Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"


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Exercise As Part Of Treating Eating Disorders? Fitness Friday 35

Well ain’t that a controversial topic for discussion….

In the spirit of this week being #Eating DisorderAwarenessWeek, I thought I would bring that into our lil regular Friday Fitness chat.

ed-awareness

I knew it would be a big deal. I know that many will not agree with my words, but hear me out, have you ever thought that treatment and exercise could co-exist when looking at eating disorders?

hmmmm

I know what you’re all thinking.

Exercise is a method to fuel eating disorders

Exercise is a means of dropping weight and burning too many calories

How the hell is exercise going to help put weight on when clearly it just increases their energy requirements?

This is why this topic is a great one to discuss.

The points above are completely valid. In fact, those are the beliefs that many professionals give or yell if the thought of exercise is brought up.

Take me for example, during my short time at the Oakville outpatient program for family therapy, it happened to slip out that I was going to be starting to slowly get into training (this was a few months post-inpatient) and my therapist freaked the eff out. Like I’m not kidding, she actually called my house and my parent’s cells and left frantic messages saying  “Chelsea is not to workout!!!!”

Not that her words stopped it from happening, and honestly, we left that place faster than we came in (not because of that incident, but a bunch of other things..), but I’m just trying to give you an idea of how most clinicians feel about this topic

I.e. They are mostly against the thought of exercising.

no-exercise-today

…or ever…

Like I said, these arguments are all valid concerns and I see where they are coming from…

~I was a compulsive exerciser

~Most use it as a way to burn more calories and loose weight

~Most don’t know limits or when to stop

~Many can let it consume them and take over their lives

So I will say again, I understand their fears, but look at it from another perspective. When you just say NO and/or NEVER AGAIN, where does that get you? It teaches the individual nothing about control or other benefits aside from the superficial ones. It tells them that they have lost a free right to do something many people do. It places restrictions on them, which can lead to them deciding to go and do it anyways. Lastly, it prevents them gaining some of the many benefits you get from exercise that can be critical to the health of a person struggling with an eating disorder (*provided they are stable enough to perform exercises) such as bone and cardiorespiratory strength, helping with psychological disturbances, distraction from nagging negative and obsessive thoughts and potential social opportunities.

There are many people I have seen who have gone from treatment to the gym and are strong, independent people who are in control and did not slip back into old habits. They successfully took their health into their hands and chose to use exercise as a way to ‘come back’ and heal. A way to gain strength when their body was so weak before. A way to build confidence in themselves and eventually find that the gym is more than a place to burn calories. It’s gives them a place to deal with their emotions and re-build themselves physically and psychologically.

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So with all of that being said, I wanted to present you with some research on the topic and how these types of interventions have faired in the treatment of eating disorders. I mean, you have heard my story and I could give you anecdotal evidence of the possible benefits for some, but does it actually show more pros than cons in treatment settings?

Lets find out.

To be honest, I was shocked at the number of articles I actually found. I still believe most are completely dead set on NO EXERCISE but there was a surprising number of studies and pilot programs in treatment facilities exploring the use of exercise as intervention. 

I will stick to the main findings of each study and link each so that you can read more if you desire. I am also going to label them in order of earliest to latest. Lastly, I could have found more, but for the sake of your attention span, I left it to these interesting ones.

Thein et al (1999) –> “Pilot Study of a Graded Exercise Program for the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa”

Main Findings: With the addition of exercise (amount based on % of ideal body weight IBW), the experimental group (diagnosed with AN) showed no difference in change in BMI or body fat, suggesting that the exercise did not inhibit the primary goal of weight gain. The EXPT group also saw a general increase in quality of life measures while the control saw a trend downward from their initial testing.

Szabo and Green (2002) –> Hospitalized anorexics and resistance training: Impact on body composition and psychological well-being. A preliminary study

Main Findings: Study included a non-AN group (exercise group and non-exercise group) with a group of girls currently in an inpatient facility for AN (exercise and non exercise groups). They were both on an 8-week training program of resistance-based exercises. There were trends found for the psychological variables, however it was speculated that perhaps 8 weeks was not enough. Interestingly enough, there was no decrease in weight of the ED-exercise group but a significant drop in those not in the exercise group.

Lutter and Smith-Osborne (2011) –>Exercise in the Treatment of Eating Disorders: An Alternative View

Main Findings: Exercise was significantly associated with greater improvements in eating disorder and depressive symptoms where the number of METS was associated positively with improvements in the measures of depression (BDI) and eating disorder behaviours (EDI). This study was interesting because the exercise was equine based.

Hall et al (2016) –> Use of yoga in outpatient eating disorder treatment: a pilot study

Main Findings: Adolescent girls (all met the requirements for AN/BN/EDNOS but were clinically stable) in an outpatient eating disorder treatment facility attended 12 yoga classes at one class per week. After the intervention, there was no decrease in BMI and significant improvements in anxiety, depression and body image disturbance scores. 

I did a yoga class or two when I was an inpatient at Sick Kids. This was for the advanced stages only but was a nice change of pace. Definitely saw first hand the mood enhancing features. 

This article by Hausenblas et al (2008) also provides a good overview of 6 further studies showing the benefits of exercise based interventions in eating disorder populations on social, psychological and biological factors if you’re interested in even more reading 😉

Finally, here is an article, Bratland et al (2009), that discusses how exercise based programs are managed in treatment facilities and how many places actually have them! It was limited to a few countries in Europe, but can provide some insight for how they could be implemented and managed here.

So…

To conclude, many articles find that there are benefits to exercise in both outpatient and inpatient treatments for eating disorders. Also, rarely did any study (I didn’t find any) report negatives (such as weight loss or stalling the weight gain process) of incorporating exercise into the programs.

I want to say that, yes I know it may take more work and there will have to be strict guidelines in place, like ensuring they are stable enough to participate, etc, but from what I see from research and from my own experience I definitely think that it would be something to really look into further and do more pilot studies on.

Weight gain is already hard enough, try to make it easier on us all. Plus, by being exposed to it in a controlled setting it can also help to make the transition back to ‘reality’ potentially more smooth.

Something I would like to know is if incorporation of exercise during treatment can lower the risk of over exercising or going back to negative exercise habits when they are discharged. 

What are you thoughts?

-Chelsea


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Remember Your First Home…Fitness Friday 18

As cliche as it sounds, always remember to love the very thing that houses you because when you take it for granted, you may loose it.

Your body is not invincible. It doesn’t have a restart button. It’s just trying to do the best it can with whatever you decide to throw it’s way.

Dieting, restriction, stress, over exertion and over overconsuming are all threats to your home. It’s like a plague where it starts off affecting a small area and then it seeps into others leaving nothing left in it’s path and just causing one loss after another after another. When you deprive your body of what it needs (or go over it’s capacity), things are compromised and perhaps even sacrificed as it tries to keep fighting and moving forward.

But sometimes the plague is just too strong and the body looses the battle.

Unfortunately, that’s when you realize that the one thing that you should feel the most protective over is gone and that often means that you are too. 

your-body

…..

Now before someone thinks I’m writing my own death letter, I’m not dying. I have however gotten some not so nice medical results back as of late and am currently in the works with dealing with them.

The first was when I asked my doctor to test me for a gut parasite as a weird thing to check off the list of “what is causing Chelsea’s tummy issues”

As weird as it sounds (where most doctors wouldn’t even consider this as a possibility because we are a first world country) my results not only came back positive, but came back saying many…

So basically I was housing a rapidly growing colony in my gut that is possibly stealing my body’s resources. #FunTimes

Currently being treated with meds for the next few days (for a total of 10 days) to try to kill the parasite. Unfortunately it’s also going to kill a lot of good flora which is not so great for someone who already is at a disadvantage from a stomach/gut perspective. Thanks IBS.

So that was one.

Lesson learned here: You know your own body. When something is getting worse when you are doing everything the absolute same plus doing things that are known to help your problem, you need to take matters into your own hands and TELL THE DOCTOR WHAT TO DO.

If I hadn’t had said anything, those buggers would continue to eat away and do their thing (whatever that is) and continue making me miserable.

The second thing that came back was my pituitary gland hormones. To keep things brief and to the point, I basically have no LH or FSH (integral to menstruation) and my prolactin is through the roof. My doctor did not, however, ask for my estrogen or progesterone levels which is annoying but either way I have a problem that needs to be dealt with.

For this, I don’t know what’s is going to happen until I see her next Friday but I did happen to miss the clinic calling (and subsequently emailing me..) with a doctors message.

Why they don’t leave a voicemail is beyond me…

…so it ain’t looking positive.

All and all this was not a post meant for you to feel bad for me.

It was meant for:

1.To be transparent with you all about my journey as I always do.

2.The bigger thing was to show you that your body has a way of showing you it’s hurt and it will bite you in the ass eventually. Although my health is constantly improving, these show me that my body was very much effected by my lack of being a ‘responsible home owner” and now I have to suffer the consequences.

Never take your body for granted. Treat it with respect or it will come back with nothing but negative consequences in your future.

….nature-protects-if-she-is-protected-500x384

I realize that this post is quite a bit different than the usual Fitness Friday informational blogs, but I wanted to get this point across. An integral part of being an active and healthy individual is taking care of the one thing that allows you to do what you do. We all need to be reminded of this fact every so often and so I suppose I can give you a realistic example as to why you need to be aware that you are more fragile then you would like to admit.

Take care of your home and it will repay you.

-Chelsea


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Guys Need Not Read. Girl Talk

My friends,

A short and sweet post this morning as I have something rather exciting to share. Sorry if this is too much information for you, but to my shock, Mother Nature decided to show her work this morning after about 6-8 months of having amenorrhoea.

To say I was shocked and lost for words was an understatement and although my mind is whirling around all kinds of thoughts, which I’m trying to calm any negative ones, I can say that it is a GOOD THING. No, it’s a GREAT THING. For us females, our cycles really show us that our body is healthy because it’s the first thing to go when the body gets stressed. So to get it back (or at least the first time, as I realistically know that it may be transient as it first starts back) means that my body believes that it’s getting adequate nutrition and it’s trusting me again. It’s not overly stressed and so it feels it can run a body process that isn’t actually ‘necessary’ yet still uses a lot of its resources.

I can say that I was shocked mostly because I’m still underweight, and of course with it’s re-appearance I automatically shifted my thoughts into the negative thinking that the weight I have gained must have all been fat because fat is critical to attaining your menstrual cycle. Give me a day or two and I will fight those thoughts back once again as my rational side comes back to the surface post-shock because those throughs are just that…irrational and eating disorder fuelled.

So yeah, I just wanted to share that lil surprise with you all as this is a big turning point in my journey. Even if I did get it back, this doesn’t mean that my weight restoration stops or that my food will stop increasing because, as I said, the 4 pounds that I have gained is still not enough to make me well and strong. So onwards we continue in the forward direction.

Have a great day my friends

-Chelsea


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Today Was Just A Good Day

The title says it all. I was going to make some banana bread tonight for the gym but instead I just had to sit down to write down my thoughts and share them with you. A lil self reflection on the day so hopefully I don’t bore you all. I feel it’s necessary to share the good and the bad so here goes nothing.

To preface: I have been getting some help from another coach lately, Ryan. He has worked with a number of people with gut problems and helping them heal while also using his experience in bodybuilding and nutrition to help them their reach their goals. Overall, I have only just begun with him (about 1 week in) but I’m very excited to see how things go as he is trying to help me to reduce my inflammation (which I did test positive for in my lower bowel but was unexplained) and my body’s acidity issues while also helping to gain weight and continue my strength gains. This first week has been a slow introduction of a few new supplements and natural aids (spirulina, ACV shots, maca powder and MSM) and although it’s early to tell, I have had some very VERY good tummy days. I’m hoping that I get more and more of those because you have no idea how much of a difference it makes when I’m having a ‘good day’. 

So today…

Started off with an amazing lift with an extra boost from someone I talk to quite frequently. She has complimented my progress before, but today was different…

Her: You’re looking really good.

Me: Aww, thank you (smiles…)

Her: No really, you are looking really good, I mean it…

I really didn’t know what to say, I just kept saying thank you. It was just the way she said it that got me. It was like she was excited for me. She could see my energy. I dunno, it just felt really heartwarming.

The big thing is that she sees me train often, so it’s not likes been a month’s difference there. No, she’s noticing slight differences with shorter time intervals so that is a big thing.

…..

My friend Lexi met me at the end of my workout and spent some time with some rehab exercises and I showed her some glute activation exercises to help strengthen that area as she as a bummed out knee that was told by her physio that she needs to work on those areas. We then spent the rest of the afternoon together starting with post-workout noms (I made her a vegetarian greek pasta salad with chickpeas) followed by a trip to GoodnessMe! for me to show her some things as she is trying to make some changes in her diet and ya’ll know that I’m always up for questions and foodie talk.

She then gracious took me to Zehrs where she laughed as I legit squealed when I saw OSTRICH steaks. Oh the foodie in me reveals itself.

….60 bucks later ….

She dropped me back off at home, we chattered for a bit and then she headed off to see her Gran back in my hometown.

Spending more time with her I reflect back on how much I’m thankful that we reconnected (we are from the same hometown and high school). We never lost touch 100% but when I came into Guelph and realized she was living her, we got together and it seems as though we never have a quiet moment. We just talk and talk and talk and I can really appreciate that kind of friendship. 

I did my usual, napped (lolz), had dinner, etc but then as I left to go out for my nightly walk (which is something I still do despite Rita not being here, but Lexi joins me sometimes now), I decided to challenge myself a bit because…

I was feeling good. And THANK YOU RYAN!

Like today was a ‘good day’ tummy wise.

What that means is that I wasn’t feeling bloated out of my mind after dinner and wanting to walk around in a bag…

I had found a pair of cropped jeans that actually fit me from American Eagle a month or so back and because they were on sale and WHITE (I love white!) I bought them. I folded them up with the receipt and left them on my shelf. Well, I decided tonight was going to be the night, I was gunna put those damn things on and go for my walk.

DO IT.

Now this may sound silly to most, but people are shocked when I wear legit pants. It’s true and it’s not just a “I’m a gym rat and live in Lulu 24/7 or nothing” thing either (well that is a part of it..). No, it’s also a personal struggle for me that has hung over me for..wow for almost a decade since I was sick. Other then shorts in the summer time, which take me a bit to get re-adjusted to mentally, I have a really big problem with tight pants because I’m afraid of folding. So, especially after dinner and a full day of eating and drinking, lets just say tight clothing is a no.

But tonight was not one of those nights.

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I’m having a good day, so dammit I was gunna put those jeans on! Was I feeling absolutely amazing?

No, but I didn’t spend the whole time fiddling with them or doing weird checking behaviours… and I kind of felt good.

Big movement forward! Psychological win for tonight.

So as I made my way around the last bend of my walk, I literally couldn’t help but smile.

Today was a good day

Good days mean a happier, peppier Chelsea. One who beams and glows and I swear others must catch my mood and vibes because I find myself being the most chatty on those days. Smile are contagious all. 

And because of that, I had to write it down because that’s what I do with my feelings these days.

Much love my Friends!

-Chelsea

 


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Time To Think Rationally…Currently

Happy start of August my friends!

Hope all that had the day off on Monday enjoyed their long weekend!

So I just wanted to drop a line very briefly as we move into the next month on some of my gut stuff. The reason why I thought to do this was because I actually conquered a fear yesterday morning all in the name of gut happiness..

Is-white-rice-bad-for-cholesterol

Yes my friends. White rice.

Sounds silly to be afraid of white rice, but you see, I have been afraid of white rice for years now and can say that I haven’t touched the stuff since I was like 10.

Why? It’s pretty natural, so why be afraid?

~Processed

~Nutrient Void

~Simple carbs…ZOMG SUGAR!

~No Fiber

These are some of the many thoughts that I have believed for years all thanks to the media. So with that, I refused to eat it. Brown rice only!

To be honest, I don’t enjoy rice really (boring…) so that is also a reason why I don’t tend to eat it (I love my rice cakes though!) but with all of my gut struggles, it was time to really key in on some of my diet staples and some associations started to be formed.

My two hardest meals, where I now take those new digestive-aid pills (I talked about them here) is after my pre-workout and my dinner. Those are the meals that my stomach is often ready to put up a fuss that then lasts onwards either into the next morning, or throughout much of the morning and afternoon.

You know what is constant in both of those meals?

My bae (what do you think of this word? I actually kinda loathe it…)..

sweet-potato-nutritional-fact-versus-regular-potato

Sweet taters. My beloved orange (or white or purple!) gems.

I have tried to be naive about it for so long because I just cannot fathom eating less of them then I do but I looked it up and they happen to be a somewhat high FODMAP food and are only supposed to be eaten in small doses.

Whats the tummy friendly amount for most?

1/2 a cup (or around 100g)

How much do I consume in one day normally…

ummm…maybe 300g…ooops. Well this is awkward.

Epic fail on my part. But it’s one of my main carbohydrate sources and since my carbs are high, well so is the amount of those. Seeing that, it would be no surprise to me if they are NOT helping with my tummy struggles.

So for the next week, I will be doing a white rice trial for all of my pre-workout meals to see how my tummy feels. Yesterday (1st day) it felt a bit crampy at first, probably because it wasn’t used to it, but then it was all good and actually I noticed less bloat so I hope that is what continues.

I will keep you updated.

….

So on this topic and going back to my ‘thoughts’ on white rice, I wanted to take this moment to address why those thoughts are irrational from both a gut health AND overall health perspective.

For gut purposes.

What foods do you eat when you’re sick? Rice. Plain. White. Rice. Yes, so it should be of no surprise that this should be easy on the tummy. White rice is a simple carbohydrate that doesn’t take the body much effort to digest and with that, less discomfort is often the result. So, as an alternative GF carbohydrate source that I need to digest quickly and not sit angrily in my stomach during my workout, this seems like a great choice…

…on paper that is…

Yes, on paper I can see that it’s a great option for me, especially during this time when apparently my stomach hates everything, but I also then have to battle the anxiety that has been created from those society driven beliefs that have kept me from this grain for so long.

So with that, here’s why eating white rice is NOT bad for you.

White rice and the body.

Th first thing that often comes to people’s mind is:

OMG simple carbohydrate, that means a sugar spike and insulin levels going crazy. Insulin means fat gain so therefore, no rice for you.

Plus, hello, it’s so high in carbs…

While white rice is a simple carbohydrate, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t or can’t eat it. Furthermore, it doesn’t mean that if you eat it you will get fat. There is a time and place for foods like this… I believe.

Explain…?

Okay, so it is true that white rice has been stripped of most of its nutrient properties during the processing procedure, which leaves it mostly being a source of starch and not much else. This loss of fibre is also what contributes to how quickly the body is able to digest it because fibre is ultimately one component that slows the breakdown and absorption of the carbohydrates. This then does have an effect on your blood sugar and therefore insulin levels as well.

sugar spike

That being said, who generally eats a bowl of white rice alone?

Often you are eating it with a protein source and quite possibly some vegetables, both of which slow digestion of the entire meal. So just because the rice no longer has the fibre in it, that doesn’t mean that it’s a blood sugar spiker in the context of a whole meal.

Make sense?

This is one of the various reasons why the glycemic index is flawed and shouldn’t really be considered when looking at the ‘health’ of a food item. The original study that looked into it had fasted subjects eat JUST those single food items, so yes, in those cases, things like white bread, white rice and potatoes would definitely have a larger effect on blood sugar than something richer in fibre, protein and fat.

Context people, context.

High-GI-vs-Low-GI-examples

So, will white rice make you fat? No. One, because no single food makes you instantly fat. Two, you eat it with other things which will have an effect on how the body handles it.

Check out this review for some info!

 “Thus while it is clear that combining foods does influence GI and that the addition of protein and fat to a carbohydrate containing meal can appreciably reduce the glycemic response (Venn & Green, 2007).”

It has been known for some time that insulin response cannot be predicted based solely on the glycemic response to a food (Venn & Green, 2007).”

So does that mean I can have white, processed stuff all the time?

Well I’m gunna say no on this point. While I’m arguing that white rice is not bad for you, it doesn’t have the nutrients that other grains and starch sources do. So looking at prioritizing nutrients here, for pre-workout or post workout when you are looking for something fast digesting and a good carbohydrate source, white rice is great. Elsewhere in the day, I would suggest using carbohydrates with a lil more staying power.

~Oatmeal

~Brown Rice

~Sweet potatoes

~Etc Etc

These have more fibre which will keep you satiated longer and therefore delay your next meal. One big reason why people may gain weight eating more processed foods is simply because they are hungry too quickly and end up OVER EATING and thus going over their daily calories.

Fibre. Protein. Fats. Water dense.

foods-full-longer-rev

These guys keep you full!

Furthermore, you have to have variety in your diet to get all of your required micronutrients (i.e. minerals and vitamins). Having white rice before my workout doesn’t change the fact that I still hit a high amount of fibre and get all my micros in a given day.

So with that I will wrap it up here. To conclude I will say that I’m happy to take this leap of faith and go against what society tells me about eating white rice. I will test and see how it works as a fuel for my workouts compared to the sweet potato and also how my stomach deals with the change.

Have a great week friends! 

-Chelsea


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Sunday Feelz…Update On Moi

Hiya Friends,

happy-sunday-mind-fresh-no-job-no-stress-cute-baby-graphic

Hope you all are having a great weekend thus far and enjoy a nice lazy Sunday. I’m currently enjoying my first morning at the parents house and I’m  off to the gym in a little bit but I just wanted to give a short lil post about where I am currently as some people have been asking lately.

You know I like to be honest and open with you in my journey and struggles, so I feel as if I need to keep you all in the loop and I want to share! Although I do hate over talking about myself so I will keep it short and sweet.

Just like me…sorry I had to. 🙂

So, what’s been up with me and my health as of late?

Well, it has been officially about 6 months since I started working with my coach and have been increasing my intake. Although I will not post how much I have increased it, is quite a bit and as far as my weight, although many of you may not think this is a large enough amount, but I have gained about 4 pounds in that time.

Yes, I know weight gain is my goal, but keep in mind my frame. Four pounds may seem small for an average person along 6-7 months of eating in a surplus, but I’m 5’0 and under 100lbs so that is actually decent. Especially so because of the way my body works (ie. my fast metabolism) and my training. I just wanted to put that into perspective.

Despite me saying that, I feel no need justify myself to anyone. I’m moving forward in not only weight and strength, but my health is on point for the most part, my psychological health is improving and overall I just feel better.

So in order to keep it brief, I will put some of these things below in bullet form because that ensures I don’t over chat about them. 

…maybe…

~I get my vitals done twice monthly to ensure that inner things are all good. All of them are good and normal for me. Heart rate is in athletic range and my BP is good for me (low, but that has been normal for my whole life).

~I get blood work done along with an ECG also about 2 times a month to check the minerals, vitamins and such. Both are good with one lil issue right now being my urea is too high, suggesting that my intake of protein is quite high and possibly I’m a bit dehydrated because of it. NOTE that this is not going to hurt my kidneys, high protein intake doesn’t cause harm but instead can aggravate if previous kidney problems, which I don’t have, are present.

~TMI for guys, so skip it, but I still suffer from amenorrhea. This is going to come back with time and although I’m going to get major slack for saying this, but I’m trying not to sweat it too much. YES I want it back because it’s important not only for fertility but also for a bunch of other things (hello bone health, etc) and tells me that I’m in good general health BUT I also know that weight gain is a process and over stressing about it is just not going to help. SO, yes I am working to get it back, but I have to let my body determine when it will trust me to that degree again.

~My stomach has been a BITCH. Excuse my language, but my IBS has been the worst it has ever been. I knew going into this ‘bulk’ that it wouldn’t be happy but I never knew how much it would be aggravated and how much that would affect my mood and body image issues. Thankfully, my doctor has given me something to help with digestion (Domperidone) and OMG that has made things so much better. I only take about 1/3 of the recommended dose but that alone has really helped me feel normal to an extent.

NOTE that this is nothing like laxative or anything else that can lead to dependency. You can stop taking it at any time, it has no consequences/side effects and has been said to be one of the most useful tools for those undergoing re-feeding.

What about Training?

I have always been up front and honest with you all about my refusal to give up on my training and I stand by that. My health and weight is improving right along with my training so I’m not planning on stopping or slowing my pace any time soon. I know I may get some judgement for that, but I’m just being honest. Training is my passion and it’s not going anywhere.

It is my mental clarity.

My stress relief

It gives me goals to focus on through the hard times of this process.

It’s just part of me. I’m stronger then I have ever been and if you see me train you can see my love for it (I have been actually told that).

So please, do not tell me I should cut back or worst yet, stop, until I’m ‘better.’ I’m getting  better on both sides. Health and the gym are both improving simultaneously. I’m not being stubborn here, I’m being a realist. I need it to keep me going and, quite frankly, it keeps me happy. This process is hard and somedays knowing that I get that gym time gets me through it.

That aside, I said my strength has increased?

Oh yes, that food has gone to work for sure. I think that my strength has gone up a lot faster then my weight and I’m seeing muscle starting to come back and it’s just further pushing me to keep going.

I want more.

So here are some highlights.

My back squat has gone from 95lbs to 135lbs for equal reps (about 5ish on a good day)

My front squat has surpassed my previous from when I was heavier. (about 105lbs for 5)

My bench is back at body weight. I want to push this further but I also know that bench is very much affected by body weight in most people, so keep trekkin.

Pull-ups have gone from about 5-6 back up to almost 10 depending on grip despite the slight weight increase.

Overhead press dipped down to 35lbs but is now back up to where it was previously at 50lbs. <- OHP is one of the hardest movements for me so bare with me. It’s progress.

The one lift I’m frustrated with is deadlifts. Granted I haven’t done them for a long time (shameful for a ‘gymrat’ I know), but I’m stuck at just above bodyweight right now. There is something I’m not doing right with my form I’m sure so it’s something to look into if I want to improve.

So yeah, in both my mental and physical health, I’m progressing forward. I cannot thank all of my supporters more for what they have done for me during this process and moving forward, I know that things can only get better. I have a sense of mental clarity and peace more so then ever. I’m seeing more and more what makes me happy and branching out to explore more.

So overall I’m happier, have more energy and am just enjoying life much more. It makes me very happy to hear others see that too because hearing that you are glowing is much better then ‘are you okay?’

That is one of the best changes thus far.

And throwing up an end of the post cheesy flex-it pic just because I feel you need to see something and I’m starting to like my shoulders more…

#DontJudgeMe

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Before you say it…booty growth is my biggest goal. 😉

And now I’m embarrassed ha! Signing off! It’s my favourite time. Gyyyymmmin.

Much love friends!

-Chelsea


6 Comments

Why Do I Need So Much Food?!?!

My friends,

How are you all? Things are beautiful over here FINALLY! Full sun, 20 degrees and we are all loving life. This is the type of weather I think we are meant to be in all the time because people are just happier. Do you find that too?

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My lovelies. We apparently need a taller friend so that selfies can include all three of us in our entirety. #ShortArmProblems

As for general life, I have one exam down, one to go then I start my new research job next Monday. Student life for ya. Never ending. As for my health, still working away and still making gains in the gym, so a positive direction I would say. Oh and how could I forget…

More and more food. This weekend I actually got another BIG increase and, as normal, my heart began running a marathon in my chest..

Why I red the email before my exam I have no idea… Self sabatoge much?

The increases always do this to me, but this one was rather dramatic and I’m getting anxious for Monday (tomorrow) when I have to deal with it starting.

This leads me into the topic I wanted to discuss today. I don’t know if it was this increase that sparked this question in my mind or if my constant complaining about why my tiny body needs so much food just to even maintain my weight has finally made me want to check things out but, regardless, this was my random question that led me to some journal reading…

Does your metabolism heal fully post recovery?

Is my metabolism messed up and that’s why I can’t gain?

These are what I started asking myself. Maybe I never really went into search because I just assumed it was similar to dieting…

Eat less food…metabolism decreases

Eat more food…metabolism begins to heal, readjust and speed back up to normal.

So given what recovered individuals go through, I just assumed that during the severe restriction that the metabolism would be damaged and then with the re-feed it would just heal itself back to normal eventually provided you kept the weight on.

I was also told by the doctors that post re-feed, those with anorexia tend to be in a ‘loosing mode’ but given that I gained the weight during the re-feed, obviously, and kept it on when I left, I never really thought about things like my metabolism much. I really never thought about this problem at all to be honest.

It also never occurred to me to think about it throughout the years because I was just eating when I wanted to. It wasn’t until I lost (not intentional, I just wasn’t aware in the beginning what I was doing and then being unable to reverse it) and was ‘trying to gain on my own’ that it really hit me that I needed to eat A LOT.

This is when the questioning started.

I’m 5 feet tall.

I’m tiny.

Yes I work out hard but for real, I’m eating more then some guys cutting…

Why?!?! 

This is hard I don’t want to have to eat this much

Now hear me out, I rationally know that everyone’s body is different and that exercise and building muscle leads to an increased amount of food required, but by me being a person who used to look at the diets of others (including competitors), it began to mess with my ability to stay rational when it occurred to me that I was eating more calories then they were.

They work out hard, they are taller then me and eating less?!? 

WTH??

I actually started getting really irrational and thinking that maybe I wasn’t seeing myself right and that I was ‘getting bigger’ because.. how could I not be? I’m eating a house (Or so thought at the time…). It just didn’t make sense to me that I was eating what felt like so much and not gaining anything so every possible theory, no matter how crazy and unrealistic it was, came up.

I’m still working at not comparing and doubting my rational side but I decided to actually look into the research instead of just letting my ED spread it’s lies in my mind and driving me crazy.

As I began to search around, I figured that this information would be quite beneficial to many of your guys, as I know that there are some of my readers that have gone through similar situations. So I hope you can gain something out of it or just at least find it interesting.

Oh the body and it’s workings…

So what did I find?

***Disclaimer. Please note that the research behind post re-feed metabolism is still young and many of the the findings are not in full agreeance but there does appear to be a general consensus that there is a period of “hyper metabolism.” ***

To keep it brief and not too wordy (so I loose you all), I will stick to the main bullets from some studies then sum it up at the end.

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(Tatyana, 2014)

So not only do those suffering with anorexia (AN) have to eat an increasing amount of calories throughout the re-feeding process to start and continue to gain weight at the same rate, they also need it afterwards. Specifically, there tends to be a duration of time post re-feed where a significantly higher number of calories needs to be consumed then what would typically be estimated for an individual of the same height/weight without an eating disorder history just to maintain that restored weight.

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Marzola and et (2013) did a PubMed review and reported quite a few interesting findings:

~The graph above suggested that, compared to healthy weight female controls, patients with anorexia nervosa (AN), both restrictive and binge/purge types, required more calories per day for their body weight directly after treatment. Following one year (the long-term recovered), restrictor types still required significantly more calories for weight maintenance then controls.

~Although studies appear varied, there is a quite a dramatic increase in calories per kg of body weight that has been found to be required for weight maintenance in those with AN. When compared to normal weight female controls, who needed approximately 20-40 cal/kg/day for weight maintenance, those with AN have been found to need 50-60 cal/kg/day or more to keep the restored weight on. Post-refeed the increased calories appears to be required or rapid weight loss is often the result.

Personal Response: Perhaps this is why there is such a high rate of relapse? The fact that patients are no where near psychologically recovered directly after re-feeding and then on top of that have to maintain such a high caloric intake may be too much of a demand for them to handle. Furthermore,  weight loss is even more favourable as the body is slow to fully heal and has this hypermetabolism issue. 

~They did also mention that this tends to normalize itself after about 3-6 months.

~Overall, this suggests that those with anorexia become hyper metabolic during the re-feed process which is actually kind of the opposite of what occurs in cases of calorie reduction for the sake of weight loss in overweight individuals. In the latter case, the overweight struggle to loose weight because as they reduce their calories they become HYPOmetabolic so the slower burn makes it more difficult for them to reach the required deficit. On top of that, if their calories are increased, they rapidly gain because their metabolism is in a less efficient state. Contrarily, for the individual with AN, they need even more calories then before just to gain anything because their metabolism is just hummin too fast. This increase, however, is not that it’s more efficient but rather, that their bodies are simply using more thermogenic processes then normal. In other words, they are just burning off more of their intake as heat rather then using it for building or attributing to new mass.

What about Bulimia Nervosa?

As you saw with the graph above, those suffering with bulimia (BN) may not have the same issue. Directly after treatment, Marzola et al (2013) found a slight increase in caloric needs, but that did not hold true for the long term as it did for AN. Similarly, an earlier study by Weltzin et al (1991) that looked at the difference in weight maintenance requirements in patients with restricting AN vs. BN found that AN requires a significantly higher number of calories to keep the restored weight steady.

Does it last forever?

It doesn’t seem to.

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(Kaye, 1986)

Most studies that I came across gave a range of anywhere from weeks post re-feed to 6 months where the metabolism was generally restored itself and the caloric needs returned to what was considered normal. Although the exact mechanism behind this hyper metabolism during and post re-feed is still unclear, there have been a few suggestions as to why it occurs. One of the more consistent theories is that the endocrine system takes a bit longer to fully recover and return to a normal functioning and so for weight to be sustained post re-feed, the increased caloric intake is required to be sustained (Kaye, 1986, Mazola, 2013). Another contributor to this increased need may be increased exercise. Many studies have found that those with AN tend to have greater exercise generated energy expenditure through behaviours such as fidgeting, pacing, and increased walking (Kaye, 1986). As a result, their caloric needs would increase more then the average person in addition to their already higher requirements for weight stability.

Alrighty for the sake of not boring you too death by having something 40 miles long, I suppose I will end it there. What did you think?

As a final reflection back to my own situation, I suppose some people would call what I have gone through a relapse as I lost a dramatic amount of weight post re-feed back when I was 16. Although it was not intentional and it was so slow that I really didn’t pay attention until it started becoming more of an issue, the point is that I went back to unhealthy body fat and weight levels for my size. As a result, working with my coach is more like a re-feed period once again. Lucky him…

Due to that, it looks like I may have to endure this caloric surplus once again (FML right?) in order to get fully back on my feet. This is also on top of my increased needs from lifting….I can say that I’m thankful that my mind did not relapse, if you know what I mean, but still, the physical gaining process and accepting will not come without dealing with body image issues and dysmorphia. This unfortunately will then promise to make this journey quite the mind fu** for me.

But I just need to…

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So to conclude, this research was interesting for me to do as many things are making more sense to me, even more things then I shared in this post. I hope you can benefit in some way from this discussion and, as always, hit me up in the comments with your lovely thoughts.

Much love! ❤

-Chelsea

References:

Kaye, W., H., Gwirtsman, H., George, T., Ebert, M., H., Petersen, R. (1986). Caloric consumption and activity levels after weight recovery in anorexia nervosa: a prolonged delay in normalization. International Journal of Eating Disorders5(3), 489-502.

Mazola, E., Nasser J., A, Hashim S., A, Shih P., A, Kaye W., H. (November 7, 2013). Nutritional rehabilitation in anorexia nervosa: review of the literature and implications for treatment. BMC Psychiatry, 2013(13)290. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-13-290.

Tatyana, (2014). Hypermetabolism in anorexia nervosa. Retrieved April 17, 2015 from http://www.scienceofeds.org/2014/05/07/hypermetabolism-in-anorexia-nervosa/

Weltzin, T., E., Fernstrom, M., H., Hansen, D., McConaha, C., Kaye, W., H. (1991). Abnormal caloric requirements for weight maintenance in patients with anorexia and bulimia nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, 148(12), 1675-1682.