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Thread: Need food and exercise advice

  1. #1

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    Default Need food and exercise advice

    I am really struggling right now. I suffered from anorexia a couple of years ago, but I am now back up to a healthy weight (my weight is bang in the middle of the "healthy" BMI range).

    However, my eating is not back on track and I am suffering as a result; I am always tired. I want to do judo, but the thought of the exertion is a big hurdle; I get tired so quickly. I also want to take up running, but the same problem applies there.

    I don't really count calories, but am pretty sure my average daily intake is 800-1100 calories. I want to get up to an intake of 2000 calories a day, and increase my exercise, but I really don't want to put on weight.

    Generally I eat cereal with soya milk or have some kind of jam tart/little cake for breakfast, plus an espresso.

    My bf always eats pasta for lunch but I'm not terribly keen on it, so I rarely eat it. Normally I'd have soup or a salad, but never eat anything protein based; lately I've been trying to rectify that, putting lentils or beans in my soups whenever possible. But if I don't eat pasta I rarely eat carbs either.

    For dinner I'll have something protein based (maybe a chilli, or todu, or seitan), with veggies. No carbs (carbs were a huge no-no when I had my ED).

    I also eat various pieces of fruit throughout the day. Another big defect of mine is that I don't drink enough water; I'd say I average half a litre a day.

    Also if raise my calories to 2000/day, how much exercise should I be aiming to do? At the moment I don't really do anything (am allergic to the gym ), just walk the dog (2km/day, fast pace).

    Sorry this has been so long-winded. Any advice gratefully accepted. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    I know what you said about carbs, but my understanding is that complex carbohydrates (such as whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, bulgur, quinoa, rice, etc.) are VERY important for a healthy diet. Here's one example: http://www.veganfoodpyramid.com/ . I think I get pretty close to eating what's "best," but I do eat some simple carbs, especially at breakfast in things like (this morning) chocolate chocolate chip pancakes. I don't think I eat quite 2000 calories a day, though I admit that I don't really count calories...I probably eat 1600 or so. For how many calories you need, you might check this out: http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/calneed .
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    If you eat too little, your body will think you are starving, and go into super efficiency mode and lower your metabolism. Thus, instead of burning calories, you will save as much as possible.

    I must eat nearly 3000 kcals a day when I'm training, and I am muscular and slim where it matters. When I eat less, and don't work out, I gain weight.
    context is everything

  4. #4
    Barry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    I've been back working out seriously for the last 3 months after an almost 4 month break due to illness, so maybe my experience of easing back into it will help. Cereal (preferably oats) with soya milk is a pretty good breakfast before a workout, scrambled tofu is also a really good way to start. If you're eating before working out remember to give yourself an hour to digest your food. Eating smaller meals more regularly generally helps with boosting energy levels, and as eclectic one said, complex carbohydrates like brown rice/pasta help with energy as well. I am definitely way more aware of my protein intake when I'm excercising, trying to get a good amount at each meal, maybe a bit of a change with your lunch menu might help - a combination of good carbs and protein perhaps? You'll definitely need to up your calorie intake from your current level though.. Take it easy on yourself when you first start excercising, if you're going running the best advice I can give is to invest in a really good pair of runners, seriously, your joints will thank you for it, new balance do a great line of vegan ones. I find running the best way to get in shape fast, you'll be pretty amazed at the results you'll see after about a month. Might be a good idea to do some light weight training to build some bone density as well... I've found that I actually put on weight from working out and changing my diet, I went from about 110 to 140 pounds over the last 3-4 years and my body shape has changed a fair bit, I'm not the scrawny thing I was a few years ago! (This may also be down to pie consumption though!) I wouldn't overthink the food thing too much when you're working out though, I found my body just started to tell me what it wanted naturally, I easily eat twice as much now as I did 3 years ago.
    Todays empires, tomorrows ashes...

  5. #5
    CurrantCottage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    Quote xrodolfox View Post
    If you eat too little, your body will think you are starving, and go into super efficiency mode and lower your metabolism. Thus, instead of burning calories, you will save as much as possible.

    I must eat nearly 3000 kcals a day when I'm training, and I am muscular and slim where it matters. When I eat less, and don't work out, I gain weight.
    Aha ...this may well be why when I have "bad" food weeks and eat what I would term too much I lose weight and when I try and had cut back .... the pounds don't shift.

    I have recently bought some dumbells (only light) and a book that gives exercise routines but I'm wondering if that will cause me to put on weight - mind you, I guess its not what the scales say but more what my body looks.

  6. #6
    Barry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    Quote CurrantCottage View Post
    Aha ...this may well be why when I have "bad" food weeks and eat what I would term too much I lose weight and when I try and had cut back .... the pounds don't shift.

    I have recently bought some dumbells (only light) and a book that gives exercise routines but I'm wondering if that will cause me to put on weight - mind you, I guess its not what the scales say but more what my body looks.

    Well you might gain muscle which will weigh more than fat, kinda artificially inflating your weight, but you'll tone up. Like you said, it's not what the scales say, it's how you feel..
    Todays empires, tomorrows ashes...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    I've not much to add other than I feel where you are right now, being in the recovery phase myself.

    When I first started eating 'properly' again I did put a whole bunch of weight one. It scared the heck out of me and I had a very moments of stopping eating again, then realising how sick I felt and starting again. Now I probably eat over 2000kcal a day and I'm still only very slowly nudging the weight back on (which is a problem as I'm still underweight).

    I put this rapid rise followed by plateau down to the fact that now I eat enough, I'm no longer as lethargic as I was. I used to be so tired I would sit on the sofa in pain from needing a wee so much, but be totally unable to get up the energy to go upstairs to use the toilet. Now I am always active, not going to the gym or anything like that, but generally bustling about, walking place and doing things.

    For myself, calorie counting and working out my BMR and PAL and trying to match the two up didn't work as I was convinced that eating more than a few calories over what my body needed would turn me into a blubbering whale of a woman. Where as in actual fact I've eating loads and have put on about 4lbs over the past 5 months.

    My advice, such as it is, is start off slow, adding a few carbs here and there, and see how comfortable you feel. When I was at the height of my ED I would literally get the lowest calorie sliced bread I could find, and then cut the slices in half before I'd touch it, and even then be convinced I'd be as fat as a house after. Now I can eat thick slices of bread with only a little bit of a voice in my head admonishing me.

    The main elements to my recovery where
    Stopping tracking everything
    Eating at set times 7, 10, 12, 3, 6, 8
    Adding back in a little fat (as this stopped me feeling hungry and therefore afraid to eat in case I binged, which I never did)
    Eating a small amount of carbs at each meal
    Starting gentle exercise
    Avoiding the scales

    I hope you find you are able to get a balance that's right for you.
    Quitting something because it's hard is wrong, and quitting something because it's wrong is hard. One takes cowardice, the other bravery.

  8. #8
    Manzana Manzana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    HI Fiamma,

    I think you need to start eating more carbs if you want to exercise... I understand that this might be a difficult thing to do but (from my personal experience), starting to eat carbs is the quickest way to recovery... Maybe it helps if you shift the ratios slightly (or quite a bit!) so if your boyfriend eats pasta and veg, you can eat lots of veg and a bit of pasta? It also helps lots if you go for whole grains as other people have mentioned on this thread...

    Also, I do agree that at the moment your body is probably in starvation mode since you are not consuming many calories...

    I think the main thing to try to work on is trusting your own body and insticts... put it this way, your body does not want to be fat, but if you keep trying to starve it, it is only a defence mechanism to protect itself from you...

    If you treat your body well, it will look healthy and it will not be fat. Eat wholesome foods whenever you are hungry and if you want to exercise eat more!

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    Quote fiamma View Post
    I am really struggling right now. I suffered from anorexia a couple of years ago, but I am now back up to a healthy weight (my weight is bang in the middle of the "healthy" BMI range).

    However, my eating is not back on track and I am suffering as a result; I am always tired. I want to do judo, but the thought of the exertion is a big hurdle; I get tired so quickly. I also want to take up running, but the same problem applies there.

    I don't really count calories, but am pretty sure my average daily intake is 800-1100 calories. I want to get up to an intake of 2000 calories a day, and increase my exercise, but I really don't want to put on weight.

    Generally I eat cereal with soya milk or have some kind of jam tart/little cake for breakfast, plus an espresso.

    My bf always eats pasta for lunch but I'm not terribly keen on it, so I rarely eat it. Normally I'd have soup or a salad, but never eat anything protein based; lately I've been trying to rectify that, putting lentils or beans in my soups whenever possible. But if I don't eat pasta I rarely eat carbs either.

    For dinner I'll have something protein based (maybe a chilli, or todu, or seitan), with veggies. No carbs (carbs were a huge no-no when I had my ED).

    I also eat various pieces of fruit throughout the day. Another big defect of mine is that I don't drink enough water; I'd say I average half a litre a day.

    Also if raise my calories to 2000/day, how much exercise should I be aiming to do? At the moment I don't really do anything (am allergic to the gym ), just walk the dog (2km/day, fast pace).

    Sorry this has been so long-winded. Any advice gratefully accepted. Thanks.
    I suggest you gradually increase your calorie intake but concentrate on healthy wholefoods.
    Eat lots of beans and pulses.
    Introduce a little wholegrain carbohydrate such as brown rice or wholegrain bread.
    Fruit is good but maybe include bananas, avocadoes, nuts, seeds as well.
    Once your body adjusts you should feel more energy. Walking the dog is very good exercise, as is house cleaning, gardening, any activity which gets your heart rate up so you feel a little out of breath is good exercise.
    If you feel a strong resistance to eating certain foods or find yourself calorie counting you may need to consider your ED is still a big part of your life and take action to address that.
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Windfall
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    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    Great advice, herbwormwood!

    Can i just say that I understand completely where you are coming from.
    Thi summer, I had alot of time on my hands, cooked alot, excercised alot, and lost more than a stone. Since I moved to the UK a few pounds, not more, have crept back on, and it's getting me down, and I'm worrying about putting on more.

    As for water, what i do is filling a large glass with half boiling, half cold water and a squirt of lime-juice. I drink this several times a day - goes down alot easier for me than cold water, especially autumn/winter time x

  11. #11

    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    +2 to herbwood.

    if you start excersicing, you will most likely gain weight. But weight isn't the measure of health, or beauty. Muscle weighs a lot more than fat, but it is a lot slimmer in a pair of pants, and much healthier.

    I STRONGLY suggest you ditch the scale. What will really tell you much better what your health is is how tight your pants fit on you... and how you feel. Ditch the scale. Slowly start eating more carbs. And work out. Go for walks regularly with friends. Bike a lot. What's more important than what you do, is that you do a little every day, and if you do something ambitious, to rest the day after. Regularity is the key.

    You'll most likely gain a little weight. But you'll be be healthier, happier, and you clothes will fit even better.
    context is everything

  12. #12
    I luv moo moos Huddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    Sorry to hear that you have suffered with anorexia Fiamma
    Its a horrible disease (I can empathise-I suffered with it for approx 18yrs-it nearly killed me. Still have the tendencies now, but now know when Im starting to go 'off the rails' again).
    I agree with xrodolfox- ditch the scales. They arent a good thing to have around when you feel like this. (I generally judge by how my clothes are fitting me these days-scales scare the crap out of me!)
    Maybe it might be good if you could find a dietician to help you plan out your meals and help you get the right balance, then it might make you feel more comfortable (in that you know that you would be eating what you require), and to help you to get a feel for how much food your body needs (1100 calories is still pretty low-most people dieting consume about 1200! You would need more than that).And like xrodolfox said, dont forget that you need a certain amount just for your body to function and make your metabolism function properly, and then if you exercise you will need to consume a bit more to maintain the weight (and not eat into muscle).
    Sorry if Ive waffled on. These are just a couple of things that Ive found helped me to get back on track again.It takes a bit of time to 're-train the brain' from anorexia, but you'll get there. BIG hugs

    PS-goodluck with the judo if you decide to start. Its awesome-my grandad did it, and my brother now does it (both black belts).

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    Thank you everyone SO SO SO SO much for all your advice, your rock my world.
    I've been having really negative thoughts the last few days, but as of today I have decided that I want to get back on track. So I'm starting a food diary to log everything I eat, I'm upping my consumption of carbs, and when I feel more energetic I'm going to start increasing my exercise regime.

    A major problem is that I'm suffering a lot from depression right now, my life just isn't under control, and this is just another component of it.

    Ho. Hum. Thank you all so much again, and I will keep you posted, if you're interested.

    It was interesting also to hear from those of you who have suffered from EDs - massive hugs to you all. xx We can kick this thing!!!

  14. #14
    Stevie G karmafunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    Quote Manzana View Post
    HI Fiamma,


    I think the main thing to try to work on is trusting your own body and insticts... put it this way, your body does not want to be fat, but if you keep trying to starve it, it is only a defence mechanism to protect itself from you...

    If you treat your body well, it will look healthy and it will not be fat. Eat wholesome foods whenever you are hungry and if you want to exercise eat more!
    I couldn't agree more Manzana.

    Fiamma, if the body is not used to exercise then it will take time for it to adjust. I recommend an hours walk a day for the next 3 weeks. This will condition your joints and ligaments to be ready for something mroe strenuous.

    Don't try too much at once unless you feel ready.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Need food and exercise advice

    I think it sounds like you are not free from your ED quite yet...... You eat about half of what your body needs a day.
    But keep struggling!! You can do it, I promise
    I donīt eat anything with a face.

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