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My Darling Daughter, who has been too thin for almost a year, has lost five pounds since she went off to school. To recap her situation (which I’ve blogged about before) she does not like her pear shaped body type. In her sophomore and junior years, she put on a few extra pounds. The summer before her senior year she decided to take them off. She got super serious about the Blood Type Diet, and by October she looked great. But a taste of success made her decide to try to get the thin legs she admired in her apple shaped friends. I think the attention to healthy food that she learned from the BTD kept her from being ensnared by a serious eating disorder. She did become compulsive about portion sizes and exercise.
Last spring and summer DD could admit that she needed to regain some of her lost weight, but she didn’t really want to. She had her thin legs, and she wanted to keep them. She would get within a pound of our agreed on target, and then lose a pound or two. She tells me that she didn’t intentionally sabotage the plan, but that she would get scared and exercise more. I had hoped that when she went off to college away from me and around girls eating normally, that she would be responsible for changing her own behavior. That did not happen.
She may be compulsive about exercise, but she is open and honest with me. We talk on the phone every day and now that she has a scale in her room, she reports her weight every morning. Two weeks ago when she hit a new low, I told her that I was worried about the damage she might be doing to her body, and I was worried that there might be some underlying physical cause for the continued weight loss. I said, “I’m making an appointment with our family doctor. If you gain a half a pound this week, I’ll cancel it. So if you can gain weight, this is the time to do it.” She put on 6/10s of a pound, then the day before she was to come home she called crying. She had lost it all.
We were two sad people at the doctor’s office. She has had friends who were diagnosed with anorexia. We both knew what could happen – high fat diets, birth control pills, antidepressants, hospitalization. Our doctor has known our family for ages and delivered DD 19 years ago. He was the right mix of firm and compassionate. He warned her what she was doing to herself. He gave her until Thanksgiving to put on 3 pounds. He wanted her to go in for counseling at school. She did not want to bring in an outside counselor, so I cautiously agreed that she could try to manage this herself and put on ½ pound a week for the next 3 weeks. If she can’t do it, then she will get counseling.
Here is where I need your help. It is hard to put weight on with the Type A diet. We went over all of the recommended portions, and while she is eating on the low end of the range, she is eating according to the diet in all areas except oils and grains. She has increased both of those areas this week. She eats a lot of vegetables, but most higher calorie vegetables seem to be avoid for Type A. She has nuts and fruit for breakfast. She eats 3 ounces of fish or turkey one meal a day and a nut butter sandwich the other meal. She drinks a protein shake every afternoon, and has a power bar made with nuts and fruit mid morning. She feels like she is eating all the time, but she is not gaining.
I would think that she is sabotaging again, except that my husband is experiencing the same thing. When his blood work showed an elevated sugar level, he got scared, then he got rebellious, then he got serious about the BTD Diabetes plan. I don’t have neutral grains in the house any more, and I limit his beneficial grains. He is a thin man to begin with, and he has lost 5 pounds. He eats three good meals a day and snacks on nuts while he watches TV at night.
Type As tell me: Do you continue to lose weight when you follow the diet? What high calorie beneficial foods do you enjoy? What can DD do to gain weight in a healthy way? What can HH eat to keep his blood sugar low, but not lose too much weight?
DD knows I am posting this blog, and she has signed up for her own Forum account so she can read your answers. I hope you can help and encourage her.
Please read the Diet Cure by Julia Ross and her follow up book, The Mood Cure. She talks about how brain chemistry affects anorexia and how blood type as well as proper amino acids can change the brain chemistry.
Your DD and HH may not be eating adequate levels of protein...
I kept losing muscle until I started supplementing with Amino Acids. I have shifted some of the foods to get more beneficial dairy and eggs.
It is also possible that they need to increase portion sizes a bit to gain adequate calorie input...
I feel like I need to continuously eat when I eat avoids. It seems to create a feeling of need. When I stay compliant, I feel satisfied more easily...
I hope this helps...
The portions and frequencies are guidelines.
Check out different types of exercising to see if one "fits" better than others. For instance, pilates, yoga or t'ai chi. These exercise types require a tremendous amount of concentration which works well for Type A blood type.
Try an Google search for: dorm room cooking guidelines - the top hit has a lot of good info!
All the best to you! Dropping stress levels is crucial.
I'm 5'1", and, at 28, a competitive multi-sport athlete, so I swim-train an hour 4 times a week and run at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, more at weekends.
My weight normally stabilises at 49 or 50kg (around 110lbs) ... except when I am stressed, at which point it plummets to below 47kg (around 98lbs), and even though I feel I am constantly eating, I start to look like a walking skeleton, so I can totally empathise with DD.
The biggest change I have made to combat this (successfully) is to take up 2 classes a week, one in pure T'ai Chi and the other in a mix of Yoga, Pilates and T'ai Chi called Body Balance, and commit to them completely - I go every week, no excuses.
These have helped me reduce my stress levels and, almost like a switch, the weight started to come back on. In a matter of a month I had 2.5kgs (5-6lbs) back and it's re-established at the 49-50kg that appears to be my BTD "ideal" and works well for me in my lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, it fluctuates, but not the same extreme.
Hope this helps, and very best wishes to DD.
I would recommend loggin foods she eats. This site provides a wonderful format and the information can also be available to you so you can help her out. http://www.fitday.com/
Many times we think we are eating too much or too little but when we take a look at a report... we often find surprises.
I know of an AB who also has issues with weight loss and has to increase the grains to maintain.
Anorexia is a bug I know well. Know that in order to get out of this pit your daughter will have to eat WELL ABOVE the recommended diet. I pulled myself out of anorexia twice without any intervention, and it required a fundamental change in attitude to break out of. (It will take time to fully break out, a full year or two to recover fully.) One, you have to admit that you will kill yourself if you carry on, and that you want to chose to live. Secondly, you have to break out of the mentality that weighing less means success and gaining weight means failure. As much as your daughter says she wants to gain weight, she doesn't really, truly want to gain weight. It is very hard to let go. She has to decide to force herself to eat more than she wants to, more than she needs, more than an average person needs. The body gets into a downward spirial of depravation, and you need a lot of food to change the direction.
Please contact me if your daughter is interested in speaking with me or anking me questions. I would be happy to help if I can.
To me it seems as though self esteem is the main issue.
You must find a way to be positive and thankful for your health more than anything.
Young, healthy, the whole world at your feet.
Do things you love.
Live your dreams.
Find fun things to do and positive people to surround you, know you are loved and love yourself.
Find what maks you happiest more than anything. Life is way to short to stress about body image and food, enjoy it as much as possible as there are poor people all over the world who do not have a choice of even eating.
Remember how lucky you really are in havnig a loving and caring healthy family.
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