My eating disorder post-recovery meal intake

I had anorexia nervosa and bulimia for years. Here's how I eat post-recovery versus how I ate during recovery. It helps shows people with eating disorders how the way they eat to recover can change with time.

I do not use exact calorie counts here because they can be triggering to people.

I must emphasize that there is no one right diet or way to eat. I'm just sharing how I currently eat for informational purposes.

Table of contents

  1. Day breakdown

  2. Comparison of post-recovery vs. recovery daily intake

  3. Meal schedule

  4. Sample meal foods

  5. Post-recovery food freedom: My thoughts

Day breakdown

This is how I ate on 11/17/2021. I am not following any meal plan and it’s been months since I last measured my food. I am eating WFPB, SOS-free to satiety.

September 2020 is when I got my period back. I am able to maintain my current weight eating this way.

The intake shown below is representative of how I ate throughout 2021. I made about 15 food recording entries throughout 2021 - I don't record my food that often, only to make sure I'm still getting enough. Looking at these records, the most calories I recorded on a day was over 5,000 calories in July 2021.

The Carb:Fat:Protein ratio I eat now is about 70:20:10.

Comparison of post-recovery vs. recovery daily intake

My observations

  • The proportion of protein intake remained the same - what changed was that instead of eating predominantly fat, I shifted to eating a carb-dominant diet. A carb-dominant diet is consistent with that of our ancestors and what I ate before I developed anorexic (restrictive) behavior

  • The shift to eat more carbs instead of fat was a welcome one for me. My GI system did not feel as comfortable with a large fat intake.

  • During recovery I felt bloated often, but switching to more oil instead of nut butters or avocado (thus reducing fiber) really helped decrease bloating. I committed to eating high fat during recovery because I knew I needed the fat and calories to finally get better

  • Right now my digestion feels normal and I eat until comfortably satiated

Meal schedule

I never let myself go hungry. I know that being hungry for too long could trigger my anorexic instincts, even if mildly. Just as an alcoholic must not let alcohol enter their environment, as their genes predispose them to alcoholism, I know going hungry for too long could trigger me into unhealthy behaviors.

I eat 3 main meals a day and snack as often as I feel hungry.

Sample meal foods

I eat a big breakfast, medium-sized lunch, and smaller dinner - I find this works well to help me sleep, and no longer am concerned with eating a large dinner like I was when I was trying to optimize weight gain. Overall, I eat more unprocessed foods, instead of the more processed ones that I ate when I was trying to recover weight.

  • Fat: I eat flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds daily. I eat avocado almost daily and nut butter on occasion. The pumpkin seeds are for zinc, which is often shown to be deficient in anorexics incidentally.

  • I now eat whole seeds instead of flaxseed oil and pumpkin seed butter, which is what I consumed a lot of during recovery. I’m not opposed to eating nut butter, though.

  • Carb: I enjoy a variety of complex carbohydrates like oats, millet, and sweet potatoes.

  • Protein: Of course we know this is the last thing vegans need to worry about… Anyway, I do enjoy eating a variety of beans. During recovery I limited myself to mainly tofu, since I was already so bloated from eating so much food and digesting beans can be hard. Now I let myself eat more whole beans and have no digestion issues with them.

  • Leafy vegetables: While during recovery I didn’t allow myself to eat raw vegetables (they take more energy to digest and have very few calories), now I do ingest more, but I still eat predominantly cooked vegetables.

  • Fruit: I enjoy berries and other fruits as I desire.

Post-recovery food freedom: My thoughts

My current food intake is flexible and largely unplanned. I roughly aim to combine a carb, protein, and fat in each meal. But I don’t obsess over it - I know I don’t need to!

I’m very relaxed with food now. It doesn’t occupy my thoughts much. I enjoy eating a variety of food and trying new foods, not caring about calorie counts at all. I only measured my food on some days just to make sure I was eating adequately still.

I’m fine consuming over 5,000 calories a day. There's no limit. It doesn’t matter to me what I eat! I just eat until I’m full and no longer hungry. Aka, I eat like a normal healthy human being.

I also am able to maintain a healthy weight which doesn't fluctuate much. People recovered from eating disorders have better functioning metabolisms. Those who are underweight have slowed metabolisms which respond more sensitively to food intake. The only way to restore the metabolism is to gain weight to one's set point.

I am free from being obsessed with food. People who recover from eating disorders can achieve this freedom too.