Meal plan woes.

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Jess92's picture
Meal plan woes.

Hi everyone,

I really need some help/feedback/constructive criticism on my meal plan at the moment. I preiously recovered before with a very regimented meal plan, and eased myself into intuitive eating with the help of a fantastic dietician. However, over the last 6 months I have relapsed.

Since then I have gone back and forth between the same meal plan as before, and the more relaxed meal plan I used at the end of my meal plan. Neither have really worked - by sticking to the very simple version at the beginning, free of fear foods, I think I have actually taken a step back, but the second one is too loose and I find myself "cheating" effectively by justifying skipping meals as "listening to my body", and the same thing for binging.

So I think I need something in between. I am no longer working with the same dietician, so I can't ask her, so I'd like some feedback ( I have no support at the moment, I just moved to France and have no idea how they healthcare system works, other than I would have to pay, and I think I actually have enough resources with this site and all my previous expierences to be okay).

So here is what I have at the moment. I hope this isn't triggering to anyone, if it is I will remove it straight away.

Porridge, banana, lattte. On Sundays, I go to a bakery an get a croissant after church (the perks of living in France!)
This isn't really a problem, I have weirdly always been okay with breakfast.

Lunch and dinner
Any healthy meal that has two vegetable servings, and a source of carbohydrate and protein.
I want to give myself the freedom to choose what I want, but also stick to a balanced meal. But I don't really know what else should be there, in terms of calories or other food groups.

Afternoon snack
Apple, yogurt, maybe a peice of toast?
No idea. This is my current snack but I'm not sure if it's okay to repeat it everyday, but I'm in a rut and a bit worried about trying something else.

I'm planning on allowing myself some alcohol, even though it isn't recommended in the book, because I want to keep my life as normal as possible, but on no more than two nights a week, and no more than 2 glasses of wine at a time.

I was planning on one dessert a week - but I have no point of reference for this. Is that okay? Do people eat desert every week, or just on special occaisions? Or more often? Every meal? I have really no clue about what is realistic here. I'm telling myself once a week just so I know I have to do it, but also I can't buy too much and have it around for binging.

I normally have a square of dark chocolate (8g) in the evening too, with a cup of tea. It's an exercise my dietican asked my to do, to familiarise myself with fear foods, one very small portion each night of whatever, but I got stuck on chocolate. I don't really have fear foods anymore, I could eat most things if I absolutely had to, but somethings I still avoid, almost out of habit.

Okay - so what do you guys think - is this okay? Or am I being too relaxed with lunch/dinner, and too repetive with the others?

I just literally have no idea how normally people eat anymore and the more I analyze this, the less sure I am I am going in the right direction, especially with desert.


Jess x

lindsay6's picture
I think your diet looks

I think your diet looks really good. It is what I do for the most part with some variation. I like that you regularly have treats for yourself and you eat all the macro nutrients with your meals.

How long did you follow this regimented diet.before you switched to intuitive eating? Well it is just SE really. I guess I am wondering if you stopped it too soon but not sure

When you are going through hell, keep going.

Jess92's picture
Hi Lindsay, Thanks for your

Hi Lindsay,

Thanks for your comments - the first time round, I think I followed my dietician's meal plan for about three months - after that, it wasn't that I ignored it, but I let myself make changes if I wanted to - so, if I really wasn't hungry in the afternoon, I would skip my afternoon snack, or if I wanted something different for dinner, I would have what I wanted. In general, I still followed it, but out of choice, rather than forcing myself too - after three months, it got a lot easier.

I think I possibly should have stuck with it a little longer - at the end, I did get a little lax. However, looking back, I think the bigger problem was that although I had got a handle on my eating, there were lots of other problems (like horrible body image) that I never really found another way to deal with - so although I felt completed free of bulimia for a while, I think some minor problems really threw me and I turned back in on myself.

I think this time round, it will important to follow this meal plan pretty much indefinitely. It is much more free than last time, and in the future I hope I'll be able to change it as and when it is necessary (for special occaisions, etc) but I need to come back to it when things get rough again, unlike last time.

I hope things are well with you - thanks for the feedback.

darthdawn's picture
If this isn't working for

If this isn't working for you, consider adding a morning snack and more protein/good fats in the morning . I find I really need protein and fats in my meals to keep the binge urges away. So maybe add some yogurt and nuts to your morning porridge, and have a handful of nuts or cheese as a morning snack? And do you have some good fats included in your lunch and dinner? I used to be so scared of any food with fat, but now it's part of my food groups to not B/P later in the day lol!
Dessert is funny. If I tell myself I can only have one a week I want one every day. Now that I give myself permission to have one every day, I only feel like it once or twice a week! Most evenings I prefer fruit and yogurt or toast and PB as a snack.
good luck :)

``It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me, and I'm feeling good`` - Nina Simone

lindsay6's picture
Ah okay so this makes sense

Ah okay so this makes sense then. On this site they recommend you wait for at least 6 months before trying intuitive eating. I decided earlier I wanted to give it a try and it realized how much it didn't work for me. I think early on you feel like you are completely sorted out but really your hunger/satiety mechanisms are messed up even if you don't know it. So you can end up eating larger meals and then nothing and then the cycle starts again.

I would say stick really close to SE again and do it for longer this time. I have had 4 months with no BP and I really don't think I am ready for intuitive eating. Part of me wonders will I ever be. If not I am okay with that. Maybe this is just a good way to eat for everyone really. Its not so far away from normal. Hey its a lot more "normal"than what I used to do lol.

When you are going through hell, keep going.

Jess92's picture
Thanks girls :) Darthdawn, I

Thanks girls :)

Darthdawn, I think you are right about breakfast, I tell myself I have protein in the milk in my coffee, but that's usually only 50ml, which isn't much. I might try another yogurt there, though two in one day makes me a bit nervous. As far as morning snack goes, I know I should, because there is normally a gap of more than 4 hours between bf and lunch, but I really don't like the idea of eating in the between breakfast and lunch - I like the symmetry of four meals. But that is a pretty stupid reason.

Thanks for the help with desert - I know exactly what you mean. I've just been out for a friend's birthday and had a huge dilema over whether or not to get a desert (it's not a saturday, therefore not a desert day!) so I was thinking maybe saturdays and special occaisions. So that would be 1-2 a week.

Lindsay, I think you are right too about sticking to it. I really felt I was ready, and I think the fact that I did so well for so long backed me up. But either way, I am still back where I started, so it seems I was wrong. I found it was easy to overestimate my progress, simply because where I was when switching to IE was just so much better to where I had been.

I think I will probably try to stick to it for maybe a year this time around - or until next September when I start university again, and my goal is to be a healthy weight and completely recovered by then so I can totally focus on me studies and my social life (gasp!)

FitChica2013's picture
Hi there! It took me quite

Hi there! It took me quite some time to get comfortable with the idea of eating 6 times per day but I can't stress enough how important this is when you're trying to get healthy. Remember these are mini-meals that need to contain a fair amount of protein, healthy carbs, and some fat. I would increase your protein intake for each meal and add some sort of protein at night. Do you eat meat? If so, have some lean chicken or turkey as your 5th meal and then some cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, or a protein shake (ideal) before you go to bed. Increasing my protein intake has helped me get over the cravings fairly quickly and I think women often miss this part when they are used to dieting all the time. Adding some protein to your breakfast will help you too -- a croissant is just all carbs and fat which gets converted into sugar fairly quickly in your body. When you eat protein with a carb, your body absorbs it slower. Every type of food creates a chemical reaction in your body, nothing more -- you can use that to your advantage! Hope that helps.

roma105's picture
Great posts, thank you all! I

Great posts, thank you all! I would like to respond specifically to the dessert issue.

Dessert or no dessert? Is that is the question?

In my experience dessert can be a trigger food. If I start w sweet things I just wont know when to stop. Some of my worst b/p have been when I go out for dinner with friends and everyone orders a dessert. Eventhough I dont want one bc i have eaten enough, I will be easily influenced to order something if other people are doing it too. Not having dessert when everyone is having one can be anti-social. The prb is, Im on my way home from dinner, i will pass by the cornershop to get as many sweet things I can to b/p. What's the solution?

Maybe the issue is identifying what the problem is in the first place: I have wonderred, is the trigger dessert or, is the trigger in fact, the feeling of being just that little bit too full (bc you've just had a starter and a main and some bread and butter b4 ur starter)? Perhaps I think, "I've eaten too much anyway, so I might just as well go the whole way". This means that the trigger may have less to do with the mere fact of having dessert than I originally thought, and more to do with my inability to stop eating when I need to. The pb is I have lost the ability to know kind of portions are right for my body and weight.

I beleive I found the answer when I came accross the satiety tracker on this website. If you have not come accross the satiety tracker, it sets out the different levels of fullness from 1 to 10 with a description of what each level means. Over a 15 mins meal sitting you need to record what your satiety level every few minutes or so. It also shows you a chart of what a "normal" satiety tracker should look like. This has been SO beneficial to me. It has helped me to "reconnect" with my physiological hunger needs when I am eating a meal. So I put the satiety tracker to the test this week.

I allowed myself to have whatever I wanted and in my SE and I included dessert, crisps, chips, muffins (all of which have been terrible trigger foods) (I should disclose I have only been on SE for about 2 weeks after coming across this website and I know it is not recommended to reintroduce trigger foods until later on, but I have done it anyway, naughty). Anyways, my (potentially dangerous) challenge was to, each time I ate, think about my satiety levels and stop at level 7 junder the tracker: "you are comfortably satisfied. Hunger definitely gone. Stop here and you can go without eating for the next 2/3 hours".

The result was that I stopped at level 8 pretty much every time. I consider this a massive success. Withouth knowing about the tracker I would ordinarly NOT have stopped eating and would have kept going up to level 12! (even if the tracker stops at level 10!) and this would have led to b/p every time i ate trigger foods. But following the tracker allowed me to gain consciousness of where I was headed if I kept getting closer and closer to the level 10 mark.

What my experience this week has shown is that, whislt following the SE pattern, it can be possible to eat desert and other potentially trigger foods IF you can follow the satiety tracker (which admitedly can be a challenge in itself and a learning curve). My view is that understanding your body's needs MUST be the answer (I hope!). Sometimes the body wants chocolate (and that's ok), and sometimes it will want a yogurt. The key is to listen to what it wants.

All my friends and family are slim but of a healthy weight and they eat EVERYTHING. I come from a familly of foodies and all my friends love to cook. I suppose the only difference between them and me, is that they have a better undertstanding of when to actually stop and put their fork down.

I thought I had lost hope with bulimia. It took me two years to realise I even had a problem. I led a perfectly normal life before that. I subscribed to this website because it identified exactly how my bulimia started, which I had never realised before (it wasnt because I had problems in my life, I have always had to overcome issues). It started when I went on a diet, which spiralled out of control and took a life of its own. I want to get my life back and enjoy going to the restaurant with friends.

Good luck to all suffering or in recovery.


lindsay6's picture
The hunger tracker would not

The hunger tracker would not have worked for me in the beginning. I could be not hungry at all and then eat some sweet thing I like and suddenly I am "hungry". I think my mechanism was too messed up. If it does work for you that is great. I try to do that now but again I couldn't do it earl y on in recovery

When you are going through hell, keep going.

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