Unwanted Weight Gain

by Jessica
(Tucson, AZ)

I'm Confused!


Hello! I am a very active, 5' 6.5" 22 year old female and also a pescetarian. I work as a group fitness coordinator for a local gym and when I'm not teaching classes I am either taking them or working out on my own.

For the period of time from about May 2007-August 2008 I decided to, prior to doing much research, drastically drop my calories and ate about 1200/day for that time (give or take a few days). Then, last fall as I noticed my activity increasing and my energy decreasing, I started doing a little research and realized I was definitely not eating enough calorically.

At this time, I upped my calories to about 1500, and really amped up the protein and whole grains (Fish, egg whites, brown rice, etc...). I felt great for a while, even dropped a few pounds and was down to 125 and felt great! I continued to eat that way, and would even "cycle" my calories to as high as 1800 somedays. I felt fine until I started to notice that I was actually gaining weight!

Now, about 6 months later, I am at 140 (some of which might have been gained as muscle as I intensified my lifting), but have seen noticeable changes in my body...in a negative way.

I am wondering what it is that could have caused this weight gain. I have read that you can actually gain weight when you're not eating enough because your body will hold onto anything it gets. I have also read that if, after eating very limited calories for a period of time, you are to up your calories too quickly weight can be gained.

Any insight or suggestions are greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks!

Jessica



Jessica,

I think the best thing to do would be to keep a food log for a few weeks to get a good picture of exactly how much you're consuming over an extended period of time (2-4 weeks).

If after that period of time your calories are consistently low (not just a few days here and there), then yes, you could be slowing your metabolic rate.

On the other hand, keeping a food journal will help determine if your calorie "cycling" is upping your average calorie intake too much.

It takes 3500 calories to gain 1 pound. It sounds like you've gained 15 pounds in 6 months, or 2.5 pounds per month. If you increased your calories by an average of 300 per day, I'd expect you to gain 15 pounds in 6 months:

300 calories x 180 days = 54,000 calories

54,000 calories / 3500 calories per pound = 15.4 pounds

Getting it down in black and white always helps clear things up!

Keep us updated.

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