What I Ate Wednesday: A journey through my recovery and my 3000+ calorie days

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*disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional yet. Therefore, anything that is stated in this blog is from personal experience and research that I’ve done. If you or someone you know is seeking out a recovery method, converse with your healthcare professional first. I am not your doctor.*

Hey y’all! I’m back again! Upon a couple of requests from Instagram and what not I am posting a WIAW (What I ate Wednesday)! As many of you know by now I have chosen to go with the Minnie Maud method for anorexia-athletica recovery. I gave a link to the guidelines for this recovery method in my last post. And this post I’m going to get a little more detailed about what I went through and what I’m currently going through in using the method.

Now, my journey through the Minnie Maud method started when I realized that I wasn’t all that serious about my recovery. I wanted to gain weight. I was gaining weight. However, I wasn’t free. I was still only eating between 1500 and 2000 cal a day. I was still very limited as to what I included my diet as well. My chiropractor kept reminding me of how small I was. It just kept grading on my nerves. Finally, I came across a picture on Instagram from @dropsifjules about her experience in using this method and why she would do it again. I quickly went to her post, read over it and read over the other materials that she had included in her blog relating to that topic. I then went on to do further research in regards to this method. I even continue to do so today! And really it all makes sense!

You see, in the Minnie Maud method, one who is recovering looks at their age range and where they are as far as their eating disorder is concerned. The MINIMUM intake requirement for someone in recovery is 2500 cal. For my age bracket between 2500 and 3000+. Say whatttt????? Yes, that’s right! 3000+ calories a day! PLUS, no working out! I know it sounds crazy and it’ll freak anyone with an eating disorder out! First off I will say that you need to gradually increase. Just jumping to 2500 cal after depriving yourself for years is not safe. It’s in fact, irresponsible. Gradually increase by 100 to 200 cal every few days.

So, I’m sure the question has arisen as to why one would need so many calories. So, I’m going to answer that. While taking physiology last fall, I learned that the body is a live organism that functions primarily on the nutrients that it is given. Each cell exchanges a certain amount of sodium and potassium which creates an imbalance inside the cell so that other nutrients can be exchanged and brought into the bloodstream for proper functioning of the body. When someone deprives them selves of nutrients those exchanges are not being done properly within the cell. This can cause damage not only to the cells, but to the muscles, and many organs of the body. In order to compensate your heart rate drops, hair falls out, you get cold, menstruation stops, etc. in order for your body to reserve what little energy it has to keep you alive. At one point your body will begin to eat itself and that’s when death begins to creep in. A good article to read it in relation to this is a life without anorexia. Your body needs all those calories in order to heal and restore everything that has been destroyed by the eating disorder. So, in order to properly recover one has to eat like an athlete in the peak of their performance! FYI for those of you who think they have to eat limited calories while in athletics… think again! The average Olympian intakes 3000+ calories a day in their peak. Why? Because they understand that they are constantly tearing muscles while training and they need those calories to help them repair and perform better! The same goes in and eating disorder! All that muscle, all those organs that have been destroyed due to lack of a proper nutrition, need every bit of nutrient that they can possibly get in! This means eating whole fat products like milk, olive oil, real ice cream, etc. refraining from taking any diuretics, using lemon water to purge, or even drinking vinegar as a purging option. This only prolongs the recovery period. The body will begin to react by swelling and holding onto things. This is one of the most uncomfortable pieces of recovery, however it’s necessary and worth it. Purpose for refraining from fitness is so that your body can heal without having to deal with the repairing of muscles that you’re tearing while working out. Once the body can finally trust you to continue to nourish it, it Will distribute the weight appropriately and settle into a weight that is proper for your body.That’s when fitness can begin.

This leads me into why I chose so late in my recovery to go with this method and stick with it. I was fed up. My muscles were hurting all the time. My body just wasn’t healing. My life was taken away and I wasn’t able to go for walks and do the things that I love without ending up in pain. I couldn’t figure out why until I started doing all this research. Here I was, not only healing from an injury, but healing from an eating disorder that nearly took my life. Restricting was only leading to further damage and prolonging my healing process. Once I begin to nourish myself I began to feel a difference in how my body felt! My energy levels went back up, my muscles began to feel better, and best of all… I was no longer isolated from the people I loved. There was a point where I had increased too quickly and suffered a bit. The side effects included exhaustion, depression, headaches. However, pushing through it was still worth it. What I learned from this is that there are still some foods that my body does and does not like and it’s OK to try to work around that so long as I’m not restricting and depleting myself. I now stick to a primarily gluten-free regime which has helped a lot of my headaches go away, I only stick to the exercises at my physical therapist has given me plus or minus a few walks here and there, and I’m learning to really enjoy food again. While my health care advisors have advised that I get into the pool and get ready to rebalance so I can run again, AND I feel that my body is ready to exercise… at this point, I’m choosing to go about gently re-introducing it.
I’ll be honest at the beginning of this program I’d gotten sick of food! It didn’t even taste good anymore! With the amount of calories I had to intake it was exhausting, tedious, and got to a point where it just wasn’t enjoyable. However, I’ve learned to balance it out and learn to live outside of focusing on what I’ve got to intake for the day. I learned to listen to my body and what I’m craving and that usually helps me enjoy what I eat. That all being said I’m going to include two days of eating. One is from when I was including pretty much everything whether or not it contain gluten. And one is from yesterday so you all can get an idea of what it takes to get those calories in. Remember that recovery is different for everyone, so this is just an example. You and a healthcare professional need to come to an agreement on what is best for you.

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Take note, I didn’t include the second rice crispy treat in this picture, and I also went back for another piece of pizza

***A day of eating 3000+ cal while including gluten:

May 10, 2017

Breakfast 6am:
blueberry bagel loaded with cream cheese, jelly, glass of milk, apple =700 cal

Snack (9am and 12pm):
1 mango and 1 pineapple Chobani 2% yogurt =330 cal

Lunch 12:30:
2 Trader Joe’s rice crispy treats and a Trader Joe’s turkey and spinach Swiss cheese wrap
= 630 cal

Snack Salad 4:30: salad with 2 serve kidney beans, one serving walnuts a box of raisins, mixture of veggies, double serving of mango chipotle bolthouse farms dressing= 630 cal

Dinner 6:45pm: 1 Tony’s Pizza = 500 cal

Dessert 8 pm: 4 squares of Lindt dark chocolate with pecan butter =375 cal

Total: 3,165 cal

***A day of eating 3000+ cal while limiting gluten
May 30,2017

Breakfast:
Gluten free pancakes, low-fat cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of honey glass of milk, apple ~ 520 cal

Snack:
Chobani simply 100, 2.5cups of mixed fruit ~302 cal

Lunch:
Two red bell peppers, 5 tablespoons of Trader Joe’s hummus, and a sunflower butter sandwich (extra sunflower butter) on Ezekiel bread ~655

Snack:
One head of Romain lettuce, two servings of baby carrots roasted, One cup of roasted broccoli, Red onion, x-large serving of Colby Jack cheese, two servings kidney beans, and two servings of cilantro avocado dressing. ~ 555cal

Dinner
1 & 1/8 cup sunny select beef-aroni (imitation Rice-A-Roni) One egg plus one egg white fried ~440

Dessert
2 cups breyers salted Carmel ice cream =600

Today’s total:
3072 calories

NOTE:  I do count vegetables as calories! However, lettuce I only count as half of its nutritional value .  For example, two large red bell peppers is equivalent to 80 cal.  Two servings of carrots is equivalent to 75 cal, etc, one head of romaine I count as only 50 cal  when and actuality it’s approximately 105 cal

now, before I leave you all I will say that to those of you who have been on this journey with me and have been of support, thank you! You will have no idea how much that means to me! Y’all have been part of why am alive today! To those of you who are viewing and are critical of my journey nothing personal but keep your criticism to yourself. You have no idea what someone goes through  when they’re battling and eating disorder. Therefore, comments like “here take some of my fat”  or shoving things in my face and acting like if I don’t eat them then I’m not recovering are not funny gestures. They are honestly rude and potentially triggering despite how the person doing those things might view them. I’m not in anyway trying to offend anybody, just speaking my heart and mind.  Recovery is a sensitive thing. When you’re insensitive to someone who is recovering, you’re just adding to the pressure.

In closing, I just want to let everyone know that June 2 is the worldwide eating disorder awareness day! It’s also my birthday !!!  So, I’m  praying about composing a special post for that day and possibly doing something to spread awareness! If anyone has any suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

When fear foods become favorite foods; my journey to weight restoration.

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* disclaimer! I am not a healthcare professional. I would highly advise  seeking out a medical help before attempting any method of recovery.*

Summer break is here!  What an incredible semester it has been! Out of every semester I’ve had in college I will say that mentally and emotionally was one of the most challenging!  Just before midterms I found myself completely overwhelmed between the stress of classes, a promotion at work, and health issues … my body had had enough! For the entire semester, Outside of school and work,  I found myself in bed either sick or in pain.  It was honestly like being inside of a mental prison.

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Earlier in the semester I had battled another heart issue that sent me to the ER. I later found out that it was due to an infection caused by part of a tooth left in my head by a previous dentist along with what is known as refeeding syndrome.  Refeeding syndrome is when someone with an eating disorder begins to gain weight and introduces new foods into their system. The body reacts in shock and various things can occur that can be detrimental to someone’s health.  For me, my heart felt like it was going to explode. Literally, it felt like someone reaching from my back, grabbed my chest and squeezed my heart. However, that’s the price I pay for hurting my body through malnourishment.  As I mentioned in my last post I was dealing with a lot of muscular issues, and I finally had to stand up to myself. I took a professor’s advice and dropped a course that was incredibly stressful which postedponed my summer graduation (for my AA). thankfully I did that because had I stayed with it there’s no way I would’ve been able to keep up with classes. To be honest, by the end of the semester I was so done with looking at books that it was hard for me to focus on my assignments let alone remember half of what I read. Thankfully, by the hand of God I made it through!

Meanwhile, I began to get really, and I mean REALLY serious about my recovery. After doing some research  on the topic, I came across an Instagram picture posted by someone who is been a huge icon in the recovery community, Miss Julia Grigorian from dropsofjules.com  in the picture she stated that she was going to do a blog post about the method that she chose for recovery and why she would definitely do it again. I quickly went to the post, read it, scanned over some of the other posts that she talked about that method in, and did a Google search  to find more information on the pros and cons of using it.  That method was the Minni Maud method.  The details  of this method can be found at your eatopia  . Anywho,  I was praying and I didn’t know exactly how to approach this. Due to years of restriction, my body had developed sensitivities to various foods like wheat, soy, etc. however, the night that I decided that I was going to do this, my neighbor came over and asked my  mom if she would like a pizza for my nephew and her.  She gladly excepted and told him what toppings she wanted. He offered to buy me some as well. I kindly turned him down explaining that I had food sensitivities (excuses excuses).

That evening, I was scheduled to talk with my dear friend Emily about weight gain and the side effects on her podcast.  Inside, I wanted so badly to be free. Here I was trying to recover and setting example for those in the recovery community as well and I could not even get myself to eat a piece of pizza! I had eaten a salad and was going to eat something a little heavier afterwords for dinner. However, I was really craving that pizza!  I was craving it so bad, I could almost taste the pepperoni and sausage! Anxiety set in  and I began to text back-and-forth with Emily to prepare for the podcast. I told her that I was dealing with the food fear,  she asked if she could call me, and when we talked she was so kind and helped to calm my nerves.  We went into the podcast, and prayed afterwards. When we hung up the phone, I went straight in to see a pizza delivered at on my kitchen table! The first question I asked my mom was if I could have a piece and she smiled really big and said , “of course!”  That one piece turned into 2 1/2 pieces of pepperoni and sausage pizza. For dessert, chocolate cheesecake! There, begin my true entry into real recovery !

In the days following that I found myself eating  500-600+ cal breakfast two  300+ cal snacks, 500 to 600+ cal lunches,  and 500 to 600+ cal dinners allll followed by 350-400+  cal desserts!  Or some days that I eat 3000 cal, some days that I ate well over that, and some days I just slightly under.  I’ll be honest, the weight came on really fast along with depression, headaches, and exhaustion.  My body was not used to having all those things and was quickly trying to adjust. I found out later in researching that the exhaustion and headaches are due to the body trying to heal.  I could feel an internal burning, like a furnace had been turned up inside of me. I found out that it was also part of recovery because my body had to speed up my metabolism in order to be able to fully except all the calories that were being taken in!  Finally, after just two weeks of doing the method, I had finally reached the weight that my doctor wanted me to be at, even a few pounds more.   While I am now currently technically weight restored,  certain things still are not functioning and the way that they should  (my period is still MIA), so I’m trying my best to stick with it. I will be honest and say that I’ve had some days where I haven’t had the 2,500 -3,000 cal  that I should still be having until that takes place. However, I’m finding that I have a lot more freedom mentally that I’ve had in years! While don’t do any exercises outside of what my physical therapist has prescribed for me,  I still enjoy food that I wouldn’t even touch when I was exercising !  I have returned to eating gluten-free because I feel that’s what my body needs.  With that I’ve decided to keep eating pancakes, high calorie salads loaded with goodies,  dark chocolate, lots of popcorn, gluten-free cake, and much more.  Since I’ve gone back to that the headaches have seem to go away.   That being said, I want to continue with this until I know my body is ready to move on!

For any of you are reading this, if you’re seeking out a recovery method, I highly recommend this one. It does require that you refrain from all exercise. However, you have to remember that in exercise you’re tearing muscles and your body has to repair them. So, if you’re exercising when you’re trying to recover and have nothing to repair your muscle  with, then you’re defeating the purpose of exercise and ultimately destroying your body. Something you might want to think twice about. Again I’m not a healthcare professional yet, I am going to school for that, and I highly recommend that you speak with your doctor before attempting this.

Now,  before I go I’ll share something I’m currently struggling with. While I have reached a good weight, I desire to be able to work out again. My physical therapist and Chiropractor want me in the pool  to help me regain balance and strength. Also, the strength exercises at my physical therapist has given me have caused my body to hurt at times.  I’m currently facing a summer where I would very much like some freedom in my body and be able to swim and work out again. I face the following giants in the way:

1.)  muscular issues. There’s treatment that I need that my insurance does not cover.  I currently don’t have the finances to cover it.

2.)  I need access to a good pool with good amenities such as a hot tub and sauna so that before and after I do swim therapy, I can treat my muscles with kindness so they can heal properly. A gym membership like that is quite costly.

3.)  my mom and I both work, however we are facing some financial difficulties. It’s not always easy to purchase things that we need on a daily basis.

Being said, I’m requesting prayer that the Lord either supernaturally heals me with that he provides the things that I need to get the treatment and the access to the facilities for me to be able to get my balance and strength back. Also, prayer for provision for my family and me. Ultimately,  I believe that someday I’ll run again. Please pray  that if the Lord wills, that He will release me to do so!

Another struggle a face, is body image. My body has swelled because of recovery and a lot of my clothes don’t fit me properly.  Please pray that the Lord helps me endure this and make it through to full recovery!

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Before Minnie Maud (left) Thigh gap After Minni Maud (right) Thighs touch, pants don’t fit, but definitely worth it!

Now, off to another amazing vacation! This time it’s the longest vacation I’ve had from school! Lord willing, it will be full of amazing adventures !