3

votes

Recovering Anorexic? What has worked for you?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 21, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Have you ever battled anorexia nervosa (AN)? What has worked for you in overcoming it?

To what extent have effective AN treatment been medically or dietarily treated vs through psychotherapy and body image cognitive treatment? Of course they are two wings of the same dove, but has one area been more impactful for you?

Is the condition been connected to food or carbohydrate addiction? Are lower carbohydrate diets helpful for you?

I have read that AN are linked to autoimmune conditions. Have you tried autoimmune protocols?

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on October 04, 2012
at 01:02 AM

always spot on Mr. Young :)

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on September 11, 2012
at 12:18 AM

Increasing your calories should be done under the guidance of a support team. This forum is not equipped to give out personalized medical advice better than health care professionals (includes doctors, naturopaths, dietitians, therapists etc). If you don't have a support network, you need to get one immediately.

753e1b824fbe0b11c797a244b1a4c7e3

(369)

on August 21, 2012
at 08:22 PM

Great response! As a therapist I will second the fact that no treatment will be effective unless the person being treated makes it so :-) A lot of people desire to change, but it's once the person makes the decision to actually change and put it into motion where things turn around! ThinnerStrength- you can always go into both- perhaps a bachelor's in dietetics and a master's on something like clinical social work?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 21, 2012
at 05:59 PM

Oh, well that is great and I'm glad I could help. And, to answer a couple of your other questions, no, I do not think AN is autoimmune related- it is an addiction, plain and simple. Also, the diet that helped me most was high protein, moderate carb, moderate fat. Mostly paleo, but with some oatmeal and sprouted grain bread. Zero table sugar, zero oils.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 21, 2012
at 05:53 PM

Oh, well glad I could help. To answer one of your other questions though, no, anorexia is not autoimmune related- it is an addiction like any other. One of the reasons I think inpatient therapy is the only way to seriously treat an anorexic is because in the real world, food has to be sought out, and no food is free and always available. So, trying to treat someone outpatient would be like trying to treat a coke-head in a world where cocaine was free and always available.

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on August 21, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Foreveryoung. Thank you so much. I am considering career options in Dietetics and Psychotherapy and this is very helpful to help me.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 21, 2012
at 05:17 PM

Amazing testimony.

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5 Answers

9
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on August 21, 2012
at 05:04 PM

Hi, TH. I used to be anorexic from 12-15, kinda 16. I was treated in a hospital on 3 seperate occasions, and my last visit lasted around 4 months in duration. I will say that I do not beleive my psychiatrist played any significant role in my getting better. Ultimately it was my decision to get better that mattered, and the patients and staff at the hospital were helpful in the process. Again, ultimately it is going to be your decision to get better that will do it- no one else is responsible for your recovery just like no one else but yourself is responsible for your illness.

Things I found beneficial:

  1. restistance exercise and not cardio

  2. thinking of foood as medicine, and not whatever negative concept you thought of it as before

  3. eating mindfully

It was in your control to become anorexic, so it is in your control to become better. Sure, you may need to be in a supportive environment to prevent relapse and give you some encouragement, but really it is your choice to get better, and when you decide that is what you want, you will.

And don't start tomrrow, start now. One of the things I remember vividly before I went into treatment each time was my telling myself I'll eat tomorrow. It would always be tomorrow because it would allow me to starve for one more day, and delude myself into thinking that I'll be starting from further back, so eating won't be as uncomfortable. Over time this just makes you more accustomed to the feeling of not having food in your stomach, so eating just becomes even more uncomfortable.

It is really lonely and scary, and there is no doubt in my mind that I would not have gotten better had I just seen a psychiatrist on an out-patient basis. The final time of treatment, I knew i wanted it to last and that I wanted to get better, but i also knew that I couldn't do without the support and structure that I'd find in a treatment facility.

So keys to getting better for me were:

  1. accepting that I brought this on myself, and that it was up to me to overcome it

  2. entering into an inpatient treatment facility willing to work with the staff and comply

  3. not overanalyzing "the reasons" you became anorexic. I got/get asked this all the time, and i still don't knwo how to answer. WHo gives a f*** why? Seems like an easy way to lay the blame on someone else to me. I think it is self preservation, and that it's just the easiest thing to do at the time. I also do not think that anorexics are the suicidal type, having known many. The only time an anorexic pulls the suicide card is when too many calories are put in front of them and they're forced to eat.

  4. accept that you are going to be very uncomfortable at times and this will be a true test of your character. Some of the worst things I've ever heard in my life have come from the mouths of 16 year old girls directed at well-meaning nurses trying to get them to cooperate and eat food. Not kidding.

  5. take "baby steps"- small daily goals (meal by meal, etc) and one or two bigger picture goals.

It's also important to know that as you gain weight, your thinking will change in subtle but important ways. I think this is part behaviorism, and part just having more nourishment so your brain can think with greater complexity.

Umm..that's about all I can think of right now. I hope some of it was helpful. If you are seriously anorexic, I highly, highly reccoment going into inpatient treatment. I do not know of anorexic that has successfully gotten better through outpatient therapy alone. Anorexia is literally something you fight every second of the day b/c it consumes your thoughts, and you need people there 24/7 to prevent you from acting on them and help set you on the right path. You also need them for objectivity, because once you're below a certain weight, your ideas of what is normal are skewed.

Okay, that's really all I got right now. Hope you can put it to good use.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 21, 2012
at 05:59 PM

Oh, well that is great and I'm glad I could help. And, to answer a couple of your other questions, no, I do not think AN is autoimmune related- it is an addiction, plain and simple. Also, the diet that helped me most was high protein, moderate carb, moderate fat. Mostly paleo, but with some oatmeal and sprouted grain bread. Zero table sugar, zero oils.

753e1b824fbe0b11c797a244b1a4c7e3

(369)

on August 21, 2012
at 08:22 PM

Great response! As a therapist I will second the fact that no treatment will be effective unless the person being treated makes it so :-) A lot of people desire to change, but it's once the person makes the decision to actually change and put it into motion where things turn around! ThinnerStrength- you can always go into both- perhaps a bachelor's in dietetics and a master's on something like clinical social work?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 21, 2012
at 05:53 PM

Oh, well glad I could help. To answer one of your other questions though, no, anorexia is not autoimmune related- it is an addiction like any other. One of the reasons I think inpatient therapy is the only way to seriously treat an anorexic is because in the real world, food has to be sought out, and no food is free and always available. So, trying to treat someone outpatient would be like trying to treat a coke-head in a world where cocaine was free and always available.

43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on August 21, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Foreveryoung. Thank you so much. I am considering career options in Dietetics and Psychotherapy and this is very helpful to help me.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 21, 2012
at 05:17 PM

Amazing testimony.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on October 04, 2012
at 01:02 AM

always spot on Mr. Young :)

2
D3abaaead845d9da842938514ddb24bf

on October 04, 2012
at 12:34 AM

For Arielle:

I am NOT a professional by any means, but I went through the whole ED stretch, It is so hard and I am sorry. I am still recovering after about 4 years. Please be careful, I am now allergic to everything (gluten, dairy, wheat, soy, red meat) and I have gone to the other end of the ED change. Gradually add things back in, and dont touch unhealthy foods if possible.Before though, I found amino acids were a big help in gaining back muscle easily. I had a big sugar fear so I would drink raw protien shakes with water or almond milk. (I am a ballerina so it can be rough w/o having muscle).

PS- You will think you are gaining way more than you actually are, but a few months into your HEALTHY state, you will look at old pictures and feel so much better :) Dont worry, if you go to a professional they will help you do everything safely!

0
9a3755cba2ecb57cf91c2b05347f1279

on March 18, 2014
at 04:21 PM

@FrazDance. Did these allergies to gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, red meat develop as a result of your ED? I am sensitive to many foods now after a year with ED....and am wondering if I'll be able to eat them again. What are your thoughts on food intolerances/allergies evolving during and after recovery?

0
9a3755cba2ecb57cf91c2b05347f1279

on March 18, 2014
at 04:20 PM

c

0
614843967b99effb0966268355ddc2bd

on September 10, 2012
at 02:06 PM

Hello! Wanted to revive this thread. Anyway, I'm also a recovering anorexic. Current stats: BMI 15, 15 years-old, been restricting for 2 months plus.

I'm quite scared about upping my calories, frankly. I expect to gain fat, but would it be excessive? (ie. higher than my pre-ED levels). Also, I think I've lost some muscle--would I gain that back naturally? Would some strength training now help?

  1. How much should I increase caloric intake by? Gradually, or quickly? (Would gradual increase just cause my body to hoard more calories as fat instead of rebuilding, etc. and cause my metabolism to stay low?)

  2. How should my macronutrient ratio be like? I'm actually eating about 60% protein, 30% fat, 10% carbs now.

  3. What sort of carbs should I eat? Just tubers like sweet potatoes and yams? Or rice as well? (I'm slightly worried about its Glycemic Index and 'emptiness' actually, probably just my ED speaking. Nutritionally-wise, which is the better option?)

Thanks so much! (:

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on September 11, 2012
at 12:18 AM

Increasing your calories should be done under the guidance of a support team. This forum is not equipped to give out personalized medical advice better than health care professionals (includes doctors, naturopaths, dietitians, therapists etc). If you don't have a support network, you need to get one immediately.

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