Friday, January 24, 2014

Rest and Refeed

In my last post, turn ahead, I wrote about having read Matt Stone's book Eat for Heat, which started me thinking about how hypothyroidism is very similar to what he is writing about metabolism.  I can see from my temperature plotting that I am indeed not normal, I am low and need to in some way find a way to have a normal basal temperature of 98.6 F or near that. Matt is offering some different ideas of how I might do this without thyroid medication or perhaps without the use of Armour, a desiccated thyroid gland supplement. Matt is suggesting I eat for heat.

His ideas are not conventional and not even what most health conscious people would advise, however, I find that there is a ring of truth to his ideas and I am curious to test them out. He recommends that if you find your temperatures below 98.6 F then you are needing some rest and refeeding because your metabolism if low.

So the two main ideas in his approach are to rest and to refeed yourself. Matt says,

                                 "simply rest and eat food.   Lots of both.   Surplus is a good word."


"I wouldn’t just recommend getting some good sleep at first, but getting an abnormal amount of sleep.   10 hours will heal you much more quickly than 8.   Naps are great too unless you find them impairing your sleep at night."

You need to rest from your exercise routines, from stresses in your life, from perfectionism. Despite what we have been told Matt says that his research shows that exercise actually lowers your metabolism because it causes a stress on the body. The only exercise he recommends is walking but not very rigorously. This is only while you are refeeding mind you for once your metabolism is to 98.6 and you are feeling great again then exercise is great. One key I learned from Matt was that whether you are just beginning to exercise or are in great shape and exercising, form either place or metabolic health, your body gets the most out of a workout when you let it fully recover before you work out again.

The best way to rest is to sleep as much as your body wants to. He says that 10-12 hours is not too much and taking naps and simply lying around is just what you need to let your metabolic rate rise.

Removing stress is another way to increase your metabolism. This can be quite varied because we are all different and have different issues, but for me it is doing fewer things relieves me of much of my stress. I learned a little song recently from the movie Brother Sun Sister Moon that reminds me of this daily, it goes like this:

If you want to live life free, take your time go slowly,
do few things but do them well,
heart felt work grow purely,
day by day
stone by stone you'll know heaven's glory

Another way I have ben removing stress is to clean up the chemical exposures in my home and personal products. I have been making more of my own personal products like shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste etc. There is a catch to this however and that is  that doing it all yourself can also be stressful. I try to keep that in balance  while I love to make things and create it needs to not be too much work or again I have more stress.

"Other ways that you can achieve this “spa vacation” lifestyle during the healing process are encouraged.   Massages, calming music, meditation, light stretching, warm baths, sunbathing, curious walks in a serene outdoor setting, relaxed breathing, raging fires in your fireplace, lounging around in comfortable clothes, snuggling, laying down and resting when you get the chance, reading something (besides health and nutrition books) – whatever sounds like it would make your whole body relax and enter that state where your eyes are heavy and mind is calm is great."

I have to remind myself as I am implementing these sorts of things that it is not a new way of life that I am developing with these new habits, it is simply a change of pace for a while to let my body catch up. Once my metabolic rate is again normal or high I will likely sleep less, and do more but for now I am like the little animal who is hurt ducking into the cave to rest and refeed until I am ready to go live life fully again.


"In perhaps an ironic way, the lower your metabolic rate, the more therapeutic the “junk” foods really are.   What people consider to be pleasure foods are things rich in fat and carbohydrates in a very soft, digestible, refined, and calorie-dense package with a low water content.   We’ll talk more about the significance of those qualities later.   And, as you heal with foods that wouldn’t appear on any health guru’s list of approved foods, you later graduate to eating a diet much closer to what is considered to be the quintessential “healthy diet.”   And you won’t gravitate to a healthy diet through iron will or anything like that either.   You’ll just come to prefer eating less calorie-dense foods once your body no longer needs a surplus of calories to do its repair work."

You may need to refeed yourself to regain energy and that means you may need to eat the dreaded carbs, salt, saturated fats, and maybe even to eat the SAD diet (standard American diet) for a while until your metabolic rate has risen to normal (98.6 F). To regain metabolic health he gives liberty to eat what you want, when you want, how much you want.

I find this bit of his advice to be very helpful and intuitively I think it makes the most sense. Though without the logic to back it up I have been following my intuition furtively thinking I was not disciplined enough to eat more disciplined puritanical diet and life style. With the rational now behind me reminding me why food that gives energy like dates, sugar, coconut milk, butter, ice cream, bread, pasta and salt is not hurting my chances of getting back into living a full life again, but is actually the very thing to get me on that road and keep me there long term is peace and freedom and hope.

I want to eat more croissants, more cheese, more sweet things and more salty pretzels but now I know there is good reason for this want in my body and now I know why I do not need to eat them with a furtive glance, gobbling it up quick before anyone sees it. Greasy fatty foods like pizza, steak, hamburgers and sausage not to mention a well cooked egg or french fries fried in lard of coconut oil really sound good and are good for me. I made my own apple fritter doughnuts this fall and cooked them in pure coconut oil and it was just what my body wanted as I renew my energy reserves.

"This process (rest and refeeding) is all about surplus calories for repair work.   Gwyneth Olwyn of, a site specializing in recovering from restrictive eating patterns of varying degrees of severity, summed it up well… 

“Recovery is the opposite process of dieting. With dieting you create a calorie deficit so that your body makes up the difference by using energy stores in fat, bone, muscles and major organs.   But with recovery, you have to provide not only enough energy to replenish fat tissue, but also even more energy is required to reverse pervasive physiological damage. "

I have been eating according to my hunger for about a year now but within a Nourishing Traditions and food allergy fence (I cannot eat meat, animal fats, dairy or eggs) but I may need to allow myself to take frequent trips beyond that fence during this rest and refeeding stage. I want to lose my the extra 40 lbs. but more than that I want to live well and have energy. SO my first priority is shifting to getting my energy back, my metabolism up and then the weight can come off.

In fact I have been letting my body decide what I eat since I heard Dr. Natasha McBride say much the same thing when she explained the GAPS diet. Her idea was that the body knows what it needs so it will tell you via cravings, or hungers just what you are to give it and when. First thing after I wake in the morning I begin to listen to my body to know just what to eat that day, if it is bread as it was yesterday I make the kind of bread that sounds the most delicious whether it is a soft delicately crumbed bread or a hard sourdough bread.

Rarely do I want something outside the fence but if I do, like when I was walking on the beach all morning in the sun and found that at lunch there wasn't a kombucha on the menu where we ate lunch so I really wanted to drink 7-Up and it tasted great, revived me and I had no ill effects from the sugar, in fact it gave my body the energy to needed after my mornings doings which used up the little reserves I had saved up. The body knows best, it has served me well in maintaining a steady weight up till now but my energy and other symptoms of a low metabolic rate has me thinking I might just want to up the amount of calories I eat by letting myself eat anything that sounds good until I can get my metabolism to normal again.

"I started referring to the protocol as “The High Everything Diet (HED).”   Yeah, names are fun and acronyms are even better.   I mean, there’s a real shortage of acronyms out there.   I have felt compelled over the years to add to the pool. But the HED was as the name implies, high in everything.   In a world obsessed with low-calorie, low-carb, low-fat, low-this, and low-that – the concept here was pretty obvious.   Don’t restrict anything.   Eat it all.   Eat all the carbs, fat, and protein you want.   Sure, you’ll have your favorites and tilt the balance a little one way or another (I recommend tilting it towards carbs if possible, but I think, really, that what’s most therapeutic is tilting it in the other direction in relation to where you have been on your most recent diet escapades), but don’t limit or restrict.     Eat salt.   And sweets.   And meats.   And veggies.   Root vegetables.   Grains.   Dairy products.   Eat all the things you could ever want.   Fill all those tanks, especially the ones that you have left empty in your dieting career. And most of all, eat a lot of calories.   Some people I’m discovering, still don’t succeed when they just eat as much as they want, or even eat a little bit more than they want.   With a really low metabolism, and with a history of eating disorders, calorieality is often skewed."

ALL quotes in this post are from: Stone, Matt (2013-11-24). Diet Recovery 2: Restoring Mind and Metabolism from Dieting, Weight Loss, Exercise, and Healthy Food. Archangel Ink. Kindle Edition. 

1 comment:

  1. What a warped logic. Why on earth would you need to start eating wheat and sugar again. It's not an 'eating disorder' to avoid foods (or anything for that matter) that have been demonstrated to cause negative health effects. If you think low carbing is doing you damage just add a load of demonstrably safe carbs and safe fat in. Go crazy with root vegetables and fruits but why would you need to add things like sweets and flours in?