Atypical anorexia: the dietitian is pushing me….

Hello guys,

You know, the specialist eating disorder dietitian I’m working with has a wonderful ability to really listen to me, bring humour to our sessions, really involve me in the treatment around my preferences, etc. …. whilst also giving me ‘The Look’ and being direct with me which is just what I need.

I have to say that I’m finding it hard to keep pushing up the calories and I’m starting to hit a brick wall having got the calories up from a daily limit of 375 to 950. I mean, that’s a huge jump and she said that we need to do it in a way that feels doable but stops me from losing weight, especially as some of my weight will be due to excess skin after losing 170 lbs. What is exciting in many ways is that I’m actually learning about food, going for unprocessed foods (or at least those with minimal processing) and making smart choices. When I overcame atypical anorexia 10 years ago, I was under threat of being hospitalised under the Mental Health Act and it shocked me into suddenly eating more… but I had no idea about what I should be eating. This time is different. This time, I’m eating new foods, I’m not bingeing, I’m feeling some overall sense of balance. I’ve also signed up today to do a course about nutrition and health that should take me about 2 months to do via distance learning as I want to embrace a much healthier approach going forward.

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This is what my current food plan from her is, knowing that I’m not a breakfast person:

Lunch: chicken, watercress, spinach and rocket in a salad or sandwich on wholemeal followed by 0% fat Greek yogurt and blueberries

Afternoon snack: a Graze or Nak’d snack bar (which are made from wholefoods)

Dinner: a ready meal (which I always go low-cal anyway) followed by an apple and a 20g portion of cheese (but I’m not to go for the ‘diet’ or lighter version as she wants me to up the calories)

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This is EVERY day and it feels like so much to eat but she has also asked me to start building in 100 ml of Kefir every day which I bought last night and will try later on today. It’s the 1,000 calorie hurdle that feels daunting but, between her and my therapist, I know I’m in safe hands.

Just waiting for blood test results so it’ll help to see if my kidneys are still being impacted by the restricting. But despite the anorexia there, I’m really trying to focus on looking after me a bit more. I’m picking up new glasses next week, ears are being syringed in 2 weeks, hair is being dyed tomorrow, home-administered smear/pap test has been ordered and I’m considering speaking to a GP about the suspected small hernia. Self-care is something I’ve always struggled with to be honest…. perhaps linking to whether I feel worthy of self-kindness. Body confidence is wavering and so the thought of people ‘seeing me’ or needing to prod me feels really scary but perhaps if I can get my calories to more than double what they were, I can do this too! But I thought these were rather enlightening photos to show how my body has really changed from June 2020 (having already lost about 50 lbs) to January 2021 and then to 2 photos taken very recently:

Hope you have a lovely weekend everyone and I’ll be back on Monday. No extreme adventures planned for this weekend but I’ll be out with the paintbrush overhauling a bedroom which is equally fun!

Love Erika xx

Week 65: a plan to eat more and crack the anorexia

Hello guys

Gosh, a mixed week in all honestly. I’ve a couple of friends facing really serious illnesses right now and it’s hard not to feel silly when talking about my battle with an eating disorder. But I spoke to my therapist and he said that, yes, we can all compare ourselves to others and think “but I don’t have it as bad as them” but we still live in our own reality… and it’s okay if things get to us. My therapist said that what we face at home with our very poorly son on a daily basis is far more than many people will have to cope with and therefore there’s so much that’s making sense about what I’ve had a reoccurrence of the atypical anorexia. It’s no wonder why I’m looking to find some control in my life but more about that another time!

But as well as seeing my therapist today, I had an appointment with my specialist eating disorder dietitian. Oh, she’s brilliant! She’s really warm and very easy to get on with but she’s also perfected ‘The Look’! Yes, the look to say “Erika, iceberg lettuce is not a meal!!” But she’s set out a meal plan for me for the next couple of weeks until I see her next based around increasing the calories and bringing in some more variety. So, this is what she’s set out for me to eat, knowing that I’m not a breakfast person:

Lunch: a chicken salad but add more to it than I’m currently doing. Followed by 150g fat-free FAGE Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit (like blueberries, raspberries, etc)

Afternoon snack: A Nak’d bar or Graze bar which are around 130 calories and not overly processed but full of protein

Dinner: A ready meal (as I take comfort from knowing exactly how many calories are in them – even if I’m still sticking to ones under 350 calories)

Evening snack (3 -4 times a week): 20g of cheese with an apple

That seems like so much to eat!!!! But it’s structure and I like structure. I know I’m still losing weight as my clothes are feeling looser but I’m still staying off the scales for now. Switching my mind from losing weight to maintaining weight is hard…. but one step at a time, eh. The other really good thing is that the dietitian emailed me the plan but, with my permission, copied in my therapist so it’s definitely helping me feeling supported by a connected group of professionals until I crack this.

I really intended to blog at the end of last week but life became stupidly busy! However, I promise to finally blog about excess skin this week. Until then, please feel free to share your food-related achievements, frustration or whatever’s on your mind

Take care

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
164 lbs (last recordable weight)7 lbs165 lbs24.9
Not currently doing weekly weigh-ins as I’m trying to not be a slave to the scales! But recordable weight loss includes 21 lbs lost just prior to blogging

First meeting with a specialist dietitian. Didn’t think she’d ask me THAT!

Hey guys

Gosh, quite a bit has happened over the past couple of days. As I mentioned on Monday, I was having an appointment later that day with a specialist eating disorder dietitian. With the appointment booked for 90 minutes, I assumed we’d run out of things to talk about but no! We covered a lot.

Reflecting back, I guess there were 3 parts to the appointment:

  • How I’ve got to the point of being diagnosed with atypical anorexia
  • What impact is this having on my body
  • What plan can we put together towards recovery (the scariest part!)

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The first part was quite straightforward and, in some ways, it was helpful to hear that my need to exert some control over my intake makes sense when I deal with a very challenging carer situation at home day in day out.

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The second part was a massive eye opener and the main things that have stuck in my memory are:

  • If menopausal, this is the time a woman is most likely to have a heart attack. And if I’m eating very little, that’s going to put more strain on my heart
  • If I’m not eating anywhere enough, that’ll explain why my trips to the loo are weeks apart! Yes, she asked me about poo! That’s not a conversation I thought I’d be having and oh was I embarrassed!!! But she said that eating very little means the food is just sitting on top of what’s already in my system whereas I need a good amount of intake to work like a plunger and clear me out. I know, TMI!
  • If my body is holding onto things that should have passed through, eating is going to feel uncomfortable. So, there’s even more reason to clear myself by eating a lot more as the uncomfortable feeling will stop at some point.
  • If I’m contemplating horse riding, I need a DEXA scan as I’m at risk anyway with a family history of osteoporosis otherwise a break could be more serious. I did have a DEXA scan 10 years ago when I last had an eating disorder but I freaked out back then when I was asked to get on the scales. The dietitian said that when asking for a referral, I can ask that there’s a note about not being weighed.
  • My body will stop at some point. She said that, yes, I’m functioning but I’m not going to stay in this functioning zone for much longer…. and she said that as I’d mentioned my BMI is in the healthy range, my focus should be about maintaining though she also said I’m bound to still lose more until I get my calories up more. She said there’s no reason to be trying to lose weight (especially if I’m carrying so much excess skin) and this is all about being healthy and not putting my life more at risk.

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The third part was hard (I knew it was coming) though she struck the balance between being supportive and very direct with me … and that’s what I needed. She said the aim should be to increase my calories by 300 a day for the next week and that I need to start this straightaway. She asked if I’d like some ideas about what to eat as she could see from my food diary that what I eat is very healthy (loads of salads and vegetables) but I need to eat more. So, the plan for this week is to eat: a Nak’d bar, a portion of Greek yoghurt and 3 tablespoons of raspberries. Now, I’ll admit that I freaked out a bit and when I bought these items last night, I went for the 0% fat yoghurt rather than the one she suggested and I looked for the lowest calories Nak’d bar on the shelf…. and that’s the anorexic voice feeling very scared. And I did eat more yesterday. I did get my calories up by 200 (to 585) but I felt horrible. My body felt so uncomfortable and it’s the sense of having to do this every single day that feels overwhelming. My first instinct is to cut back today… so this is going to be a battle for a while…. but that 90 minute appointment was so much more useful than I could have imagined.

So, I feel like I’m at the beginning of a very long journey but at least I’m on it and I’ll have another appointment with her in 3 weeks’ time. She was truly worth every penny.

Right, back to work for me but hope you’re all doing okay and I hope to check in over the next few days to see if I’m still managing to stay off the scales. My therapist said to me the other day that I’m brave confronting all of this. I don’t feel brave at all but I guess when there’re competing voices wanting to restrict versus wanting to recover, perhaps I’ll see that I’m having to dig incredibly deep to make progress.

Love Erika xx

Week 59: a conscious decision to break away from the scales

Hey folks

After taking most of last week off from blogging, I made a decision this morning. You see, I usually do a weigh-in on a Monday, keen to see if another pound has come off. However, I’m also aware that I’ve become a slave to the scales, often jumping on 15-20 times a day, and I’ve concluded that I need to stop this. Yes, today is the first day for over a year that I haven’t jumped on the scales…

And it feels uneasy! It feels wrong right now but I guess that’s to be expected when I’ve formed this obsessive habit. Whilst I’ll take it a day at a time, my target is see if I can go a week without getting on them and, instead, listen intuitively to my body.

What’s happened this week?

  • I finally found somewhere that can offer me some genuine and reliable support with my atypical anorexia
  • I went on funfair rides! Feel free to check out my post from the other day here but it was just brilliant to not have to worry about whether I could fit.

What could Erika improve on?

  • Increase my calories…. yes, still finding this hard

Erika’s next target(s):

  • Stay off the scales until next Monday at the earliest

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I’m feeling pretty nervous right now as I’ve got a 90 minute consultation with a specialist dietitian later on today. I don’t know about other countries but, here in the UK, there’s an important difference between a dietitian (which is a protected occupational title where people need to have gone through the right training) and a nutritionist (which anyone can refer to themselves as). I’ll tell you later in the week how it goes but the aim is to see how I can try to increase my calorie intake into the healthy range in a safe way. She did ask me about my weight which I just couldn’t bring myself to say but thankfully she said in our quick call the other day that we can still work together. I’ve then got a 4 hour breakthrough session with the centre’s top director in just over 2 weeks’ time to work on the psychological aspect of what’s keeping me in this headspace. So, whilst the concept of recovery is scary, I’m hopeful again that things will shift.

As ever, please feel free to share your diet / weight-related successes, frustrations or anything else on your mind and I’ll be back later in the week. As for today, I’m rocking my ripped jeans 🙂

Take care

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss including 21 lbs lost before bloggingStill to lose:Current weight:BMI:
164 lbs7 lbs165 lbs24.9
Plus 21 lbs lostPlprior to blogging