rant? advice? going from 3500 kcal to 1200 : veganfitness

28f, 163 cm, 56kg (5’3, 124 lbs)

So I have been the same weight for like 5 years (before that I was like 115 lbs / 52 kg but I consider that underweight) and I never restricted my food intake in my life. I was always eating a literal ton – from my estimations now that I am counting calories, I was definitely averaging about 3500 kcal a day. I don’t think it’s an overestimation as everyone around me was always shocked how much I ate, I ate more than anyone I knew including my 100kg husband (220 lbs) etc. Stephanie Buttermore’s story on youtube about extreme hunger has really resonated with me.

I ate in restaurants 3+ times per week, constantly snacked on chips/crisps/cookies, easily ate 150g of dry weight pasta for a meal, 500g can of chickpeas, ate a lot of veg too but rarely any fruit. Oh and olive/pumpkin seed oil in everything. Hungry again in 2 hours no matter what I ate. I do have acid reflux, gastritis and had issues with digestion (would go a few times per day). I also always exercised, cardio or lifting 3 to 4 times per week for 1 hour (shouldn’t burn too much), otherwise just sitting all day and taking 1 hr walks on rest days.

In the last 2 years however I gained 5 kg ~ 11 lbs. The only change was getting on hormonal birth control to help with my period issues and starting some new medicines, some of which also helped my digestion issues. I was having great PRs in the gym regarding squats, deadlifts, ohp etc. But also I kept buying new clothes and was sick of not fitting into anything in the store anymore. I guess women my height don’t have huge thighs, butt and arms.

This made me want to start dieting to get to 55kg which is where I have been sitting at comfortably for years before. The app said 1285 kcal per day. I was shook. I never ate so little. So I am planning intensively every day how to fit enough protein and how to stay full with what for me is a toddler diet. And it worked. I lost 4 kg over 4 weeks, which means I’m getting there.

But what does this mean… Do I have to eat like this forever?? Because I can literally fit in two slices of protein bread, oats, a protein shake and 50g of pasta and 20g of crisps and I am done for the day. I love food. I have been trying out vegan restaurants for years now every week. I travel e.g. through USA and try 2 restaurants per day for like 2 weeks. I live for this stuff. Now it turns out I can’t even have one meal in any restaurant as it is like 800 kcal and I can no longer go for 4 beers as that is like a 1000 as well (used to do this like 2x week as well, but not in the last 2 yrs). What the hell?

I realize that people eat less. I know that because I see it. I always thought everyone is starving themselves on purpose cos no one can possibly need that little food. But I have never restricted in my life and naturally ate so much. This is now looking so depressing. I can’t fit in more walks or exercise as I work a lot and I need to sleep a lot and I have chronic illnesses, need a lot of recovery. So my question is how to continue now ? I don’t suppose anyone’s been in the same boat but it’s worth a try.

tldr: literally ate 3500kcal per day all my life. suddenly started gaining weight. dropped it to 1200 kcal, lost weight and am now depressed about eating 1200

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