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Recovering anorexic/bulimic on primal diet needing to gain weight

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 16, 2013 at 7:12 AM

Hello, so I recently have started the Primal diet/lifestyle and am struggling immensely with carb/over eating. I was scary skinny at 5'7 and 89 pounds. I have managed to gain a few back, I'm currently at 94, but I exercise a lot. About 6 days a week I do 30-50 mins elliptical intense training then brazil butt lift workout, followed by strength training (core, abs, arms) followed by yoga. It usually takes me an 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. I am determined to gain weight, but I want it to be mostly if not all muscle. My problem is that for the past 5 days with the exception of yesterday I have been binging on high carb usually gluten free prepared foods. It is difficult reintroducing things like fats and meats when I just came out of no fat, vegan/vegetarian diet for the past 2 years.

I want to stop binging and stop exercising so much but I'm terrified that I will get fat. I used to weigh 125 and have always had really good muscle tone.

Please help, I am calorie counting like crazy, I just want to enjoy my children and husband and not worry about all the pointless things in life like counting calories and being stick skinny.

I just consumed another 3500 kcal in 1.5 hours and I'm scared my liver is going to give out.

2a4857d4f5a962c9c323b6fe51da37f0

(20)

on June 17, 2013
at 02:18 AM

Ask yourself, what is your #1 goal right now? Is it to reach a healthy weight and heal emotionally and physically from anorexia? Or is it to avoid gaining weight at any cost? If it's the former, then ask yourself whether there's _really_ any reason not to eat. If it's the latter, then make your own decision, but don't trick yourself into believing that you're not anorexic anymore.

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on June 17, 2013
at 01:26 AM

You have a serious eating disorder. Don't ask an online community whether it's OK to not eat. Please get professional help.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on June 17, 2013
at 12:58 AM

Lastly... really should be firstly.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on June 17, 2013
at 12:15 AM

*Get real help, not internet help.* You seem to have no degree of control right now.

0218f453f6cc3ed352158cf7e03e465e

on June 16, 2013
at 07:40 PM

I appreciate the response. I performed my normal workout today and have not eaten again. Is it okay to not eat today?

0218f453f6cc3ed352158cf7e03e465e

on June 16, 2013
at 07:39 PM

I appreciate the response. I performed my normal workout today and have not eaten again. Is it okay to not eat today?

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3 Answers

8
7f04edadc4cd82e04dd74c5eaf6e2d0b

on June 16, 2013
at 08:02 AM

Number 1 - Stop training so hard, you're actually working against your body's natural ability to gain muscle mass and putting your body in a catabolic state from over training.

I would skip the eliptical all together, no reason to do cardio if you're doing other workouts. It's literally a waste of time and a waste of the rest of your workout.

I wouldn't do resistance/strength training everyday, even if you hit different muscles every day - the body needs rest to repair. it can't be put into a state of perpetual breakdown.

I would say workout 3 times a week with yoga as your finisher. If you are OCD type person who "needs" to be at the gym to mentally feel like you are making progress then I would do yoga M/W/F and strength training T/Th... AND TAKE THE WEEKEND OFF - You need rest.

As far as eating goes, that's a tough one, figure out a clean and natural protein source that you can stomach (salmon, beef, lamb etc) and just eat fat on top of vegetables such as avocados and butter (real butter). Mix some coconut oil into tea or coffee for some extra fat. Reload on carbs after a heavy workout with sweet potatoes or white rice.

Eat no processed foods or vegan concoctions of soy garbage.

Look into eating only 2 times per day so you have less time to actually focus on eating while also taking a metabolic advantage to a smaller feeding window.

And lastly, (and please don't take this the wrong way but please do think about it), after hearing about your weight and struggling with easting disorders, and hearing you panicking about gaining too much weight and how you talk about counting carbs and cals like crazy, you should find a therapist - I think you would be enlightened to find that a little help goes a long way both for your body and you clarity of mind.

I know people who used to have eating disorders and body phobias etc, but after they got help they truly transformed and are some of the healthiest looking and feeling individuals in my life.

0218f453f6cc3ed352158cf7e03e465e

on June 16, 2013
at 07:39 PM

I appreciate the response. I performed my normal workout today and have not eaten again. Is it okay to not eat today?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on June 17, 2013
at 12:58 AM

Lastly... really should be firstly.

2
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on June 16, 2013
at 08:49 PM

are you seeing a therapist for your eating disorder? it really helped me when I had one. she had me read this book called "making peace with food." the exercises in the book were so beneficial and I learned to love myself again and not let food control me. there was a quote in the book that has always stuck with me- "i finally wanted freedom more than i wanted to be thin." i still save the self esteem exercises and have them hung around my room.

it's good that you have gained weight though! I started paleo in august last year at 84 lbs (i'm 5'4"). I was so emaciated and very weak. i'm up to 100 lbs now and look totally normal. it is weird having a butt, gut, and boobs again. I always gain in my belly the most but that's just how it is in my family. it felt weird putting on weight at first since i was very thin for so long, but i know it is healthier for me and my organs appreciate it.

you just have to think about giving your body the best nourishment and being around for your kids. when you binge, think to yourself "is this helping me or hurting me? how will i feel in a few minutes or tomorrow?"

it's good you are trying to fix this and i hope you can recover. the eating disorder thoughts will probably be with you forever- it's just whether you put them into action that changes things.

2
2a4857d4f5a962c9c323b6fe51da37f0

(20)

on June 16, 2013
at 03:30 PM

Don't panic.

For me, one of the really miserable things about being anorexic was the feeling of impending doom about every decision. If I gained a single gram of fat my life would be over, I'd have a heart attack, I'd be a fat disgusting slovenly fatty joke of a fat person whom no one would ever appreciate or love or take seriously again. That meant no experimenting with my diet or exercise, because nothing could possibly be worth the risk.

You're getting away from that. You have the freedom to exercise a little less and see if it hurts your health, energy, or mental clarity -- or if it helps it. You have the freedom to relax with your diet and maybe even put on a tiny bit of weight. It took me years to realize that gaining weight isn't the irreversible disaster that I'd lie awake at night worrying about. It's something people do all the time. If you relax your regimen and gain a little weight, and the effects are really bad, you can tighten up your regimen and lose weight again. You have proven you're an expert at losing weight.

Bingeing is scary, but it's also something our bodies do because they're used to being starved. It takes some time to unlearn that. Resist the urge to respond to a binge by restricting or overexercising, which just sets you up for the next binge. Eating 3500 kcal is not going to kill you, and there's even a chance that those calories are something your body really needed. Certainly some people binge even when they haven't been starving themselves, but if you're on any form of a paleo diet then you're already staying away from a lot of the foods that trigger that sort of binge.

We hear a lot of media and health messages about the dreadful, lifelong effects of weight gain, but they're talking about obesity and metabolic syndrome and epigenetic programming effects of feeding little kids boxes of sugar and corn oil. Gaining or losing SMALL amounts of weight isn't like that -- if you're getting interested in evolutionary nutrition, it seems inevitable that our ancestors would have put on and shed fat over the course of a year, based on the availability of different food sources. (all this with the caveat that I'm talking about potentially losing weight that you put on in the future -- you are unquestionably still underweight now and should NOT be experimenting with dropping any more).

I have found that exercising and diet are tricky and slippery things. One minute I'm genuinely exercising to feel better and make my body stronger, the next I'm just feeling relieved that I'm burning calories and not going to get fat and disgusting and etc etc. One day I'm tracking my food intake in order to make sure I get enough calories and nutrients, the next day I'm feeling a rush of relief that I came in at the very bottom of the allowable range. Paleo can be a simple, healthy, nourishing diet, but for some people it also becomes a torturing orthorexic battleground. I encourage you to keep an eye on that and definitely push yourself to relax your training or your diet if they start turning into ways to indulge your leftover anorexic urges.

That can be especially tough because there are so many people in this community who talk about intermittent fasting, caloric restriction, or just being desperate to lose weight. I encourage you to watch for the posts from the more established, wiser members of this community, who consistently encourage people to take care of their bodies first, and let healthy changes arise from that.

0218f453f6cc3ed352158cf7e03e465e

on June 16, 2013
at 07:40 PM

I appreciate the response. I performed my normal workout today and have not eaten again. Is it okay to not eat today?

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on June 17, 2013
at 01:26 AM

You have a serious eating disorder. Don't ask an online community whether it's OK to not eat. Please get professional help.

2a4857d4f5a962c9c323b6fe51da37f0

(20)

on June 17, 2013
at 02:18 AM

Ask yourself, what is your #1 goal right now? Is it to reach a healthy weight and heal emotionally and physically from anorexia? Or is it to avoid gaining weight at any cost? If it's the former, then ask yourself whether there's _really_ any reason not to eat. If it's the latter, then make your own decision, but don't trick yourself into believing that you're not anorexic anymore.

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