Answering juicy DM questions – hiding an ED behind veganism, how to reintroduce foods & incentives to recover

Julie’s Q

What’s your view on some people becoming vegetarian or vegan when they develop an ED?

  • It’s always WHY they are choosing to. Remember, restriction isn’t an action, it’s a state of mind.
  • Some may adopt these diets as a way to exert more control over their food choices or to restrict certain food groups.
  • Others may genuinely choose these diets for ethical, environmental, or health reasons.
  • My personal story is I went vegan (on and off, as when I was bingeing I was far from vegan!) as a way to restrict and not be penalised for it. It was easier to say no to things with no backlash if I could hide behind veganism.
  • I also went vegetarian at one point for my “health” but then my body started craving meat and fish and then you also start hearing why you SHOULD be eating meat…
  • A way you can detect if someone might be hiding an ED behind veganism is to notice if they are always seeking out and eating alternatives (e.g. Oreos instead of cookies) or whether they’re avoiding food altogether.
  • Orthorexia (fear of any food that is not “clean”) can also be hidden behind or more so can go hand in hand with veganism. Only YOU will know the real reason as to why you are choosing to be vegan or vegetarian.
  • Start to question it for yourself. I’ve had clients start to eat meat after recovery and they realised that it was in fact the ED that was convincing them to avoid meat etc. and they weren’t even aware of it!
  • In my opinion, people can also CREATE gluten and dairy (lactose) intolerances by AVOIDING these foods long-term due to the ED. The body stops making certain enzymes in order to break these down (gluten especially) and so when the individual eats the gluten or dairy again, they have a very unpleasant reaction.
  • Dairy I believe is more stress-related because stress or trauma (physical or emotional) can affect digestive function and lead to temporary lactose intolerance. If you’re scared of eating dairy due to weight gain or health consequences then you can train the body to react badly when you eat it. There is often an underlying reason behind the development of lactose intolerance.
  • The body is very adaptable and efficient, it won’t create what it doesn’t need on a regular basis. Keep eating the thing again and as long as there is no underlying medical condition (such as celiac) then it will get used to it again.
  • The worst thing you can do in ED recovery is do an elimination diet. Your body will guide you but first, you need to eat enough.

Shanon’s Q

How to reintroduce variety back into the diet after prolonged restriction?

  • This is actually linked to the above-answered question in my opinion regarding how your body physically responds to food. Give your body time to get used to a variety of foods again.
  • Don’t immediately stop eating foods that seem to cause an issue.
  • Depending on how much and how long you’ve been restricting, your body may have a hard time getting used to you eating again. And although it might be a really uncomfortable experience, give it time and settle in for the potential shit show (literally 😂💩) of digestive discomfort… The only way out is through and restricting again will NOT help long term.
  • Wear loose clothing, open windows 💨, take digestive enzymes and pro-biotics and be gentle with yourself. Reduce portion sizes of some types of food, especially vegetables and fruits, and gradually increase over time.
  • The same goes for acid reflux, especially for those with bulimia or/and anorexia bulimia this is very common. Get some medication and work through it. I promise it gets better!
  • Your body just needs to come back into balance again. You can’t expect it to just “work perfectly” when you’ve been starving and abusing it for however many years.
  • You’ll also get to truly know your body. My body doesn’t do well without carbs and it doesn’t like avocado or iceberg lettuce. It also doesn’t like Halo Top ice cream.
  • To speak to this question from an emotional standpoint, I’d either just go all in or use a colour-coded fear foods method and introduce these gradually.
  • Also, check in with yourself (or a good coach will do this) every so often and ask yourself “What foods am I still afraid of and am I eating a variety of different foods?”
  • Get support and learn from others who have a healthy relationship with food.

Liv’s Q

How can I find an incentive to recover when historically I’d relied on external people and factors to spur me on? Especially coming from someone who is depressed with no sense of direction.

  • Firstly I am so sorry that you are depressed. Is it clinical (actual brain chemistry) or is it a strong feeling? Reframe instead of “I am depressed” and say “I am currently experiencing depression or a feeling of depression” bc YOU are not depressed.
  • You NEED direction otherwise you don’t know where you’re going… The only direction you need is the way of freedom and self-love. Create a vision for yourself. Play make-believe. Allow yourself to dream. Dreams become intentions and your reality when you start taking aligned action towards them.
  • Self-love bank account. Always be deposition not withdrawing.
  • What would _ do?
  • Why do YOU WANT to recover? For you? For your mum? For your future self? For your future family and own children? What are your dreams? What do you want to do in this lifetime? The answer to those questions is your incentive to recover.
  • You’re not meant to do this alone but only you can choose to recover and then recover.

I’d like to share a post I wrote a few months ago that I think will help you Liv…

The 2 most prominent things that enabled me to FULLY recover and live in GENUINE & ABSOLUTE food freedom.

1. Number ONE was when I truly realised that nobody was going to save me. There was no man on a white horse. There was no fairy Godmother. But there was, however, me, myself and I… AND mentors/coaches that could guide me through my own journey to freedom.

That realisation felt very lonely at first… and sad… and scary. Then something shifted…

2. Number TWO was when I released that I and only I, had the power to change. I had the power to heal. It was me all along. Only I could validate myself. Only I could know that I was enough. Nobody else could do it for me. That hole within could never be filled from the outside no matter how much I tried.

“I realised that my belief in limitation was the only thing that was keeping me limited.”

When I felt that limitless power within me, everything shifted. I knew that I wasn’t my body, I HAD a body.

I wasn’t my emotions, I EXPERIENCED emotions via feeling.

I wasn’t my thoughts, I was the THINKER of my thoughts. And so I got to choose which thoughts I wanted to believe.

I didn’t have an eating disorder, my brain did. And I am not my brain. I am Consciousness that has a brain in this human body. (Stay with me 🤪)

I have a question for you …

Where were you before you were born?

Energy cannot be created or destroyed… this is Science. So you were somewhere. It’s impossible for you to have been nowhere.

And here’s the thing…

“We are programmed to be powerless yet we are all creators”

YOU CAN FULLY recover from whatever eating disorder, disordered eating, or body hate cycle you are in, no matter how long you’ve been in it. This I know for a fact. I don’t care how many years of therapy you’ve had that hasn’t worked, or how many times you’ve been in inpatient treatment… I know you can fully recover and live in self-love.

  • So ultimately Liv, do you choose to live or to die?

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