Gaining weight speeds up your metabolism and helps you go *hyper-metabolic*

Updated: Jan 12

One of my clients is very concerned about her metabolism. She enjoys eating and is frightened that when recovered, she won't be able to eat as much as she used to. To have an "excuse" to eat a lot. She wants a faster metabolism.


Some of what I wrote to her:

"At such a low weight your metabolism is slowed down, trying to cling to every calorie

to try to nourish your body. Even your digestion slows down and food goes through the gut slower.

Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results, as Einstein said. Your dream would be a higher metabolism. Gaining weight on purpose is something you haven’t tried as much before. Let’s do this and see if we can take you to your dream!

And again science says you will have a higher metabolism at your goal weight ;)

So this isn’t a blind experiment, we’ve got a strong idea of the result."

The science

Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani writes in Sick Enough:

"Eating enough food heals the metabolism slowed by caloric restriction. However, if an individual starts to restrict again, their metabolism will once again fall. In my long career in this field, I have seen patients of all different sizes, shapes, ages, genders, races, abilities, and ethnicities become hypermetabolic during refeeding. When I discuss this, my patients’ disbelief is moderated by a spark of hope that perhaps, after all, they’re not the one human in history whose metabolism is indeed permanently slowed.”

What an anorexic should do

Anorexia impairs the metabolism. Being chronically underweight slows down the metabolism. For a healthier metabolism, eat more and reach a healthy weight.


Written to a client:

Lots of anorexics want fast metabolisms.

Most people when trying to recover weight get hyper-metabolic - they need HUGE amounts of calories compared to how much weight they actually put on. Not everyone hits that stage right away - if you kept gaining weight and eating more, you could’ve probably hit the hyper-metabolic stage.

Right now you remain restricting, and so will never experience the hyper-metabolic bliss. That is an amazing time in which you can just eat SO much, more than you’ve ever dreamed you could eat

The only way to find out what will happen is to actually eat more. If you don’t eat more to experiment, then you’ll worry forever

cutting your calories down just slows your metabolism more.. you won’t get hyper- metabolic that way

you won’t go hyper-metabolic as easily if your body keeps thinking you’re in a famine.

You need to eat every 2-3 hours and never go hungry. Always eat when hungry. THEN your body will go “Wow! I finally have enough energy! Now I can speed up my metabolism!”

"The Metabolism And Eating Disorders"

This article helps drill some points home regarding hyper-metabolism and becoming hyper-thermic (the excess heat you're feeling). I recommend reading the *entire* article! It's all relevant.

Some highlights:

“To fully weight restore the body needs to restore fat mass as well as fat free mass.
To gain fat mass the energy requirement is generally 6 times greater than fat free mass, making this vital latter stage of weight restoration even harder to achieve and needing even more food (energy) to achieve the same rate of gain."
2. ”Once weight restored after AN it has also been found that energy requirements remain elevated – those with AN in recovery are found to still be very energy inefficient and need greater calorie intake than healthy controls just to maintain their restored weight.
It is not uncommon that weight restored AN patients need up to twice the daily calorie intake to healthy adults just to maintain weight due to continued hypermetabolism."

3. “In the initial stages of the process you might gain a little more weight but if you eat unrestrictedly, without compensating, then the metabolism and the body weight will naturally settle back at your genetic set point and your body will fight to keep your weight level there."

By definition the hyper metabolism is a temporary state - your normal healthy metabolism is going to be still higher than your metabolism now, but not as high as in the temporary hyper- metabolic period.

Getting to your goal faster means you’re going to heal your body, brain, and bones sooner. The longer you stay underweight, the more your body increases its ability to store fat. And the longer you stay underweight, the greater the possibility of overshoot happening, and increased magnitude of overshoot.

Faster weight gain = probably a greater chance of getting hyper-metabolic. And according to a previous dietician you met, faster weight gain = more is gained as fat, which is good for you to get menses back at a lower overall body weight

you trying to decrease the cals you’re eating is basically going to mean greater chance of overshoot + increased overshoot magnitude

Your metabolism is slow because you’ve been under-eating so much. The fastest way to get your metabolism healed is to give it as much food as you’re willing. I know you can do at least 4000 calories if you stopped being fearful of weight gain, which is what you NEED.