I am in the process of recovering from years of dieting. I started my recovery process, July 2012, with Diet Recovery and MinnieMaud. While following MM, at my highest, stable weight (BMI 34…from a starting BMI of 21), my health began to decline, despite the overall improvements I had made up to that point. Having my health decline so far into recovery, when I had expected continued improvements, prompted me to switch my recovery from strict MM to intuitive/instinctive eating and The Gabriel Method for the rest of my recovery process, along with looking for things I could do to get my health back without restricting.
At that point, I knew that I couldn’t just take the wait and see approach with my health. I was dealing with health issues that I never had before – sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, anxiety, and out-of-body experiences where I felt like I was going to die (independent of my anxiety attacks), which I did not share with others, except one fellow recoverer. I kept many of these issues to myself, until now, because I was always fearful of triggering others, but these issues go beyond trigger concerns, so I no longer feel the need to keep these things to myself.
I’m not convinced that strict DR or MM is an out for many people.** I think once the body gets out of whack, it takes figuring out what is happening in the body, and correcting what’s off, if a return to normal is ever going to happen – not only eating more food.
I now realize that answer can be too simple. I think for many things in life the answer is probably the simple, obvious one, but not with the body; it’s too complicated of a machine, with its various hormones, etc. I think we want to believe there must be a simple answer, which is why many were/are willing to believe in DR and MM as originally presented (Gwyneth has updated some of the original information). I know it made straight forward sense to me at the time, but after everything I’ve gone through, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not that simple for some individuals. I’m happy for those who essentially had “straight forward” recoveries as originally outlined in DR and MM, but that’s not the case for everyone. In the end, it just created more problems for me than when I started. Until Gwyneth figures out how to help those who are dealing with extreme recoveries with MM, we are on our own to figure things out for ourselves. A good doctor may be able to help sort things out if one is not comfortable trying to figure things out on their own.
This is not about trying to take control away from the body, or trying to capture a sense of control for yourself. Rather, it’s about doing what you can to help your body help itself when the body is struggling to right itself. You eat the number of calories you know your body needs in the beginning of recovery, instead of letting the body take the lead, until hunger signals normalize, right? Because the body struggles with its appetite in the beginning of recovery, you help it along until it can take over and do it for itself; you are helping your body to help itself. This is true with other things that one can do to help their body help itself. It is not a control issue, it’s common sense for someone who is not having a “straight forward” recovery. Sometimes we need to help our body along when it is struggling, with the goal of getting it to a place where it can take over and not need our help anymore. This can happen at any point in recovery, not just in the beginning, especially with difficult recoveries.
**1/25/15 – I do not have an “agenda” other than offering help, to those who find themselves in the position I was in, find a way to turn things around. I am not suggesting that anyone stop MM, or any method of recovery that they choose for themselves. Rather, I am offering ideas that can be ADDED TO what one is already doing, MM or otherwise, that might help their recovery along, as it did mine.
*Update: 10/2/14 – I’m still plugging along with recovery. I have been doing daily meditation to help keep me focused and on track, and taking natural supplements (turmeric, garlic, fish oil, glycine, R-Lipoic Acid, magnesium, essential oils, bromelain*, etc.) have helped with my inflammation and immensely improved my health markers. R-Lipoic Acid is especially good for helping with high blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.
I’m nearly 27 months (Oct. 15th) into recovery at this point. The recovery process is taking much longer than I had anticipated, but ongoing improvements are happening. The supplements seem to be helping my body get unstuck/turn around, and I’ve tapered quite a bit.
*Update: 11/2/14 – All my health markers are in the normal range again. The episodes where I felt like I was going to die have stopped as well. My anxiety has also decreased a lot, and I’m beginning to feel more like my normal self as improvements continue to happen. It’s a huge relief to have so many things turning around finally. Also, I realized the other day that the bad body odor I could not get rid of, no matter what I did, during recovery has suddenly gone away! Yay! It’s SOOOO nice not to stink 24/7 anymore.
*Update: 1/25/15 – I’ve had another round of hair loss and regrowth. I believe this is my fourth round of loss/regrowth??? So, I’m in the porcupine stage of hair re-growth again. Also, I’m still tapering.
BTW, it took months of consistently taking the supplements to see ongoing improvements. A few days, or weeks, may not be enough time to see a noticeable response from the body. I still take some of the supplements, especially the anti-inflammatory supplements, in order to stay on top of the inflammation. Because I already have an auto-immune disorder, I have a higher risk of developing another one. I don’t want the high physical stress of my recovery to trigger another one, so, along with meditation, I’m doing what I can, supplement wise, to try to prevent that from happening.
*Update: 3/23/15 – I have been drinking orange juice every day, with each of my meals (small juice glass amount), since reading the gut health article I linked to on my links page. I have been taking probiotics for years now, but adding the orange juice to my daily routine has made a big difference. My tapering has sped up, and has been more consistent, since adding in the orange juice. I am now at a BMI of 27, and month 32 (2 years 8 months) of recovery.
With my ongoing tapering, I have recently noticed that I have a little bit of loose skin under my arms and on my lower abdomen that was not there before I did MM. I hope my skin will pull back in some over time, but who knows? I can’t undo what’s been done. I’m just trying to focus on moving forward at this point.
*Update: 4/8/15 – I take my temperature about once a month just to keep track of where my body is at. Normally, I sit right around 98 – 98.2 (from a low of 97 when I first started DR). I took my temperature this morning and it was 98.6. So, my temperature has actually gone up some as I’ve lost weight! This is a really good sign that my body is readily losing the weight, and it is not experiencing stress because of the tapering. It feels good having my body readily let go of the excess fat. Helping the body to help itself, not forcing it, is key. This bodes well for my body being able to maintain my normal weight effortlessly once it gets there.
*Update: 4/12/15 – I just added bromelain* to my routine 2 days ago. It is also really good for inflammation. I don’t take the various anti-inflammatory supplements that I’ve listed above at the same time. Since the body sometimes adapts to what we take (some medications, some supplements, etc.), thereby diminishing its effectiveness over time, I rotate between my supplements in order to maintain each supplement’s effectiveness.
*Update: 6/14/15 – Please, please, PLEASE, if you have an autoimmune disorder, or think you may have one (have a doctor test you), seriously consider whether or not your body can handle the stress of an aggressive recovery method. If you have an autoimmune disorder, and are experiencing an extreme recovery response with symptoms that really do not seem to be normal recovery reactions, trust your gut instinct and have a doctor check you out. Let them help you figure out if those symptoms are recovery related, or symptoms of your immune system being overloaded. Autoimmune disorders can cause your body to go haywire from too much stress, and stress is a big trigger with autoimmune disorders. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18190880 I wish so desperately that I had thought to consider this before I began this journey. Sometimes, certain health conditions require a more gentle, less stressful approach.
7/14/15 – Nobody, as far as I’m aware, has hard evidence that MM worked or didn’t work for them. We are all just sharing our story – good or bad. That may not be ideal, but it is what it is. We are not going to avoid sharing our story simply because of that. If we have to stop sharing our “anecdotal stories”, then those who have had positive MM experiences need to stop sharing their “anecdotal stories” as well. As far as I have seen, none of the positive stories out there have a treatment team behind their claims to “prove” that MM was the cause of their success. For those that do, great!, but, according to Gwyneth, “If you apply it [MM] in the absence of adequate medical and psychotherapeutic support then you are going against the MM Method guidelines in the first place… – if they were doing it as you did (without adequate medical and psychoetherapeutic oversight), then that’s not MM.”. This means that all of the “MM success stories” out there that did not include medical oversight throughout recovery are not actually MM success stories, and they can’t be claimed as such; so, they need to stop claiming that their success was due to MM. If they don’t stop, yet get a pass, then those who had a negative MM experience get a pass on that point as well.
*Update: 12/17/15 – This has been a long and painful process trying to figure out what has been happening to my body recently. After many tests, including genetic testing, we have learned that, at this point, my body has a difficult time breaking down sulfites and histamine – a sulfite/histamine intolerance, if you will. Hopefully nothing else gets added to my list of contributing factors (this has been one more piece of the puzzle to the overall health issues that I have already been dealing with/recently diagnosed with). Thankfully, no other autoimmune disorder was discovered. Having Hashimotos is bad enough! Stress is still a huge trigger for my body, so that will be an ongoing issue of doing what I can to keep my stress load to a minimum.
Anyhow, sufites are used in most processed foods (in the US at least) as a preservative. Sadly, it does not have to be listed on the label unless it’s a certain amount that is added…blah, blah, blah…labeling laws. So, I just have to assume that all processed foods have it.
As you can guess from what I’ve said, MM was a bad option for me because of the processed foods that are encouraged. I know Gwyn/MM has no control over my body’s genetic deficiencies. I’m just stating that because of my genetic deficiencies, MM was not a good fit for me. My body simply could not cope with that much “contaminated” processed food. I can have processed foods that don’t contain sulfites, but it is a very limited selection. It’s not the processed food itself that’s the problem, but what they commonly add to processed foods.
I knew in my gut something was wrong with how my recovery was going, and I was right. I want to reiterate again that if you feel deep in your gut that something is not right about your recovery, please seek medical help. Pushing forward, onward, and “upward” will not magically resolve your issues if your current recovery method is not a good fit for your body, especially if they are rooted in a genetic defect. It took months to figure out what was happening to me, but now that I’m getting answers, and taking the supplements necessary to help my body, I’m feeling the best I have in a very long time. Wishing you all the very best.
*Update: 4/24/16 – My body has returned to its normal (before I began dieting and interfering with my body) BMI. My recovery process has been a nearly 4 year journey. I wasn’t sure where my body would end up settling, but it seems to have settled right back to where it wanted to be to begin with. What a waste of time and energy it is trying to manipulate the body’s desired weight range!
*Update: 7/1/16 – In researching my health situation some more, I have learned that the genetic sensitivities (histamine/sulfites, etc.), which I never had before and were revealed with my recent health issues and subsequent genetic testing, may have possibly had something to do with my experience with MM. Environmental/situational (stress, etc.) factors can alter genetics (epigenetics), so I definitely have my suspicions about my experience with MM at this point. To be clear, I’m not outright blaming MM, as I don’t have direct evidence that it was the cause of my recent health issues, but I am suspicious for sure, especially because of the timing of it all.
*Update: 3/15/17 – I thought I’d share a comment I posted at Matt’s blog because I realized the information might be helpful to some. Here it is:
I increased my calories, gained weight, normalized my metabolism, and stabilized at that point. My body lost every single pound that it gained in the process, but it wasn’t by forcing myself to eat even more calories than I already was. For me, it turned out to be a very clear pattern of loss. My appetite would pick up significantly, I would lose approximately 10 pounds, and then remain stable at that weight for several months. That pattern repeated itself over and over, without my interference, until my weight returned to its normal set point. Naturally, it took several years for my body to get back to its set point at that rate, but it can happen if we remain patient and not get in our body’s way.
I know this may not be true for everyone, but I just wanted to share that for anyone else that it might be helpful for. During the re-feeding period, it might be necessary for some to push the calories until their body reaches the point that it’s comfortable consuming 2500+ calories, but I found that it wasn’t necessary to push the body after that point. Once the body, at least for me, has healed, it can take over and lead the way without our interference. Wishing everyone good health!
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