Little history first:
My weight has always been fluctuating. But it always averaged around 110-120lbs (5ft, female). Last summer, my eating disorders got worse and I got down to 105 lbs with low cal (700-1000 cal), low fat and a lot of cardio. Then, I started on Atkins and then moved on to Paleo last October. Since then, I stopped weighing myself and just focused on eating the right foods until point of satiety. Not weighing myself or counting calories really helped me control my disordered eating. Eating Paleo really helped me with my mood and energy. I started feeling better in general. For the last 9 months, I ate mostly Paleo with dairy and nuts with 16-20 hour intermittent fasting. I ate mostly green vegetables, meat and fish. I didn't eat tubers or fruit. With the exception of 4-5 weeks total in the period of 9 month, I did not cheat. When I cheated, I consumed ice-cream, chips, beer, pizza.... etc.
Here is when/what I eat:
Feeding window 4PM-8PM; Intermittent Fasting 8PM-4PM
1) One big salad with leafy greens, tomato, sometimes with cheese and/or olive oil
2) Meat--depending on what is available: 2-3 fish fillets, half of a grilled whole chicken, 4-5 eggs, three beef patties, OR 1.5 lb ground beef (I choose only ONE of these options)
3) more vegetables like asparagus, zuccini, carrots... *sometimes I overdo cheese and nuts. But I don't eat them ALL the time. I think I eat them like for one week every month.
Lately, I noticed that my clothes don't fit anymore. So I weighed myself for the first time in about 9 months, and I was really shocked. I now weigh 131.4 lbs. I think this is the highest I've ever weighed. I am heavier than when I ate SAD. With my height at 5ft, that makes me overweight (BMI 25.7).
I went on Paleo, thinking that as long as I ate the right foods, I would be able to maintain healthy weight. So I threw away my bathroom scale, stopped counting calories and hoped that I would be able to control my disordered eating patterns... I am afraid of counting calories and weighing myself. I am afriad that it will trigger my disorders.
Okay, I fell off the Paleo wagon at times. But I just don't get why I am heavier than ever. I wasn't looking to lose weight on Paleo, but I didn't think it would cause a dramatic weight gain either.
So the "all or nothing mentality" fueled my disorder all along. I used to restrict calories severely and then binge. I guess I turned intermittent fasting into some sort of built in starvation and binge in daily life...That's why I could have my ED tendencies under control. But even when I fast for 20 hours, I don't have the obessesive thoughts about food like I did during my ED days. Also, when I start eating, it's not uncontrollable mindless eating beyond satiety (binge-like). I stop eating when I am full.
Anyways, I see for the first time that my IF schedule is a little extreme...though I feel fine on it. I am going to eat strict Paleo (no dairy or nuts). I am going to try to eat a breakfast from now and see how that goes... I don't do well on small frequent meals because of my "all or nothing" attitude...
Thanks for all your answers!
Check this article out re: IF and women. I had to stop because my hormones went haywire and i started gaining weight. I eat every 3-4 hours and i've lost the weight...
Let us not forget that this person has an eating disorder. Giving her 'quick' fixes to lose the 20 lbs is absolutely insane! As a previous counselor and current nutritionist that is an area that most people who want to give advice are not well versed in. To the person that posted the question, if you are feeling good and eating disorder is under control, you definitely need not worry about the scale. My guess is that you look healthy. Most people would notice a 20 pound weight gain. The fact that you didn't until you got on the scale makes me believe that you are fine. However, the daily IF can be viewed as the 'control' that most folks with eating disorders can thrive on. I would use caution. :)
Here's my take on all of this, from someone who's been 'round the bend a few times. The weight charts that tell us what we're "supposed" to weigh do NOTHING to tell a person whether or not he or she is at a healthy weight for his or her own body. It is VERY individual. There are some things to look at to determine whether or not you are HEALTHY where you're at:
If you're able to exert yourself heavily and bounce back quickly, have good flexibility, sleep well, and you eat when you're truly hungry, until you're sated, you're probably at a good weight for YOU, regardless of what the stupid charts have to say.
I'd also remind you that if you were -underweight- when you purchased those clothes, or you weren't at your own personal 'right weight', it makes sense that your clothes won't fit right, and the problem isn't the scale or your weight -- the problem is that it's time to go buy some nice new clothes that fit your body's best shape!
Here's a funny thing.
This woman has the exact same BMI as you and she is also considered overweight by the BMI.
The BMI says this woman is obese.
BMI also says this woman is overweight, with a BMI of 25.
Just thought I'd show some fun pictures :P
May I suggest changing only one thing at a time? Don't try all the suggestions all at once, then you won't know what did the trick.
I would say to drop the nuts and cheese first (I knoooow, I love cheese too!), and see if that helps. If not, then get rid of the fruit next. If not...
I would say to drop the meat back a little, I'm 5'5" big boned woman (NOT fat, I just have a wide body) and eating 1.5 lbs of meat would make me sick, it's just too much. My 6'2" boyfriend, yeah, me? Nope.
If you're not hungry, then can you eat a little less meat? If you get hungry again, add it back in.
Also keep in mind that even if you did gain 20 pounds (though you said you used to be between 110-120 lbs, so you could have only gained 10 pounds), not all of it would have been fat? If you did calorie (and I would guess meat/fat) restriction, then some of the weight gain would be muscle which weights a lot more than fat.
4-5 eggs is probably way too much for a "little girl" like you (*), I eat 2 or 3 eggs for breakfast, today I actually had 4 and I felt so full I had to lay down. ^^
Again, my tall and strong boyfriend can finish a whole roast chicken for dinner, yet I eat 2 drumsticks and I'm done. Eating half a chicken sounds revolting to me :o
(*) I only say little girl because compared to most woman out there, even though I'm not fat, I look like Hulk compared to them :P My body type looks like I'm a strong warrior...
Things you could try:
1) Abandoning the 4 hour feeding window and just eating when you're hungry and to satiety.
2) Adding in some fruit and/or startchy tubers.
3) Both of those things.
I don't know that anyone is going to be able to give you a sure answer without knowing more, although if you're not eating enough and putting yourself into starvation mode with overly restricted calories, your body will store fat. I don't understand thinking you're not doing it well enough if this regimen isn't working for you. In some ways the cause will have to be discovered by n=1 experimentation, or getting some bloodwork done, e.g. to check your thyroid. If you're that concerned, list other symptoms. Otherwise, try something else; see what happens.
I wouldn't be too concerned about a BMI one shade beyond the "normal" range as that can simply be a function of gaining some muscle, which is particularly possible if you were previously doing loads of cardio.
I would not use scale weight or how clothes fit as a reliable metric either. Being healthy is quite often independent of numbers on a BMI calculator, scale, or the tag on clothing.
I would look to an honest assessment of you fitness or health abstracted from the numbers that we like to cling to so much as a better indicator.
First thing, i'm pretty sure your overall health is better than it was before, regarding to the weight gain issue, i believe there are two factors to it, 1st: Caloric intake, this isn't magic, if you consume more calories than what you burn, the excess will turn into adipose tissue as a reserve. 2nd: Intermittent fasting works better at shorter periods of time for women than it does for men, i would recommend fasting no more than twice a week for periods of 12-14 hours. Cheers.
I would also add that your food list could range from as low as 1000 calories to well over 3000.
1.5 pounds of ground beef is over 1000 calories alone.
You mention eating cheese, but do not specify how much. One ounce is over 100 calories, so several ounces at a meal can really add up.
Nuts add up quickly too. If and when I binge, it's nuts or nut butters. I can put away a lot very quickly, and I still won't be satisfied.
Half a chicken could be anywhere from 500-1500 calories.
Therefore, my suggestion is to track your calories for several weeks using dailyplate.com or one of the other calorie trackers. Anyone I know that can't seem to lose weight always finds out they are eating way more food than they realize. I have friends that will say they eat almost nothing, and when you add up the coffee with cream and sugar, snacks, sodas, meals, desserts, they are well over 3000 calories in a day. No wonder they are 40-50 pounds overweight, especially while sitting all day at the office.
Again, track things closely, and you might find you will lose fairly quickly. Your body does not need nearly the amount of food that your mind thinks it does.
hey coffeesnob! firstly, CONGRATS on taking huge steps to heal your body and reconnect with a positive self-image. you are where many with an ED dream of being. i have found for me, that a huge healing process recovering from an ED is learning to trust your body and just get away from all the craziness surrounding food. what you are experiencing seems to be a completely normal rebound from anorexia. it is super common for those who have restricted in the past to gain some weight before they stabilize... i gained a sizable amount. it didn't last long until my body started to work its way back to a healthy place.
you are doing so many things right - eating real foods, not weighing or restricting, taking care of your body. it's a learning process how to feed our bodies not too much and not too little, and make peace with the voices in our heads that tell us how to do so. this may be an unneeded question, but have you sought help for you eating disorder in the past? if not, you may still have some underlying control issues/reactions to food you haven't deal with that have just been in remission eating paleo. i would hesitate to recommend the warrior diet (restricted IF) to anyone with a disordered past until the emotions and control around food is healed. eating in such a dramatic style can keep the ED thoughts alive, even subconsciously. therapy or counseling and working with a paleo nutritionist would be my recommendation, as well as just giving yourself a hug. weight is changable, but emotional damage is a big deal. in order to know if this weight is not healthy for you, you need to be healthy in your mind and heart. treasure yourself!
The first thing I would suggest is to abandon the IF for now and try eating smaller meals throughout the day. Some people do well with IF, others do better with a grazing style.