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For me, GAPS lead to an immediately relief of problems, and my thoughts stopped thinking about food food food. I thought this was the Diet above all. After a while I got worse again.
This is essentially how anorexia nervosa works. Feels great for a while and you think you are fine, better than fine! Until your body starts breaking down and then you die….October 7, 2014 at 10:25 pm in reply to: Fixing metabolism and losing fat – long term athletic perspective #17357
Hi Max, not sure if you’re around here anymore (this forum is so inconsistent!) but I wanted to come back and update. I’ve reconnected with my treatment team and am really trying to do better with food generally-which for me just means more, and not any particular types of foods other than the ones I want, since I’ve always just been so restrictive. I’ve been off running for a week too. I really did think about what you said about being a faster, better runner versus weight loss motivations. I read somewhere else too, about questioning yourself as to whether you would still ‘want’ to run so badly if running was thought to promote weight gain, and not loss. And I have to admit that maybe, when I think of it that way, perhaps I don’t ‘love’ running the way I have been telling people I do. For now I’m sticking to gentle walking as I don’t think weight training would be mentally healthy for me. I think I need a good long period of abstaining from environments and/or behaviors that are focused on appearance, whether it be getting super thin or getting ‘toned’ or ‘ripped’ or whatever. I can easily see myself going off the deep end with weight training too, so I think it’s safer for me to stick to resting and just doing the walks if the weather’s nice. It is pretty easy for me to get compulsive about anything other than that, and I’ve done it before. I am really trying to brace myself for the weight gain (feels like its already happening) but I am trying to develop some mantras about accepting myself at any weight, and about it being time for me to enjoy my life and stop punishing myself because after all, all the self-punishment and sacrifice and exercise/restriction I’ve subjected myself to has not at all resulted in me enjoying my life. So there’s that. Still I know I’m in for a rough ride as the weight gets up there above the magic BMI 18.5 number I’ve been clinging to. (I just read though that they have actually changed that and that 20 is now the minimum healthy magic number for caucasions; 18.5 is only the minimum for those of Asian descent….it’s almost funny how much mental space these seemingly arbitrary and stupid numbers take up for me.) Anyway thank you (a late thank you) for your feedback. I really do appreciate it and it made me think outside of my comfort zone, which is always good.September 20, 2014 at 11:50 am in reply to: Fixing metabolism and losing fat – long term athletic perspective #17329
It was Mark’s Daily Apple. I am not a member there and don’t care for most of it, but I think I found your thread through some other search or other.
I really do have a rough time with the running identity. There really was a time, pre-ED, when running was just a joyful physical activity for me that was about feeling good and had little to do with my weight. The taskmaster in my head, who does all the mile counting and the ignoring of the bodily signs that say its time to stop, came along with the ED, and not before.
Over the last couple of years I’ve had several periods of time from a couple of weeks to months where I did no running, either because I was injured or because I was ‘trying to recover.’ Currently my weight is right above the minimally healthy BMI and everyone thinks I’m fine. I keep being told I look great! and healthy! and I hate it. So ED is in my brain, and the recent gain, though probably not near enough to get me truly healthy, feels intolerable and I would really like to get back to being noticeably thin. Because that is what I have been for nearly my entire adult life, and it feels quite awful to now just be average. So yes, clearly my frame of mind currently is in no shape to try to incorporate a healthy, non-disordered running program into my life. But I’m running anyway. At this point even though I know its not the best idea, it is the only thing that keeps me sane and anchored to the reality I’ve known for so long.
Paradoxically though, when I wonder to myself about maybe trying to be less restrictive with my food and put on additional weight, one of the few motivators is that it might make me run faster and generally better. The thought of improving my running is one of the very few things that makes me think it would be worth it to truly let go of the need to be thin. There seems to be different schools of thought on this when it comes to ED recovery. Some schools say that its necessary to get rid of athletics generally, or at least certain types of athletics, to allow the person to truly recover and discover their identity outside of sport. But there’s definitely another school that says returning to/remaining in sport can be used as a motivator. I’ve been in treatment with providers in both schools and my only thoughts is that maybe there isn’t a one-fits-all solution, but for many cases a period of full abstinence from exercise is absolutely necessary at least in the beginning. And I can tell you that outside of this community and a few others, this is really not standard thinking. Somehow general society has evolved to the mindset that all physical activity is good for everyone all of the time, and it is really hard (even for educated, intelligent ‘professionals’) to not get sucked into the hype.
Anyhow, that was a long-winded reply! If you’ve made it this far, thanks for listening to my unexpected rant.September 12, 2014 at 11:35 pm in reply to: Fixing metabolism and losing fat – long term athletic perspective #17310
I recognize you from that other forum (cult). You look so much better now. As someone with a history of anorexia/compulsive exercise, if I met the guy in the before picture I would probably feel uncomfortable as my alarm bells sounded internally. If I met the guy in the after picture, you as you are now, I would probably just think: “this guy looks happy, and I should give him my number.”
I do wonder about your running. I am a distance runner too and even though it’s become entwined with my ED over the years, as I am trying to move on my life and away from the eating disorder I still really crave running and everything goes with it. Are you done with running? Do you think you can do it again safely? Do you want to?
I have NO idea if weight gain is necessary for you. I don’t know if ‘warming foods’ can regulate your body’s hormones. I suspect that in order for you to really recover and move on to live a life that isnt restrained by food neuroticism, you are going to need to gain weight. But maybe not. It doesn’t really matter. What I do know is necessary is for you to let go of the outcome in terms of a number of pounds, up or down. If you are looking for certainties (what MUST I do in order to recover and put this behind me?) then there is your number one certainty. Cling to that, and not to a physical outcome or goal.
Aiming for ‘balance’ is fine for the masses Cassidy, but really that advice is not intended for you no more than someone with a peanut allergy should take a balanced approach to their peanut intake. (Besides, in our current environment ‘balance’ is often code word for diet/exercise; even weight watchers, which is unequivocally a starvation diet, likes the word balanced.) You’ve got a restrictive eating disorder. Its quite likely that the pendulum will need to swing back in the other direction. You’re not likely to ever be ‘normal’ again and that’s okay if ‘normal’ means being on a diet sometimes and other times not (Which is what most of my ‘normal’ friends experience), or if it means you are an asshole (sorry) about eating ‘clean’ foods. Your new, improved normal should be, after some time and a concerted effort at total acceptance, a striving for living fully and enjoying life, with the numerical expression of your body’s gravitational force upon the earth retaining its proper place in your life (ie no relevance to anything whatsoever).
If you like numbers, find something else to count. Count $, be a financial analyst or something. I went through a period where I channeled my obsessiveness into the local animal shelter where I worked for a while. I found out that their inventory system was a mess and I took to organizing it-making sure every animal was entered, in its proper place, with an identifying photo. I took this on as an extra-curricular project. These days I manage project budgets as an engineer. These tasks put my counting brain to a beneficial use. I don’t count my calories anymore. I can’t tell you I don’t think about them because I burned calorie contents into my head with a poisonous fire for many years, but I no longer keep a tally. Its possible. You also need to ditch the scale if you havent done so already. But that goes without saying if you are on board with what I said at the start of this reply. I’ll say it again: you cannot treat your body like a spreadsheet or a system to be analyzed and optimized.
Cassidy, denial is part of the disease. No need to feel badly about it; the fact that you acknowledge it makes you better off than 90% of others in your predicament. I still live in denial a good amount of the time and I know way too much about this disease. Regarding your friends, weight gain with age is healthy and normal-despite what the obesity panic commission would have you believe. A 100% vegetable, alcohol-free existence is something I know quite a lot about. I did it hardcord for a decade. It’s wreaked havoc on my body. I am certainly not healthier for it. Friends who drank, indulged, and generally didnt give a flip, however, have aged well, lived their lives, and actually experienced things rather than watching them pass by.
You’ll get some info like the last two replies that is scientific or technical and its good info in some cases but I doubt its what you (or BAuer, for that matter), really need. ED personalities are typically overly technical. Information overload does not lead to freedom and sometimes it even makes things more difficult. Your body is not a spreadsheet nor is it a black box system where inputs equal outputs. I doubt anything you could learn in studying nutrition will be helpful for you. I went that route for 2 years in university and there is a heavy focus on the “health” that has gotten you in trouble in the first place: the “more exercise/vegetables is always better than naps and pizza” viewpoint is prevalent. Its damn near impossible to recover in that environment.
I’m glad you remain open. I think, though, that you will benefit more from searching for non-technical information. How to accept the body that nature intended you to have? How to live life and not obsess over externals? How to love fully and without restriction? How to encourage the movement of our society towards less anxiety-driven behavior and more life-fulfilling/enhancing behavior? I get it that it feels better to focus on things like macronutrients. Hell, I’m an engineer, not a therapist. And my technical brain does a lot of good for me. But only when I channel it appropriately. I can engineer a bridge or culvert. I cannot engineer my body fat percentage. It’s an important distinction. It’s a life and death distinction, really.
I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “unhealthy” friends. It seems to me that if your friends are eating according to hunger and instinct they are the healthy ones. You are feeling weak and foggy and disparaging your body which sounds quite unhealthy to me.
Don’t guess at what the therapist will tell you, just give it a try. If you don’t like the first one try another one. They arent going to read to you from a textbook. A good therapist will never take a cookie cutter approach to any patient.
Since you have a history with and propensity toward ED behaviors and obsessions, I would seriously reconsider studying nutrition in college. Sometimes too much knowledge is the worst thing for an eating disordered person to have, and being in those classes will surround you with a population heavy in EDs which is also not the best environment. Also, I’ve had a few dietitians through my own treatment who obviously had some issues with food/weight and it was NOT helpful; in some cases downright harmful. You’re clearly very intelligent and have an analytical mind so put it to use doing something that doesnt perpetuate this cycle. Plus, dietitians dont make much money anyway.
- This reply was modified 9 years, 5 months ago by tennosea.
Sigh. you are so early in this, please please take the warnings in this site and others seriously and try to get this turned around now. The longer you go with the sick ED mindset, the harder it is to change. Don’t bring it to college with you. Bauer’s right, you aren’t binging. You’re just hungry. What you did-1200 calories plus exercise-isn’t at all healthy for an active growing teenager and your body is reacting appropriately by driving you to eat more more more. You are also risking future fertility and especially bone health with the secondary ammennorhea. You have your window of opportunity for bone development now, and it won’t stay open forever, so you want to capitalize on it. Right now, you are losing out.
You have got to let go. You aren’t a healthy 123 pounds at 5’5″, sorry. Based on rapid loss on a very restricted diet, the weight you’re at isn’t natural for your body. You might not have liked your appearance in the 140s, but THAT is where you were healthy and its unlikely that the ED mindset will subside if you continue to try to maintain below that. Its not what you want to hear I know-we want the best of all worlds, to have a body that others envy, that we like because it’s ‘slim’ and we also want to have that without the ED mindset. But you do have another alternative. IT’s this: allow your body to be healthy and free your mind from restriction. Then practice learning to love your body exactly as nature intended it to be. I PROMISE you that it is better to do this than to waste your college years chasing after something that can never be. Look around the ED forum here and you’ll see plenty of folks who’ve wasted years trying to be “healthy” while refusing to accept their natural weight. You can’t do it and live in peace and it is not worth the tradeoff.
Get counseling. Go full stop at changing your mindset. In the meantime, do everything you can to remember your pre-ED habits and ditch the diet ones. Don’t worry about “binges.” Just accept that if you are driven to eat more than you’re comfortable eating, it’s biology, not a moral or character failing. And biology is pretty damn smart if you stay can get out of the way. You are at a point in your life when you should be having a blast and enjoying everything, not counting calories. How sad! Please realize that your problem is not your body. It’s the fact that your mind has decided to force your body into a size that is probably 20+ pounds smaller than what biology intends. And biology is fighting back, as it should.
Firstly, yes, you certainly belong. You have a fairly typical and serious eating disorder.
Secondly, I am so sorry to hear your story and I can so, so relate. I started my anorexic journey at the age of 23 and prior to that weight wasnt an issue. I also was a bit surprised to see the weight come off quickly and then I felt trapped to maintain it as well as all my control around food and the timing of it.
That was 11 years ago.
Shortly after my family’s first OMG you look like death freakout I also got back up to 100 pounds-ish and stayed there for years. Like you I told myself I looked normal-thin, like a model. But I knew it wasnt at all a healthy weight for me. Still, I felt trapped. I felt like the only thing I had was the food I allowed myself in the later part of the day, and I didn’t want to give that up-even if that food was the same thing daily.
I have been through umpteen iterations at this point. I am probably at a similar BMI as you, at this point. We both know it isn’t healthy but we call it ‘healthy’ and tell ourselves that since we are already healthy we cannot possibly tolerate or allow ourselves to gain more. Yet we are still living in the SAME prison as before. We play whack-a-mole with the exercise and we turn the recommendations on their head so they become daily minimum requirements. Or at least, I am assuming I can include you in my “we”.
This is no way to live. You are in the earlier stages of this. I can only tell you my perspective on this, which is that I lost my 20s to this and I totally regret it. Now approaching mid-30s and still in the trap, I cannot believe that this has been the main theme of my life for so, so long. I promise you that if you had asked the 24 year old me, or 26, or 29, or 31 year old me, I never would have expected (or wanted to admit) that it was possible that this is the sad course my life would take. I had so much potential back then.
Obviously I haven’t figured out the easy solution, but I think my point is that I hope you will learn from my story and fully push forward into recovery NOW. If you continue with this half-life you may very well end up with wasted decades too. Lingering in the prison of what the YE boards call quasi-recovery is probably the worst of all worlds. You don’t get the support and concern of emaciation, yet you still get all the mental fog and depression of restriction.
As you well know at this point, eating more broccoli and watered down oats and exercising daily is a miserable existence whether you weigh 20 pounds or 200 pounds. So don’t fall into the trap of thinking the number on the scale is any indicator of your recoveredness. It isn’t. (And therefore, it also isn’t useful information so you should just skip it entirely.)
Honestly you are barely eating much more than me-actually I don’t think you are eating more than me-and I have anorexic tendencies and am NOT pregnant. Do you have a history of being a bit health/weight-focused or even obsessive? If you really cannot motivate yourself to eat more try maybe adding in milkshakes? Or really probably whatever the heck you want. Ditch the veg/salad and use that space to put in some real foods. The worst thing for baby is not enough-far worse than a GMO here or there-in my opinion. (NOT at all trying to make you feel guilty, just trying to put in perspective….)
wonky liver enzymes are a totally expected side effect of starvation. they will go back to ‘normal’ after a sustained period of sufficient calories. I’ve had this happen time and time again (I never learned the lesson and appear to excel at the art of relapse).
I’ve started to view gluten-free anything, sprouted breads, sweet potatoes, and any other darling of orthorexia as ‘junk’ food. Ice cream is no junk food; it is damn close to our first and most primal food from our mothers. If these foods make you feel better, then how are they junk?
Orthorexia’s voice is the junk voice. It is telling you things that are junk. The healthiest folks I’ve known, the ones who live to old age and live interesting lives, are the ones who eat whatthehellever they feel like eating.
I’d say first you need to reclassify. The foods you’ve been avoiding aren’t junk foods. How long do you eat what you crave? For as long as it takes until it feels natural to eat what you crave. Otherwise you just end up on some other whackamole journey the next time some charismatic health ‘guru’ comes along pitching the newest routine (or the latest demon food responsible for everything that’s wrong with the world).
I have heard this argument before from the Caloric Restriction (CR) camp. I think it’s bunk. CR is like a cult though and they are very persuasive. Also their argument is that it is worth depriving yourself and eating 25%+ less than the average person in order to buy a few more years of crappy, deprived life.
Even his example is wrong. Marathon runners age faster due to higher metabolism? Sorry, runner here, and I am fairly certain that the running SLOWS my metabolism significantly and I suspect most other runners experience this too.January 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm in reply to: This my whole, long, awful story. (TW) Feedback and advice needed/desired. #14855
Yup. I have been giving you a hard time about exercise for months (gosh is it years now?) under the pseudonym t-mac :)January 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm in reply to: This my whole, long, awful story. (TW) Feedback and advice needed/desired. #14774
I don’t know, honestly. I think 95% of people here would say a couple of 1 mile walks a week would be fine. From my perspective, I know I am not able to do this without it eventually turning into a compulsion. Not yet, anyway. And your history-as a ‘runner’-sounds similar to mine so I suspect you have similar addictive tendencies. I think the problem is that, when you get bored, you think: “there is NOTHING to do but exercise.” Whether that exercise is walking, or running, or whatever. I think the challenge is to not answer the question of boredom, restlessness, emptiness, etc., with exercise. And those walks are a way of you answering boredom/restlessness/emptiness with exercise, so I think it is feeding into that in a way. I think that you (I as well) need to learn how to answer that emptiness in utterly new ways. Otherwise we fall back into old patterns. You need to get out of the apartment, I get that, and you don’t have much money. Okay, is walking really the only option available to you? I don’t think so, and if you say it is you are reinforcing the idea of yourself as someone whose primary hobby is ‘being active’ which, in my opinion, is not healthy in recovery. What about being outside twice (or more) a week in nonactive ways? What about going to the animal shelter 2x a week and taking dogs out to let them run in the play yard? Or if you’re not into animals, what about going window shopping for baby stuff? Same goes for reading health blogs. You have to find other things to read I can’t imagine how even dabbling in that wouldn’t reinforce orthorexic tendencies.
Recovery is so much more than eating and resting. You have to learn who you are totally separate from your old ‘hobby,’ getting thin (And ‘fitenss’ and ‘health food’ and all that went with it). If you can’t learn who you are because there isn’t anything else there (which sometimes I think is the case with me because I’ve had an ED so long) then you get to create yourself based on who you want to be.
That said, I am not really qualified to tell you no to the twice weekly walks. I have no idea whether that is therapeutic or triggering to you. I can only tell you the perspective I have, based on my own compulsive tendencies. I know there are some people who recover from drug addiction and can go on to drink alcohol. But if I were in recovery from a drug addiction I don’t think I’d be one of those people who could continue to abstain from drugs but be responsible with an occasional glass of wine, if that makes sense. Because the habit that gets me into trouble is being a one-trick pony: I get stressed, and I want to turn to some sort (any sort) of physical activity to alleviate stress. Even if that physical activity appears moderate and healthy to others, it is reinforcing a destructive habit. Just something to consider.January 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm in reply to: This my whole, long, awful story. (TW) Feedback and advice needed/desired. #14762
Also, same to the idea of returning to caloric restriction. Rabbit hole. Let go and let nature/biology make the decisions, because yours (sorry) clearly weren’t in your best interest in the past.