For many of us with HA, eating MORE (meaning a larger amount of food) is a struggle. Either we are afraid just to eat more, afraid of certain foods, or we have consumed so little it’s hard to eat more because our stomachs have shrunk. At this time, we cannot listen to our hunger signals, something that intuitive eating (IE) encourages. Side note, there is so much more to IE than listening to hunger signals, it is really about healing your relationship with food. If you’re interested in learning more, check out my FB page where you can find past live videos on IE.
Enough fuel (aka calories) is essential when recovering from HA. So how can we get enough calories without necessarily eating larger amounts? Right now you’re probably used to eating your usual way, and feel very comfortable with that. So making changes is going to require some thinking. If you remember back to when you started eating the way you currently do, it probably required some thinking. So it’s alright to have to think about your new way of eating; it soon will become natural to you, just as your original changes to “clean eating” or calorie restriction did in the past.
I have put together a cheat sheet that will be helpful in adding more calories to your diet. As a Registered Dietitian who also recovered from HA, I assure you all of these foods are completely safe to eat. While your mind may question the foods listed and feel some discomfort with the idea of eating them, your hypothalamus will not question them. Your hypothalamus and body will be forever grateful you are giving it the fuel it needs to run as it should be. Side note, some of our bodies may feel differently after eating foods that we don’t normally eat. Please don’t give up here. My recommendation is to give it some time before omitting these foods, as your body/digestion needs to adjust to your new norm of eating. I used to eat “gluten free” because I swore my body reacted to gluten. Flash forward and HA recovered, my body or I would never be able to tell if I just ate a slice of cake full of gluten or an apple. My gluten sensitivity was all in my head. However, some food intolerances/allergies are not and can be diagnosed by a medical professional.
When going “all-in” or adding new foods in your diet, do what you feel most comfortable with over time. If you’re not used to eating 10 different foods on the list I provided, start out with the 1-2 foods you are most comfortable with. The most important reason why I made this list was to help you get more fuel in your body without necessarily increasing the amount/volume of food, although over time you made need to do this. Also, when going “all-in”, increase your calorie intake over time. If you’re used to eating 1300 calories a day and you're trying to work up to the recommend amount in the No Period. Now What? (NPNW) book (2500 calories) you may want to do this over time as well. You may need more calories than the recommended amount based on your individual needs and activity.
This is a difficult journey for most of us I totally get it. However, there is SO much support out there for HA. If you haven’t read the book, NPNW, pick it up ASAP. If you’re looking for more support with food and nutrition, you have me !
Who Needs a Period? They are a pain in the a** anyway !