Even though this blog entry is long, it does not exhaustively cover everything. It does however, vaguely give a sketch.
DISCLAIMER:, I am not a health professional, and I’m just telling my own personal story. Everybody is DIFFERENT. Grow up and tweak your health at your own discretion. I’m just a random stranger with an anecdote on the internet, and we all know how seriously that stuff gets taken lol
My food plan has been upgraded for health reasons. Since, the beginning of July.
My main health reason was my raging relapse of eating disorders (although I had many other symptoms of other chronic pain ailments as well, and MDD major depressive disorder, anxiety, fatigue, lethargy). My latest bout with Bulimia had me bingeing and purging over 6x per day. On really bad days, up to 20 times. From early January 2013 to August of that same year, I spent time inpatient and outpatient to (for the first time in my life) get treatment for this.
The model of therapy the hospital used was “Exposure Therapy”. They used the Canada Food Guide for my plan, as well as talking through my feelings each time I ate. Sounds cozy and friendly and touchy-feely, right? It was in a group setting, and Bulimics and Anorexics were treated with precisely the same plan. Therefore, as a patient I was not permitted to read labels, care about ingredients or quality of what kind of food I was being fed. Eating the entire meal, even the bits we “didn’t like”, even food we had clearly outlined as our trigger food, was mandatory. Because eating disorder patients often use “food sensitivity” as an excuse to either abstain or purge, these rules made sense from an outside point of view.
I’ve known for years my trigger foods and what I am sensitive to. Dairy, Ice cream, soups, grains, potatoes, sugar, starches, artificial additives; Foods that most “normal eaters” would agree (with the exception of the beloved “whole grains”) aren’t the best foods for health.. The one brief time I was e.d. free in early 2001 I did a ketogenic stint with proteins, fats, veggies, but found the social pressure hard to take, so relapse city it was.
My latest relapse spun out of control and I nearly died in Dec 2012 (a week before my treatment began). I was bingeing and purging constantly. I lost so much weight rapidly, and this was hand in hand with suicidal thoughts anyway, so when I “almost died”, I had this half sense of relief that I was about to die, so I wouldn’t have to carry out my suicide ideations.
At my husband’s urging, I stayed in the outpatient program after I was discharged from inpatient. My almost dying scared the crap out of him. Part of me was eager to give this a shot. After all, I was 45 and here someone was for the first frigging time acknowledging that my over 30 year cycle of eating disorders was indeed real and I wasn’t making it the hell up.
This idea that I was not allowed to choose my own way to eat was very offensive to the part of me that wanted health. I wanted to learn how to not WANT to purge my food. I wanted to learn how to not WANT to binge. But their “eat a meal and then share your feelings” model did not make it go away. The few times that I kept food down was an utter failure. I slept at night more obsessed with food than ever. I thought the psychotherapy was suppose to TAKE CARE OF the “feelings.”. Plus, the rest of the time, when I purged my brains out (I knew where all the locked bathrooms were and purged and lied my ass off), it was made even EASIER with their insistence that every meal have dairy in it. Every time I ate dairy it made purging easy, complete and hands-free. (Hence the lack of the “purging scars” that medical professionals kept looking for).
I left the hospital sicker in many ways than when I entered. I was still depressed and wished I could die, but had lethargy about even that. The one good thing to come out of my treatment was when my OT suggested I either look for work or volunteer. Looking for work, which I did try, was extremely anxiety provoking.
However, I found a place to volunteer, and went for it with passion. In fact, I am now a full time volunteer there, almost a year later. My illness didn’t go away. But I was now out of the hospital’s program and could do what I wanted. So I recently saw that “low carb” and “gluten free” were making a comeback and thought, GREAT. This is the perfect time to ditch all my problem foods and lick this bastard once and for all. Most ketogenic food plans eliminate my problem foods by default. I was very much in love with my volunteer work and wanted to be healthy and stick around for that longer.
Well, it turns out I was right regarding my food sensitivities. I ditched the sugar and grains and almost overnight felt better! Since Early July, I’ve only had a handful of purge episodes (mostly when I consumed milk. Butter seems to be ok.). My food is high-fat, substantial, rich, and I’m actually feeling better about food than EVER. I have no desire to either restrict or purge, and my desire to eat entire bags of potatoes, pails of ice cream, 10 plates of fried rice, and boxes and boxes of processed food, are for lack of a better word, “lobotomized”. My body feeling in pain constantly and like it’s on fire, gone. Energy, in droves. My anxiety prn medication, which I got refilled in late June, ironically enough, untouched! And I no longer want to die.
I refuse to eat faux sugars and “low carb chocolate bars”. I did try it before and it feeds my insatiable desire to loot a bakery just as much as sugar does. There are many who do this and don’t really want to change their mindset. That’s pretty much the same with any food plan out there. Every way of eating has its own set of “junk food”. I don’t want it. I want to FEED my body, and I want to love food. And I want to stay healthy. I get the luxury of eating, feeling satisfied and not only NOT being obsessed, but having none of the cravings, period. The recidivism rate for people who are unfulfilled on their eating plan is 100%. I don’t want to be that statistic.
My hypothyroidism is still supervised my my GP.