This is Lucy’ story, she is a member of my 6 Month Life Recovery Program and has suffered from anorexia. She shared this story in the Group and gave me permission to cobble it into a post for you guys.
She followed Minnimaud guidelines, which is like the Fuck It Diet for severe restrictive eating disorders. If talk of calorie minimums is confusing, it’s just because Minnimaud focuses on having calorie minimums (NOT maximums). It is the same concept as The Fuck It Diet, just with more structure in the beginning to make sure you’re actually doing it and eating enough. The ultimate goal is always food ease and food freedom.
I’ve had an awesome shift the past week or so. Suddenly I am not caring about food- but most importantly not thinking about food rules or anything food or body-related.
This is such a weird feeling after so many years of thinking about and controlling what goes into my mouth!
I am not trying to change myself through food or fitness anymore and this means I am just living life without the drain of food/body preoccupation. It is really hard to explain but it’s the coolest thing ever! It’s like I am still me and I am still living my life and having cool experiences but now there is no layer of body/food thoughts to drag me down anymore. It’s just me doing my thing. I feel free and content and there is a total absence of anxiety.
I recently bought a load more clothes for my larger body and I am completely happy with how I look, now, or if I gain more weight in the future. None of it matters because what I look like doesn’t have a bearing on my happiness. It just isn’t an issue anymore. And it is SO WEIRD that I feel like this after hating myself for so many years when I was a lot slimmer!
This is how I did the food part:
I made myself have 2500 calories as my minimum and made myself have no upper limit. I made a pact with my other half to never go below the minimum however much I ate the day before.
Being accountable to my bf really really helped me get through the tough times. In the early stages I think it is paramount to make yourself eat 2500. I completely endorse the minnimaud guidelines. I would have cheated and restricted if I didn’t have my bf there pushing me to go for it.
It’s funny because after counting minimums for a while I got sick of counting calories, because when you are eating enough it doesn’t really matter what the final number is. So basically, I think counting minimums is good so you have enough nourishment, but I think once you are committed to saying fuck it, then just go for it, stop the counting, and allow every craving you have. Your body will sort itself out and your mind can be free.
I also found that when I let go of controlling my food and knuckled down to the minimum intake I found I generally always went way over anyway because my body was like ‘yayyyyy foooood finally!’
I worked on my mindset and challenged all the restrictive beliefs on a daily basis.
I went through periods of feeling extremely depressed and thinking I had binge eating disorder.
I have had many days where I ate so much I felt sick, but I still let myself eat whenever I fancied something.
For months I have been eating cereal, cakes, flapjacks, everything I have ever restricted. Any time I find myself fearing a food I decide to conquer that fear and eat it. After a month or so of calorie counting I got bored and realised I don’t need to calorie count anymore and I decided to say fuck it and eat anything I wanted at anytime. No rules whatsoever.
The biggest change is when your mindset can allow all the food without guilt. I found my brain making me feel soooooo bad for sticking to the minimums but after a while I realised that it’s all nourishment and the only way to change your restrictive mindset is to eat and eat and deal with the feelings as they come up. The scariest thing is letting go.
I promise that all your fears will not happen. You will not get humongous. You will not get addicted to food. You have to eat an awful lot of food to heal both your mind and body.
The mind stuff I have been working on for about 2 years. I read and re read youreatopia and Caroline’s blog.
I made a tumblr account and signed up to body positive blogs and watched plus size fashion websites and followed Ashley Graham as much as possible to reframe what I thought beauty was.
I journal constantly and work out what my problems and issues are and what’s beneath the restrictive thoughts.
I cried to my bf and my sister and my mum an awful lot.
I stamped my feet and got angry.
I let myself feel my feelings (which I didn’t do before).
I stopped trying to be perfect (still working on that one).
I became completely honest with my loved ones and was more vulnerable than I have ever been. And I worked out what my life would be like without an eating disorder and made steps to be more social and say yes to every social event.
I think the biggest thing is the realisation that I do not need to control my body. It controls itself perfectly without my brain getting in the way. I also completely believe that health and wellbeing is about my social connections in this world and trying to control my food and weight gives my life no purpose or meaning whatsoever. Controlling food has given me no benefits and only made me more crazy. I never had to punish myself in the first place.
My mind made me think I had to restrict to be pretty or healthy and that is complete rubbish. I now feel pretty 3 sizes larger than I was, and my mind and body are so much healthier. But it is bloody hard to battle the negative thoughts. Take each day as it comes and always have faith in saying fuck it.
I want you to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Embrace the process. Let go of the control. Life is so much better without it.