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Recovering bulimic/anorexic with depression

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  • Recovering bulimic/anorexic with depression

    I'm a 41 year old that still fights with anorexic tendencies. I also suffer from (or deal with) depression. Sadly they seem to go hand in hand. I'm overweight, big time. My problem (or rather part of my problem) is when I am feeling okay mentally and have the resolve to start getting into better health it only lasts a little while until "ana" comes out and tells me I'm not losing fast enough, or that I need to eat less and work out more.

    I hate this cycle. I go on a bender (food/drink) and get slovenly but my mental health is okay. I determine that my mental health is okay and start to cut back on the shit that I am ingesting. I even was able to stick to Primal for 2 months and felt great. Then in comes Ana and I cut back more and more. I can feel the slippery slope that comes on and to combat it I start eating shit again. That's where I am now. Feeling depressed and anxious and eating all kinds of things that I know I shouldn't. I really want to switch back to Primal but am feeling beaten down, like I can't do it, even though logically I know I can. I wish the Primal fairies would come into my house and help me through it. Get me started and follow up with me from time to time. I'm obviously delusional.

    I was so gung ho to begin with. I've got the book, two cookbooks. I haven't ordered the 21 day yet. I'm not sure I'd start using it.

    Any suggestions on how to break the cycle?

  • #2
    That's exactly like me. I start off really motivated and then I feel like I'm eating too much so I restrict more and more until I binge and then it sometimes takes a while to get the motivation to start again. The only thing I've found that has helped me is to not let myself restrict too much in the first place. I used to think it was a good thing if I could live on very few calories because I thought I'd lose weight but I always put it back on unless I was consistent. I'm losing weight slower now but at least I have no desire for unhealthy food and I'm less obsessed about how much I eat. I still sometimes feel like I should starve myself but if I ignore it and eat anyway then the feeling eventually goes away and I end up losing weight with less effort and depression.


    • #3
      I can understand your frustration. I have suffered from ED's, and have gone through cycles of gaining/losing 40lbs through numerous means (extreme calorie restriction, zerocarb, bodybuilding diets, leangains...). Ultimately, the problem is that you have conflicting goals: do you want to lose "Fat", gain health and strength, or do you just simply want to lose "Weight" and see the scale number go down? "Ana" only cares about the latter- to the detriment of your physical and mental health.

      1. If you haven't already, throw out the bathroom scale.
      You have likely heard this dozens of times, but the ana voice has likely convinced you that for some reason (to keep "motivated" or "on track"). This is a lie. For someone with an ED history, the scale is never a good thing. By what measure did you believe you weren't losing "fast enough?" The tape measure, photos, and clothes are more accurate indicators of progress. You likely want to gain muscle, look "fit" and lean- not sickly, skinny fat. As someone who is also 5"2, I can affirm that shorter women can look very different at the same weight but different body compositions.

      See here: Attention Scale Addicts, part 2 | Everyday Paleo

      2. Eat clean primal/paleo.
      You must just be starting to become comfortable with principles of primal eating and the books are great to start. However, there are some things about primal that I have had to "live and learn" through experience and forum discussions over the years.

      The 80/20 "general" primal guidelines are great for general health and maintenance. You could stick to the general guidelines until your progress plateaus, or until you reach 'average' weight. However, sometimes losing weight beyond that (especially for women) requires more consideration to the details. You might want to limit sugary fruits, nuts/nut butters, and avoid overconsumption of fats-bacon, butter (a common newbie mistake). Eat reasonable amounts of coconut oil, and carbs in the form of fibrous vegetables and 'clean starches' (eg yams). You might try Cordain-style paleo (leaner meats). Look to paleobird's journal for her successful experience with stricter primal.

      If you start to become frustrated with not losing "fast enough," make these slight modifications and perhaps increase light activity such as walking. DO NOT revert back to ED extremes of starving- they will only lead to more bingeing and the resulting frustration/depression. You can only look at your past results and learn something from the experience- these binge-purge cycles have never lead to lasting benefit (physical and psychological), nor will they ever.

      3. For the love of god, start lifting.
      Depending on your current fitness level, do some strength training and add in some light walking throughout the week. When I have been down and frustrated with lack of progress, strength training was the only thing that gave me a sense of self-worth. Focus on strength and fitness goals instead of weight targets. Exercise will help your mood and remind you that there are more important things than the number on the scale, namely- health and strength. The muscle you gain will also make your progress more apparent (and motivating) as the fat comes off, compared to simply restricting calories.

      4. Please, please have patience.
      I struggle with similar issues and have to frequently remind myself that losing weight takes time. When you become impatient for 'faster' progress, you are more likely to do self-defeating things or perhaps relapse into ED tendencies. Remember that as long as you've done what you've needed to for the day (eat clean, exercise), then you're on the right path and the results will come. Stress will only increase cortisol and hinder your weight loss. Progress isn't linear either, so expect some setbacks (eg. a weekend binge), but learn from it and move on, instead of becoming discouraged and turning to irrational fixes such as extreme cal restriction.

      You are on the right track. Primal is a lifestyle and will come with some trial-and-error, so listen to your body. Physical and psychological health are linked; eating poorly will worsen your depression, which will affect how you choose to treat your body. Look here for depression/5HTP advice:

      Keep in mind your priorities, which, for you as a mother, I would imagine to be lasting health and strength. Keep us updated and good luck!
      Last edited by vdn; 07-09-2012, 05:01 PM. Reason: fixed link


      • #4
        no dude scale is not a bad...its good and essential part for the man life because man can regularly check his weight after the exercise in daily routine...and you can achieved hie goal to use the scale like....go to the party before you can prepared scale is best for the weight.
        balance scale
        Last edited by Umanvi; 09-29-2012, 06:47 AM.