I am newly diagnosed and am just beginning treatment. My parents and in-laws don't know of my diagnosis, however my mom is suspicious. I am still seriously restricting and not yet at the point in therapy that deals with food.
Thanksgiving is around the corner and we've been invited to family events on my side of the family. I can wiggle out of that one, but Christmas we always go to my in-laws. All they do is sit around and eat HUGE southern meals. I cannot handle that.
Any suggestions how I can handle this time of year?
I totally understand your situation. What helped me was following a meal plan. That way I knew that I was so called "safe." Don't compare yourself to what others are eating. Just follow that mealplan.
"I once had a grip on everything. It feels better to let go."
Just follow that mealplan.
What meal plan? I don't have one. Only the one that my ED dictates.....
your ED will never allow you to eat normal. it will never say "its ok, just eat the extra piece of turkey." right now there are two people living in the same body. there is the beautiful, smart, and kind you...then there is controlling, impulsive, angry ED. you need to learn to distinguish between the two.
it has been proven that once you fall below a certain weight, your brain cannot think clearly and reasonably about food. in order to correct your thinking, you must first get to a weight that will not be classified as starving (this weight will still be below your ideal weight). then you will start to obsess less about food, and some of the ED voice will go away.
i was not able to fight ED on my own. the only way for me to start to get better was by having someone hold me accountable and monitor what i ate. this is sooooooooo hard because most of the time it feels like that person (in my case it was my mom, but it could also work with a husband or a friend)is constantly down your throat! the most difficult thing is giving up control of one of the simplest things in life: choosing what you are going to eat. i would throw tantrums when meal times would come around and cry, even though im a 20 year old college student. it gets a little easier after awhile. but it will probably be one of the toughest things you ever do.
another staggering fact about having anorexia is that when you get to such a low weight, your metabolism slows way down to keep you alive. then once you start eating again, your metabolism goes into a hypermetabolic state because your body is just devouring all the calories and giving them to your organs instead of to your fat cells, muscles, etc. this means that people recovering from anorexia have to eat more than what most normal people eat just to maintain a weight, much less gain weight!!! i was being fed about 3,500 calories a day, and only gaining a pound a week. eventually my weight stabalized and my mom had to add another couple hundred calories to my diet to get me to continue gaining. meanwhile, i was also put on two different medications for anxiety (which sometimes can help, sometimes i dont feel a difference though).
if you live in the chicago area and are under 30 years old, the University of Chicago is conducting a study using this method (which is where i go). Dr. Le Grange is the head of this study and he is a world renown docotr specializing in treating eating disorders. i took a semester off of college, moved home, and have been going there twice a week since mid-august. it is the hardest thing i have ever done, but i truly believe this has saved my life. i would also suggest reading "brave girl eating." it is a great book that made me feel like i was not alone in this scary disease. keep your head up!
ars, thank you soooo much for your reply and story. You totally validated my feelings - and make me feel sane again as the voice fighting the true me makes me feel crazy!
Question - I've read over and over that once you start eating again, you actually gain weight rapidly. It seems in your case you didn't. I wonder why?
I have 2 doctors, one that is helping me with the PTSD from previous abuse (and the one who identified the beginning of me ED), and now another psychologist specializing in ED's. I am so scared of the specialist.
I will order the book now. I could use all the positive vibes my way.
I was just guessing that you had a mealplan. Ars is right, you can't fight this on your own. Is there any way you can get a dietitian? They are really good at helping me through holidays. Just know that we are here for you. A lot of people care.
"I once had a grip on everything. It feels better to let go."
at first i was soooooo afraid that i would gain weight as soon as i started eating more than xxx calories. my number one concern was that the doctors and my mom were going to make me fat. but as my caloric intake was increased to what a normal young adult female would eat, i continued to lose weight. i think that, because your body is so used to losing weight, it takes a tremendous amount of calories to turn the process around. also, keep in mind it takes an extra 3,500 calories just to gain one pound! once all the fat is taken from your tissues and fat cells, your body moves on to your muscles, then your bones and vital organs (such as your brain). it causes your heart rate and blood pressure to go way down (which is why many anorexics experience dizziness when they stand up, passing out, and seizures). eventually your heart rate can get so low that it stops, which is the main reason why 10 to 20 percent of anorexics die. when you start eating, the calories go to the organs first and the metabolism revs up, so you are burning more calories doing ordinary things.
it is such a scary thing to start eating again, and no one can understand just how scary unless they have been through it. but getting help is the bravest thing you can do. im here for you!
Thanks Justbelieve and ars. I have heard back from a nutritionist specializing in ED's and I will meet with her this week. Not sure what to say to her - I don't want to eat. She asked what my goals were on the phone and I had to laugh to myself as I really don't have any as far as food goes - I don't want it.
Thanks for all your support. I love your quote, Justbelieve. It is soooo true.
You totally validated my feelings - and make me feel sane again as the voice fighting the true me makes me feel crazy!