Hi. I have some questions about recommendations for a healthy diet plan for myself. I do yoga, crossit (daily) an occasional mile run and I'm also in therapy for recovery from my Eating Disorder. I've been advised to seek a nutritionist so I'd like to start here. I've already been on the paleo diet for 3 years now and really like it. I've just recently added a small amount of natural sugars after abstaining for months due to my attempt to end the cycle of candida overgrowth. So my question is more about HOW MUCH to eat and WHEN with respect to workouts and rest days. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you! -Karen
A lot depends on your current health and where you are in recovery. Refeeding is the most dangerous part of eating disorder recovery, (assuming anorexia...if this is a bad assumpltion I apologize). You need professional guidance if you are in this category. Increasing intake too fast with the wrong foods can be very taxing (and fatal). Seek professional guidance.
Again I'm assuming the worst here...if this doesn't apply, I'm sorry. I did have to go through refeeding and it was very scary. I wouldn't do it without one-on-one guidance.
First off, I understand your reasoning to stop here first rather than going to see a nutritionist, as that can be a generally anxiety provoking experience even if you don't have an ED. This might come across as somewhat acrimonious, but no one here is going to be able to devise an adequate meal plan for you based upon the very limited information you've given, and without knowing how your past, your food preferences, or your body composition. Are you underweight or overweight? What is your weight exactly? How tall are you? What is your body type? WHat kind of ED did you have? How many hours of exercise do you do per day and what type? Where do you tend to store fat easiest what was your diet like in the past? Etc, etc.
I am not a nutritionist, but generally speaking, if you want to lose body fat you should engage in resistance training and low intensity cardio (like walking/hiking) as well as 1-2 sessions of HIIT per week. Reduce your calories, but not too much and keep protein high, with carbs and fats moderate. At least, that's how I keep my calories regardless of my goal. If you want to gain lean muscle and improve body composition, I'd say you should do the same, just increase your calories in 5-10% increments above maintenance. Don't ever overeat.
I wouldn't recommend cross fit for fat loss, as you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, and doing cross fit workouts in a depleted state will run a high risk for injury, and will also result in a rather large cortisol spike, leaving you feeling stressed.
Those are about the only general guidelines one could reasonably dish out, given the vague and limited information you have provided.
I won't speak to the ED part of this, because I don't know enough about it. But I'm going to assume that you have your metabolism pretty much under control. The reason I assume that is that you say you've been doing paleo for 3 years. As long as you haven't been "cheating" (I hate that term, but that's the vocabulary around here.) with foods that mess with your metabolism (sugars, grains, etc) then I think 3 years is probably sufficient to get you to a reasonably "fixed" state where your internal signalling is working.
So given that if you think your metabolism is fixed and you can accurately recognize full and hunger signals, then the question of "how much to eat" is pretty easy to answer. If you don't think you metabolism is under control and you cannot recognize full and hunger signals, then that question is too hard for anyone on the internet to answer for you.
Basically, I'd start with a template of a lowish carb paleo diet. Start to track how you look feel and perform on with your normal activities (crossfit, yoga, etc). If you're running out of energy, start slowing increasing your carbs. If your muscles are breaking down, start increasing the protein. Just make small tweaks to your diet, and then see how they affect you. There's no one answer that we can give you since everybody's bodies are different, their activities are different, and their goals are different.
Wow! Thank you everyone for the comments. I really appreciate this support. Since this post, I was told by my therapist (again) to take 1 rest day and only allowed to do crossfit 4 days of the week.
I do have a professional but she's not a nutritionist, shes's a therapist. There are only two nutritionists in town and both are overweight. So I know I won't trust their direction, plus I can't afford it.
The nature of my disorder has been a combo of undereating, over exercising, eating for comfort (binge-purge) for about 10 years. I've also had addiction with pot, alcohol, cigarettes men and dexidrine. Today, I'm proud to say that I'm 27 days cigarette-free, 6-weeks pot-free and dexidrine-free (which contributes to weight loss), quit drinking a few years back-- no big deal on that one, and am seeking comfort thru self-nourishing rather than food, men and self-destruction. I've gained 8 lbs in the last 3 weeks and my face and ass look amazing! Even the coloring in my skin is more vibrant. So my biggest challenge is getting past the 2-day mark with binge-purge cycle. (the pattern lately has been 2 days good, next day slip, this has lasted for 3 weeks, which is progress, but today I make MORE progress) I've made it 2 days at the most and today is my chance to make it 3 days. Wish me luck!:)
Currently, my diet is like this... 5am.. coffee with coconut milk, one apple, one bell pepper, olive oil, salt, one banana 6:30 am.. crossfit or yoga post workout meal... 2 eggs, one sweet potato lunch... 4 grass-fed beef meat balls with spinach salad and olive oil snack... an apple, avocado or banana with almonds dinner... sauteed cod with veggies, spinach salad snack... plain greek yogurt with cherries or apple
My height is 5'9. My current weight is 130. When I surrendered my disorder and asked for help, I was 122. 135 is the weight my therapist and I agreed on. But I like 130... But I promised her 135 over 6 months.
So, my therapist wants me to have 3 square meals a day, but with workout schedule, this plan seems to work fine. Meals are spread so that I eat at least every 4 hours, which when I tend to feel hungry. My concern is that I need more variety, so I'll work on that. Honestly, one reason I stick to these main foods is convenience and simplicity. I know what to buy at the store and I just prepare them differently and mix them around, but I know I still need more variety. I have suffered from candida aovergrowth and am gradually introducing more sugars (only natrual ones) so that explains my hesitance to fruit and starchy foods.
As for exercise, it makes me feel good, like it does everyone. So I'm looking for a balance where I'm not going to extremes in any area (that's the nature of ED people-- we like extremes, we like control) It's hard because the "addiction" will justify just about anything to get what it wants. My goal is to starve this addiction, although from what I read about it, it will always exist. What will change is my response to it. I'm gradually feeling more able to read signs of hunger and being full. That's what I'd like to go by, ultimately.
Thanks so much for your help, everyone.
Much Peace:), Karen
I am recovery for ED-NOS (Bulimia, but not classic Bulimia) myself.
I know the hard part for me is the self-control issue. I've never been a binge/purge cycle person (ok, ice cream is my weakness) but it gets so frustrating because you want to be perfect ALL THE TIME.
Paleo has been a God-Sent for me. (I was diagnosed as Celiac my senior year in college, but i've been paleo for the last 3 years) it's given me the parameters i need (regarding the types of food I need vs. "forbidden") but REQUIRES the freedom my ED (which sometimes rears it's head) doesn't want me to have: namely, EAT WHAT AND WHEN YOUR BODY WANTS WHEN YOUR BODY WANTS IT
THAT IS THE KEY
you have to stop listening to ED telling you that you need to be PERFECT 100% OF THE TIME and start listening to your body telling you that You are/are not hungry and THIS is/is not what you want to eat.
don't worry about measurements don't worry about food combinations. don't worry about IF (that will come naturally when you're body starts saying, "nope, i'm not hungry") sit and listen to your body NOT ED and the perfection he constantly requires your body will help you
keep going to group keep going to your counselor keep getting your blood work stay paleo see a nutritionist who knows paleo and isn't going to put you on nothing but chicken and white pasta get some sunshine get some kisses from a baby or a puppy or both.
a perfect life isn't based on perfection.
I DID IT!!!! I made it 3 days in a row without purging.
I totally agree about the paleo lifestyle... offering what we need instead of processed junk to choose from. I"m not a strict paleo, though, I just added chick peas and plain greek yogurt and kefir into the mix. The dairy choices are to heal my gut and the beans are for fiber and a little substance to my salads. Also feta cheese for flavor.
I love the simple goal of "EAT WHAT AND WHEN YOUR BODY WANTS WHEN YOUR BODY WANTS IT".. My therapist ordered me to get a nutritionist, when I know I'm fully capable of deciding what my body needs...I truly feel that I'm beginning to trust myself now and be aware of when ED is talking verses ME.And I feel much less stressed about it since I read your post, Bambamkam. So thank you for justifying this gut feeling I had.
I will keep practicing listening to ME and will shoot for a record-breaking 4 days now. Thanks again for the wonderful support!
paleo and eating disorder advice 10 Answers