Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Recovery Meal Plan

This is the meal plan that was given to me by the nutritionist at The Renfrew Center while I was there for IOP.  She says that it's important that I stick to this for at least a year before trying to be more "intuitive" or "mindful" so I'm working hard on this every day.

No triggering comments, please.  By that, I mean, please don't comment about how much or little food it is, or how my choices could/should be healthier or lighter, or anything about weight loss or weight gain.  Only supportive comments are welcome on this post.  Other ones may get you banned.  I'm serious about this, because it's really hard for me to share this with you guys, so please be respectful of my wishes.

I'm not posting this as a DIET TIP or as THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR RECOVERY but simply to show you what's going on with me, to give you an idea of what recovery looks like for me.

Okay...  here goes.

At Renfrew, the focus is on food exchanges, not on calories or macronutrients. 

However, I tracked a few days worth of meal plans into My Fitness Pal before I deleted that app/site out of my life forever, and found that it's anywhere from 1600-2000 calories daily, and very balanced as far as macros go.  This is not a weight loss plan, but my nutritionist says that my body will eventually adjust at where it's meant to be if I stick to this plan, especially once my ED behaviors cease completely and I start incorporating regular movement/exercise into my life again.

The exchanges represent the food groups, and they are: protein, starch, fat, fruit, vegetables, dairy, and dessert.

I eat three large meals and one snack daily, along with 2-3 desserts weekly.

For me, and I'm told that there are 3 Renfrew meal plans, but mine is this:

Breakfast-  3 starches, 1 fruit, 1 fat, 1 dairy

Lunch- 2 starches, 3 proteins, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, 2 fats, 1 dairy


Dinner- 2 starches, 3 proteins, 1 vegetable, 2 fats, 1 dairy

Snack- 3 mixed exchanges of my choice
Desert- 1 "normal" serving of any dessert I want to eat

Here's what makes up 1 exchange:

Starch- 1/2 c grain, 1 serving any packaged items (1 pop tart, 1 granola bar, 1 handful of potato chips, etc.); 1 slice bread; 1 small tortilla

Protein- 1 oz protein (meat, meat sub);  1 c beans = 3 proteins

Dairy- 1 c milk, 1 serving yogurt, 1/4 c cheese

Vegetable- 1 c vegetables, or one medium vegetable

Fruit- 1 c fruit, or one medium piece of fruit

Fat- 1 tsp fat (oil, butter), 1 T nuts, 1/4 avocado

I have basically started to eyeball everything but dinner's beans and grains. 

So many things that I love about eating this way... 

Probably my favorite is that I am eating all of my favorite foods all of the time, including pop tarts and pizza.  I am truly starting to learn that there are NO BAD FOODS, especially when I stick to this meal plan because it's such a good variety.

Also:  It's a LOT of food!  This satisfies me so much that I'm hardly ever hungry outside of meal times.  My binges (which are now very rare, thanks to treatment) are now completely emotional, they are never triggered by hunger.  This makes them easier to identify and usually preventable.

Things that I've learned:  I was NOT EATING ENOUGH before treatment.  My "feed bag" that I bring with me to work every day is huge now, because I have enough things in there to truly nourish my body for 2 meals and 1 snack.  (I eat my snack around 4 during the work week, to prevent the after-work-hunger binge).

Also:  I'm not lactose intolerant.  I used to be, but now my stomach seems fine, even though I'm drinking milk with breakfast and eating yogurt or cheese with the other two meals.  I think that I may still be slightly intolerant, but because I never eat JUST DAIRY, it's always with other food groups, that helps my stomach to handle it.

 I use the app Rise Up! to do food and feelings journaling throughout the day.  The app also features affirmations and coping skills activities.  I love it, and it has been an important part of my recovery.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

I'm still here!

I know that I originally planned to blog weekly with updates about my treatment while in IOP at The Renfrew Center.  But while I was in treatment, it just stopped feeling right to blog.

Maybe because I was getting so much emotional purging done through other formats, like journaling and therapy, and just didn't need this outlet.  Maybe it's because I felt like my treatment was sacred to me, and didn't want to share all of the details on here.  Maybe it's because I was drained, physically and emotionally during this time.  Probably some of each of these reasons.

Anyway, I have learned a lot over the past 2 months while in treatment, and I am planning to blog a lot about the lessons now that I'm out. 

Posts to look out for:

My Meal Plan- I will tell you all about the meal plan that I plan to follow for recovery purposes for at least a year.  My nutritionist says that it's important to be fairly "strict" about it for at least that long before trying to be more "intuitive" about it.

Coping Skills- all about the healthy coping skills I've learned

Sitting with the feelings- all about how to sit with difficult emotions instead of turning to an ED behavior

...and more!

I am looking forward to getting back in the swing of things with this blog and with the rest of my life.  A lot of personal developments in my life are going to be featured in this blog soon as well.  I've come to accept that life is all about change, even if change is my biggest fear.  It's okay to walk away from things that are bad for you. 

Also, I'm looking for some food journal support from you readers!  A big part of my recovery has been keeping a food and feelings journal on the Rise Up app and sending regular entries to my nutrionist at Renfrew.

I am no longer with a nutritionist because outside of Renfrew, I can't afford it.  But I would love to still have the accountability of sending regular journal entries to someone.  So, if you would like to be added to my journal email list, please email me at and let me know, or leave me your email address in the comments of this post (or a comment on my Facebook post about this post).

The journal entries get pretty emotional and raw sometimes, so if you like to read that kind of thing, you should sign up! 

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me.  I'm so happy that I did this for myself.  I am still with Renfrew, but as a part of their "Aftercare Program" which meets weekly, and as a member of their alumni association.

I am taking my recovery seriously.  I deserve recovery.  We all do.