How to Fix Metabolic Damage
So, if you're reading this then you most likely read my last post about the problems that can arise from eating way under maintenance level for prolonged periods. If you haven't read it, I briefly covered how eating too few calories can and will lead to muscle loss, a drop in overall strength, stalled weight loss due to hormonal output, and how all of this can lead to binge eating. What I didn't include though, was how to fix this problem if it's something that plagues you.
Now, if you suffer from any of these, some of them can be fixed very quickly while other ones, like the ones having to do with hormonal output may take weeks, months, or even years to correct depending on severity. This is actually called metabolic damage and in rare cases, the thyroid can be damaged so much that medication may have to be taken for life.
Scary isn't it?
Actually, aside from severe metabolic damage, the only thing that really needs to be done is continuing your diet at maintenance level and including more carbohydrates.
Seems simple enough, right?
The hardest part is figuring out how many calories you actually need on a day to day basis, tracking these calories, and not losing your mind while the scale numbers slowly start rising (this is a big one).
The reason the scale numbers will rise is because more carbs are needed in order to bring Leptin and T3 levels back up which simultaneously increases muscular energy or glycogen stores. Carbs will replenish the lost sugars in the muscle and every carb brings 2.7g of water into the muscle with it... This means that YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT but it's good weight as long as calories are in check.
So, now you're wondering how to figure out calories, right?
I mean, unless you read my last post…
In my previous post, I explained that you could use the Harris-Benedict equation which is:
BMR = 66 + ( 6.2 × weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 × height in inches ) – ( 6.76 × age in years )
BMR = 655.1 + ( 4.35 × weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 × height in inches ) - ( 4.7 × age in years )
Then you multiply your BMR by the numbers below depending on activity:
1.2 - little to no exercise
1.375 - light exercise (1-3 days/week)
1.5 - moderate exercise (3-5 days/week)
1.725 - heavy exercise (6-7 days/week)
1.9 - extra heavy workouts (two-a-days)
The other way to figure out your calorie intake is by googling "Calorie Calculator."
... I guess I should've led with that huh?
Anyways, my favorite and most accurate calculator can be found at IIFYM.com. This is a very detailed calculator but you have to keep in mind that this is only an estimate, every person will be different so these numbers may have to be adjusted once you see how your body responds.
If you follow this instruction and bring your calories up for a few days, you should reset your metabolism. Then, dieting and fat loss can continue. From there, it's recommended to calorie cycle or carb cycle (higher and lower days) but to hit your maintenance calories at least once a week or even bi-weekly. Doing this will ensure that you're not at risk of crashing your hormone panel again.