Updated: Oct 24, 2020
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I am currently eating baked oatmeal. You read that right. Baked. Oatmeal. If you have never had baked oatmeal, it's like a cake, but instead of flour, you use oats. I usually put some dried fruit in it like raisins or pineapple; this time, it's apricot, baked oatmeal.
Are you curious about what an eating disorder survivor eats? As you are recovering, you may be at a loss as to what you should be eating. Do you try to eat healthily? Do you eat as much as you want? I was in the same boat when I tried to start my healing journey. So this is a rundown of what I, an eating disorder survivor, eat on a typical day and how I got there.
The All-In Method
When I was recovering, I did a version of what is now referred to as "all-in." Nothing was off-limits, including portion sizes. I ate when I wanted and what I wanted, regardless of budgets or inconvenience. It did wonders for my natural body signals.
I listened to my body, and it told me when I was full and when I was hungry. Eventually, I made it back to regular eating habits (pre-eating disorder habits), and my weight stabilized. My life didn't revolve around food or body image.
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I didn't know the science behind the practice until recently until I found Stephanie Buttermore. What she went through is about what I went through, though I didn't gain as much weight as she did. I know other prominent Youtubers have gone through similar journeys.
Since then, my diet hasn't changed much. I still eat out and even eat dessert. But because of my healing journey, regaining normal bodily functions, and eating disorder history, I have been able to create healthier habits - healthier than my pre-eating disorder practices even.
A few years after I started the all-in method of recovery, I was still overeating and consuming too many processed foods and too much sugar. I subconsciously gained twenty-five pounds, so I began counting calories.
I began keeping track partly to figure out how much I should be eating. It has given me something invaluable - the awareness of how much and what types of food I should be eating every day. I count calories less now that I know about how much I should be eating.
Because of that, I don't overeat, and I don't have sugar or processed foods often. I feel ten times better than I did when I was "intuitively eating." I have more energy, and I'm happier. And I lost those twenty-five pounds.
My husband and I eat at home a lot. I'm only a mediocre cook, but I have found many simple, delicious solutions to food. Because I don't enjoy long hours in the kitchen, I have discovered recipes that don't require many ingredients or instructions and recipes that I can make in bulk to munch on throughout the week.
We eat out two or three times a week, maybe once during the week and once or twice during the weekend. My favorite restaurants are Chick-fil-a, Panera, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Noodles and Company, but the menu usually varies between Mexican and pizza.
A majority of the restaurants we frequent don't sell overprocessed or greasy foods. They're restaurants where I can "behave" myself. By behaving, I mean, I can stick to the quality and quantity of food my body requires.
Most restaurants, especially chains, have calories on the menu. I always pick something low in calories even if I'm not counting that day, because I know my "diet" can't handle meals over 1,000 calories.
My calorie allowance for the day is 2,500. I came to this number by taking my basal metabolic rate (BMR) times my fitness/activity level. My BMR is 1,640 because I'm a tall, athletic woman. Because I workout three to four times a week and my job requires me to be on my feet, my activity level is moderately active. My calorie allowance is 1,640 x 1.55 = 2,542.
I know there are other ways to do it, but this is the best way that I have found to calculate calories. When eating 2,500 calories a day, I don't feel hungry, nor have I gained weight. My body has steadied throughout this process.
The following chart is what I eat on a typical day and the calories in the foods. I have four meals throughout the day. Each meal consists of 400 to 600 calories and contains natural foods that I cooked myself.
There are about 200 calories of wiggle room because I know I underestimate calories, and I might want an extra something if I feel hungry that day. I give myself wiggle room, so I'm not so focused on counting the exact calories. It's my little way of keeping myself in check and not falling back into bad habits.
This method might not work for everyone! And that's okay. I'm saying what worked for me, so take it or leave it.
Comment below if you have heard of the All-in "Diet" and your thoughts on it!
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