So, as you may know, I have been struggling a bit with my eating/diet/training situation. [what else is new?] Two weeks ago, I learned that my metabolism was on its way to shutting down. My body was burning ~1200 cals a day, which means I would gain weight if I ate any more than that on a given day (without working out). I dunno if you all have ever tried eating only 1200 cals a day, but it’s a little depressing how little this is. So, I actually went home and cried a lot. I was pretty devastated that my body had “betrayed me” in this way.
Of course, the truth is that I had, in fact, betrayed my body. After 3 weeks of eating far less than 1200 calories, my body did the only thing it could to save me from myself: hoard all my calories and slow the engine down to a crawl. This is what happens when you “crash diet” while running 30+ miles a week. Your body thinks “all right either she’s in the desert with no food or water or she’s running away from hostile aliens trying to takeover planet earth; either way, time to conserve all the foods because she’s going to need it when she gets to safety.”
So how do you tell your body, “hey! No desert or aliens, so you can go back to normal and start using the foods and the fats to fuel my workouts and life!”? One would think that a 3-day binge on cupcakes (I miss you @piepiemydarling) and French Fries would do the trick, but all that does is tell your body, “ok, she’s stumbled upon an abandoned supply tank, but the coast is far from clear. Let’s just hoard even MORE while we have the chance!” And then you just gain fat and feel even more like quitting at life.
The key is to get your body to trust you. Like a scared puppy, you inch closer and closer, stick your hand out and let him sniff you, let him know you’re safe and nice and chill. So, with my body, I started eating more—little by little. No 3-day binge, but I upped my calories to 1200 (not including whatever I burn from running) for 2 weeks. Yesterday, I upped it to 1300 calories. If all goes well, in 2 weeks, I’ll let it go up to 1400 cals. And hopefully, before my marathon, my body will trust me and we will be happy and healthy again.