Weight loss is an interesting thing. It seems like it would be as simple as calories in versus calories out: Eat too many calories and gain weight. Eat fewer calories and lose weight. It's a simple mathematical equation ... except that it's not.
Four years ago, I ate whatever I wanted and exercised moderately. I wasn't in my best shape, but my body fat percentage was average, about 21%. Then, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I gained 50 pounds and upon giving birth, had an urgency to lose the weight and get back into my fitness spandex.
I saw a hormone specialist who recommended eating a diet of zero starches, zero fat, zero sugar (including fruit) and approximately 1,000 calories per day. I was eating lean protein such as egg whites or chicken paired with vegetables, and I was also doing high-intensity workouts nearly every day. I was back to my pre-baby weight in about nine months, but I was essentially on a bikini competitor's diet and exercise program the entire time, while actual bikini competitors typically do this for three to six weeks before a competition.
Well, then I got pregnant with baby #2 and gained 60 pounds. The day my son was born, I was back on my doctor-prescribed diet.
It sort-of worked, but it took longer and I had to eat even fewer calories than before to see results. I experimented with many food/exercise/calorie combinations and found that the only way for me to lose weight was to be eat less than 1,000 calories per day! All I could think of is that before I got pregnant, I could basically eat whatever I wanted and maintain a decent and healthy physique. Something was wrong.
Ten months later, I still had not achieved my pre-baby body and I was very cranky from always being hungry!
So I started taking notes. I noticed that if I overate one day, I would gain a few pounds immediately. If I overate for two or three days in a row, I would slowly lose those three pounds I'd gained. It didn't make sense, so I started researching bikini competitors and their diets, and found that many of them suffer from serious metabolism issues after competitions.
I found that they experienced many of the same issues I had: fast weight gain when consuming a normal amount of calories, stomach bloat, digestion issues, etc. What I discovered was that I needed to rebuild my metabolism.
It's been a slow and agonizing process, but I'm finally getting my metabolism back to normal. After all of my nutrition training, exercise knowledge, experience working in fitness and my many, many certifications, I had never come across anything like this. It's embarrassing to admit, but I went against everything I knew about health and wellness to achieve fast weight loss.
So, how do you know if you've damaged your metabolism?