Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Meal Plan A


Meal Plan.  The phrase (or word if you prefer mealplan) that everyone (in the eating disorder world) hates to hear.  Perhaps this sentence has gone through your head at various points, sitting across from a nutritionist or doctor as you send them little arrows of hate for making you eat “so much” and for making you eat foods that “aren’t necessary”?  (Don’t worry.  You’re not the first person who has sent these arrows of hate in their direction.  They’re used to it.)

I am not in a position to tell anyone if his or her meal plan is appropriate or if they can adjust it or tweak it or any of that.  Even though I did all the same “nutritional research” that a lot of you have done, I am not qualified to make any decisions on meal plans.  So that’s not what this post is about.

Here are a couple of things you may want to think about that might make accepting your current phase of treatment a little easier:

No one is making you eat anything.  Even if you are in a hospital.  If you approach each meal and each snack with the thought that you are choosing to take a step towards recovery, you may walk away from the meal or snack with a sense of empowerment.  You are taking your own recovery in your own hands.

The idea of eating “so much” food brings up a couple of thoughts.  If you are on a weight recovery plan, you may feel very overwhelmed with the food in front of you.  Keep in mind that your body needs more food right now because it was deprived of food for so long.  Your metabolism may be messed up from restricting or overeating or binging and purging.  What you are eating now may very well not be what you are eating when you are working on weight maintenance or when your metabolism is back on track.  You and your nutritionist will work together to figure out what your body needs, and what your body needs may very well change.

Also, regardless of which eating disorder you struggled with, your idea of what is a “normal” meal may be a little skewed. I know mine was. Even after tapering off the weight-recovery plan down to a “normal” plan, I felt like I was eating “so much” food. I had no accurate idea of what other people ate.  People who were my age and involved with the same activities as I was.  I couldn’t trust my own judgment.   But then I started paying more attention.  When we went out to eat, they did eat their whole meal.  And they ate snacks in between classes/during classes.  They even tried to eat breakfast in the morning before running out the door to class, and (in my mind) breakfast was optional meal. With time, the “so much” food will come to feel normal.  Each time you choose to follow your meal plan, you give your body a chance to adjust.   Each time you choose to take a step toward recovery and challenge your comfort zone, your comfort zone expands.

Sometimes, in recovery, you just can’t trust your own perceptions about what you should be eating or about whether or not that’s a “normal” amount of food.  Sometimes you really do need to trust the professionals.  They are not out to torture you.  They are there to help you.  But, as with all aspects of recovery, you have to choose to accept that help.


September 23, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. amen amen.
    i always think that’s way too much food!
    and sometimes when i am not eating all my food groups, I think, that’s not enough food. What do you mean I can’t have 12 servings (eg) of vegetables? lol
    good points.

    Comment by wednesday | September 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. hey there:) I’ve been reading your blog for a while now but never really comment. Meals plans are so intimidating :~|
    I guess looking on the bright side I should be glad I don’t have to gain weight back, because I’d have a super hard time coping with that.

    Comment by edoutsider | September 23, 2010 | Reply

  3. this is a great post. my nutritionist always has to remind me that she is not “out to get me” and she isn’t going to “make me fat”. it’s tough sometimes, but remembering that my nutritionist is on MY side–not ED’s–helps.

    Comment by Coco | September 24, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hi. I’ve been peeking in and enjoying your blog for the past month. I am in the very last phases of recovery from anorexia myself. I’m so excited to finally see home plate! I am struck by some similarities you share with me and my husband. I graduated from Stephens college and my husband from MU. He has a degree in Latin and English. We are both teachers. I also went to Sheppard Pratt. So, as I read your blog I can envision you tromping the streets of Columbia, a city still near and dear to my heart. Thanks for your writing and your general outlook. Know that you have a new fan out there!

    Comment by Alex | September 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you–I would love to get to know you and your husband more ifyou are ever interested.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | September 25, 2010 | Reply

      • You are welcome. I’m always open to a new friend. 🙂

        Comment by Alex | October 2, 2010

  5. if i had a nickel for all the hissyfits i pitched about “how much food” someone was “making me eat”, my son’s college education would already be paid for. possibly grad school. possibly ivy league.

    now i occasionally do eat dessert at lunch.
    i’ve noticed the world still turns on its axis despite this.

    thank God.

    Comment by michelle | September 27, 2010 | Reply

    • I think I’d have no student loans if I had a nickel for each of my hissy fits. Perhaps a quarter for the times I stamped my feet when my supplements were increased? Definitely a dollar when they went up to four. That was a “proud” moment.

      And I needed ice cream last night. Just one of my emotional “this weekend sucked and I want ice cream” moments. And, I am still here. At the same size. And yes, by golly, the world is still turning.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | September 27, 2010 | Reply

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