The metabolism fights back...

Although I'm currently having major body dysmorphia as I try to adjust to my new weight, one of the benefits of staying at this weight is that my metabolism has evened out. Hot flashes are a thing of the past. I'm not so raveneously hungry all the stinking time. I'm not quite as obsessed with food. And my body is no longer so exquisitely sensitive to my caloric intake that a minor (i.e., ~50 calorie) drop in intake will leave me almost unable to function.

However, starting the job at the bakery has dramatically altered my energy requirements. The first two weeks, pretty much nothing changed in terms of what my body needed to maintain my weight. This rather startled me, as I was preparing myself to need to eat more with being on my feet for so much of the day. But within the past week, I think my body has started to notice that I'm more active (even with cutting back on exercise a little bit!) and so the metabolism freak-out has returned.

Random hypoglycemia? I didn't miss you.

The strange thing is that my first clue wasn't so much increased hunger but increased insomnia. I wasn't specifically hungry, but my body was keyed up and restless. Considering the fact that I was drop-dead tired, I first thought it strange that I was having trouble sleeping. Maybe it was caffeine--after therapy, my mom and I went to dinner, and I had two glasses of Diet Dr Pepper. This may have played a role, but in reality, my body was telling me that I wasn't eating enough.

One of the useful aspects of this change is that I first noticed the shift not through increased hunger, but through difficulties sleeping. The hunger did follow, yes, but I now know that I need to watch my sleep patterns closely. It's a very useful piece of information, and I've gotten much better at recognizing that when I randomly can't sleep, my first line of action should be to grab a few spoonfuls of peanut butter. I hope to get better at anticipating these hunger signs so that I'll know when I need that peanut butter before I even crawl into bed.

For the most part, I've rolled with it. Yes, I'm irritated that I have to eat more and I'm thinking so much more about food. I'm irritated about the hypoglycemia and the sudden, ravenous hunger that makes me want to gnaw on my co-workers. I'm (what the hell, I'll admit it) a little disappointed that my body responded by increasing my metabolism rather than decreasing my thighs. But there's not much use in fighting it, either. I'm trying to accept that my body needs more fuel--okay, that it needs fuel period--even if I'm not thrilled at the idea of eating more.

But I'm proud of how I've responded to this. I didn't freak out, I didn't require some over-the-phone hand holding from my dietician, I didn't need my mom to tell me to eat more, I just...did it. There was some anxiety, yes, but not a whole lot. The anxiety was as much about a change in eating habits than the actual increased food. And I'm not completely gibbering in fear that I will surely have gained weight. I fully expect my weight to be about the same as it always is. I have confidence that I'm not eating for emotional reasons and that I'm responding--confidently!--to my body's needs.

That's pretty cool. :)

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Matt said...

Carrie, I like the new layout, and it's great to hear that you recognize what your body needs. Congrats!

Angela E. Gambrel Lackey said...

I've noticed your increased insomnia. Both of us have blogging and posting on FB around the same time during the late night/early morning. And I think my increased insomnia is due to the same reason - I need more food. I just wish I could say yes.

I'm glad you are doing so well with recognizing your body's needs and you sound so strong.

Charlie said...

That's really amazing. You sound incredibly strong, as another commenter already mentioned- Really an inspiration.

Jennifer said...

Its very cool!
Good on you.
Jennifer xx

Finding Melissa said...

Not only is this very cool but it's an important reminder of learning how to read our own personal hunger signals. I'm beginning to come to the same conclusion re messages (for me, anxiety and frustration) and learning to respond to them appropriately rather than railroading on over their head.

Hard learning - but a good lesson.

Thanks for another great post!

Amy said...

You're such a rockstar, Carrie!

Stephanie said...

Proud of you, Carrie. This is the stuff of recovery that is so tough to deal with and accept, but you are taking it head on. Hang in there sweetie.

Abby said...

I've totally noticed this same thing with myself the past couple years, in that even if I'm exhausted, there are times when I can't sleep to save my soul. Those times usually pop up when I'm restricting/exercising too much--turns out this pisses off my system in more ways than one.

As you mentioned, it wasn't adding in more food that really caused the anxiety, but a change in the feeding pattern. To shut my head up, I started adding an extra snack (PB, Larabar, Ensure) when I woke up in the middle of the night. Eat (half asleep), sleep, wake up, forget and start over.

Might not be the most logical solution, but it works for a bit until things level out.

James Clayton said...

Really reassuring stuff to read when I'm worrying about weight/energy/metabolism/eating pattern shifts and so on.

You're an inspiration as ever Carrie!

Sarah said...

This is great! I'm really proud of/happy for you with how much progress you've made.

Telstaar said...

Hey chick,

Well done on how you handled it also :) I'm super impressed!

I also wanted to say thankyou for this post because its gotten me thinking about a few things and also relating to some of the thoughts/feelings etc which is nice to know i'm not on my own kinda thing :).

It was HELPFUL and USEFUL in my own personal situation, so thanks!!


Mamie said...

This is so great:) Well done- such amazing work! I've really struggled with this as well, but even if it's hard I guess the only way out is the appreciate our bodies and just accept that we need to feed them better. Thanks for the inspiring post.

Peregrine said...

Carrie, I've never met you but I've been following your blog every day for the last couple of years. So from an unknown friend, I'm very proud of you. That is awesome. Hunger is pretty terrifying--not reacting negatively to the reality of needing food is quite simply amazing.


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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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