking in 1800 cals now, but were at 1200 before, this is a sudden extra 4200 calories per week - and don't forget, if your body isn't metabolizing this, at 3500 calories/lb, that's more than a pound per week.)

Finally, the 3:24 poster is incorrect. Your body goes into starvation mode if it doesn't have enough coming in to function well. Ones base metabolic rate is truly individual, for instance, I am very active (workout 6 days/wk, including weight training) and if I go below 1300, my body goes into starvation mode.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007, 12:58 PM

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How does anyone become anorexic if 'starvation mode' at 1200 calories is such a barrier to weight loss?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007, 1:25 PM

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There is a point at which your body just can't protect you from actually starving. People with anorexia are starving. We are put together to survive. the body has all kinds of intricate back up systems for survival. If you have ever been with someone dying you know the body fights hard to stay alive.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007, 12:38 AM

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Thanks to everyone's comments so far...things are slowly getting better. I'm making sure to start everyday with breakfast of either a high fiber cereal or a bagel and some fruit. Compared to six weeks ago, my stomach can handle a significantly larger amount of food without feeling overly bloated or heavy. I still feel "odd" around my midsection (meaning I can feel the bloating there), but I'm sure this is just an annoyance of retraining your stomach to deal with the extra calories. I've also tried to cut down on my soda intake, as I'm finding I really don't like the way it makes me feel. I'm incorporating more water, as well as yogurt and granola bars. More to come soon!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007, 7:39 AM

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