Practicing radical acceptance

Between my stressful week at work and then food poisoning, my weight has dropped some. I suppose I wasn't that shocked to hear it- even with just the illness, my eating hadn't been optimal for several days. I was, however, a little startled at how much (my therapist was rather cryptic, saying "more than a few." I have my guess at what that means, but still).

I suppose I could launch into a rehash of the potential reasons why. I could have pushed myself to try and eat more while sick. I could have been more careful while at my work conference. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. I'm not trying to wash my hands of my responsibility in what happened, nor am I trying to take on responsibility where none existed (though I am kicking myself for eating that damn hot dog that most likely got me sick).

I tried adding a little bit more to my normal meal plan, but that didn't do much. In fact, my weight dropped slightly more because my metabolism kicked in again. This led to a very frank discussion about What I Was Going To Do About This.

The difference--the massive, can't-be-overstated difference--was that I was able to fully participate in this discussion and follow through with what I promised. I don't like much of what I'm doing- Ensure Plus can go suck it, thank you very much. Ditto for the extra snack. Again, that's not the point.

I don't need to want to do this. I do, however, need to be willing.

Frankly, I do think my therapist is being just a tad alarmist about a single-digit weight loss. I didn't feel that I had lost weight. I'm not keen on going back to the chugging of the Ensure and the metabolic shift that once again leaves me burning through massive calories just watching TV.

But I could see it as necessary. I know enough that every relapse starts with "just a little" weight loss, however inadvertent (or, well, not) it might be. I know that good intentions don't save you. I know that promising to eat more is a long way from actually eating more. I know that recovery can be really f*cking inconvenient and you still have to do it anyway because an eating disorder is even more f*cking inconvenient.

So in the past few days, I have been eating foods I haven't touched for years: hot chocolate, Pop Tarts (not exactly a nutritional powerhouse, but sometimes it really is just about the calories), chips. It wasn't as bad as I thought. It helps that I know my metabolism is fierce at the moment and can "handle" the extra/sloppy intake. We'll see whether my weight changes this week. If it doesn't, well, we'll deal with that, too.


Anonymous said...

When i increase my calorie intake, i get all sorts of symptoms- intense drowsiness, palpitations,dehydration, aching eyes.

Is that normal? Feels worse than being underweight and tired.

hm said...

To anon: That's normal for me, for sure. Except for the aching eyes. ?

Carrie- I'm so glad to hear that you're taking care of you. :)

Charlotte UK said...

Blecuh. ed sucks. Keep on Carrie and enjoy the hot chocolate! Hugs

j.m.r. said...

Ensure Plus can indeed go suck it. :)

HikerRD said...

It sure helps when you consider " Ensure? Poptart? Ensure? Poptart?" to get yourself to take in those necessary calories from the Poptarts.Do consider the frosted ones, too (think Ensure Plus).
I'll add that the single slip is not the issue. It's what you do with it, how you move on, that speaks louder than your stated intentions.

Anonymous said...

Thanks hm. The tachycardia and lightheadedness are normal? Do you still continue increasing the calories?

hm said...

anon: I thought food/calories were giving me a heart attack b/c I had the tachycardia so bad. And the exhaustion was just ridiculous. I don't know if the heart stuff is a byproduct of anxiety or from increased metabolic strain? But anyway, if you keep consuming the amount of calories you are consuming, it should level out- your body will get used to it.

One Rebel said...

Sweetheart, you already have the answer (see quote below). Every mother supports you. Take a deep breath and try one minute at a time, one bite at a time, one snack or meal at a time. You will get there and next week this will be the past that you have let go.
"But I could see it as necessary. I know enough that every relapse starts with "just a little" weight loss, however inadvertent (or, well, not) it might be. I know that good intentions don't save you. I know that promising to eat more is a long way from actually eating more."

Anonymous said...

HM- even drowsiness is normal? It's scary because it is so intense. Not the kind that just goes away. I need to go lie down for fear I'll fall asleep right there. And when i am lying down, it makes me worry that I wont be able to be woken up if i sleep. Ofcourse, I invatiably do wake up.

hm said...

anon: When I started the refeeding process I felt like an infant, eating and sleeping all day. It was really, really weird. I think it was my body's way of trying to catch up- when my children are going through a growth spurt, they do the same- eat like crazy, then sleep for hours and hours and hours. That's what it felt like to me. So to ME that doesn't sound strange. But I'd still consult a doctor with all of your questions as well!

Carrie Arnold said...


It could be extreme anxiety. I would definitely see your doc/GP and see if perhaps some anti-anxiety meds would help and get generally checked out to make sure your symptoms aren't more serious.

But yes, exhaustion was my biggest problem. I slept 16 hours a day at times when I started eating after a major relapse. Don't underestimate how hard this is. Sending hugs.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carrie Arnold said...


I felt the need to delete your comment for several reasons, but mostly because of potentially triggering information (height/weight info).

As well, if you start eating again at that weight, you really need to do so under close medical supervision (probably inpatient) due to the possibility of refeeding syndrome. I can't predict how your body will respond--no one can. Low t3 is common in anorexia, it's almost universal with starvation. It generally normalizes with weight gain.

No hard feelings, but I wanted to explain myself.

Best to you.

Anonymous said...

I think you are really right, we don't need to be happy about it, we just need to do it. The rest will come later.

So happy for you :)

Anonymous said...

Carrie, my sympathies on your illness! I am not sure if this helps, and it may not be dietician approved, but once your intestines have recovered, well, my daughter is recovering from AN, she has a very high metabolism (still going strong after two years of a stable weight) but unfortunately she gets full pretty easily. Sometimes she even gets a little panicky when she feels full (we are working on this). She is committed to staying well and she has learned that always having caloric beverages (milk, chocolate milk, juice, gatorade) and eating more fats are both easier and tastier than extra carbs, extra snacks, extra fruits, or extra veggies (though she does enjoy all of those foods). There are so many things that just taste better with a little heavy whipping cream or parmesan cheese. Like coffee with cream or parmesan in eggs. And nutella. Macaroni and cheese. And she eats pop tarts every day for breakfast!

Carrie Arnold said...


I've started to (slowly) embrace caloric beverages as well, for the same reasons. I don't really like milk to drink (never have), but some of the vanilla soy or almond varieties are rather tasty. But I make my coffee into a mocha by adding chocolate syrup or hot cocoa powder, which is an easy way to add extras. Sometimes I'll use Carnation Instant Breakfast if I'm counting it as part of my actual meal since it has more nutrients.

I'm finding that yes, my metabolism is probably higher than many others my age, and it's kind of frustrating.

C-Girl said...

I have the same feeling towards Boost Plus... but you know, it's medicine right now... just like taking a vitamin and I have accepted it.

I remember the first time I got a coupon email from Boost in my mailbox I absolutely lost it I was laughing so hard. My therapist looked at me and said, "Yep, girl! This is your reality right now!" Finding the humor in that tiny email made it easier to accept. I know it sucks though.... really sucks sometimes.

How you move on from those crappy days is all that matters, it's okay to have crappy days, WEEKS. Wake up the next morning and eat an extra pop-tart :) Your honesty is wonderful to read! Keep staying strong!

Anonymous said...

hi all did anyone experience ibs , horrible digestive problems while refeeding how long does this last or will it ever end..any tips to manage proactively with recovery in mind thanku all

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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