Food Confusion

I’m truly asking for assistance with this post, dear readers.  There are some issues with eating disorders that I do not understand, and looking up this information tends to lead to websites by teenage girls who have fallen into the ‘life is pain’ diatribe.

It’s no secret to my friends that I deal with bulimia.  Last spring, things got quite serious.  I worked through that bit fairly well, but I’m starting to have problems again.  This comes on the edge of attempting to make my diet healthier.  I knew better than to start watching calories, carbs, et c closely, but I did it anyway.  And I’m now dealing with the fallout.  I’m not in the binge/purge cycle, just restricting.  Here’s my question– I’m averaging between 650-800 calories most days, but I feel perfectly fine.  There’s no dizziness or fatigue (moreso than usual) or any other symptoms.  What makes the low intake bad, then?  Why is this such an issue if it isn’t causing me physical issues?  I am truly confused.

This morning, the psychiatrist just shook his head and told me he was glad I’d be seeing the therapist soon.  Very helpful, no?

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10 thoughts on “Food Confusion

  1. not too worried about the calorie intake. as animals we were made to starve for periods and gorge for periods, though i’m not knocking a little bit everyday practice. what i follow. but like i encourage my partner to throw something sort of fatty (i don’t call it fatty) in every few days. like we get ice cream together. sort of our thing. i honestly think it helps her stay in a healthier range. but, yeah, what a fucking comment from the doc. whatever. sounds like you’re doing good to me.

  2. hey englishrain. this is partner of depression nation mentioned above. i’m a mostly recovered anorexic with other anxiety issues that have had me at a pretty low weight (not much above my anorexic weight) for most of my adult life. i don’t know the specifics of your situation, so can only speak from the personal experience i do have. 600-800 calories was roughly what i ate for the years when i was actively starving myself (i aspired to 500; 600-800 was probably closer to an average of what i actually ate). based on that experience, i saw two main problems involved with a low calorie intake. shorter term issue was that i set myself up to binge eat. i would restrict for a few days and then consume vast amounts of calories, mostly from simple carbohydrates (sugar and flour mixed together with milk like a paste, cereal and peanut butter, peanut butter and ice cream). then self injury (rather than vomiting) followed by another cycle of restriction. so low intake kept me trapped in that cycle.

    the longer term, more serious health issue that i have had to confront is loss of bone density. when i was 25 (i’m 33 now) i was told that i had lost enough bone density that i was so close to having osteoporosis that i basically had it. that my bones were the equivalent of a 60 year old woman’s. i don’t know for sure, but i suspect that this has similarly resulted in an erosion of the enamel of my teeth.

    throughout my life, i have always felt healthy physically, despite low intake. so i don’t think the health impacts of low caloric intake necessarily manifest as “feeling bad” or weak or tired etc. in other words, you can feel great on a very low calorie diet and still be doing damage to yourself short and long term.

    i hope this helps and doesn’t come across as too preachy. it’s something i still struggle with pretty much everyday. feel free to ask me anything else, if it seems useful.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story. That takes courage in such a public forum. Thanks, as well, for your input. Sounds like you followed a very similar cycle to what I see in myself right now. Wishing you the best in your continued recovery.

  3. This is such a tough issue…been there to some degree. Not every person needs the same amount of calories. Yet, we do need a fairly common minimum. The kinds of foods we eat also make a difference.

    One thing that helped me was to learn to love myself just as I am…whether that is heavier or lighter in weight…or wider or narrower in girth. When I have focused on eating healthy foods, it has helped.

    The other thing that helped was to pay attention to my emotions when eating. Was I really hungry…or was it an emotional hunger? Of course, that boomerangs, too. I spent many years turning off hunger. Now, I struggle sometimes with even knowing whether or not I am hungry.

    There are no easy answers as to how much you really need to eat…only general guidelines. I pray that you will be able to find what you need.

    Another thing that can be helpful to look at is sabotaging. Sometimes, we can be unaware of the influence of an insider. Just because we don’t openly switch does not mean that we are not being influenced in a big way. Whenever I struggled with something, I found that talking out loud to my insiders did seem to help. It did not matter if I knew they heard or if I receive an “answer”. I would just speak to whomever could hear me and ask them to please pass it along to those who could not. I would explain the situation and ask them to please think about it and help the whole system to survive and get better.

    Don’t know if any of this helps. I don’t comment much, but I do read as I can and I so care.

    • Thanks for your comment and your advice. I’m sorry to hear that anyone has gone through something like this, but I am glad we can share our stories and help each other. We all seem to share such similar patterns of thought and behaviour. Perhaps it will help to figure things out! I truly appreciate your time and your concern.

  4. And one more thing that may help. Make the calories you do eat come from nutrient dense foods. That may at least help to make up for some of what you are not eating.

    Another thing in addition to what chocolate f. gum shared…starving affects your heart. Do you remember Karen Carpenter? She struggled for years and was finally on top of the problem. However, the damage to her heart during that time took its toll and she died of a heart attack when everyone thought the whole thing was finally behind her. 😦

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