1

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Tent-living, eating-disorder recovery and whatnot

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 21, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Okay, let me give you all a little background info.

I recently moved out of my mom's house. I'm seventeen. I weigh around 135, and am 5'7.5". I have bulimia, and it is still VERY much a part of my life. I binge/purge quite a few times a week, a lot of guilt associated with food. I only seem to manage to go paleo for a few weeks before my bulimia creeps back in.

I'm now living in a tent, and reaaaaally want to use this simpler life to my advantage. I want to focus on getting in tune with my body, and transitioning into a paleo lifestyle. I want to have a long-term, HEALTHY relationship with food, you know? I'm not really getting a lot of outside support from my family, so you all are what I've got.

I make about 100-200 dollars a week from work (depends on how many hours they give me, obviously). I am going to be receiving 400 dollars child support, hopefully, from my father. That starts next month, and most will go towards camping fees. I have around 200-300 dollars for groceries a month.

I need someone to give me some ideas of cost efficient, filling foods I can buy that I can keep in a cooler (or are stable in 60 ish degree weather), that are low in carbs (trigger to binge) and high in good quality vitamins, fats, etc. I have a small pan and pot to cook with, and a one burner stove.

I would like to lose some fat in the process, and I know it'd be quite easy because even when I'm not restricting, if my food portions balance out and I eat higher quality foods, my body settles at around 110-115, and I DO look healthiest there. My acne subsides (right now, I have a fair amount of whitehead acne on my face, chest, shoulders, and back), my complexion is brighter, and I feel more energetic. People want to argue that the numbers seem pretty low, but I just feel more RIGHT there, and I do have an extremely small frame. However, the most important part for me right now is to begin treating my body more healthily, and learning how to maintain weight in an appropriate manner.

If anyone has ever gone through bulimia and has any advice on recovery, please share. Same goes with long term camping, and just starting out paleo in general.

Also, I guess I should mention that I live in Alaska, and I have no idea how to find good quality eggs/meats. Most organics I've seen are labeled "all vegetarian diet", which seems wrong, because chickens should be allowed to eat grubs too, right?

Thank you so much.

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

(1533)

on June 23, 2012
at 03:39 AM

eatwild.com and localharvest.com for good quality meats, eggs, veggies and farms near you. someone else suggested working on/for a farm, check out growfood.com or attra.ncat.org under internships. a lot of farmers live really healthful lives, and can be good models if your god given ones havent been able to help you much. what do you do for work? ...just some suggestions, good luck girly!

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

(1533)

on June 22, 2012
at 11:27 PM

if your lucky they might have an extra bedroom

E2123e1da4ccbe211c9cbd82356fe4bc

(238)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:00 AM

love the idea of planting herbs at the campsite! They'll be there if she returns to the same spot next summer, too.

584cdd1a2dd83e46b8b76758f4c57b19

(600)

on June 22, 2012
at 02:32 AM

I'm really sorry for the terrible grammar and spelling. This is what happens when you don't have any sleep :)

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 11:27 PM

I'm looking into going to California. Chico, specifically. I have a sibling who lives there. Obviously cannot camp very safely in the winter here :) By long term, I really just meant during the summers.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 21, 2012
at 09:35 PM

You're camping out long term in Alaska? Please tell us you have plans for fall and winter abode.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 09:24 PM

See, this is what I was waiting for, but I'm talking outside of the realms of my bulimia... Even before I had an eating disorder, I found that my weight just LIKED to stay right there. To be the weight I am now, I compulsively eat an upwards of 10,000 calories a day at times, have a slowed metabolism, and am pretty lazy. This is the weight people think is healthy for me, but my body begs to differ. If I were speaking by my ED's standard, 92 (my former weight) sounds much more appealing than something in the 115 area.

Fb9739a7d4da8248d42747ba1c382343

(45)

on June 21, 2012
at 09:24 PM

I don't have any great advice but just wanted to say that I've struggled off and on with bulimia my whole life. Carbs are a huge trigger for me too. I find that a high fat/moderate protein/low carb version of paleo keeps me from having those food binges. It isn't a cure for the underlying issue but it does take away the desire to binge and purge.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on June 21, 2012
at 06:20 PM

+1 for lean mass, Canis Minor

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on June 21, 2012
at 03:40 PM

I can't help but wonder why someone would say this weight is "way too low" -- we disdain use of the traditional BMI scale when someone is concerned they're "overweight" by that standard, and yet so many people here are quick to jump on the "oh you don't weigh enough" bandwagon using, I assume, that same BMI guideline. I'm considered underweight for my height, and yet I've never felt, looked or performed better than I do right now.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 12:09 PM

As far as the low carb goes, I just worry having things higher in carbs around because my sense of satiety is so messed up, and carbs are extremely easy for me to overeat. Potatoes, fruits... I just go crazy with them, because I don't feel... Satisfied, unlike with a mix of proteins and fats.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 12:06 PM

I think that there is a lot of benefit I could receive from living a more simple life, and I chose to leave at seventeen because I know I am no longer being treated as someone "under the care" of my mother. I'm trying to gain some control of my life, in a healthier way than an eating disorder offers me. If that makes sense...

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 12:04 PM

And yes, there are problems I need to address outside of my bulimia, which I am trying to do. I am receiving counseling, although it's hard for me to find a ride there as my mother and father are unwilling to help on most occasions. I am working through a body image workbook right now, which I'm hoping will help if I truly invest myself in it. The tent was an option I chose because I realize that my mother's vanity and narcissistic ways will not change because I want them to, and my father is completely out of the picture. I really didn't want to bring the specifics of my family dynamic up..

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 12:01 PM

Oh don't worry, sometimes harsh is what I need. And true, I'm not looking for a RUGGED lifestyle, but I do think that the excess stimuli in my life (video games, surrounded by a full kitchen stuffed with food) has lead to a preeetty unhealthy life. Which is why I opted for staying somewhere where I had less of an opportunity to lounge about with a tv, or the internet. I only have access to the internet about once a week now, which seems to be helping with my sleeping, at least

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on June 21, 2012
at 11:47 AM

Do you have any info on that chicken grinding thing? I haven't ever ehard that...!

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10 Answers

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2
2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

on June 21, 2012
at 10:59 PM

living in a tent is awesome! where your priorities go wrong is still thinking about losing fat. LOVE YOUR BODY RIGHT NOW AS IT IS, that means no restricting, no fasting, eating three times a day even if you dont feel like you deserve it or have earned it, eating full meals(including some root veggies for carbs) eating full fat, getting plenty of meat. is there a place you can go for counceling? binge eating and bullemia are ADDICTIVE! especially for those of us who have alcoholics in the family and are sensitive to sugars. get help with the addiction and the habit. also check out paleopepper.com under disordered eating and sexy bodies, so much information

learn some good coping skills in the meantime, hang out with people who are supportive of you. i think its great of you to be so aware of your problems, but please do not wait or avoid working on these issues or think that a change of scenery will make them go away. for ten yeras i ran from my ED, i ran fast and hard, thought that if it was just more difficult for me to binge(i.e. living in a van, living around a lot of people, in a new town) that i wouldnt..........not true, i still had the same bad habits and coping mechanisms and until i slowed down, had a lot of patience and was present did i even begin to start to have some actual self control, the kind that is healthful and balanced. i wish i had had the good sense to really take all of the help that was offered to me in the past. if you life is uncomfortable, and the tent thing sucks, perhaps there is someone you can live with that you do trust? sometimes its a lot easier to deal with overcoming ed's when everything else is comfortable and you feel safe and cared for by other means. hope any of that helped:)

also wanted to add the urge to binge wont go away until your body is satiated and trusts that you keep it that way. so that means figuring out if you have any nutritional deficiencies(or at least eating extremely nutrient dense foods to avoid that), and keeping a good balance. i foudn that what worked for me was a pretty low reward(boring) but filling and simple meal three times a day of baked carrots(if you are good with other root veggies mix it up), meat, greens and some kind of fat(fish oil, egg yolks), as well as eating some liver, adding salt and seaweed and other seasonings as well. also drinking a lot of herbal as they add nutrients as well as are satiating. i am sure you have been through a lot of stress and it does take time to heal physically and mentally from that, definitely honor that

5
24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on June 21, 2012
at 11:29 AM

Forgive me if I sound harsh here, but your priorities seem messed up dear. As in, why are you living in a tent? It doesn't sound like you are doing that out of a desire for a rugged lifestyle, but rather because it is what you can afford having moved out of your mother's house at 17. Is there no place else you can live? As for the bulimia, one thing that living in a tent should do for you is qualify you for some free counseling for the matter, although since you are still a minor they may consider your parent(s) incomes. I dunno. Seventeen year olds don't just move out of their parents homes into tents unless there are some issues that need to be addressed. Whether or not the bulimia is related, I would urge you to focus on resolving those other issues. You might even find the bulimia subsides, or at least you are better equipped to deal with it.

That said, for now, your best bets for protein would be eggs -- economical, and hard boiled they will last a bit. The rest of my suggestions would not be low carb. Can't go too wrong with potatoes, though...

Fb9739a7d4da8248d42747ba1c382343

(45)

on June 21, 2012
at 09:24 PM

I don't have any great advice but just wanted to say that I've struggled off and on with bulimia my whole life. Carbs are a huge trigger for me too. I find that a high fat/moderate protein/low carb version of paleo keeps me from having those food binges. It isn't a cure for the underlying issue but it does take away the desire to binge and purge.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 12:04 PM

And yes, there are problems I need to address outside of my bulimia, which I am trying to do. I am receiving counseling, although it's hard for me to find a ride there as my mother and father are unwilling to help on most occasions. I am working through a body image workbook right now, which I'm hoping will help if I truly invest myself in it. The tent was an option I chose because I realize that my mother's vanity and narcissistic ways will not change because I want them to, and my father is completely out of the picture. I really didn't want to bring the specifics of my family dynamic up..

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 12:09 PM

As far as the low carb goes, I just worry having things higher in carbs around because my sense of satiety is so messed up, and carbs are extremely easy for me to overeat. Potatoes, fruits... I just go crazy with them, because I don't feel... Satisfied, unlike with a mix of proteins and fats.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 12:06 PM

I think that there is a lot of benefit I could receive from living a more simple life, and I chose to leave at seventeen because I know I am no longer being treated as someone "under the care" of my mother. I'm trying to gain some control of my life, in a healthier way than an eating disorder offers me. If that makes sense...

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 12:01 PM

Oh don't worry, sometimes harsh is what I need. And true, I'm not looking for a RUGGED lifestyle, but I do think that the excess stimuli in my life (video games, surrounded by a full kitchen stuffed with food) has lead to a preeetty unhealthy life. Which is why I opted for staying somewhere where I had less of an opportunity to lounge about with a tv, or the internet. I only have access to the internet about once a week now, which seems to be helping with my sleeping, at least

4
F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 21, 2012
at 02:48 PM

I don't have any wisdom to offer about bulimia, having never suffered from it myself, and others will probably be able to offer better food tips.

I just wanted to say that I'm glad you've managed to escape what appears to be an unhealthy family situation. It's tough being on your own at seventeen, but if your family is keeping you from growing-up/getting healthy, you're better off in the long-run. I wish I'd had the courage to do what you've done at your age.

Also, I've spent a lot of time in a tent backpacking and river-running, and I never thought of it as a hardship. I always found the simplicity liberating. I'm thinking about living in a tent over the summer, too. On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for air-conditioning and central heat. (One tip: If you can, use a cheap plastic tarp as shade for your tent. UV light raises hell with synthetic fabrics, and the tarp will be less expensive to replace than the tent.)

Anyway, take care of yourself; don't stress over food choices, just do the best you can and don't go hungry. Good luck to you.

3
Eea6a68f5a7190d13c60e1c72417a581

(1376)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:16 PM

Ok, I'll be that person who says that 110-115 is way too low for your height. It's your eating disorder/body dismorphia telling you that that is a healthy adult weight.

Now to address some of your other campground cooking questions: Heres's what I keep on hand: Cabbage, carrots, onions as stables and other veg as they come in season. Hard to binge on those. Other pantry staples: canned coconut milk, canned fish, some kind of jerky, eggs. Lots of people in Alaska have freezers and hunt/fish so I'd try to find someone that would let me use freezer space or even barter for meat (not legal to sell hunted meat). It sounds like you don't have transport, what I'd do in that situation is make a weekly trip to the farmers market for supplies. I'd try to plan out meals. It's really hard to binge on raw veg and meat, I agree that carbs are more challenging.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on June 21, 2012
at 06:20 PM

+1 for lean mass, Canis Minor

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on June 21, 2012
at 09:24 PM

See, this is what I was waiting for, but I'm talking outside of the realms of my bulimia... Even before I had an eating disorder, I found that my weight just LIKED to stay right there. To be the weight I am now, I compulsively eat an upwards of 10,000 calories a day at times, have a slowed metabolism, and am pretty lazy. This is the weight people think is healthy for me, but my body begs to differ. If I were speaking by my ED's standard, 92 (my former weight) sounds much more appealing than something in the 115 area.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on June 21, 2012
at 03:40 PM

I can't help but wonder why someone would say this weight is "way too low" -- we disdain use of the traditional BMI scale when someone is concerned they're "overweight" by that standard, and yet so many people here are quick to jump on the "oh you don't weigh enough" bandwagon using, I assume, that same BMI guideline. I'm considered underweight for my height, and yet I've never felt, looked or performed better than I do right now.

2
584cdd1a2dd83e46b8b76758f4c57b19

(600)

on June 21, 2012
at 08:20 PM

I myself suffered from food guilt which then in turned became bulimic. After a few years of help I was able to get over it. About 6 months ago my weight started to creep back up and I was terrified I was going back to where I started from (90kg down to 55), A friend of mine suggested that I try paleo as she'd also struggled with her weight from years and she had gotten a lot out of it. I was terrified at first that by me restricting certain types of food that the food guilt would creep in. I even posted a similar question to you as I was petrified of consuming so much fat

http://paleohacks.com/questions/118564/overcoming-counting-calories-and-fat-consumed#axzz1yPvPk7Dg

Anyway I found that after a few weeks it didn't even feel like I was restricting anything as for the first time in years I was getting into real food. Steak with veggies, bolognaise with mince and heaps of veggies. I started to enjoy food again and it was such a wonderful feeling

I'm not really sure if this helps but I just want you to know that other people have the same issues and you are not alone :)

584cdd1a2dd83e46b8b76758f4c57b19

(600)

on June 22, 2012
at 02:32 AM

I'm really sorry for the terrible grammar and spelling. This is what happens when you don't have any sleep :)

2
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:42 PM

I agree with the suggestions from Kitzu about canned food. Maybe not the absolute best stuff, but definitely non-perishable, and usually pretty economical. (Especially tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel.)

Eggs are also great - lots of good protein and fat for a relatively low price. Stock up if they go on sale - they don't go bad nearly as quickly as people think they do. Eggs can last quite a while, in fact.

$200-$300/month for food is actually plenty for just one person, but I hope you try to put at least a little of that away and not live hand to mouth. Just don't get too caught up in getting the ultimate best quality of everything. Lots of things are more expensive, even though you'll hear arguments from all angles on that here at PH. I was doing low-carb several years ago before Paleo, and I was eating real food (meat, veg, nuts, cheese), but wasn't concerned with the quality. And my health and physique still made wonderful improvements. Don't beat yourself up if you can't afford to eat the pristine way some people here do. That would be nice, but it's more important to focus on just eating food, as opposed to processed junk loaded with corn, soy, and wheat.

Not sure what your transportation situation is like, but here's a suggestion: if you find a farmer's market nearby, talk to the farmers. You might be able to do a workshare -- where in exchange for a few hours of your labor each week, they'll give you some farm food! (Could even mean working at the market itself, manning the stand, rather than working on the actual farm.) If not food, maybe they'd give you cash, which would also be good.

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

(1533)

on June 22, 2012
at 11:27 PM

if your lucky they might have an extra bedroom

2
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 21, 2012
at 11:32 AM

Are you going camping by yourself? For how long?

I would get a stainless steel skewer set (ones you can set over the fire and turn when needed--so you don't have to hold them all the time). Meat and veg kabobs make for a great meal! Don't forget the utensils! Spatula, tongs, paring knife, colander, etc.

Are you going to have a way to cold-store your food? Like, an igloo with ice or a small fridge?

Tubers and root veggies can be stored in a shady, cool area (I think digging a hole in the ground and covering it with something to keep the rain out would be perfect. It would also leave you more room for meat and fruit in your cooler.

Eggs would be wonderful to have on hand as well. Walnuts & dried fruit for snacking and adding as a garnish to meals. Butter and coconut oil for cooking with and adding fat.

The only reason companies label chicken and eggs as "vegetarian-fed" is to assuage the public about the practice of grinding up useless male chicks into the chicken feed. Salmon and any other fatty fish would be an excellent meat to have in the cooler as well. Since you're in a prime location for it, look for wild-caught. Even farmed salmon is better than nothing, it's just lower in Omega-3's compared to wild-caught.

Since you're going to be spending a while at the campsite, consider planting some culinary herbs such as sage, rosemary, basil and thyme.

E2123e1da4ccbe211c9cbd82356fe4bc

(238)

on June 22, 2012
at 03:00 AM

love the idea of planting herbs at the campsite! They'll be there if she returns to the same spot next summer, too.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on June 21, 2012
at 11:47 AM

Do you have any info on that chicken grinding thing? I haven't ever ehard that...!

1
F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 21, 2012
at 05:54 PM

If it is at all possible, I'd suggest putting that tent in a backpack and hitting the Appalachian Trail.

0
Medium avatar

on September 12, 2013
at 04:52 AM

For some reason ive always thought living on my own "being homeless" i guess you could say would help my bulimia. I figured thered be no toilet to puke , i wouldnt have money for binge food & would get in touch with my mind. Has it been helpful for you at all?

Ive only been Paleo for about a month but for some reason since i started i have not purged at all! Im so grateful ! I'm not sure what it is becuase i do still binge occasionally but only on Paleo foods and its just so much easier to fight the urge to purge since being paleo.

Definitely give Paleo a try but im not sure that will be possible living in a tent unfortunately :/ unless you really plan on hunting, gathering & cooking food over fire. I just imagine it would be hard to do :/ but hey if you do move to California and need a room mate lemme know ;) I have always dreamed of moving there. Seems just the place for me :) Best of Luck!

0
5495f20862fee8ca6a3d6cf6ece99356

(387)

on June 22, 2012
at 02:31 PM

I was wondering about the tent thing at first and then saw you were in Alaska and it all fell into place. My brother tells me all sorts of stories about camping up there and I would love to. You're young, and it sounds like you could use a shot at independence, so go for it! The time to do it the hard and fun way for you is now. If it works, then great, if it doesn't, join your peers seamlessly back into society. I think with strict paleo living, an intentional lifestyle and working on feeling good > peoples presumed opinions you will soon conquer the bulimia.

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