I have been in the exact same situation - big weight loss over a short amount of time, through calorie restriction/vegetarianism/exercise etc - experienced hormonal imbalances because of drastic weight loss (depression/anxiety/hair loss/loss of periods/loss of libido etc etc) and then had trouble reaching satiety once i lost the weight - never had the 'full switch' turn on after a meal. I have found the path back to health and hormonal balance through a very simple regime:
Reset my leptin sensitivity:
After losing a lot of weight, restricting calories, being underweight for a time, and having hormonal imbalances (which anyone has after going through an unhealthy drastic weightloss regime as we have) I found that i had to reset my leptin sensitivity in order to gain satiety from 3 meals a day and stop craving food in between causing me to either overeat, or just be miserable wanting food (even though i was eating enough and healthy food through paleo). I found the leptin reset through Dr Kruse, and it has definitely worked for me in the satiety department. Overweight people who also have leptin sensitivity issues use this method to regain their sensitivity also, but with the aim to be able to lose weight after correcting their sensitivity to their leptin signals, whereas us already at our desired weights just want to regain our sensitivity in order to be happy and satisfied on our food intake, without the risk of putting on weight. Now following his reset, I eat 3 meals a day and do not have a single thought about food inbetween (this is incredible for me). yes, i get hungry for lunch and dinner, but a normal hunger which i can then relieve at a normal time, rather than a constant niggling in my brain for food, sometimes even an hour after eating a proper meal. this has helped my wellbeing beyond description.
Read more here - http://jackkruse.com/how-does-the-leptin-rx-work/ and http://jackkruse.com/the-leptin-rx-faqs/
The rules i followed *for me were:
- Eating a large amount of protein (40-50g) and fat (50g-60g) in the morning to ensure I stay satiated throughout the day (eating within 45 min of waking)
- Eat the remainder of my protein and fat, with my carb allowance at lunch and dinner.
- Meals to be 5 hours apart from each other
- No snacking in between
- Dinner to be at 7:30pm at the latest - nothing afterwards (not that i am hungry for anything after dinner now)
- Daily macro's: 65% fat / 15% protein / 20% carb
Sleep: I cannot stress enough how much sleep has been important to my recovery. in bed by 10:30 for 8/9 hours of sleep. I do not need an alarm clock any more (i find this so bizzare!!) as i wake up every morning at the strike of 7am naturally and am always refreshed. this has never ever been the case for me my whole life, but after reading up on hormones and how sleep effects your hormonal release/rhythm and weight control, i can see how fundamental it is to health and happiness.
Vit D and fish Oil Supplementation
As for exercise, apart from general walking and 2 yoga classes a week, I have gone from intensive gym and running in order to maintain (not lose) my weight, to practically nothing more than light exercise to effortlessly maintain my weight and body comp (128 lbs, 5 ft 8). This is a miracle for me and although i loved running, am secretly happy its not a necessity any more, and can be more of a once in a while thing.
fyi - i tried IF, mainly in the morning, but didnt find this healthy in regaining hormonal balance. I think if you have hormonal issues, which you definitely have, you should leave IFing until they are stable again. Also, i found i just ended up eating a heap more when i did allow myself to break the fast...it really just made me think about food even more, whereas the leptin reset has given me freedom from the constant focus on my hunger and portions etc.
My advise would be to give the leptin reset a go for 6-8 weeks and see how it works for you. I can guarantee it will solve your satiety problems, as it did mine. I now eat the correct macros for me, and they fill me - rather than before, eating the same amount, or more and never feeling satisfied.
this is just a quick rundown of what works for me - if you'd like to chat more in depth, i'd happily email. let me know.