A diet question..

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A diet question..

Postby Ashley@Heart » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:16 pm

Ok.. this is not about bragging just trying to plan my next steps.. In May to improve my health and how I feel about myself I began a serious diet. Mind you nothing was tracked or super strict and I mostly just drank water, ate lots of salads with healthy protein and a variety of veggies with little to no dressing or cheese. (Also being depressed and unable to eat some days helped... not that I recommend that method.) But in the end it worked and I am to the point where I feel I need to maintain things rather than keep loosing even if there is still some stubborn belly fat that refuses to go away. But I also need the estrogens to do their job and I want to do what I can to help them as I have seen far too many girls with little fat and high metabolisms like mine have trouble getting the results they hoped for.

I am not yet on anti-androgens and only on 2mg total daily of estradiol. (both I hope will be changed in the beginning of April during my next endo visit.) My gut feeling is that I should wait until my E levels are in the normal female range and the AA has had some time to work for a bit before changing my diet. Any thoughts on timing here I know it takes some time for the body to start really reacting to the hormones. Maybe start at the first signs of breast buds forming?

Diet wise from what I can tell increasing my carbs and decreasing my protein should do the trick and help the E do its job but I am open to additional suggestions. Or helpful food suggestions. The ideal is to do this in a healthy manner and to maximize things going to the right places and at a healthy rate.

I am also while reluctant to do anything that involves a gym, I am however open to suggestions for exercises that may help me.
-Carolyn

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Re: A diet question..

Postby Shay » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:37 am

I'm no exercise guru, but I will share what worked for me. When I first started hormones I started a diet and exercise regime. I would limit my carbs to under 1000 a day and use the elliptical for 45 minutes every morning. For me this worked wonders. I lost 30 lbs in 4 months. I'm sure some more knowledgeable comments will follow. You just have to figure out what works best for your goals.
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Re: A diet question..

Postby CuteButLooksPregnant » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:14 pm

I can't remember if I have ever suggested this to you or not, Carolyn. Have you ever considered doing exercise routines in water, in a swimming pool ?
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Re: A diet question..

Postby Ashley@Heart » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:32 pm

Apparently my babbling confused things. I am 6' 4" tall and currently weight a little over 176 pounds from a high of around 230 something. I am mostly just trying to stay healthy and not loose or gain much more as this point though hitting 175 now sounds like a nice number to sit at.. I know I could go lower but that would floor my BMI as my lowest stable weight at the height of my metabolism (18 yo) was around 150 pounds.

My interest is seeking people's opinions on about when in the HRT process is the body mostly likely to stop using my middle as the sole dumping ground for fat. I am looking for ideas when I can relax on my weight some and if I need to, to start bringing more calories into my diet.

As to exercise honestly the loss of fat from this diet has my legs and arms looking far more muscular than I would prefer not that it is necessarily a bad thing just that I don't feel any particular need to change them. I could use some help with my core as my back and tummy could use some help.
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Re: A diet question..

Postby Kay » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:29 am

Losing fat from the middle requires enough estrogen as this keeps weight off the waistline, not too many carbs (especially refined, avoid juice, sodas, etc) as carbs stimulate insulin and too much insulin promotes fat in that area, remaining as stress-free as possible as cortisol on the long-term can promote weight gain in that area, and not having too low testosterone (within female range, preferably not at lower end).
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Re: A diet question..

Postby Ashley@Heart » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:13 pm

First off thanks for the response! But I am giggling over the reduce stress statement.. Sorry I know you are serious but I just have to..

Yeah I have been working on cutting out sugar sources not that I have many left. Though you will have to pry my occasional dark chocolate treat from my cold dead hands. Chips and salsa or a small chocolate chip cookie or two bought "for the kids" at home is a occasional indulgence. And my current tea needs a bit of honey for best flavor.

To be honest most people would get mad at me for complaining about my tummy. It is not bad just interesting that it is clinging there and my chest far longer than elsewhere.

In the end I will do my best to hover around 175 and 180 until my t and e levels have been in the normal female range for at least a few months. And reevaluate how I feel about my distribution then.
-Carolyn

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Re: A diet question..

Postby Toku » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:15 pm

Fat itself produces estrogen so having a bit under the skin is going to help maintain E levels easier, I imagine.

(Which is why I'm in a different boat, trying to lose all of it and minimize E producing tissues)

I second the swimming thing, you can do slow speed endurance swimming like breaststroke that won't burn tons of calories but will improve your circulation, flexibility and give you a gentle workout. I hate the gym and would always opt for swimming instead as I figured it worked more muscles at once.
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Re: A diet question..

Postby Kay » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:22 pm

Ashley@Heart wrote:Though you will have to pry my occasional dark chocolate treat from my cold dead hands.


Haha! I'm the same. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar, higher in cocoa, thus fat. It's fine. Buy those with first ingredient that is NOT sugar.

Chips and salsa or a small chocolate chip cookie or two bought "for the kids" at home is a occasional indulgence.


It's important to indulge at times and enjoy life. Restricting ourselves can lead to stress...not good and frustration, etc.

In the end I will do my best to hover around 175 and 180 until my t and e levels have been in the normal female range for at least a few months.


Just find the dose of E that you feel best at (forget levels). And aim for T levels anywhere under 100.
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Re: A diet question..

Postby Kay » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:24 pm

[quote="Toku"]Fat itself produces estrogen so having a bit under the skin is going to help maintain E levels easier, I imagine./quote]

Given the T will be much reduced and T converts to E in fat AND also that she will likely be taking enough E to get decent levels, aromatase in fatty tissue converting T to E won't contribute that much to the E pool. On the other hand, some fat can help soften overall appearance, hide muscles, and help feminization.
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Re: A diet question..

Postby car_wheels » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:44 am

I've often thought what diet would better facilitate transition.

I would be really curious to see if a low carb diet would do that. Carbs for me are kind-of-blah in terms of creating mental or physical transition.

Like, if I keep them out of the house, I won't eat them. But get them in the house, I do eat carbs. They seem to take away definition from my shape.
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Re: A diet question..

Postby Toku » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:13 am

I've been on low-carb for a long time now... if you'd like to maintain a certain level of body fat for curves etc. then you just have to be aware of your daily 'break even' calorie limit for that look and stick to it. Mine is 750-800 cals on an average day without strenuous exercise (yeah, I can live on thin air, practically). Less than 600 and my body eats itself (well, its fat, anyway) and I'll wake up a pound lighter next day. Pretty easy to maintain a fixed body shape if you just figure out what your break even is.

But it also depends on body type, endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph. As an endo I pretty much have to stick to low carbs to have any semblance of control.
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Re: A diet question..

Postby Ashley@Heart » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:53 am

Kay wrote:
Toku wrote:Fat itself produces estrogen so having a bit under the skin is going to help maintain E levels easier, I imagine.
Given the T will be much reduced and T converts to E in fat AND also that she will likely be taking enough E to get decent levels, aromatase in fatty tissue converting T to E won't contribute that much to the E pool. On the other hand, some fat can help soften overall appearance, hide muscles, and help feminization.


It is funny I am of two minds here... I know that large amounts of fat can and will effect E levels. My wife was morbidly obese for a good bit if time that I knew her. And this effected her cycle and her ability to stay pregnant. It took significant doses of hormones to counter this effect (fertility clinic with our first child) or loosing weight (reproductive endo , second child). One of these doctors solved a problem the other treated symptoms and charged lots of money... some days I dislike doctors and others they are heroes.

But I agree at the levels of fat I hope to stay at will not be a major contributor to my E pool compared to the oral E I will be taking. But yes I need the softening I just don't want the male pattern "softening" hehe.

Kay wrote:In the end I will do my best to hover around 175 and 180 until my t and e levels have been in the normal female range for at least a few months.Just find the dose of E that you feel best at (forget levels). And aim for T levels anywhere under 100.


I meant 175 to 180 pounds. But yea I am eager for it to be time for my next endo visit so I can find out how my levels are doing and get the next prescriptions hopefully I can get the doc to prescribe at least a starting dose of spiro at that point.

Kay wrote:Haha! I'm the same. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar, higher in cocoa, thus fat. It's fine. Buy those with first ingredient that is NOT sugar.

Yea.. I will technically eat any fine chocolate but my preference is high quality 70% and higher darks. Or really nice truffles or bonbons.

Kay wrote:It's important to indulge at times and enjoy life. Restricting ourselves can lead to stress...not good and frustration, etc.

Agreed.. but it is also about being aware of our choices like being aware of how we hold ourselves or speak in the beginning. My goal is to like my transition to womanhood make healthy eating a natural part of my life and not a diet to be sulked over. For the longest time I didn't care about what happened to me. But slowly I am finding a reason to care. For indulgence today I am making dinner for my mom's birthday, with a dark chocolate raspberry cake, dry aged grass fed new york strip steaks cooked sous vide until tender and flash seared, fingerling seasoned potatoes roasted in duck fat, roasted baby carrots with a bit of honey, and some grilled mushrooms and veggies (because she asked for the veggies personally I would have preferred a nice salad and she may still get one).

Toku wrote:I second the swimming thing, you can do slow speed endurance swimming like breaststroke that won't burn tons of calories but will improve your circulation, flexibility and give you a gentle workout. I hate the gym and would always opt for swimming instead as I figured it worked more muscles at once.

I literally have no excuses on the swimming thing.. I have a large in ground salt water swimming pool in my back patio so other than it being winter and the pool having no heater I should do it and I know it.

car_wheels wrote:I've often thought what diet would better facilitate transition. I would be really curious to see if a low carb diet would do that. Carbs for me are kind-of-blah in terms of creating mental or physical transition. Like, if I keep them out of the house, I won't eat them. But get them in the house, I do eat carbs. They seem to take away definition from my shape.


I think that getting yourself as healthy as possible helps both emotionally and physically. I think that Atkins style ultra low carb induction diets are a mistake. My feeling is don't start anything you can't keep doing (so like transition start slow and work into it). Train yourself what proper portions are, eat more veggies that are not covered in fat, if you enjoy meat try to stick to leaner cuts with less fatty stuff over them, don't drink calories. And enjoy yourself on occasion whatever that means to you. When tempted to snack get some but share it with others. (We have people selling girl scout cookies at work.. when I am craving some I will buy a box and visit with everyone offering them some until they are all gone or I eat one. I know $4 for a single Samoa cookie is steep but it puts a smile on my co-worker's faces and I get a needed break.)

My only interest in adding carbs later is to soften up if I still need to once hormones are properly reshaping me. I know there is nothing wrong with being a thin and lean girl but looking at myself right now I really would like a bit more curve down below. I know I know.. complete vanity and getting sucked into that awful body image garbage that hurts every girl. It is right there with FFS as from some angles even my dysphoric self can find her now and others drive me nuts so I am trying to figure out if this is something structural that I may want FFS for or something that can be easily handled with hormones and makeup. But like hell I am talking to a FFS surgeon right now as I know any sales pitch would be far too effective.
-Carolyn

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.”
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Re: A diet question..

Postby Ashley@Heart » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:07 am

Toku wrote:I've been on low-carb for a long time now... if you'd like to maintain a certain level of body fat for curves etc. then you just have to be aware of your daily 'break even' calorie limit for that look and stick to it. Mine is 750-800 cals on an average day without strenuous exercise (yeah, I can live on thin air, practically). Less than 600 and my body eats itself (well, its fat, anyway) and I'll wake up a pound lighter next day. Pretty easy to maintain a fixed body shape if you just figure out what your break even is.

But it also depends on body type, endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph. As an endo I pretty much have to stick to low carbs to have any semblance of control.


Totally agree.. though I don't know my resting metabolic level as I have not been very good at recording my intake. My guess would be around 1300 to 1500 at my current size. I know my healthy weight floor is about 150-155 but I think that is far too lean for my needs. I have long considered myself an ectomorph as my metabolism does not seem to have a starvation mode that I have found, and I just don't bulk up. I am curious to see what prolonged testosterone does for your metabolism and body type. And for me what prolonged estrogen does to mine. Hopefully we both will find ourselves closer to our desired ideals.
-Carolyn

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.”
― e.e. commings
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Re: A diet question..

Postby Toku » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:05 pm

I'm interested too. I don't think it'll affect the general type or metabolism I have, I think long term diet and lifestyle changes might, though. The idea of T increasing metabolism did nothing for my weight at first. It made me appear to gain weight which was apparently muscle - I must have gained 10% added muscle mass on my arms, shoulders and legs at least in the first month and a half even without bothering to work out. My shoulders and traps are ridiculous, considering I've barely worked for them.

Since I switched to a better kind of diet though I've been slowly losing body fat and gaining tone (still not got myself doing regular workouts... will get around to that) so I guess I was just eating the wrong things in the wrong amounts.

Honestly I hate low carb diets, but they have always worked really well; I never believed that idea about "inflammatory foods" and things like that but being a sugar fiend never did me any good in the past. A few months in and I've just sort of forgotten about how long ago it was I ate a candy bar. I can even watch others stuffing them down and not feel like I want any. Knowing I need to be in shape for surgery in a few months sure does help.
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