I'm currently recovering from anorexia (it's been a span of 2-3 years, I've never gone over 107 during this span). I use to weigh around 130lbs, w/ height around 5.0" when I was 13-14. Now I weight about 100lbs (90 being my lowest), with a medium build, about 5.1" now, and 16 (almost 17) years old.
I've had a previous post about weight gain, but I since then, I've encountered a lot of challenges with the paleo diet regarding weight gain...
First of all, my parents don't really eat "paleo" at all, they aren't into "healthy" things, so it's hard to make them meals (I usually cook dinner) that are both acceptable for me and them. For the past few days, I've made meals that they haven't really appreciated too much (due to the lack of some of their favorite ingredients: bread/pasta/tortillas/corn tortillas/etc). I've been subbing things like spaghetti squash for regular spaghetti noodles, and breads made of coconut/almond flour instead of white. Nothing has appealed to them (to me they're acceptable), and they've noticed no change in my weight... the bottom line is, they're not happy.
I really would like to weigh around 115lbs but I've been STUCK at 100lbs-104lbs for around a year. It may possibly be because I don't eat enough... but I'm unsure that's the case. I eat high fat foods and a ton of protein (nuts, seeds, avocados, fatty meats, chicken, eggs, turkey, occasional ham/bacon, coconut butter, nut butter, seed butter, regular dairy butter, home-made Greek yogurt, baked goods made with almond flour/coconut flour, honey, bananas, blueberries, pears, apples, Romain lettuce, cooked spinach, tomatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes, occasional plantains, regular dairy cheese, and I'm sure other things that I don't have on top of my mind right now). All of these things are full-fat and organic/high quality. It's been hurting my grocery budget (I also shop for my family... a little 'different' but since I'm the one who cooks, I'm the one who know what I need to get), and I've been kinda stingy with ingredients (including the ones I also consume).
This 'stingyness' has led into a slight decrease in my own food intake, so I've been probably not gaining much/any for the past couple weeks (since I've started being COMPLETELY grain free).
I've been thinking... since I really need to gain that weight (my hair is still falling out and I've yet to start up my menstrual cycle again) as soon as possible, should I just hold off being 'paleo' until then? (I would still eat 'healthyish', like stuff relating to Ezekiel Bread products, vegetables, ice-cream/home-made ice-cream, potatoes, corn tortillas/corn tortillas fried in Safflower oil, some white/whole wheat/spelt flour, pasta, products with sugar, chips, fruit, commercial bacon/butter/cheese, home-made cake/cookies/biscuits/pie/etc, some processed foods, and other stuff of the like). If I thought about it hypothetically, if I gained the weight the 'cheaper' or 'economical' (and faster) way, then I'd be able to resume my 'paleo' lifestyle without interference from my parents (I would just cook them a separate dinner I guess, but they won't let me do that now, because if I do something like that, they automatically think I'm "afraid" of that food and falling back into the 'anorexic' mindset again... they start worrying and making comments like "You really need to eat more, you're looking really skinny". Ugh. I want to be healthy! I don't care about how I look anymore, it's been so long (a very long 2-3 years...) and I'm just exhausted.
I'd really appreciate any opinion I can get on this topic...
asked byJen_36 (65)
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on October 29, 2012
at 12:55 PM
One, this site is not qualified to give advice on eating disorders so please make sure that you have a nice trustworthy support group of health practitioners. If you don't, then head out now and come back when you do! I know doing things without accountability when it comes to diet/activity can seem okay at first, but can become really overwhelming and cause a perfect storm for symptoms to reemerge.
Two, I would not recommend you go strict anything for now, but if you did want to go for a more overall-health approach of healing your body, this is a good eating plan: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/ . Includes rice and other "safe starches" which should help get caloric intake up and loosen up on the budget restrictions. One of my favourite things I ate in recovery from weight loss is white rice cooked in a really nutrient dense bone broth- very soothing. Another eating style to look into would be "Weston A Price" style of eating, the book "nourishing traditions" by Sally Fallon covers a lot of this- includes grains and legumes, prepared in traditional methods. She uses a lot of fermentation.
Three, get your Vitamin D and zinc tested if possible. Some studies have shown that essentially all anorexic patients clock out as zinc deficient. If you want to get more involved with your supplements, "the mood cure" has some interesting stuff OR you could consult with a professional in your area (preferable, obviously). Other "supplements" provided by whole foods would be to include plenty of egg yolks, liver (pate is my fav form), bone broth, and fermented foods.
on October 29, 2012
at 06:55 AM
Hi Jen. I'm on the same boat as you - 98 lbs, 5'3 in height, trying to gain. I recommend sticking to paleo but adding more fat and more calories in general. I have yet to gain (well I gained 3 lbs in half a year) but since paleo, my hair stopped falling and I can really feel my body healing itself. I think increasing calories and nourishing yourself are what you need. Now is not the time to compromise your gut health. We need to absorb nutrients to gain safely.
Good luck to us!
on October 30, 2012
at 01:01 AM
By the way, Paul Jaminet is amazing :)
on October 30, 2012
at 12:56 AM
Hi, Jen. I refocused my budget to cut back on other things and allot more resources for food. I also added more fat into my diet - adding a few more olive oil/coconut oil/sesame oil when I cook or when I make a salad, and mix my coffee with unsalted grass-fed butter and coconut oil. I also stopped counting calories and just made my plate a bit bigger (nothing too drastic though haha). I eat whenever Im hungry - 3 times a day, and a snack. Still a work in progress, but please note that Im also consulting with an endocrinologist and an OB-GYN so Im not alone in this :)
Not too keen on Ezekiel bread - but thats just me. My GI just goes bonkers. But you know, dont worry about "too much". Think of eating as nourishing, and as an expression of love for yourself and your family. Ever since my husband and I decided to start a family, I suddenly had renewed vigor to improve my health and to snap out of obsessing about being tiny. And while the pounds have not yet registered in the scale, eating more and eating smart made me look better and happier :) So go go go!