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Extreme Dieting = Metabolic Damage

Did you know that if you push your body to extremes both calorically and physically (prolonged periods of diet and exercise) that your body WILL fight back?

I seek to educate, inspire and be a voice of change for so many who face this. Not only the damage.....but for most (myself included) the body image issues that propel us to 'extremes' in the first place.

A brief glimpse in to my story:

I spent my entire life overweight and with a VERY poor body image. I lost my father at age 25 and set out on a journey to get healthy- yet never dealt with my negative body image. I lost 100lbs and began competing in bikini competitions. I was doing HOURS of cardio and consuming a restrictive/very low cal diet (that I adhered to for years). Around this time I began fitness modeling and was featured in national magazines, the Today's Show and other media. I looked in the mirror and still saw the former 'fat girl' and developed an eating disorder. I struggled, almost lost my marriage, friends and my health. But I turned it around, began the path to healing including therapy, self love practice, power lifting that focuses on what your body can do rather than what it looks like and began a long journey of metabolic repair.

What does that look like? At first- it was 2 solid years of being uncomfortable, failed reverse diets and a lot of tears- no matter what I did, my body would not drop. The damage was extensive. Now? A LOT of heavy lifting (which I love) and a successful reverse diet.

What the heck is that?!

A reverse diet is a process of adding macronutrients (proteins/carbs/fats) slowly and methodically over a period of time (this differs for everyone- mine is LONG!) to rebuild metabolic capacity. Once metabolism is rebuilt, your body is set up for success and a fat loss period can begin.

Am I going to attempt fat loss? Absolutely. I am comfortable in my body for the first time in my life because I finally did the INTERNAL work....BUT I still have GOALS. And I will reach those goals. When will I start my loss phase? Sometime this summer when my metabolism and body is ready. And until then- you bet I love this body regardless. It has gotten me through SO much!

To further help metabolic capacity- I lift heavy weights 5-6x a week and do very little cardio: 30-45 minutes per WEEK of HIIT (high intensity interval training) Why? Think about it- who is going to have an easier time in body fat loss? Someone who desires to drop body fat that does cardio daily, eats low calorie and the only place to go is more cardio + lower calorie leading them to damage mode? Or someone who is eating HIGH calorie and doing little cardio? Bingo- the more levers you have to pull during the fat loss process the better.

This isn't just prevalent in the fitness competition industry. I work with MANY people (men and women) who have low functioning metabolisms because they are spending too much time in very low caloric phases and doing too much exercise thinking this will initiate loss long term. This will not WORK for long. Extremes will not work. You MUST have periods of 're-feeds', adding calories, being at maintenance calories or above. Not to mention the potential for disordered eating from restriction.

But how do many fit/lean people never have to deal with this? Because they HAVEN'T JACKED UP THEIR METABOLISM! And believe me- you don't want to either.

For a very long time, I was ashamed of my body, of the former magazine model who gained a lot of weight. For not having the bikini body I used to. But I DON'T feel ashamed ANY MORE. And I want to be a voice, a light for those who are experiencing this from any walk of life and show you there IS a way out. It just may not happen as quickly as you would like.

You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Come with me. Follow me on this journey. Ill be posting weekly on IG @tnutritionista303 about my progress, frustrations, triumphs, being human, body image struggles and victories. Not to celebrate my impending goal or any 'transformation'- but to show you the real human side of our 'extremes' society and the road back to balance. To help spread awareness to media and the health industry that the '30 lbs in 30 days', 'juice fast' and other extremes are having massive effects on our health world wide and are causing more harm than good. To inspire you to focus on health and not aesthetics and to realize that it's FAR more important to see a transformation on the inside than it ever is on the outside.

I am so thankful this has been my journey because my heart, my mind and the way I treat my body is forever changed.

In Love and Health, tNutritionista

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