update #2 – nutritionist

I finally got in to see my nutritionist on Thursday. She was none to happy. She took my body fat %. For the first time I really didn’t want her to and because of that she insisted. For a woman of my age, she said the minimum acceptable body fat is 20%. I haven’t been at 20% most of my life because I’ve always been athletic. I’m sure it was high when I gained weight back during my HCV treatment, 2006-2010. I couldn’t get the weight off no matter what I did and then after a traumatic even in 2012, I plummeted to my lowest weight ever and went into IOP in Spring of 2013. My body fat % was unreadable it was so low.

Having said all that, recently it had gotten up to about 21%, after 3 years, which was pretty horrifying. It was because my ability to exercise had been significantly diminished due to physical reasons. The thing is, I was bothered but not overly upset. It was normal right? I hate being normal but it was what it was. However, my last surgery solved my limitation issues. I hadn’t realized that the “only” reason I wasn’t over exercise was due to my limitations, wow. I started going for long walks outside again. The snow doesn’t bother me since I have very good cold weather gear, and it’s motivating. My pain has been minimal so I’ve been doing weights, just some, but getting out of control with stuff like leg lifts, crunches, pushups and so forth. As a result my body fat % dropped from 21 to 17% in 3 weeks. My weight hasn’t really decreased too much but she said that I lost 8-9 lbs of body fat but gained muscle so it wouldn’t show too much on the scale. The minimum body fat for a young athletic woman is 18% just to give some reference.

I asked her why this happens all the time. She said I have the genetic makeup and hormones that allows for fast muscle build which results in rapid decreases in body fat. She also said that (normal, athletic) people would kill to have my genetics.

Food challenge

Thus far the only thing I eat is protein & fat, nothing else. She explained that this causes a build up of nitrogen in the body which will effect the liver and kidneys. I’ve also dabbled a little with laxatives which shocked me because I used to use them severely and swore them off forever. She explained that use of them causes the intestinal walls to weaken and finally collapse. That then requires a lot of surgery and gut surgery is extraordinarily painful. I don’t want to live with a colostomy bag! That’s fine, I stopped. They don’t do anything for me anyway so what’s the point.

She said I have to eat carbs, period. We agreed with 1 portion, split in two halves a day to start. I refused to increase my calories though. She also said absolutely no exercise, none. That’s usually how it goes. Same thing different day. I apologized and she said that was not needed since this is how it is. She gets it. She understands that at a certain point, my behavior is ruled by anorexia and not by my good sense; she knows how to work with that.

I’ve been with her on and off since 2001. I met her when I was in Avalon ED Center which has since closed. She’s one of the best so despite the cost, I’m glad she’s on my team. Compassion oozes from her but she’s also stern when needed. She finally created a website: here.

How have I done so far?

Awful. It’s hard to acknowledge anything good thus far. In EDA (next update) that is a challenge but it is nearly impossible. More on that in my next post, update #3.

Yesterday I did a ½ portion of rice. I couldn’t psychologically face doing a second serving. It took forever to eat the first! I was kind of triggered by one of the ED movies I watched. Well, not really, I was already off my rocker with my thinking. I ended up exercising but at least not walking. I didn’t realize I actually have no control! It was both scary and exhilarating. I know that sounds weird but that’s what the ED does, doesn’t it? It really is like a drug. I was okay the rest of the evening. If I don’t stop, she’ll threaten a higher level of care. I mean, it’s not really a threat since I can’t pay for it, doubt the VA will and besides, due to my GI issues I’m fairly certain no one would take me on. My therapist said they’d just tube feed me, even though I’m normal size! That would be pretty awful. Plus, it’s not my stomach or eating that’s the issue. It’s my gastric system so if the liquid nutrients is anything but soy, I’m screwed anyway. The best scenario is to get it together and avoid it altogether. A better threat would be their deciding not to work with me anymore. That always scares me no matter how much they assure me that won’t happen. They actually care. They actually want me to be better. That is what keeps me going. When I have no faith in myself, I have faith in their faith of me.

16 thoughts on “update #2 – nutritionist

  1. Is she mostly concerned about body fat %? Are you underweight as well? I have been travelling down that road and although I am not underweight because I am athletic and have lean muscle mass, I can’t go to the gym (or anywhere else for that matter) without long sleeves because I have veins popping out of my skin/muscles and I am sort of self-conscious about it, despite the fact that I’m still trying to lose more weight/body fat…

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    1. She’s concerned about both. I am slightly underweight and way below normal healthy body fat. She’s explained in the past that when a person is underweight they cross a line and are unable to control the obsession to continue behavior. This relapse has proven that. All I want to do is plummet my body fat, and weight. The veins and muscle definition only contribute to my motivation. If I don’t see veins I feel like I’m too fat. By the way, the body fat machines at the gym are grossly inaccurate. When I was at the gym, it read healthy and that was when my nutritionist, who uses calipers, said it was so low it was unreadable.

      I forget all the medical complications it causes and when I’m in weight loss mode I really don’t care, not till afterwards that is and I have to live with new problems. Despite my obsession, going to a qualified nutritionist was the best thing I did.

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      1. Yeah. It is hard to control once the motor in your head gets started… it’s like trying to stop a train on a dime. I admit I don’t personally mind the veins sticking out but am super self conscious about it and wondering what people think about it (generally, the men love it, and the women stare and think I’ve gone too far). Yet I am more comfortable wearing sleeveless tops with women (because I don’t care) than around the weight room where men just stare, gawk, and occasionally come over and make inappropriate comments!

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      2. How do they measure body fat? Where would I go to do this? When you say eat carbs, do mean potatoes and rice? I only eat my carbs in the form of fruits and vegetables… no starches (and I’m gluten intolerant so a bit easier to avoid). Did you FEEL sick? What complications did you have?

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      3. A qualified nutritionist. I recommend only going to one who works with eating disorders. She would answer all these questions. My GI problems are specific to me and correlate with chronic pain issues and unrelated to any specific diagnosis.

        Hope that helps. 🙂

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      4. Thanks. I know you’re right. I’m not yet ready to admit that I have a problem (to a professional)… And hopefully whoever I go see won’t figure me out… On the other hand maybe its good that I don’t know!!! 🙂

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      5. If it’s an athletic training center I’m fairly certain they’ll not have a clue about eating disorders. When I was in training they said my body fat was ideal and I was super fit. I was, in fact, about to collapse. Just be careful you’re not choosing someone who will confirm what you “want” to hear and not what you “need” to hear. I mean, great if you’re healthy and fit but if you’re identifying with ED behavior, that’s about concerning, don’t you think?

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      6. Yeah I’m pretty sure they will say I am fit. I just want a number to know for myself. I’m not ready to get help… 😦 I hear what you’re saying though, and my stupid stubborn brain is getting in the way…

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      7. I wish you the best. Perhaps it’ll help you accept yourself a wee bit more. I imagine you’re anything but stupid, lol. Enjoy the journey, as they say. Maybe you don’t have a problem. If not, that’s great!! Only you can make that decision. 👍

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      8. Oh my god! First, he should be fired, second, the lowest healthy % is 18. Mine is below that which puts me at risk for (1) brittle bones and (2) my body feeding on itself. I hope you’re willing to seek help before you end up with permanent damage like me.

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