July 5th, 2008


in which a. makes the beginning post

This is, as you might have surmised, a recovery community. There are a few ground rules I'm going to lay out here, and they require you to develop your self-awareness and your ability to know when the ice is getting thin. First, you must learn to ask for help when you need it. If you have any preconceptions about the internet not being a 'real' support group, you can go ahead and abandon them now. All of us here are dedicated to ensuring that we support each other and we will fight like hell to keep you on track and safe, up to and including finding someone who is nearby to come help you. This is not just some internet group. This is a family of people who know that blood can get pretty friggin' watery sometimes and that sometimes you need more than what your friends can give you.

Second, there will be no reminiscing about how safe Hell felt. Let's face it, you are here because no one, no one can continue to feed something that's killing them inside and still come out whole and alive (emphasis on alive). You are making a choice here, a wonderful one: you are choosing not only to exist, but to live; not only to live, but to thrive. You have taken this chance and you are enabling yourself to really see what life's all about. For that you are more than strong; you are heroic. So as my third point, I would like to say thank you.

Fourth, there may come a point where you will need to find outside help. We don't require it, but we want you to have someone there in hard times to make sure you're not sliding back into the pit. It can be anyone from a nutritionist or therapist to your SO, but you're going to need someone. This is not so much for our safety as it is for your sanity.

And fifth, you are accountable and responsible for yourself. While an eating disorder is not something that you have control over, it is something you can fight, so fight the good fight, luv.

Now, what is this all about?

Fresh fruits and vegetables. Nuts and seeds. The vast majority of foods in these categories are 'safe foods' for almost everyone suffering from an eating disorder. The fact is, most of us are never going to be able to eat or look at food like 'normal' people ever again. We can't, and telling us that we need to ignore food is going to be counterproductive. So this is a program, which you design yourself based on your safe foods and modify as according to the positive challenges of others, that is wildly different from anything you may have learned about recovery.

So, you take your fresh fruits and vegetables and design a plan around it so that you don't freak out. A plan like this usually goes along these lines: eat a serving of fruit every waking half hour without fail, or drink a glass - not a cup - of freshly-made juice. In the morning and night, have at least one serving of fresh vegetables, nuts or seeds.

Serving sizes for this program look like this:

Berries and grapes: 1 cup.
Melons: 500g.
Cold-weather tree fruit: 1 piece.
Tropical tree-fruit: 1/2 piece.
Greens: 2 cups.
Nuts: 5-10 nuts (whichever is most comfortable)

The reason for eating every half an hour is to prevent people from 'cutting back' on a three-meal plan until there's nothing left to cut back from. It is also to let the food digest so that the stomach doesn't feel full (which is a terrible feeling to many of us) while still nourishing your body with the nutrients, both macro and micro, there is.

There is no calorie counting, nor even nutrient counting; counting numbers as goals to achieve will only serve to make us obsess over those numbers. Part of your challenge will be learning to eat when you are hungry, which may mean eating sooner than the half-hour interval - that's not only allowed, that's encouraged, but every half an hour is the minimum. I'll say that again: If you are hungry, eat.

One of the things that this plan does not have is cooked foods, oils, or sweeteners. For salads, try to use lime or lemon juice. There is no oil or cooked foods used in this program because, honestly, these foods are so dense that they make us panic and even purge. If you would like something sweet, there's always fruit - at the time I write this post, watermelon and cherries are at their peak, while peaches are just beginning to come into season.

You are encouraged to ask questions concerning budgeting and shopping, health, exercise (preferably mild weightlifting, and no strenuous exercise for more than half an hour) and how to find help, among the limitless possibilities that may pop into your head. You are also encouraged to share your feelings and talk openly about what it's like to recover. Simply try to keep your post oriented mostly on yourself and your recovery.

Nourishing our bodies is not a crime, and neither is nourishing ourselves. Even if it just tastes good so you want it, eat that slice of honeydew, that banana, that apricot or salad. You deserve it.

Welcome home.