For the past 2 years I've been dealing with rather obsessive thoughts regarding diet in order to lose weight after starting out borderline obese. It has cost me a great deal of time, and I have squandered many of my teenage years in isolation due to restrictive food choices.
I've now begun to embrace recovery, and have more or less stopped restricting, at least for a little while. I have been eating upwards of 8000-10000 calories of pastries and cookies and junk, and I feel guilty and awful but after so much restriction it's hard to gravitate towards healthier choices, especially given that I'm expected to gain a lot of weight in a short period of time.
I'm beginning counseling soon, but can anyone give me some advice to steer me in a healthier direction before I either establish terrible habits and have my weight spiral out of control, or end up doing long-term physiological damage?
asked byMatt_18 (2801)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on January 28, 2012
at 08:50 PM
Hi, I'm also going through recovery for ED. I used to restrict myself to 800 calories a day. After hearing the concerns of my friends and family, who said I looked malnourished, I took the initiative to make myself better. At first, I was eating non-Paleo foods. A lot of peanut butter sandwiches and oatmeal and black bean omelettes and so on. I was eating about 3000 calories a day and gained a significant amount of weight in a few months (which I have to admit scared me at first). I became obsessed with researching about foods and nutrition and health and eventually came across Mark's Daily Apple where I first read about Paleo. I had those initial thoughts like, "I can't live without bread!" But I gave it a shot anyway and immediately fell in love with the foods and lifestyle. I immediately noticed my acne clearing up and I'm still gaining weight on Paleo because I'm not restricting calories since the amount of meat I eat everyday is so satiating. I recently got my period back which was a HUGE milestone for me after months of being frustrated. Plus my hair started growing back! I lost so much hair during restriction which scared me. I finally began seeing a dietitian and a psychologist to help me. I still have those nagging thoughts about eating too much but I'm trying to ignore them. I was afraid of carbs for a while but under the recommendation of my dietitian, I reintroduced sweet potatoes into my diet and now I eat them often because I feel better with moderate carb. You can gain weight with Paleo (I'm living proof) and you don't have to restrict and you can be more lenient about what you include in your diet. Most people tend to stay away from fruits and dairy, I say you should eat them. You must learn to take the fear out of eating foods. There's legitimate reasons to avoid NADs such as wheat and vegetable oils and then there's unhealthy reasons to avoid Paleo food like thinking it's gonna make you fat. With Paleo, I've gained weight but my belly has gotten slimmer. Listen to your body, not to the ED inside your head. I still think after suffering so much damage (both from eating SAD foods plus having an ED), my body is still repairing itself. But I'm sticking with Paleo because it makes sense to me, it's simple, and it makes me feel good. Good luck with everything.
on January 30, 2012
at 12:40 PM
I'm also recovering from an eating disorder, which began when I started eating paleo and got way too obsessive about it. Right now, I'm attempting to eat about 2500 calories a day (a lot for me since I'm 5'0 and 95 lbs... up from 83) of mostly paleo foods. However, I have added some soaked oats and homemade sprouted wheat bread, since I find it easy to get those calories in (otherwise I end up eating tons of nut butters just to get my calories up!) and I don't have negative reactions to them. I would take it easy sticking with paleo; while you need to gain weight, eat what your body tells you it wants. More often than not, if you're listening to it, it will probably tell you that paleo makes you feel good! Also, check out this website. There's some good information on recovering from eating disorders here http://www.gwynetholwyn.com/blog/ The guidance from that site has been my motivation in the last couple of weeks to keep going even when I feel really uncomfortable. Good luck!
on January 30, 2012
at 12:02 PM
I think I understand why I'm struggling to follow a healthy diet while gaining weight. When I began to diet and clean up my eating habits when I was overweight, I associated weight loss (perhaps subconsciously) with health and "clean" eating. I never did stop loving the crappy foods I initially got fat on.
When I was first told that I needed to gain weight, I started eating crap because I associate weight gain with failure, poor health, and a crappy diet.
If I don't want to gain weight in the first place, it's immensely difficult to eat a caloric surplus of the foods I don't even prefer. It's like, if I have to gain weight, I might as well enjoy it as much as possible.
Then I make myself sick on sugary, nutritionally-sparse junk, feel terrible about it for a while, and then submit to the siren call again. So yeah, gaining weight rapidly, but I'm now entirely convinced that I won't have any trouble at all losing it when I decide that I've gotten a tad too rotund for my tastes.
So I'll start stuffing myself with lean protein and raw vegetables, lose weight quickly, and won't really have learned anything for it.
How do I break this rigid mental correlation between health and weight (i.e. weight loss -> health, weight gain -> failure/poor health)?
on January 28, 2012
at 09:31 PM
Forgive me for stating the obvious, but it sounds like you are very hungry. If you are eating mostly carbs and are underweight, then that is not surprising; people need protein and fat, and your body is panicking. Now it sounds like you're stuck in a bit of a carb addiction cycle. Instead of beating yourself up, why not make a deal with yourself to eat some protein and fat before you reach for the junk food, and gradually increase the amount? You might find that once you've slaked your appetite a bit, you don't need to eat as much junk food to feel better.
Take it easy on yourself: the only healthy eating choice you need to make now is making your macronutrient proportions a bit saner. Try starting your day with some nice greasy eggs and bacon, use heavy cream in your coffee, or look for other ways to sneak in more protein and fat. Once you're better able to resist the siren song of quick energy from carbs, you'll be in a better position to adjust the quality of your diet following paleolithic or similar guidelines.
Also, if you do not exercise, now would be a useful time to start. It sounds like you could use some stress-relief, and it feels better to gain muscle rather than fat. How about some easy cardio and bodyweight exercises? For example to start with, go for a walk every day, the longer the better, and do some pushups and squats every other day. Up the difficulty over time.
Remember how hard what you are doing is, and be nice to yourself. You're going to be fine. :)