Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My recovery and Minnie Maud experience (Part II - Instagram Q&A)

A couple of days ago, I posted part one of this series, detailing my experience during recovery. I had a few people on Instagram ask me specific questions about recovery, so in this part I'll be answering them. Keep in mind that I am not a doctor nor do I have a degree in anything. These are just my experiences but everyone's recovery process will be a bit different.

Q: What would you say is a good calorie intake for someone recovering but still want to be fit?

A: I'm going to have to be brutally frank with you - trying to be "fit" during recovery is quite disordered. The mentality that you're okay with gaining weight as long as it is "healthy" muscle is extremely disordered and in fact another form of restriction. I really can't recommend trying to be fit during recovery because:
  1. It is physically impossible to gain muscle without fat 
  2. You body will not want to build muscle in a period of starvation - it wants to conserve as much energy as possible as fat because it is scared of starvation again. Your body needs to trust you first
  3. Trying to exercise will use up critical calories your body needs to repair itself
  4. It is mentally damaging and an easy transition into anorexia athletica (trust me, this happened to me)
What I recommend in terms of "growing muscles" is eating a minimum of 3000+ calories a day, plenty of carbs and fats, and resting. No, eating a lot of protein will not make you leaner - it only makes it harder for your body to recover because protein is a very inefficient fuel source. No, resting will not make you flabby. Let your muscles repair and you will naturally become "toned".

Body by peanut butter and carbs
Q: I know Minnie Maud encourages no exercise whatsoever, but if you're weight restored, is it okay to exercise? What is so bad about it?

A: Clinical weight restoration means absolutely nothing. People can be experiencing starvation symptoms at an "overweight" weight and other people can be perfectly fine and healthy at an "underweight" weight. The problem with exercising as soon as you are weight restored is because it takes longer for your body to get out of starvation mode and fully repair. Is your hair still falling out? Are you still cold? Do you still obsess over food? Are you getting your period (not from medication like birth control)? Are you at the right weight for you instead of a clinical baseline?

Remember that even after you reach a so called "healthy weight", your body still needs excess energy for repairs and exercise is just using up those precious calories. In addition, you're taxing your body which will only need to excess inflammation and edema (meaning water retention and swelling) that your body will only expend excess energy to try to cope with.

Finally, most problematic part is that before you are MENTALLY RECOVERED, exercise is a quick and slippery slope to anorexia athletica. You're coping with your weight gain by exercising and telling yourself its okay as long as you get "fit muscles". This is a very disordered thought process and another form of restriction.

Q: When are you weight restored?

A: When you are at your set point and no longer experiencing starvation symptoms. Your hair is not falling out, you're not cold all the time, you don't obsess over food (or think about it much at all), you're having your period, and you can eat by hunger and maintain on something over 2000 calories.

Q: How do you deal with triggers, especially girls who have an ED in your surroundings?

A: Triggers will be around you and that's just something you have to accept. I do try to remove myself away from triggering situations the best to my ability (such as on Instagram), but I know that it will be impossible to completely avoid them and if in fact I can't go by a trigger and not be phased by it, then I am still not recovered. Triggers are no excuse to slip up during recovery. You have to make that clear to yourself.

You have to face yourself and your triggers face on and the more you get used to it, the easier it becomes. You are not the girls surrounding you and you must know that you genuinely want to recover while the other girls may not. Trust me, the more you recover, the easier it gets. The less "ED" becomes your identity, the easier triggers become.


Well that's the end of the Q&A I got. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave it in a comment and if I get enough, I'll make a third part to this and if not, I'll just reply directly to you. Keep fighting girl, recovery is way too worth it <3