Once I admitted to and began getting help for my eating disorder, I did some research on the recovery process. One piece of information that promptly freaked me out was that because I deprived myself of food, my body adapted by lowering my metabolism. This upset me because the point of me losing weight in the first place was to be healthy,1 but I may have harmed my body instead.
Because this was bothering me, I decided to ask one of the Intuitive Eating authors about it. At the end of one of my intuitive eating certification group sessions, Evelyn Tribole answered an email I had sent to her. In it I asked if there was a way to know if my metabolism had returned to its pre-dieting state. Her response was essentially “no”. Though I was hoping for a more encouraging answer, I didn’t get one. And it made sense. I’d have to somehow calculate my metabolism before dieting and then factor in other variables like age, exercise level, etc., and doing that would be impossible.
While I didn’t think that my body was irreversibly ruined, I knew that I threw my system out of whack for a bit and it needed time to recover. I had to learn to live with the idea that the only way for me to determine my natural weight was to give my metabolism time to stabilize and that my set point may be higher than it would have been if I hadn’t dieted at all.
So did dieting ruin my metabolism? Most likely, but there’s no point in dwelling on this because what’s done is done and I need to look forward rather than obsess about the past. What I can do is take steps to accept my current body and embrace a diet-free life.
Do you worry about how dieting may have affected your metabolism? Please share in the comment section below.
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