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damaged myself with dieting, anaemia, white blood deficit, palpitations, etc

I did a very low calorie diet for 18 months, about 1000kcal a day. I had no idea that this was an issue until my doctor discovered I had anaemia, small white blood cells and blood count, and ectopic heart beat / palpitations.
I was recommended online to eat 2000kcal a day for a 'normal' intake so I am trying to do that, but the weight is really piling on fast. Is it true I need to stabilize my metabolism? I read that I should eat 2000 for a few weeks, and then I can start dieting again and that I should do it more gradually. But at this rate I may put on 20 pounds in those few weeks! I am also curious if I may have done any long term damage to my body.

Thank you in advance for any advice!
4 Responses
Avatar universal
You say you saw a doctor who diagnosed you with a problem.  Then, if I have this correct, you went to a random site online and started a high calorie diet?  I'm confused -- do you have a medical problem or a medical problem induced by your extreme dieting?  If the latter, why are you going on another extreme diet?  Dieting doesn't really work --- changing your permanent diet and your energy output does.  It might go more slowly but it will get you where you want to be all the time, not just for a month or two.  But given you've seen a doctor and have a problem, I'm wondering if you asked your doc what to do?  And since docs don't know a whole lot about nutrition, were you sent to a nutritionist to get you to a healthy way of eating?  (I would look for the ones who call themselves holistic nutritionists, as mainstream ones don't really push healthy food and that's important).  
Avatar universal
My doctor only diagnosed problems after I had already been dieting for 18 months so the damage was already done :( I am just eating normally now. It is not supposed to be a high calorie diet, I just googled how much a person is supposed to eat and there is a calculation you can do based on height, weight, age, sex, and physical activity. Mine came out at about 2000 which seems normal from reading online. But I have been on 900-1000kcal for so long, 2000 is a huge increase and I am worried about getting fat and also don't know how long I should do this or if it is even necessary. The calorie information online is scientific, but there is no good info about how to get a stable metabolism and what you should do if you put weight eating less than the recommended daily allowance. That's why I'm asking here. I saw bodybuilding websites where people talked about the same thing, someone was putting weight on by only eating 1500kcal a day and people said it sounded like a medical issue, like thyroid etc. I can ask my doctor to help with this but it might take 2 more weeks and he might not even know and may refer me to someone else. In the meantime I am putting weight on each day.
1 Comments
Wait, the damage is already done?  How do you know there's permanent damage?  I don't think you'd get permanent damage to your blood cells in that short a period of time.  Either you have anemia because you're not eating enough iron and/or B12, which is fixed by adding them to your daily intake in the form of eating better or taking supplements for a period of time, or you have a different problem that has nothing to do with how you were eating.  Some people get B12 anemia from genetic problems, for example.  So what was the diagnosis and what did the doctor recommend as treatment for it?  As for what you're reading, it's because calories are not the main factor in weight.  They are a factor.  The more important factor is how quickly what you eat is metabolized into sugar and then either burned or if not burned stored as fat.  High calorie foods such as fatty fish do not cause weight gain unless you eat pounds of the stuff.  Lower calorie white flour can cause it in some people because of its quick metabolism into sugar.  This is why counting calories doesn't really work well and why everyone you've known who diets that way has a problem staying with a good weight -- they're chasing only one factor in weight.  Another issue, as I said, is energy output -- how much do you exercise, what kind, how much do you move in your daily activities, etc.  The more work you put out physically the more good quality calories you will need for fuel.  When you starve yourself by eating too little, as may have happened in your case, you can be short some significant nutrients that can hamper your health.  Different people do better on different foods.  Some of that is what we're used to eating -- different cultures evolved to eat different foods and sometimes have a hard time adjusting to something different even though calories might be the same.  It's more complicated than that, but also not that complicated -- if you eat a balanced diet with enough whole grains, legumes, colored veggies, and lean animal protein most people will do fine, have a good weight, and be healthy all other things being equal and if you keep eating that way you will stay that way, all things being equal, once your body reaches equilibrium.  To get there sometimes you have to do some different things in the beginning but you do have to shift to a permanent healthful diet so your body doesn't reject eventually what you're putting into it.  That will be somewhat different for you than for me, but you'll get there.  But you need to find out about that anemia so you have the energy to exercise and so your body will function properly, and so you need to know why you have it.  If it is from your past eating habits, that's easily changed.  
Avatar universal
Thanks that helps. I am pretty sure the diet caused the anaemia and other problems, so I am thinking that will go now. The palpitations certainly seem to be gone already. I don't know if there was any permanent damage, I assume not but I was curious. I am eating a lot more now and I am going to start doing a bit more exercise to my routine to hopefully keep the weight off. It confused me because even at 900-1000kcal a day, I was only losing weight gradually. So I am worried that at around 1500 I am eating now, the weight will go up rather than down. But I am going to try to switch in more protein and do a bit more exercise.
2 Comments
High protein isn't necessary unless you're planning to do resistance training, which isn't a bad thing to do but generally humans don't need a high protein diet and too high can be unhealthy if done for a long time.  More important for you are green leafy vegetables -- in fact, given your current problems, I'd look into an algae supplement such as spirulina or an extreme green sprout such as wheat grass.  They are high in B12 and iron and also chlorophyll, which is almost identical to hemoglobin, the building block of our blood cells.  Green leafy vegetables are high in assimilable minerals, which is what you've apparently not been getting in how you were eating, so that's your first priority, getting your blood cell health back in order.  The weight will be a secondary concern for now.  I'm still urging you to make sure your doctor knows the cause is your diet and not something else, but it's up to you, obviously.  As for you weight plateauing, that's what happens when one "diets" -- eventually your body reaches stasis.  Unless you're starving, the body's metabolism will adapt to how much you're eating.  Unless you grossly overeat, it will do the same thing as you add food -- it will eventually plateau and all other things being equal that will be your weight.  To make changes in weight you have to make changes in diet or exercise patterns so you change metabolism.
Thanks that helps too. I quite like vegetables so I can eat plenty of that. The new diet I started in January was a lot better and the weight was coming off nicely, but it was just too low in calories, I think it was continuing the harm I had done the previous year. I stopped that now so I am eating about 1600kcal a day with plenty of fruit, vegetables, oats, etc. I think that will fix me up. I will stay like this for a month I think and then start trying to diet again but I will do it more gently. Like going down to 1500kcal and doing more exercise instead of cutting so much food.
1756321 tn?1547098925
YouTube search Dr Berg's video: How To Fix A Slow Metabolism.
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