If you’ve looked around the forums, you’ll know that my opinions conflict with some of those expressed in Diet Recovery 2. I’m going to share my thoughts with you, but I understand if you’re not interested in my approach. I’m just presenting a different point of view.
First of all, I think the best news in your post is that you no longer fear wheat and dairy. Getting over orthorexia is, in my opinion, one of the most important first steps towards becoming a happy, healthy human being. There are people who have real problems with wheat and dairy, but it’s a small minority. For most of us, we only increase anxiety and social isolation when we give up foods that are so common in our society. Congrats on your improvements in that regard.
My next point is that, while it’s great you’ve gotten over some of your fears, you should think carefully about what you’ll gain by force feeding. BMI isn’t a perfect measurement, but at BMI 23 your weight sounds pretty reasonable (19-24 is the normal range). As a guy, I’m sure you’d rather be at the upper end of the normal range than the lower end (that’s how I feel anyway), but simply increasing calories is mainly going to make you get fat. In my opinion, there’s only one way to increase your metabolism (i.e., your daily calorie expenditure), and that’s through exercise. Both fat and muscle mass burn calories, but muscle burns more.
You mention issues with low testosterone. I’m not sure about my own levels, but I can tell you that I have more sexual interest and energy after increasing my fitness through orthodox methods. I won’t go into detail because I doubt anyone wants to hear it, but most people are better in bed when they get in shape (for many reasons). That may not be your concern exactly, but it’s something to think about if you’re concerned about testosterone.
You also mention indigestion. My digestion didn’t improve at all when I ate surplus calories, but it has improved through exercise and portion control. I literally never get heartburn anymore, and I can drink a glass of milk without concern. I used to take antacids and drink baking soda with reasonable frequency, so that’s pretty significant.
I don’t know exactly why exercise has worked so well for me, but I think it’s because my body has become more efficient. When I ate more calories (and didn’t exercise), I just got sluggish. On one hand, it was fun to eat lots of candy and pizza, and I felt nice and relaxed after big meals, but I became increasingly immobile and even developed problems like high blood pressure. A low point for me was when I lost my breath bending over to tie my shoes, or going up stairs, or even talking too much (and that happened even at a BMI of 32!). Those problems disappeared as I lost weight (again, through exercise and basic portion control), and now I like moving around. I don’t know if you also suffer from low energy, but I can tell you that getting in shape usually makes people more energetic.
I’m not saying that thin people are always more healthy than people who are overweight. I’m just saying that gaining extra fat is unlikely to make anyone healthier, unless they are too thin to begin with. I’m a good example of someone who was ill at a normal BMI, but I still got worse when my BMI went into the overweight and then the obese range. For whatever reason, my body just seems sensitive to excess fat, maybe because it goes straight to my gut and blocks up my organs. I honestly don’t know.
I’m not sure what my average temperatures were when I was the most ill, or even when I was overfeeding (though I did feel uncomfortably hot during that time), but I got a reading of 98.6 at my last doctor’s appointment. So cutting calories and doing lots of cardio hasn’t killed my temps or anything. But regardless, I think how you feel is the most important indicator.