First of all, before I ask anything, here's some facts:
- I've been eating very healthy foods for the last 2-3 years (although, only a few weeks ago I completely cut out the sugar and white flours)
- I'm 16 (almost 17) years old, height = 5.1, weight = approx. 103-105 pounds, medium build, female
- I've been struggling with a 'form' of anorexia for the last 2-3 years (meaning I eat a very fair amount of food, but only healthy, organic food, ex: all nuts and seeds there is, leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, high quality chicken and beef, homemade whole Greek yogurt, Ezekiel bread products, free-range eggs, tons of avocado, unsweetened nut butters, coconut butter, almond flour, whole milk, brown rice, steel-cut oatmeal, etc)
- I exercise moderately; I go for a run about 3 times a week, and go on a long walk everyday.
- I do my school on the computer, so I try to stand whenever possible, even when I'm on the computer.
I don't really crave 'sugary' foods at all (nor white bread, or 'unhealthy foods'), but since I've been underweight (my menstrual cycle has been gone for about 2-3 years, my hair is thinning and falling out, I'm tired and cold constantly) for awhile, my mom has been making me eat some sugary foods (including muffins, cookies, cheesecake, doughnuts, cake, ice cream, etc), junk foods (chips, granola bars, refried beans, etc), and foods with flour (bready food items, tortillas, pasta, etc). I really don't care for any of those foods, I really just like what I eat now. I acknowledge that I need to gain some weight (since all my symptoms point towards that), but I just don't want to stuff myself with a bunch of junk to get there. The rest of my family isn't at all into any sort of healthy living, except my mom, occasionally she'll appreciate if I cook a very healthy meal (but she'll still remind me, "remember, you're on a mission, so what does that mean? Eat more! More calories! etc etc". As of now, I've cut out the Ezekiel bread, sugary/flour based foods, processed foods, whole milk (except I still make my homemade organic whole greek-yogurt, since all the whey gets strained out anyway), cheese, and conventionally raised meats/chicken. I've been doing good so far, but I can't say I've seen a increase in weight.
A typical eating day for me:
7:00am: 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 frozen apple, 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of seeds, and a lot of coconut flakes OR 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon steel-cut oatmeal (I haven't done this one ever since I cut out oats), 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup seeds, 1/4 cup raisins, 1 tablespoon almonds, and a lot of cinnamon
11:00am: 3 eggs, 1 whole large avocado OR 2 slices Ezekiel bread (I haven't done this one ever since I cut out Ezekiel bread), tomato, avocado, a TON of extra virgin olive oil, turkey, and ALOT of romaine.
2:00pm: A piece of fruit with some coconut butter/nut butter
5:00pm: A nicely sized dinner, sometimes a very big portioned size for myself, but normal portions for everyone else.
9:00pm: If I had yogurt in the morning, I'd have a coconut butter or nut butter sandwich (with Ezekiel bread) with berries or fruit in it, no jam/jelly. But if I didn't have yogurt yet, I'd have 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 frozen apple/blueberries, 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of seeds, and a lot of coconut flakes
Am I being overly obsessive? Is there something I'm missing? I'm really thinking Paleo is something that would work for me (I'm going to the gym tomorrow to lift some weights, and I think I'll continue doing that more then my usual running), but I can't decide... Is Ezekiel really that bad? Should I be eating a lot of tubers? How much meat should I eat every day? I'm just so lost on what I should do from here...
asked byJen_36 (65)
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on October 24, 2012
at 12:32 PM
I'm afraid I have little experience with the condition as you describe it, but what strikes me is that you are overly concerned with cutting stuff out (which is perhaps not surprising).
What I would suggest is that you spend some time thinking about what you could include. How about beef, lamb & pork? How about salmon, tuna, or other oily fish? Could you bear to eat liver or tongue or other offal? How about bacon?
What about eating some double (if you're American, heavy) cream with blueberries. Yum. Cheese? As much as you like, whenever you like.
You see & forgive me if I'm wide of the mark here, if you cut out the grains & sugars, you've only embraced half the paleo lifestyle. The other half is increasing the healthy fats.
on October 24, 2012
at 06:16 AM
I am only writing from my personal experience and study, but if you haven't had your menstrual cycle for 2-3 years, and are experiencing hair loss, cold intolerance, etc. as well, you likely also need to gain some body fat, and not just lean body mass. I've been dealing with a restrictive eating disorder of sorts for the past few years as well, and experienced many of the same issues. My parents are similar, and were frequently trying to get me to eat junk foods, and I did occasionally, but I have had the best luck with just sticking to Paleo/whole foods, working to reduce stress around food and exercise, and learning to trust my hunger signals.
It might be difficult (it was for me), but it may help to try loosening the reigns a bit in terms of what you eat. As long as you're eating whole nutritious foods, don't worry too much about the details for now, and work on trusting your body's signals and cravings, even if they seem unreasonable to you at times. That doesn't mean I'd recommend eating a bunch of processed junk, but if you feel like another cup of yogurt, some dark chocolate, or another serving of meat/etc., don't sweat it. At your age and activity level, you should most likely be eating at LEAST 2000 calories a day, and if you're trying to gain weight/regain your period etc., upwards of 2500 a day is often recommended.
I think there are a lot of things worse than Ezekiel bread that you could be eating, but roots and tubers would be a superior source of carbohydrates and nutrients for you. There is some great info over at Paleo for Women regarding adequate starchy carb intake for women that would be worth checking out if you haven't already. There is no set about of meat that one should eat in a day, although the author of Paleo for Women and my physician have mentioned that females may find it beneficial to moderate their protein intake when dealing with fertility problems. Try not to worry too much about numbers right now, and see what your body tells you. You may eat a lot some days, and a little on other days. Either way, you should be alright as long as you're getting enough overall.
You look like you're on the right track in terms of the foods you're eating. You'll likely just need to increase the amount of food, and/or further reduce your physical activity for a little while. Taking a break from running for a while is a great idea. Trying to reduce stress around food and not worry so much about the details of your diet may be of equal importance for you though, in terms of regaining your health.
Again, I'm just writing from my own experience and research. My cycle still has yet to return, but I've made a lot of headway eating Paleo in my recovery (including improved cold tolerance, healthier/thicker hair, and a lot more energy). It has taken some fine-tuning, but I totally believe it's possible, and a great way to go, as long as you take into consideration the individual requirements and needs of your body and situation.
on October 24, 2012
at 04:21 AM
Find your BMR and your caloric expending rate and eat about 500 calories above it that way you gain healthy weight, add that with working out 3 or 4 days a week you can expect to gain lean body mass.
on October 24, 2012
at 10:52 PM
Yes. Paleo is good for everyone. No-one benefits from eating neolithic shit (apart from Monsanto).
on October 24, 2012
at 10:03 PM
i wouldn't focus on measuring things. just eat until you are full and don't feel guilty about it. if after dinner you are still hungry, then have second helpings. i do not limit myself at all and i eat over a pound of meat a day (i'm under 90 lbs) with as much fat as i want (i love skin).
also, i'd recommend a book called "making peace with food." it really helped me get past my obsessive qualities and control i was having with food. food isn't supposed to be your enemy.