Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Is calorie counting and weighing yourself in recovery necessary?

I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions I have. First`ly, I have heard both you and professionals say that in recovery you shouldn't be counting calories and i know your right but how do you know if you are getting enough calories to gain weight if you are not counting them. People say you need to eat x amount of calories in recovery but also that you shouldn't count calories so that confused me a little. Also I have heard from people you shouldn't weigh yourself In recovery but then how do you know whether you are eating enough to gain weight or not? 

These are both really good questions and i am sure others have had the same thoughts. To begin with, if you are in treatment then you leave all of that up to professionals. Your dietician will know how many calories you eat and how much your body needs, you dont need to worry about any of that and your  doctor and the staff will know your weight and know whether you are gaining or losing or maintaining and based from that your dietician changes your meal plan. Treatment is always recommended by me as i believe that for most of the time that is necessary. Sometimes its not actually the treatment that helps you recover but the fact that you have been in hospital, you hated it and realised you never want to go back there again so you choose to recover on your own - that works as well. But in recovery you need proper help and support and people who know what they are doing (which however isnt the case for all treatment centres). It can be comforting for some to not have to deal with the calories and the scale, to just leave it to someone else and to follow orders.
   For me personally i found it comforting but also every anxiety filed and nerve wracking. I still calculated the calories on my meal plan and whenever i got a chance i would try to sneak a look at my weight or weighed myself if there was a scale. But that just caused anxiety and they were obsessions i had to break. Because you shouldnt get anxiety when you weigh yourself or feel bad for eating something with 200kcal instead of 100kcal. Its all energy and fuel which your body needs and will use.

If you are recovering on your own with no treatment then you do have to weigh yourself and count calories.... or atleast make a meal plan for yourself. That is what is recommened. I would say that you begin with making a meal plan with 5-6 meals and you aim to eat around 2000-2500 (depending on what stage of recovery you are at and how much you were eating before).  While i was at Mando we used the Mando Meter (this type of scale) which then weighed our food so we were eating enough, but i would NOT weigh food at home. Instead try to think if you're going to have a bowl of yoghurt then fill the bowl, or take 1-2 handfuls of nuts or 3 crisp bread and enough butter to spread on the whole bread/crisp bread. And with dinners and lunches think 40% carbs,30%protein, 20% veggies, 10%sauce(or 50%carbs total) on the plate. So what if somedays you eat more or somedays you eat less, but if you follow your meal plan where it says what food to eat then whether you eat a little more one day or a little less the other day that is just how normal eating is anyway. HOWEVER if you feel that it can help, then you can begin with weighing the food for the first while until you begin seeing the portion sizes and then for your own sake try to step away from that and just use eye measurements.

And with weighing yourself, this can cause alot of anxiety but i would think like this.... know your goal weight. Know what weight you have to reach and have that as your goal so that you KNOW that you HAVE TO reach that goal.... so whether its 1kg weight gain or 0,5kg weight gain doesnt matter because you WILL weigh your goal weight eventually.
   If you however are only gaining like 300g a week or gaining 300g then losing 300g the next week, then make sure to INCREASE your food intake so that you gain more. This will help your metabolism and your body, eating less in recovery will just mess things up and you will regret it later on.
  Another suggestion is to let someone else weigh you if that is possible... i.e go to your GP or if you have a parent or friend you trust who can look at the scale for you and just tell you how it went i.e weight gain, weight loss, maintenance and then from there you can add more to your diet if necessary.

Otherwise, it is possible to just not weigh yourself and not care about the scale and just try to listen to your body. To focus on your mental health, eating enough etc but the problem with that is that your body could still be unhealthy, and that without a meal plan or some type of knowledge about how much you are eating, you could be undereating.  Its all very individual really, but calorie counting and weighing yourself can lead to obsessions which are hard to get rid of. So it is helpful to let someone else take care of those so that you can focus on fighting your mental thoughts and other parts of recovery. 

I know this post might not be super helpful, but basically you both want to know roughly how mcuh you are eating so that you are eating enough and have some clue about your weight so that you arent losing weight but at the same time you dont want those two things to be obsessions. So getting proper treatment or someone to help you is the best suggestion :)


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4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for answering Izzy. your response was extremely helpful. :) x

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  2. Hi Izzy!

    I just have a quick question. I just got my period back (Today actually, very exciting!!!!) and I'm not "weight restored" yet. Do I really have to still gain weight? I mean I basically eat normally like everyone else. My BMI is just lower than what they want it to be...Thanks!

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    1. Yeah you do still need to gain weight, though this is a sign that your body is recovering and getting better which is great :) When i was in recovery i got my period for like 1 day when i was still 4-5kg underweight and i thought, now i dont need to gain weight anymore... but my actual period didnt come back until a year later when i had maintained a healthy weight for a while. So keep trying to gain weight!!

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