To want to drink most of my calories(former anorexic)(79 Posts)
I'm 5ft7 and at my thinnest weighed 6st. For the last two years I've been within the healthy weight scale. I weigh 9 st 9lbs which is slim but not underweight. I have a diet that is carefully managed so that I do not under eat. My problem is that I was severely underweight from the age of 14- 25, so for 10 years my body survived on about 500 calories a day (I don't know how I'm still alive).
I managed to increase my weight by drinking full fat milk and eating other high calorie foods and getting pregnant half way through the recovery process was huge motivation to increase my calories. Pregnancy also naturally made me put on weight.
My problem is that when I eat a normal sized meal my whole stomach hurts. The pain is almost unbearable and it radiates to my ribs. It's like I can physically feel the food being swalllow or like my stomach goes into a swasm. I get extreme sharp pains and sometimes dizziness.
I feel extremely nauseous afterwards and feel that that for several hours.
For me to eat 2000 calories a day feels like a huge task but because of my height I need to.
I've asked my Doctor if I can cut down my portion sizes and have calories from more milk and high calorie snacks such as nuts and cheese but he has refused.
I think he's worried this is me trying to under eat but it's not.
There's no underlying health problems it's just that my digestive system is completely wrecked. I have a reduction in stomach muscle due to longterm starvation and so for me, eating 'normally' will be very unlikely ever again.
I did star on a liquid diet and do take vitamins and protein in milkshake form.
I have tried to speak to my Specialist about this and he is not listening and insists I eat three meals a day, snacks and full fat milk/ my milkshake formula.
I know my own body, I know this isn't working, my body shouldn't be under this much strain. I'm a healthy weight now. As long as I make sure I eat 2000 calories a day do you think it's okay for me to eat less solids and have more calories from liquid? Or eat less and more. Maybe 5 meals a day?
If I go to McDonalds I can comfortably eat a happy meal but no more (just for reference). Surely it's okay for me to have 5 meals of this size a day?
I know this is a bit of a serious subject for here. But I just need opinions really. AIBU?
You've done brilliantly first of all. I think you should just eat smaller more calorific meals if you can manage that, eating a small amount every couple of hours might help? Full fat cheeses, the milk as you say, yogurt, mashed banana, avocado? Maybe smoothies? I know they're full of sugar and so on and so forth but if it keeps your weight up and stops you from being in pain that's surely a good thing?
I don't think anyone in their right mind is going to tell you to go against the advice from a specialist doctor!
I don't think anyone can give you medical advice here - even doctors or nurses won't have examined you obviously.
Well done in your journey to recovery so far.
What your saying makes "common sense"'to me but I am very reluctant to give you the green light on the this as you've been so unwell.
Could you go on to see your specialist with a weekly plan of food and show how you've broken it down to get the right amount of calories in the way you want?
I think you need to do what feels right for you, and if that's smaller meals, so be it. As long as your calorie/nutrition requirements are met and you aren't losing weight, that should be fine
Having said that, as I'm sure you know, there may be a strong psychosomatic element to the pain you experience (I'm sure there's definitely a physiological element as well) and maybe you could train your body to eat larger portions in time. Maybe that's what your doctor wants you to aim towards?
Honestly, I think you need to listen to the professionals. I don't know for sure but I thought the stomach was able to stretch? When I was 19/20 and a similar weight to you I definitely couldn't eat more than a happy meal sized meal like you mentioned in your post. Now I am three stone heavier and I can definitely eat an extra large meal at McDonalds. I think the problem with replacing meals with liquid is that it could make the problem worse. Your body is receiving a lower volume of food and your stomach shrinks further.
My opinion is that the internet is a really dangerous place to ask advice about eating disorders. I would talk to your specialist again, or get a second opinion. And I agree with the previous poster that it sounds like you are doing brilliantly.
No I wouldn't tell her to go against it. But it doesn't sound like he's listening and she might want to ask to see someone else in the same field. And surely its more dangerous to be in pain and therefore not eat (she's a recovering anorexic). As she said her stomach is damaged and she'll never eat normally again and yet it sounds much like he expects her to. I'd definitely try and speak to another specialist for a second opinion and see if there are any other options. A nutritionist maybe?
I cansee why the specialist doesn't want you to drop food for liquids. Despite what your intentions may be, I would gather he would worry it would trigger behaviours in you.
Have you spoken to him about eating smaller, more frequent meals? I have stomach problems with reflux and have to do that.
Sorry but I also think you should follow your specialist's orders.
My specialist says I have to stick to 3 large meals a day.
Your stomach should be able to restretch, even after 10 years, if you gradually increase the size of your meals. If eating a regular meal is still so uncomfortable, you need to go to the doctor (sorry) and find out why.
Is the discomfort immediately upon eating (indicates problem w stomach) or an hour plus later (indicates problem with small intestine). Are you eating meals with a lot of roughage? That can be a problem if you have damaged intestines, try increasing meat/fish/dairy and decreasing vegetatbles/pulses a bit.
I have problems with bulkier meals but that's because I have Crohns. If this is your problem you need to know about it, not put the problem down to past eating problems.
Please do not disregard advice from your specialist - who has all your case notes and history and the appropriate training and experience - in favour of any internet opinion because it's what you want to hear.
Your specialist is a specialist for a reason. Their job is to protect and help you the best they can. Why don't you go and speak to them in more depth and see if they can help you find a better alternative?
I have tried to discuss this with him but he is absolutely insisting I eat three meals a day. The reason he says is so that my stomach becomes used to eating a normal and healthy portion and also so that I am eating nutritionally dense food.
He says I won't be able to prepare 5 meals a day as I am working and so there will be a temptation to skip these meals of grab something convenient.
At the moment I admit I'm starting to eat less so that I'm in less pain. I'm eating between 1400-2000 calories a day now and I'm so annoyed at myself for that.
I also do a lot of exercise so I do believe the last two months I've used more than I've eaten but I haven't lost weight yet which is good.
The amount I've been told I need to eat is 1 american cup measure of chicken, 1 cup of cooked rice and one cup of vegetables with 2 matchbox sized pieces of full fat cheese and a glass of full fat milk. That's a lot I feel.
Hi well done so far on your tremendous achieve ment.I was formerly anorexic and at my worst was 5 stone 12 be and 5 foot five inches.The nausea was very off putting and overwhelming when I tried to recover.I was told me to have three meals and snacks in between.sometimes I couldn't manage food by the evening as I felt too full.I got around this by eating in the night too3 am 5 am etc.personally I wouldn't go backwards by having drinks as the stomach needs solid food.you can get anti nausea and other stomach meds from your gp.Well done.one day you will feel OK after eating
The pain starts as soon as I eat and lasts for hours. I'm find if I'm only eating a snack.
It would be a good idea to get the pain checked out- it could have another cause.
OP this is not medical advice, but I had a similar difficulty with solid food after suffering from anorexia as a teen. For me what worked was soups, gradually adding grated cheese, then croutons, chopped veg, mince, rice... and at one point it wasn't liquid anymore.
I also did 5-6 small meals instead of 3 large ones
I know it is hard
Your stomach definitely can and will stretch, but you have to constantly eat slightly more than feels comfortable. People who have had most of their stomach surgically removed can stretch the remaining part back out through overeating if they aren't careful, it is incredibly stretchy!
I imagine a liquid diet will be very low fibre as well, you'll have to train your entire digestive system to work differently than its been used to.
I've already been checked out thoroughly for this. The pain is solely related to my anorexia and years of my body being in starvation mode. There's no underlying condition. I have muscle wastage of the stomach lining but nothing that an increase in food shouldn't be able to fix.
I have slightly reduced vision and that will never return. It's very very sad.
My opinion is that the internet is a really dangerous place to ask advice about eating disorders
This is spot on.
Op you've done so well. I can understand why your specialist is saying not to go back to drinking calories. It's really important to persevere with the treatment they've prescribed. It honestly does get better.
You're doing so well in your recovery and how wonderful that you have been able to get pregnant. Have you had your baby, or are you still expecting? Hearing this gives me much encouragement that these things are possible after the struggle of an ED. I hear what you are saying about the very real pain you're experiencing as you eat solids but I see that you were under eating for ten years and having been eating like this for only two. This perhaps feels like a very long time when every meal causes pain but I want to cheer you on and say "You can do this". You have been so strong to have come so far. Every meal you eat takes you further away from that unhappy time and into a healthy happy future with your lovely baby. You can do this - keep going.
Who knew eating could be so hard. And some people struggle to not overeat.
I do add cheese to a lot of my meals. It's made a huge difference. And I fry a lot of my food in healthy fats, add peanut butter to my porridge in the morning.
I feel very guilty when I eat and do add up my calories but I'm getting better.
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