Hi guys, I need some advice/reassurance just to make me feel a little bit better. I'm in my very early stage of recovering from anorexia (actually more ortorexia + anorexia athletica = speaking human: extreme restriction and exercising three times per day). I'm 170cm, 48kg, my BMI is 16.8 so it's not extremely anorectic but I'm of a bigger body frame and have much more muscles than fat. I was told last week that I have to put on weight if I want to finally live normal and that I've developed bradycardia and arrhythmia - cardiovascular issues associated with anorexia. It gave me strong motivation to recover, the strongest in years. I've been battling with ED for most of my life, but now I'm onto it! I was referred by my GP for NHS help (again) but will probably have to wait months so I decided that I'm just going to EAT. And I did. I came back from my GP on Wednesday evening and ate a proper meal. Then again, and again... I EAT LOADS. I'm extremely hungry all the time but in the same time I don't feel the need to eat at all. I obsess about food even more than when I was restricting. I still can't completely give up exercise and stick to my morning 15minutes routine. Also, I'm waitressing full-time so I'm whole day on my feet walking. Most of the time, none of the foods is really appealing to me BUT macadamia butter. Even when I eat a proper meal, I end up eating macadamia butter. I just can't get it out of my head. Other nuts give me stomach ache usually but not this one. It makes me feel amazing, I'm addicted! Today, I woke up extremely hungry at 5am and waited till 7am to eat breakfast. I had: 1 middle bacon rasher, 3 slices of french toasts made of plantain bread + eggs, 2 sunny side eggs, coconut oil and LOADS of macadamia butter. I mean, like at least 200-300g... Then coconut milk, coconut flakes and cocoa powder. I could still eat some macadamia butter. What's going on?! :(
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Well what do you think is going on? You're hungry! GO get your macadamia butter and whatever you crave, you don't have to skip your work out if you like it, muscle mass is always a good thing. Good luck!
When I read what you write, it seems to me like you might be dealing with some serious deficiencies, which is very normal if you have faced years of eating disorders. Eating disorders which might even have started because of deficiencies in the first place..
I can relate, looking back I feel like since chilhood I did not eat enough of what I needed, and food was always a problematic battle between too much cravings, not enough satisfying foods and finally too many restrictions.
If I can give you some advice based on my personal experience, is to deal with your vitamins, minerals, hormones etc
Macadamia butter is mostly made of monounsaturated fats (like those in olive oil) which are very good for your heart, so if you have problems there, your craving is quite normal and you shouldn't be scared. Take it as a hint though. Keep eating your macadamia butter, and see where you can maybe incorporate some olive oil as well, so that you don't overdose on only one food
Include some good vegetables, maybe steamed, that you can eat with olive oil or saute in coconut oil, so that you get some fiber that will stabilize your blood sugar. Add in maybe some sweet patatoes and tubers if you want to gain weight...
add some food for your brain, like eggs and fatty fish.
if you can find appetite for it add red meat, bone brothes, chicken livers (you might want to wait to stabilize your zinc levels before considering ruminant liver, which is very high in copper and the two compete together) for the extra dose of vitamins and protein.
experience with food in general, most of the times cravings and likes come from habits, you make something new each day and every once in a while something will come up that you will want to eat more often, so roll with it, you probably need something that is in there.
How is your digestion ? if you have problems with it, which is normal with eating disorders, you should probably consider supplementing with HCL and pepsin, and other enzymes. drink some diluted lemon juice with your protein can also help. beet kvaas is also great, even though it is quite particular.
supplement with some magnesium for sure, since you seem to have had some problems with sleep, and you crave nuts and cacao so much, which are great sources of magnesium. Maybe even try some topical magnesium oil and epsom salt baths.
Consider a hair mineral test to check exactly what kind of deficiencies and minerqal imbalances you may have, find a good doctor that knows how to read these things and figure out a good supplement regimen
and take an extra blood test to check vitamin d and b12
and a complete routine blood test to check lipids and thyroid
maybe a saliva hormonal test, and consider some herbal remedies in case of imbalances, and even something for your liver in case of estrogen dominance...
anyway those are all the things that helped me in the long run and which i think are worth trying out.
And once that you will have given your body and brain all it needs to function properly, your relationship with food should be perfectly normal and natural.
You just need to work at it a little harder to make up for all you were missing all those years.
Good luck to you
@Supernova. I know it's frustrating, but you really need to just go for it. Believe me, I'm just starting to 'recover' from excessive control over my meals and like you, have and still worry about upcoming meals, nutrition, calories etc... However, my girlfriend has been very supportive in just saying 'give it a go'; that's what I recommend for you. Just 'give it a go' - see what happens if you just don't plan a meal and eat what you think should be the amount, without weighing, counting macros or anything.
Through this more flexible method, I've reduced having to use a phone app to count every single calorie I consume to just having a quick check up on things using the app every now and again.
It's not an easy journey and don't expect it to be, but the first stages where you're really outside your comfort zone are the hardest. Change just a little bit at a time, you know?
@Iain : To be honest, I can't stop planning my meals - that's the issue! I would like to just eat what I want to eat not what I've planned to and analysed every single detail and microelement. For years I couldn't sleep cause I was lying down overthinking and overanalysing what I'm going to have for breakfast the following morning.
Then I had dreams that I'm eating something like chocolate and I would wake up in panic and couldn't go back to sleep. I just really hope that one day I'll just feel full and this extreme hunger will go away, that I'll just find the balance and finally feel satiated. Losing weight is so easy comparing to gaining it back :( Speaking of nut butter prices, I'm getting mines from 'Natural Choice' in huge 1kg tubs that cost anywhere from £3.50 for walnut butter to £8.90 for almond one. Macadamia butter costs about £6. So I basically got 1kg tub of each kind but only macadamia one has become my idee fixe. @bluekitty : But I'm constantly hungry! It's not normal. I used to NEVER be hungry when I was restricting and even when I was extremely hungry it was so easy for me to control myself. Controlling my food intake gave me an illusion of outstanding mind clarity. It's been only now when I realised how much deprived of food my body was/is... I used to have really good muscles, but now it's all gone. Any tips how to put on muscle weight not on fat? I'm so scared of becoming chubby:(
@Matt 11 : It's definitely not binge eating. I used to binge sometimes and I haven't had any control over it, never. I would just end up eating everything on my way until nothing was left or my stomach was about to explode. Now, I stick to one thing that I really want to eat and when I allow myself to do so, I just don't know when to stop cause I don't feel satiated/full. I carry on eating cause it feels good. But I don't want anything else, only the thing I crave. Actually there are only two things that really drive me mad since I started on Wednesday: macadamia butter and my new invention homemade granola made with gluten-free oats, hazelnuts, coconut flakes, sesame seeds, figs and dates roasted on coconut oil + coconut milk. I rarely ate oats before but for the past couple of days this is what my body wants all the time.
Try and just ration the amount you eat by planning what you'll eat for breakfast and then move on/occupy yourself so you don't get a chance to eat more.
I freakin' love nut butters too and use them as a treat/reward. To 'limit' the amount I eat I save my intake for the evening as a last meal, so I go to bed just having it. Sleep then intervenes and stops me smashing a tub in minutes, then I wake and can eat my breakfast!
You could also consider your bank balance :p