Wow, I posted that comment before the weekend, and today I see this thread just exploded!
Christinam, to answer some of your questions, I had an eating disorder for years, and then my recovery took about 4 years (with multiple relapses). I found Matt’s site toward the end of it, and it really helped me to let go and trust my appetite and get over my lingering fear of food. During recovery, I went from underweight to rather “puffy” and even a bit chubby (to me, but probably a fairly average weight), and then the weight did come off. But I am not going to say I had a RRARF experience as outlined by Matt because I did not. But the combo of what I learned through ED recovery and RRARF was priceless.
When I was going through ED recovery, the best things I learned were:
1) Eat 3 balanced regular meals a day, no matter what, no exceptions
2) Incorporate 1-2 snacks/day, which can be a good time to bring in a treat (which I restricted previously). I actually rarely have a snack anymore, but when you start healing it’s helpful.
3) Pay attention to hunger and fullness signals, and also why you are eating. You realize that sometimes you are not hungry, you actually really want a nap or to call a friend
4) I needed to work through a lot of issues from my childhood. Still working through them, but lately have gotten to a MUCH better place. Self-esteem issues are often the root cause of ED craziness, so you need to work them out to really be healthy.
5) Moderate exercise is good
6) Listen to your body and make friends with your body.
I went from a crazy diet of eating mostly veggies, and then binging and over-exercising, etc. to a pretty normal eating pattern (like what your grandma would recommend). I exercise a bit now, but all pretty moderate. I don’t think there is ever any perfect state we get to, but you can get to a place of balance where you feel tuned into your body and reasonably healthy.
As everyone on here has been saying, we are all unique. Some people thrive on 6 small meals a day, some on 3 squares. Some (like me) prefer more carbs. I know I need meat every single day or I don’t feel well. I LOVE veggies as well and anything savory, but don’t care much for rich desserts. Some people are totally the opposite. How you ate growing up can be a clue. I now eat fairly similarly to how I ate growing up. It just takes a looooong time to get your balance, but it is a worthwhile investment. I wouldn’t even worry that much about temps. Track them, but don’t worry so much about the short-term numbers as much as your long-term trajectory.