Sunday, October 13, 2013


I knew it, I just knew it. This happens to me every time I come off any kind of low carb plan, or any time I increase calories over about 1400. I gain. Every time.

Sept 1 I weighed 210
Sept 22 I weighed 208
Oct 1, having come off Medifast, I weighed 210
Last week, 212.
This week, 216.

For two weeks or so, I've not counted calories, so I admit not knowing how that factors in. I have been completely, 100% sedentary with this ridiculous injury. I am on crutches and in an air cast so have not been getting in ANY walking. I am supposed to not be weight bearing at all, and am trying to find a PT with a pool that can accommodate this. My steps went from over 9000 a day to basically zero. So inactivity is a huge contributor because I feel like a complete slug and I am sure my metabolism isn't exactly a raging furnace. While I was not counting calories, I've been trying to relax about food and make good choices. I'm eating way more produce and maybe a bit less protein, moderate healthy fats and *some* carbs. I am avoiding sugar for the most part, because it is a fact that it causes me joint pain. I had a piece of cheesecake on my son's birthday this week, and a couple of Oreos on another day. Aside from those 2 things I enjoyed fruit as my sweets: cantaloupe, apples, pears, bananas, grapefruit, and berries. My fridge (and plate) is filled with things I like that are good for my body: green beans, cabbage, kale, chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, and free range eggs. I have spent a lot of time over the last 3 low-carb years restricting certain things and now that I am having them I truly appreciate them. It is nice to be able to enjoy fruit, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, peas, carrots, and onions without being "off plan." I get a lot of pleasure and nutrition from those foods and do not want to ever restrict them again.

So my increased calories and lower activity has given me a 4 pound gain this week, for a total of 8 pounds in about 3 weeks. I am trying to not overreact by restricting again. This is why I always ran back to low carb and/or Medifast: it takes this kind of weigh off fast, and feels like I am "doing something" about the gain. There have been 2 times in my blog history when I have gained 11 pounds in one week, so I am thankful I haven't gone there this time. I am not binge eating, not even overeating in a sitting, but maybe overeating calorie-wise for my super low activity level. Not sure. If you read the comments over time you know that I always get conflicting advise about how to lose weight. Some folks feel I need to restrict more and eat 600-800 calories a day. Other folks tell me I need to eat a lot more to fix my "starved" metabolism, maybe 2500 calories a day of nutritious stuff. Right now I am somewhere in the middle. I think I need to eat somewhere between those two extremes. I do not know how many calories a day I need. The BMR calculators have never been accurate for me, even before Medifast when I was maintaining on about 1500 calories a day at about 225 pounds, biking 30 minutes 6 days a week and strength training 3 days a week. So I dunno.

Tomorrow I will start counting calories again, but I don't have a calorie goal in mind, really. I loosely am thinking about 2000 calories a day to start, but for this week will just eat to satisfaction and count and see where I'm at. I'll keep basing my meals on vegetables, fruits, lean protein, healthy fats, and some grains. I think I will try some quinoa this week, and I have steel cut oatmeal sometimes. I think wheat does bother me so I try to avoid that for the most part. I have plenty of sitting time to read up on anti-inflammatory foods, so will build those into my diet as well. And I ordered a chair aerobics workout video that I'll start using when it gets here. In the meantime I am stretching, doing basic stuff like arm weights (very light right now but will build up) and sit ups and posture exercises. And let me just get in one whine and say this injury is so much worse than the plantar fasciitis I have had for a year and a half. At least with the pf, I had days that I could at least hobble around and get some stuff done. I could even take medication and go do my dog training even if it hurt. Now, forget it. I have to skip and cancel a lot of things. I can't shop and have to send my son out for errands. The crutches are annoying and the air cast hurts and because I have stairs I can't even do laundry without help. I am just praying it heals well and I can get back to my active LIFE.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused as to why you are going to aim for 2000 calories a day when you KNOW you gain at that level. Especially since you have to be so sedentary due to your injury. It just seems like self sabotage.

I understand not wanting to actively diet and lose weight right now, but knowingly gaining weight seems counterproductive. Am I missing something?

Claire said...

Hi Lyn, different things to comment on: 1. Even though you view this as much worse than pf, this should be much more short term. Considering you dealt with severe pf for 1 1/2 yrs.
2. 2000 calories a day with zero exercise will cause a gain with almost anyone. Just an observation. You may want to consider lowering that.
3. Most public television stations have a program called Sit and Be Fit. That could work well for you for the time being.
4. Have you considered seeing a nutritionist? I started to post this about a month ago and didn't. A friend of mine lowered her metabolism so badly with severe dieting(we are talking water on the Grape-Nuts), that she couldn't eat close to a 1000 cal/day without gaining. She finally saw a nutritionist who slowly helped her rebuild her metabolism so that she can now eat a normal calorie amount for her size and not gain.

All just thoughts. Hoping for your healing soon.

Anonymous said...

I understand your fear of the gain, but you have to eat enough to heal yourself or your injury and plantar fascitis will never heal. 2000 is not enough. Please research this. You should be eating a minimum of 2500 calories a day of nutrient-dense foods, including avocados, coconut oil, and nuts in addition to what you are doing now. You are not eating enough and that is why you keep getting injured. The gain will level out and then you will start to lose as your body heals itself.

Anonymous said...

My experience: I was gaining on 1000 - 1200 calories a day. I upped my calories to 2500 - 3000 a day, gained 4 pounds (over 7 months). A month ago I cut back to around 2100, 2200 and I have lost 4 pounds. Your body needs time to heal and needs to get to the stage where it feels ok to lose weight. That might be 7 months, it might be a year. But it is so worth it once you get there - no more stress, no more hunger.

We live in a culture which has warped views on how many calories we need - there is NO way that 900 cals a day is vaguely enough for you.

Go and look through the GoKaleo blog - tehre are some good posts there about it all.

Good luck,

Lyn said...


I am not knowingly gaining, or intending to gain, but I do realize that some initial gain may be part of the process. I do not want to eat 1000 calories for the rest of my life and that is the path I have been on... staying over 200 pounds on 1000 calories a day. Something has to change, and I've decided to give this a shot. Honestly it took me a long time to get over a feeling of panic about increasing my calories at all.


Last time I talked to a nutritionist (a non-Medifast one) was a couple years ago, and they were telling me I needed to base my diet on grains and eat lots of whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, etc. There are a lot of nutritionists in my area but I am not quite sure how I'd go about finding one that is not focused on the grain based idea. I would consider it though.


Yes, I've been told that before, as I said in my post.Yet you can see by the prior comments that not everyone agrees with this idea. I don't know the answer, but I do know 900 calories a day is not the answer, because I lived it for so long. I don't want to jump straight to tripling my calories so will begin slowly and see how it goes.

Anonymous (Carol)~

Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm just going to feel my way through this one week at a time and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

It is the weight of the food. Actual weight. Anyone who does one of those medifast type plans knows that you gain about 5 lbs when you go back to regular food. It isn't real fat. Just like when you start losing weight you lose weight quickly that isn't real weight. It is just the heavier food leaving your body and being replaced by very lite food.

CatherineMarie said...

Lyn, give yourself a month eating whole foods in a relaxed manner...maybe you can come join the October Unprocessed challenge on Facebook! Put the scale away for a month. Don't worry about regain.

I was reading an old Joy of Cooking, from 1953 and for a sedentary woman of 123 lbs, they suggested 2100 calories per day. This was a time when women (people in general) were slimmer than they are now.

What about playing tug-of-war with the dog from the couch?

I know, for me, I'm identifying my "stress eating" triggers... and trying to find healthier options.

I've also been reading an interesting book called Pandora's Lunchbox. In it, the author talks about studies that show that a calorie is not always just a calorie. It is possible that your body just needs some time to get used to not eating such processed stuff...

I agree with the nutritionist idea. Grains are not bad... you just need to eat them as whole grains and in moderation...

Anonymous said...

I've been watching you for years. You may feel low but you still inspire me. Thank you for blogging your journey. I am praying Jesus' healing down on you. Be blessed!

Jami Stakley said...

I am so sorry you are having such a tough time. I am on the fence about your calories. No matter where you decide to keep your calories count, make sure you track what you eat. There is a website called Sparkpeople that has a fantastic nutrition tracker and it is completely free. By tracking you can see how your intake impacts your results. In addition, you can monitor your nutrients as well. You probably already have some hand weights. You can do a lot with those. Its not cardio, but it is something. I hope you feel better.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of the weighdown diet?
Have you ever tried only eating when you're truly hungry (stomach growling) and stopped when you are satisfied? I lost 18lbs in 12 weeks on the Weighdown Diet. I got closer to God too! :)

Margaret said...

I'm shaking my head, Lyn, because I clearly remember reading posts here about how you know coming off Medifast has to be done very, very carefully or the weight is going to be back in a flash. And more. I know you know this. If you only gain 8 pounds, that would be tremendous, but that would mean you beat all the odds. Maybe it would be helpful if you go back and look at those posts? You were one hundred percent correct when you wrote them.


Anonymous said...

Lynn, just wanted to wish you luck and tell you as a long time reader, I hope your new plan works out. I believe that a healthy life requires healthy, whole food, but I totally understand that it's a struggle to transition back from medifast and your body might be in shock. Just a gentle suggestion -- I broke my leg last year and was able to find a lot of good exercises online that I could do from the floor - bicycle crunches, leg lifts, arm weight lifting exercises. It might alleviate some of your frustration if you feel in control that aspect of your journey and will certainly help your body to have more muscle. Keep your head up!

MargieAnne said...

Hi Lyn. just to say I'm wishing you all the best as you learn to live without medifast.


timothy said...

I hate to say it but when bein that sedentary you really do have to severely limit fruits or you will gain. sugar is sugar even if it's natural. sendin positive energy and healing your way hon!

Karen said...

Weight gain- your liver storing sugar after being low carb.

Eating processed food like cheesecake and oreos always resulted in emotional eating or binge eating for me. Always. There were no days off.

Remember the Refuse to Regain book? Barbara Berkeley, MD. I would encourage you to do a 90 day opt out ( no "S" foods, primal/paleo template, be tough not moderate).

During that opt out time, brain fog will fade and you can make your next plan. Low inflammatory diet will likely help with the pain- IMO.

Good luck and stay gluten free. Don't eat off plan with wheat.

I ditto Jane's experience (responses in your previous post) with a group support system and a mentor. I do not do a formal 12 step program, however I have a support group where I can go and have a sponsor like person help me.

If it weren't for those people, I would have comfort ate this summer when I lost my Dad and a very close family friend.

Good luck and get your weight stable. The rest will follow as you work your next plan. No wheat, no or little processed sugar.

Anonymous said...

You might want to look into getting your resting metabolic rate tested. It'll tell you pretty accurately exactly how many calories your body burns at rest, and therefore will take the guesswork out of how many calories your body needs. I did it a few years ago, adjusted my eating as such (I was also eating too few calories) and fixed my metabolism, cut out all the crazy food guesswork, and maintained at my weight with little stress.

Anonymous said...

As Karen mentioned, could your gain simply be your glycogen stores being restored to your body (i.e., water weight)? Just as Medifast depletes our glycogen and the water molecules attached to those glycogen molecules, so do the water molecules return with the glycogen when our glycogen stores are renewed. My theory is that your gain can be attributed to this phenomenon.

I only recently learned about the topic of glycogen and low carb diets. Once, on Medifast, I gained 15 pounds in one weekend. I felt so defeated and depressed, it threw me off track completely. I wish I had known about glycogen back then.

I have never in my life heard of anyone eating so few calories and maintaining 200+ pounds. When you returned to Medifast 5&1, weight should have been FALLING off of you, especially during the first two weeks. The fact that it didn't is truly perplexing. I would be so incredibly frustrated and spent if I were in your shoes.

Just as you had to pursue doctor after doctor to finally get some real help for your foot pain, if I were in your shoes I would pursue dieticians, doctors, weight loss clinics, any expert you can, until someone can finally help you, because SOMETHING is not right! This is NOT normal. Something isn't right. I know you've had your thyroid checked and other things... but it's either something medical, metabolic, or physiological.

Please keep searching for answers, you are your only advocate. I think your case is so special and rare that you really need an expert with special knowledge of people in similar situations.

Good luck and thank you for continuing to share your journey with us!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! Just reading the comments makes me dizzy. So many people, so many differing opinions!

Anonymous said...

As I'm sure you know, you gain weight when you go off a low-carb plan because carbohydrates contain glycogen and glycogen attaches to and stores water in the body. For me, the difference between being glycogen-replete and glycogen-depleted (i.e. low-carb) is about ten pounds. When I'm glycogen-replete, I do look bigger (water takes up space), but the gain is not fat.

Check out the TDEE calculator for a look at your BMR and daily energy expenditure. Because of the extreme dieting you've done, you've sustained serious metabolic damage (no healthy metabolism gains weight eating 1000 calories, or 1200, or 1500), but you can correct that damage. And yes, you might have to gain weight to do so, but it is absolutely in the service of your health and well-being—and even of your long-term weight loss.

Sara said...

I agree with Anonymous @ 7:30 AM that you can absolutely heal your metabolism. It's well-documented that people who diet long-term (even at the 1200 calorie level) can experience reduced metabolism (Google "adaptive thermogenesis" if interested). However, it's also well-documented that re-feeding can normalize a person's metabolism again (a cursory Google search of "refeeding effects on metabolism" turned up several studies, mostly having been done on young women undergoing the refeeding process in treatment for anorexia). Refeeding does result in a gain initially, but it has long term health benefits that far outweigh that, IMO--even if the gain is permanent.