Well, I've decided to give structured eating a serious try, by following the meal plan assigned by my nutritionist when I was hospitalized earlier this year. Right now I am really thankful for this meal plan because it is so hard for me to make choices when it comes to food. The meal plan I followed offered two types of food for each meal, which makes it easier because I don't fall into the trap of overthinking what to eat. When I was hospitalised I could choose between oat meal and bread for breakfast, for lunch it was either salad with specified numbers of fats, proteins and carbs + breadroll with spreads or two pieces of bread and two pieces of crispbread with spreads, dinner was usually a couple of potatoes, sauce, meat/fish/vegetarian alternative, vegetables and yoghurt for dessert and finally supper offered the same alternatives as breakfast. There were some additional foods for underweight patients so I had to eat somewhat more than this, but since I have already gained quite a lot of weight since then I will replace these foods with a couple of bananas/apples/berries or a smoothie.
I feel really, really scared right now, because having written this I feel committed to follow my meal plan as specified.
I know I will be needing to calm myself down before, during and after each meal, so I have decided to do the following:
Before each meal:
Fill out the Guided eating tracker card (Things to record before your meal)
Take time to thank the universe for the food it is offering to me, and dedicate the energy and health that the food gives me to the health and happiness of all living creatures. I will do this by closing my eyes and mentally thinking about all the love and energy which went into producing the food I am about to eat. I will think that it is going to provide me with the nutrients I need so that I can fulfil my potential as a human being and be of help to others and last but not least - of help to myself and my mental and physical wellbeing.
During the meal:
Listen to the Guided Eating Audio offered by BHM: http://www.bulimiahelp.org/page/audio-tools and fill out the Guided eating tracker card
After the meal:
Fill out the Guided eating tracker card (Things to record after your meal)
Make myself a cup of coffee and find my To-do-notebook where I plan my day. I don't want to become "rule bound" so this will be done in a self compassionate manner, paying attention to my energy level and feelings. I am not very good at distinguishing between feelings and knowing what I really want, because during my childhood (and even as an adult) I've had to pay so much attention to others feelings and needs. It has become very hard to distinguish what I want and need, from the needs and preferences of those I love. For better and worse, I've become somewhat of a social chamelion.
However, I think it would be good to have a list of things to do after each meal or simply if I feel the urge to binge or purge, so here are some of my go-to actions:
- Take a walk (could be combined with taking pictures)
- Listen to a podcast or audio book (could be done while painting/drawing/scrapbooking)
- Dance to an upbeat song
- Write a paragraph for my book
- Read some recovery-literature (Brain over binge/Bulimia help method)
- Do some work-related reading/writing/Stata-analyses
- Reading a novel (I am an avid reader, so there is always a pile of books to choose from my book shelf)
- Practice sosme yoga, suited for my level of energy (if bloated I could do yoga for stomach bloating, for example)
- Do some weight lifting
- Updating my blog at BHM or the one I've got at Blogger.com (I think I might combine the two for now, so that I don't have to write the same in two different languages)
- Cleaning and/or organizing
- Doing laundry
- Playing games on my Playstaytion
- Read about photography
- Read about mapping (yeah, I have a thing for generating maps in e.g. Stata for analytical purposes)
- Reseach/write/interview for KK (a magazine for members of a Norwegian ED-organization)
I plan on eating four main meals and three snacks during each day .When hospitalized I ate at 07:45, 11:15, 15:10, 20:00 and 21:30 (snacks I could eat when I felt like it), but I didn't really like that schedule very much. There were too close between the two last meals and to much time between dinner and supper.
So my meal plan for the first week will be like this:
08:00 Breakfast (oatmeal with nuts, milk and jam)
10:00 Snack (banana)
11:30 Lunch (two slices of bread and two slices of crispbread with spreads)
14:00 Snack (apple)
16:30 Dinner (Since it is my first week I will go with ready made meals, as preparing dinner is extremely triggering for me)
18:30 Snack (Cottage cheese with fresh fruits/berries/nuts/seeds/dried fruit)
20:00 Supper (oatmeal with seeds and milk)
Okay. Let the game begin!