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considering a Paleo-ish diet after recovering from an eating disorder, a few questions?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 10, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Hello. I've done some research on the Paleo diet, and it seems pretty good. I'm considering starting a more lax version of Paleo, like including dairy and fruits and starchy foods (Perfect Health Diet?).

I had an eating disorder when I went down to 95 lbs a few years ago, and am now somewhere around 140-145 lbs at 5'4 after a few years of yo-yoing and finally deciding to let go of the rules and rituals and counting calories and exercising for the sake of burning calories.

Although I'm glad that I finally let go and really ate loads and loads (which I believe allowed my metabolism to recover from all the abuse I subjected it to), I feel like frequently eating junk foods is stopping me from feeling my best and most energized. I also believe that the eating disorder triggered an intolerance to gluten. Hence, I want to give Paleo a shot, not to lose weight but to feel good and strong and stay healthy, and don't want to be very rigid about it because of my past.

I have a few questions now. Has anyone else been in my position before and adopted a Paleo-ish diet successfully, without controlling amount of food and just eating to appetite?

Is only moderate strength training 2x a week enough activity for health?

I can't afford grass-fed meats and despise organ meats (except pork pate)... how much of a problem is this, health-wise?

EDIT: Thanks to everyone who has answered, it really has been great advice and I will take everything into consideration. I will not go strict Paleo but focus on eat more wholesome foods without forbidding anything I like in particular.

8c8e71eb729c0edb4786c6f3ba8614e4

(568)

on April 11, 2012
at 03:44 PM

I don't think you're being too pushy at all. I don't feel like I need help and I feel like I'm perfectly fine right now - but I don't want to risk suddenly being set back for overestimating my capability to get over it all myself, so I understand your concern and I am going to take your advice. Thanks again!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 11, 2012
at 11:35 AM

I don't mean to be pushy or anything, I just have seen this kind of situation many times, and sometimes it works out but it also can fall apart really quickly. I don't feel right giving you advice to change your diet or do this on your own, and I still wouldn't recommend it.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 11, 2012
at 11:33 AM

I don't think that you can say you feel ready to move on and don't want to be dragged back into it if you never dealt with it. I mean, just in my experiences with myself and many other people, it takes a long time to really move forward, and a lot of people experience great setbacks as a result of not getting help (or even WHEN they are getting help). I think at least before changing your diet right now, I would see a counselor even just for one session to touch base and just create a connection that you can use later if you need to.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 11, 2012
at 06:58 AM

+1 for a lot of Paleo is hypochondriacal. I think it is easy to get focused on restricting and getting obsessed with all the things you are not supposed to eat. I think a whole, unprocessed foods approach, with some exploration of traditional ways of preparing things, is the most healthy.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 11, 2012
at 02:07 AM

Binging is very common after a period of restriction. I did the same thing. I'm so glad to hear that you have a healthier attitude towards food these days. I hope you don't hesitate to reach out for help if you ever need it. Sending hugs your way!

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:42 AM

Apparently you were the only one who liked my advice. My diet resembles what you describe; mostly organic, unprocessed foods covering all food groups. I like my whole grains ground up in my morning shake.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:18 AM

Thank you for the correction on centenarian. Google Blue zones and look at the wikipedia entry. Go to the bottom for the information references. The identified blue zones are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and apparently Icaria, Greece. I first read the book called 'The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest' which is a summary of the discovery of the first four blue zones and the efforts to understand why these people live longer and healthier in the past 10 years. It's fairly new stuff.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:10 AM

I admit that I am not experienced in nor am I trying to recommend a specific diet. Just pointing out that there are existing, proven lifestyles that people live in this day and age that work. Read a broad range of literature. There is a lot of literature about the connection between low calorie diets and longevity. Keep in mind when your diet is primarily fruits and vegetables, you can have A LOT of food. Low calorie does not mean don't eat. Setting a PR is linear progression and the basis of strength training. Start small and in increments lift increasingly heavy weight. That is recovery.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:09 AM

"they felt it didn't make sense to try and force themselves to talk about food/body image during group when they no longer did any of that outside of group because it was no longer a focus in their life." --> This is precisely how I feel. I love food and I could talk about food all day long, but I'm done obsessing/worrying over it or counting calories or focusing on being thin/fat (I do get the occasional fat feelings but I get over it). I just want to be healthy and happy and eat what makes me feel good.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:09 AM

I admit that I am not experienced in nor am I trying to recommend a specific diet. Just pointing out that there are existing, proven lifestyles that people live in this day and age that work. Read a broad range of literature. There is a lot of literature about the connection between low calorie diets and longevity. Keep in mind when your diet is primarily fruits and vegetables, you can A LOT of food. Low calorie does not mean don't eat. Setting a PR is linear progression and the basis of strength training. Start small and in increments lift increasingly heavy weight. That is recovery.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:05 AM

Firstly, a centurion is a professional soldier in Ancient Rome. A centenarian is someone who lives to be 100. The only place with lots of centurions was...well...Rome. I know of no place that has 4x the number of centenarians. Perhaps you can name them? I'm also aware of no place that tries to limit animal protein to 4-6oz per WEEK. Site your sources....

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:02 AM

Sunny Beaches, I didn't "self recover" very early. What happened was that after a few months of restricted eating, my body began urging me to binge and I couldn't control it because I was malnourished. I think this happens to some people and it's probably where anorexia turns into bulimia, though I never purged... I ended up binging and restricting, therefore yoyo-ing for a few years, before finally fully going for it a few months ago. I think what helped is that by the time I decided to really recover, I was already out of the extreme undereating and morbid fear of fat because of the yoyoing

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:09 PM

And for those who left it, they were pretty solid in recovery. They left because they felt it didn't make sense to try and force themselves to talk about food/body image during group when they no longer did any of that outside of group because it was no longer a focus in their life.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:06 PM

I'll be honest and say that I loved group therapy because it felt great to meet others who understood...but it definitely drove my competitive side and I always wanted to be the smallest person there. This was an IOP (intensive outpatient program) so I still had some control of my food...and being in a group of others just made me want to "perfect" my ED. I am also very shy and introverted and felt self-conscious all the time. I think whether group vs individual works better depends on what kind of person you are.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:04 PM

Did you self-recover fairly early into your disordered eating? I think early intervention plays a large role in the trajectory of one's illness. I understand where you are coming from though. I know people who eventually left ED support groups because they were doing so well and no longer related to disordered thoughts...and being around that kind of thought and focusing on something not relevant wasn't helpful anymore.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:55 PM

Though, I really don't feel the need for therapy. Am I still at risk? I am not tempted to undereat or exercise for the sake of burning calories, even when I'm feeling down, nor have I undereaten knowingly in a long time. I kind of feel like therapy is unnecessary, though I know everyone can always benefit from it. Would just doing mental exercises as self-compassion help and such be good enough?

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:49 PM

Well there is a counseling service where any student can get a maximum of 6 sessions, but last I checked there was a pretty long waiting list since it's only open a couple days a week. That said... what you said about how it's common to relapse after self recovery has me considering paying for a private therapist even more. But then that would mean less food money, which would mean either less food (no way that's gonna happen) or cheaper food (*sadface*)

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:42 PM

Really? Man, we could see counselors for anything- exam stress, post-break up, family issues etc. You're sure there is no counseling center at your university? You don't need a psychiatrist for most things, which sounds like what the criteria is for.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:39 PM

I'm in the UK. Thanks to the NHS, seeing a GP is free,, BUT they don't really do much unless there is something very obvious and critical that is needed. So all my GP has done for me is checked basic bloodwork all of which is fine. I'm no where close to the criteria to be referred to therapy (I'm not a danger to myself or anyone else, not self harming, not undereating, not underweight, not considering suicide, not overdosing on anything, etc) as I only had mood swings, which now after recovery have decreased in intensity.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:37 PM

Yeah, ED group therapy is free at community centers, universities, and churches. Individual therapy is also covered on Canadian campuses, unlimited counseling is included in student fees. Lots of great services at university, they've seen it all before and have a pretty sizable staff, so it's easy to switch to another counselor with no hard feelings if the rapport isn't going well.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:33 PM

Yeah, an under-2000 cal, nearly vegetarian, "deck of cards" plan, with a "push harder" exercise regime sounds like the opposite of what I'd recommend for someone recovering from an eating disorder. Much too structured and the last paragraph of "setting a PR" doesn't sound like a recovery program.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:33 PM

@Doedoe, where do you live? In the US, most campuses have medical and psych services already paid under student fees. In undergrad, students had unlimited psych sessions. In grad, I had 8.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:30 PM

Thanks for your suggestions, and the relapse warning... I've been considering therapy for a while to deal with mood swings and such, but as a student it is difficult to make that decision and fork out the money (especially as, since I don't want to restrict my eating, I'm spending a lot on food!). I might see about group therapy though, I think there used to be ED support group meetings in a nearby church or something, so perhaps they're still running.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:24 PM

Thanks Sunny Beaches! I wish you the best with your health and goals :)

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on April 10, 2012
at 10:21 PM

This sounds too structured for doedoe's situation and goals. I won't down vote it but it seems to be the exact opposite of what she/he should do.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:17 PM

@Doedoe, I'm glad you've been doing great. I wish you lots of luck and hugs that you'll keep on track. And there really are some amazing doctors out there if you want to give it another shot in the future.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:14 PM

I meant to say "An eating disorder is a mental disorder, not a physical driven one" (as in you can't tell by appearance alone)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 10, 2012
at 10:13 PM

I've certainly had some terrible experiences with doctors, but there is a reason they exist. An ED is a life-threatening disease and should not be self-treated. Finding a good doctor is hard, but worth it.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:12 PM

I'm glad you can follow your appetite. You've made some amazing progress:)!!

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:07 PM

I don't really have the resources to find a specialized doctor, but I also don't feel the need for one. I believe I'm doing pretty well at the moment, and I don't see how I could benefit from a doctor either :)

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:05 PM

Yeah, I have a lot of bad things to say about doctors... but I'm sure I'm just missing the good somehow. I've also found, from what I've seen online, that many nutritionists and doctors and even eating disorder therapists aren't that well versed on the clinical data on eating disorders and give out bad advice..

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:03 PM

Yet, I was just as ill, if not sicker. An eating disorder is a mental disorder, but a physically driven one (it is more of a possible effect) and many people forget that. I'm sorry that you weren't taken seriously. I imagine it was hurtful. But please know that your weight is NOT the only indication of how sick you are. People can die at any weight. Obese people die. Normal-weight people die. I know someone who committed suicide because she couldn't handle it anymore..she was at a normal weight. What kind of doctor did you go to? Can you find another one? Maybe one that specializes in EDs.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:00 PM

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who equate weight with "how sick you are". Anyone of any weight can have an eating disorder. Unfortunately, the only cases that seems to surface in the public are on tabloids or on TV shows with emaciated people for the shock factor. It does a horrible disservice to those suffering. I will not use numbers even though my ED is begging for me to brag...but I got to a low enough weight where outpatient centers would not see me due to medical liability. I have also been overweight. I was taken far less seriously when I was overweight.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:00 PM

Paleo is great in theory, but not always in reality.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:59 PM

I just read Mark's advice. It is good. Go with something like that!

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:56 PM

Thanks Mark, that's interesting I never heard of the blue zone before. I'm not sure less than 2000 calories is enough for me! It's interesting though, so legumes are a part of the diet of these regions where people live very long and healthily, but the Paleo ideas suggest legumes are not so great.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:47 PM

Hi, actually I never had a therapist or a treatment team. I went about this by myself. I spent years yo yoing around a "healthy" weight trying to lose weight while my body wanted to binge, and I tried going to a doctor but I wasn't taken seriously because I wasn't underweight anymore at the time. Thanks for the suggestion, I will try just cutting out processed junk first (already gluten free). Thankfully, I don't think skipping meals will be a problem, my appetite is pretty good at keeping me in check.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:42 PM

Thanks for your reply! I find that thinking about all food as different levels of "nourishment" helped me not think about any food in a negative context. So now I just want to be "eating the most nourishing foods", instead of "forbidding bad foods". I used to think that I can't listen to my body cues, because I either wouldn't feel hungry or I'd binge like crazy. But after months and months of really letting go and eating tons and tons, I found that suddenly I stopped gaining weight on a large amount of food, and soon after my appetite became more normal, so I think I can follow my appetite :)

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5 Answers

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4
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:15 PM

I notice you mentioned you've never been to therapy- I think any change in diet with a history of eating disorder without any support is going to have an enormous amount of risk. I don't mean that in a fear-mongering or discouraging way, because I do believe that proper nourishment of the body goes a long way to facilitating the healing process, but I mean get support. I am a really strong believer in group therapy, and encourage it for anyone that has ever suffered a full blown eating disordered, simple preoccupation with food, or any patterns of disordered eating. I think without therapy, changing your diet and even moving forward from the point you are now, will be unnecessarily challenging and stressful. I had an eating disorder for three years and just "walked away" like you did, completely by myself. I was fine and felt great for months, until a challenge came my way and I attempted too many changes at once, then I spiraled into the worst disordered eating and self abuse I had even experienced. After going to group therapy, I can say that this is what a LOT of people (I would cautiously say that a majority) experience some sort of similar "relapse". You don't have to commit to go forever, and it won't "hold you back" or bring you towards disordered eating again, but it is something I think everyone should try first and foremost before implementing any changes.

At this point, I would be worried that navigating a major dietary change that does include restriction (maybe restriction of "bad" things, but it's still restriction) without support would be ill advised. I know that doctors only see numbers on a scale sometimes to determine if you are health or not healthy, which is why some "normal weight" and above according to the BMI people slip through the cracks. This can make it seem like "well, I don't really need help if I never made it to that small". I think this is a major misconception, and a challenge for the medical system to deal with this huge group of people that get missed. That is why I loved group therapy- you get to see people of every shape and size, people who have such a variety of backgrounds and experiences, and you just build this support network so quickly. If you find the thought of group therapy overwhelming, look for a personal therapist or counselor- talk to your school/university/college counselor or doctor about referral or a map on where to go from here.

After all that, I do believe that the Perfect Health Diet would be a great choice for you (just enough flexibility, and the opportunity for many adjustments for a changing metabolism). Just, I can't recommend with a good conscious that you jump into any changes without adequate support!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:06 PM

I'll be honest and say that I loved group therapy because it felt great to meet others who understood...but it definitely drove my competitive side and I always wanted to be the smallest person there. This was an IOP (intensive outpatient program) so I still had some control of my food...and being in a group of others just made me want to "perfect" my ED. I am also very shy and introverted and felt self-conscious all the time. I think whether group vs individual works better depends on what kind of person you are.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:39 PM

I'm in the UK. Thanks to the NHS, seeing a GP is free,, BUT they don't really do much unless there is something very obvious and critical that is needed. So all my GP has done for me is checked basic bloodwork all of which is fine. I'm no where close to the criteria to be referred to therapy (I'm not a danger to myself or anyone else, not self harming, not undereating, not underweight, not considering suicide, not overdosing on anything, etc) as I only had mood swings, which now after recovery have decreased in intensity.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 11, 2012
at 02:07 AM

Binging is very common after a period of restriction. I did the same thing. I'm so glad to hear that you have a healthier attitude towards food these days. I hope you don't hesitate to reach out for help if you ever need it. Sending hugs your way!

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:30 PM

Thanks for your suggestions, and the relapse warning... I've been considering therapy for a while to deal with mood swings and such, but as a student it is difficult to make that decision and fork out the money (especially as, since I don't want to restrict my eating, I'm spending a lot on food!). I might see about group therapy though, I think there used to be ED support group meetings in a nearby church or something, so perhaps they're still running.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:42 PM

Really? Man, we could see counselors for anything- exam stress, post-break up, family issues etc. You're sure there is no counseling center at your university? You don't need a psychiatrist for most things, which sounds like what the criteria is for.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:09 PM

And for those who left it, they were pretty solid in recovery. They left because they felt it didn't make sense to try and force themselves to talk about food/body image during group when they no longer did any of that outside of group because it was no longer a focus in their life.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:49 PM

Well there is a counseling service where any student can get a maximum of 6 sessions, but last I checked there was a pretty long waiting list since it's only open a couple days a week. That said... what you said about how it's common to relapse after self recovery has me considering paying for a private therapist even more. But then that would mean less food money, which would mean either less food (no way that's gonna happen) or cheaper food (*sadface*)

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 11, 2012
at 11:33 AM

I don't think that you can say you feel ready to move on and don't want to be dragged back into it if you never dealt with it. I mean, just in my experiences with myself and many other people, it takes a long time to really move forward, and a lot of people experience great setbacks as a result of not getting help (or even WHEN they are getting help). I think at least before changing your diet right now, I would see a counselor even just for one session to touch base and just create a connection that you can use later if you need to.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:02 AM

Sunny Beaches, I didn't "self recover" very early. What happened was that after a few months of restricted eating, my body began urging me to binge and I couldn't control it because I was malnourished. I think this happens to some people and it's probably where anorexia turns into bulimia, though I never purged... I ended up binging and restricting, therefore yoyo-ing for a few years, before finally fully going for it a few months ago. I think what helped is that by the time I decided to really recover, I was already out of the extreme undereating and morbid fear of fat because of the yoyoing

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:33 PM

@Doedoe, where do you live? In the US, most campuses have medical and psych services already paid under student fees. In undergrad, students had unlimited psych sessions. In grad, I had 8.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:37 PM

Yeah, ED group therapy is free at community centers, universities, and churches. Individual therapy is also covered on Canadian campuses, unlimited counseling is included in student fees. Lots of great services at university, they've seen it all before and have a pretty sizable staff, so it's easy to switch to another counselor with no hard feelings if the rapport isn't going well.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:09 AM

"they felt it didn't make sense to try and force themselves to talk about food/body image during group when they no longer did any of that outside of group because it was no longer a focus in their life." --> This is precisely how I feel. I love food and I could talk about food all day long, but I'm done obsessing/worrying over it or counting calories or focusing on being thin/fat (I do get the occasional fat feelings but I get over it). I just want to be healthy and happy and eat what makes me feel good.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:55 PM

Though, I really don't feel the need for therapy. Am I still at risk? I am not tempted to undereat or exercise for the sake of burning calories, even when I'm feeling down, nor have I undereaten knowingly in a long time. I kind of feel like therapy is unnecessary, though I know everyone can always benefit from it. Would just doing mental exercises as self-compassion help and such be good enough?

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:04 PM

Did you self-recover fairly early into your disordered eating? I think early intervention plays a large role in the trajectory of one's illness. I understand where you are coming from though. I know people who eventually left ED support groups because they were doing so well and no longer related to disordered thoughts...and being around that kind of thought and focusing on something not relevant wasn't helpful anymore.

8c8e71eb729c0edb4786c6f3ba8614e4

(568)

on April 11, 2012
at 03:44 PM

I don't think you're being too pushy at all. I don't feel like I need help and I feel like I'm perfectly fine right now - but I don't want to risk suddenly being set back for overestimating my capability to get over it all myself, so I understand your concern and I am going to take your advice. Thanks again!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 11, 2012
at 11:35 AM

I don't mean to be pushy or anything, I just have seen this kind of situation many times, and sometimes it works out but it also can fall apart really quickly. I don't feel right giving you advice to change your diet or do this on your own, and I still wouldn't recommend it.

6
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 10, 2012
at 09:25 PM

I would talk to your therapist and anyone else who has treated you for an eating disorder first. If you can find a paleo-friendly dietician or at least a gluten-free friendly dietician, that would be even better. Paleo can be great for healing and I think The Perfect Health Diet is probably a great choice for you, but it can also trigger disordered eating habits. You might just want to try a gluten-free processed-junk free diet first, but make sure to stock up with easy to make foods first so you don't find yourself skipping meals again.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:03 PM

Yet, I was just as ill, if not sicker. An eating disorder is a mental disorder, but a physically driven one (it is more of a possible effect) and many people forget that. I'm sorry that you weren't taken seriously. I imagine it was hurtful. But please know that your weight is NOT the only indication of how sick you are. People can die at any weight. Obese people die. Normal-weight people die. I know someone who committed suicide because she couldn't handle it anymore..she was at a normal weight. What kind of doctor did you go to? Can you find another one? Maybe one that specializes in EDs.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:14 PM

I meant to say "An eating disorder is a mental disorder, not a physical driven one" (as in you can't tell by appearance alone)

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:07 PM

I don't really have the resources to find a specialized doctor, but I also don't feel the need for one. I believe I'm doing pretty well at the moment, and I don't see how I could benefit from a doctor either :)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 10, 2012
at 10:13 PM

I've certainly had some terrible experiences with doctors, but there is a reason they exist. An ED is a life-threatening disease and should not be self-treated. Finding a good doctor is hard, but worth it.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:05 PM

Yeah, I have a lot of bad things to say about doctors... but I'm sure I'm just missing the good somehow. I've also found, from what I've seen online, that many nutritionists and doctors and even eating disorder therapists aren't that well versed on the clinical data on eating disorders and give out bad advice..

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:17 PM

@Doedoe, I'm glad you've been doing great. I wish you lots of luck and hugs that you'll keep on track. And there really are some amazing doctors out there if you want to give it another shot in the future.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:00 PM

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who equate weight with "how sick you are". Anyone of any weight can have an eating disorder. Unfortunately, the only cases that seems to surface in the public are on tabloids or on TV shows with emaciated people for the shock factor. It does a horrible disservice to those suffering. I will not use numbers even though my ED is begging for me to brag...but I got to a low enough weight where outpatient centers would not see me due to medical liability. I have also been overweight. I was taken far less seriously when I was overweight.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:47 PM

Hi, actually I never had a therapist or a treatment team. I went about this by myself. I spent years yo yoing around a "healthy" weight trying to lose weight while my body wanted to binge, and I tried going to a doctor but I wasn't taken seriously because I wasn't underweight anymore at the time. Thanks for the suggestion, I will try just cutting out processed junk first (already gluten free). Thankfully, I don't think skipping meals will be a problem, my appetite is pretty good at keeping me in check.

5
78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

on April 10, 2012
at 09:19 PM

I would attempt this with the mindset that you are "eating naturally" and nourishing your body, rather than dig into all the articles that others here tend to talk about: hormones, ancestral eating, toxins, etc. Focus on the positives of the paleo foods, rather than the dangers of the non-paleo foods. I think HOW you view food is just as important as WHAT you eat. I know it helps me to visualize how the food is good for me...some imagery might help you look at food in a positive way.

I'd also suggest continuing with any therapy if you are currently receiving any. I cringe a little when people think that paleo is a cure-all to mental illness. Don't get me wrong, it can be a great first step. But I also know how gripping an eating disorder is...and how it isn't always just about "eat nourishing foods and your food problems will disappear after your brain chemistry balances out." I know it's about feeling empty, societal standards, feelings of control, anxiety, perfectionism, loneliness, trauma, low self-worth, etc. If you don't tackle these areas as well, eating paleo isn't going to cure you mentally.

I'm glad you are taking the steps to try and live a healthy life. It isn't going to be easy, but I see a lot of motivation in you to be healthy. You deserve to have a life with a healthy relationship with food.

I will tell you that I cannot "listen to my body's cues" regarding hunger and satiety. I base my foods off of old meal plans, and do it with a paleo twist. I think someone freshly new out of recovery might benefit from some sort of plan to make sure they are getting all that they need. It is easy to take a second and convince yourself that, "Oh, I don't really need that, X says too much X is bad" and do it more and more and lose control. Or if you have ever binged, it is easy to tell yourself, "Oh, fat isn't bad, I'll have just a little more" and before you know it, you're knee-deep in a week's worth of fat and drowning in depression. Oftentimes, people with EDs need a little time before intuition kicks in. Until then, I think you should try to be objective in making sure you are feeding your body what it needs.

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:24 PM

Thanks Sunny Beaches! I wish you the best with your health and goals :)

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:42 PM

Thanks for your reply! I find that thinking about all food as different levels of "nourishment" helped me not think about any food in a negative context. So now I just want to be "eating the most nourishing foods", instead of "forbidding bad foods". I used to think that I can't listen to my body cues, because I either wouldn't feel hungry or I'd binge like crazy. But after months and months of really letting go and eating tons and tons, I found that suddenly I stopped gaining weight on a large amount of food, and soon after my appetite became more normal, so I think I can follow my appetite :)

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:12 PM

I'm glad you can follow your appetite. You've made some amazing progress:)!!

3
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on April 10, 2012
at 09:57 PM

Congratulations on your recovery! I'd focus more on a whole foods type diet, with an emphasis on plants (veggies, fruits, unprocessed carbs). A lot of paleo is hypochondriacal, and will likely have you fearing food more than appreciating it. A whole foods approach is healthy no matter what. Eat all the food groups in moderation so long as they are all unprocessed and organic whenever possible.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:59 PM

I just read Mark's advice. It is good. Go with something like that!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 11, 2012
at 06:58 AM

+1 for a lot of Paleo is hypochondriacal. I think it is easy to get focused on restricting and getting obsessed with all the things you are not supposed to eat. I think a whole, unprocessed foods approach, with some exploration of traditional ways of preparing things, is the most healthy.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:42 AM

Apparently you were the only one who liked my advice. My diet resembles what you describe; mostly organic, unprocessed foods covering all food groups. I like my whole grains ground up in my morning shake.

-2
81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:24 PM

I would not get so stuck on strict Paleo. I would research the diet 'blue zone' people consume. There are 4 recognized 'blue zones' in the world where people live much longer (4X the rate of centurians) and have better quality of life (autonomous in old age, never put into constant care) when compared to the United States.

Blue zone diets are under 2000 calories per day, focus on organic/unprocessed foods, and primarily vegetarian. They eat 2 deck of card sized servings of meat per week. The majority of their protein comes from dairy, nuts, and beans. Being in four different global regions, their specific diets vary considerably. This is nice because it allows for flexibility. :) One such place in South America eats corn tortillas with every meal. I like corn tortillas.

As to your comment about moderate strength training...you need to always push yourself to force adaptation. Whether it's lift one more pound, perform one more set, or whatever; every time you perform a work out you should be setting a PR. Unless if you are satisfied with your current level of fitness and are simply maintaining.

Happy hunting. :)

7071b44598d3540fd89470c7e0b3b825

(30)

on April 10, 2012
at 09:56 PM

Thanks Mark, that's interesting I never heard of the blue zone before. I'm not sure less than 2000 calories is enough for me! It's interesting though, so legumes are a part of the diet of these regions where people live very long and healthily, but the Paleo ideas suggest legumes are not so great.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:09 AM

I admit that I am not experienced in nor am I trying to recommend a specific diet. Just pointing out that there are existing, proven lifestyles that people live in this day and age that work. Read a broad range of literature. There is a lot of literature about the connection between low calorie diets and longevity. Keep in mind when your diet is primarily fruits and vegetables, you can A LOT of food. Low calorie does not mean don't eat. Setting a PR is linear progression and the basis of strength training. Start small and in increments lift increasingly heavy weight. That is recovery.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:10 AM

I admit that I am not experienced in nor am I trying to recommend a specific diet. Just pointing out that there are existing, proven lifestyles that people live in this day and age that work. Read a broad range of literature. There is a lot of literature about the connection between low calorie diets and longevity. Keep in mind when your diet is primarily fruits and vegetables, you can have A LOT of food. Low calorie does not mean don't eat. Setting a PR is linear progression and the basis of strength training. Start small and in increments lift increasingly heavy weight. That is recovery.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:00 PM

Paleo is great in theory, but not always in reality.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 10, 2012
at 10:33 PM

Yeah, an under-2000 cal, nearly vegetarian, "deck of cards" plan, with a "push harder" exercise regime sounds like the opposite of what I'd recommend for someone recovering from an eating disorder. Much too structured and the last paragraph of "setting a PR" doesn't sound like a recovery program.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on April 10, 2012
at 10:21 PM

This sounds too structured for doedoe's situation and goals. I won't down vote it but it seems to be the exact opposite of what she/he should do.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:18 AM

Thank you for the correction on centenarian. Google Blue zones and look at the wikipedia entry. Go to the bottom for the information references. The identified blue zones are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and apparently Icaria, Greece. I first read the book called 'The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest' which is a summary of the discovery of the first four blue zones and the efforts to understand why these people live longer and healthier in the past 10 years. It's fairly new stuff.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 11, 2012
at 12:05 AM

Firstly, a centurion is a professional soldier in Ancient Rome. A centenarian is someone who lives to be 100. The only place with lots of centurions was...well...Rome. I know of no place that has 4x the number of centenarians. Perhaps you can name them? I'm also aware of no place that tries to limit animal protein to 4-6oz per WEEK. Site your sources....

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