Originally Posted by GoBecGo
It's funny my old gym instructor had also conquered anorexia and she said it took her 15 years of eating non-restricted calories (for her 2300/cals/day - she was way smaller than me but very active) for her metabolism to begin to rise back to normal levels. Starvation really did a number on her (she ended up with quite serious heart damage before she began to win her recovery so i guess she must have been very close to death) and it took a long time to recover.
Hmm maybe that's it... I can't say I have ever in my adult life eaten 2000+ calories, (maybe came close while pregnant & newborn-nursing?) I am pretty amazed at how much better my body looks & feels after just a month or so of eating more calorie-dense foods. All my clothes fit better already. Hoping the trend continues. I was wondering too whether starving had any long-term effects on my health, I know I have heart issues (though not severe) and hypoglycemia, chronic pain, severe fatigue, fertility issues, nerve problems... I'm not sure if these are part of an unrelated chronic illness or are permanent effects of starving... or both...
Another point is that restricting calories too much can lead to actual brain changes -- like you are less likely to WANT to eat, and you can develop depression, body dysmorphia, food obsession, food rituals, basically many of the symptoms of eating disorders. These symptoms even remained in some subjects 6+ months after weight was restored & a normal-calorie diet was resumed. I wish I could find the study I read on this... I don't remember how many calories it was, maybe 900?? Which I believe is close to the amount recommended for longevity-based low-calorie diets... I could be off on the numbers though. But this not only explains why anorexics are so hard to cure (and why they need to gain weight & increase calories before treatment can be successful), but is also relevant to the general population. Eating too few calories can cause serotonin levels to drop, which can lead to all sorts of psychological problems. I'm not sure how this translates to a well-balanced low-calorie diet, I know the subjects studied were NOT eating-disordered in any way at the study outset, but I'm not sure if their supervised low-calorie diet was perfectly balanced. I do know it is HARD to get a fully balanced diet with so few calories, this would take extensive planning & should probably be supervised by a nutritionist...
ETA: Here is the study:
Seems like the calorie amounts were actually in the 1600 range, which is higher than I thought (though the subjects were all men, so higher calorie need). And it doesn't look like they ate a balanced diet at all, so that may have skewed the results, and it does seem their weight loss was excessive -- so I'm not sure how this would translate to a person who eats a completely balanced low-calorie diet and aims to lose only a healthy amount of weight. I'm fascinated by this study though.Edited by crunchy_mommy - 3/2/12 at 7:12am