Anatomy of Recovery

I'm Jules, a 23 year old recent college graduate, currently working and applying for grad school. I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa when I was 14. I'm 100% committed to recovery because I know how amazing it can be. This blog is about my journey and any help and inspiration I can offer others on their own journeys.
I tag all my personal pics "julespic" so that you can block the tag if you find them triggering. I also tag all photos of food with the "food" tag in case they are triggering to you.

Ask Me Anything

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Theme by @yosoyprincesa.
"I don't have an ed, but my sister does and i'm curious, do people with anorexia feel hunger? I get the impression they do but not in the same way, like is it just a feeling you don't associate with eating?" With love, Anonymous.

I think you might get a different answer to this depending on who you ask and what phase of disease they’re in.  In my experience, it’s both.  I’m sure every person has a slightly different experience.  Physically, my hunger disappeared but it was all my mind could think about.  I spent hours online looking at food blogs or recipes and planning out things that I would never eat.  I also had dreams and nightmares about eating large amounts of food.

 It also depends on what part of the illness you are in.  Many people experience hunger for a while, but after a certain point the hunger stops as the body shuts down.  A slowed metabolism decreases hunger signals, and it also decreases everything else the body does.  Also, the strong feelings of anxiety about eating/food/the body seem to overwhelm the mind and block out the hunger.  The feeling of hunger can incite panic, which can make one adverse to eating.  Eventually someone can feel like hunger and eating are not connected the way they are for most people.

 Getting hunger cues back is an important part of recovery and hunger can be kind of unpredictable when people begin to refeed.  During recovery someone might experience both underactive hunger and extreme hunger as the body tries to readjust to eating, digesting, and metabolizing.  Again, these are just one person’s experiences.

If you’re interested in learning more about the physical and psychological impacts of starvation or semi-starvation, you might want to read about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.  Wishing you and your sister all the best <3

"Does anyone else in your family suffer from an eating disorder?" With love, Anonymous.

Yes, my mother does.

Diriye Osman, Fairytales for Lost Children (via shittyteenblog)

(via hippiehealthy)

Holding on to joy

Holding on to joy

I am so, so happy tonight.  I am so happy.  I just saw one of my best friends who I only get to see about once a year.  We only got 2 hours and 53 mins this time.  It’s never enough but also just perfect.  And he always treats me to dinner.

A note to followers:

I really sympathize with folks who send messages for me to post asking for everyone to send support to another user.  I decided a while ago not to post these messages because I don’t feel comfortable sharing information about someone or drawing attention to them without them asking me to do so.  I really think it’s kind of you to be doing and I’m sure a lot of people really appreciate the messages; I’m just not comfortable participating.  

I care about all of you and anyone can message me if they need support or want help with supporting a friend <3

"why did you relapse back then ? Wasnt things going well or didnt you get "good" help?" With love, Anonymous.

It was complicated and I’m still sorting out some of the reasons behind it.

I’m not sure I want to type it all out again, so here is a link to an older post about it.

"you have an amazing body image!" With love, Anonymous.

Haha, thank you!  I’m not entirely sure where you got this idea from.  I try to be as body positive as I can be and share my successes with you all.  Sometimes I like my body.  Oftentimes I don’t, but it could certainly be worse.  I think that objectively from the outside, it is often good.  But I get caught up in obsessions.  I am accepting the fact that there are certain things that I’ll probably never like about my body and I might just have to ignore them.

I’m glad that you think I have a positive body image and thank you for reminding me that I’ve definitely made progress in this regard.  I don’t want everyone to think that I have a great body image, especially all the time, because that’s not realistic for other people to want to emulate.

I wish that I was more of a body image and body positive role model than I feel like I am.

"do you recover with MinniMaud guidelines?" With love, Anonymous.

The answer is “kinda.”  I began recovery before MinniMaud was really an identified thing.  I’ve been doing the Maudsley Method (the Maud part of MinniMaud) since I was 14 and through high school.  When I went to college, I stopped following any sort of set plan and started intuitive eating.  I was glad to be rid of being forced by my parents to eat food on a set plan when I wasn’t hungry and I wasn’t having ED thoughts anymore, so I was really frustrated by it.  I was constantly being grounded for not finishing my food because it was just too much for my system to handle.

When I relapsed at age 21, I went back to following Maudsley for a while, with what is now known as the Minni part of the guidelines.  We had to fight with my nutritionist to up my calorie intake when she wanted to “not scare me” by giving me a meal plan that wasn’t even what my BMR would have been.  I left to go to treatment and when I came back, she felt panicked that I had gained so much weight and wanted to slow my gain down by giving me a plan under 2000 calories.  She wanted me to switch my snacks to “safe foods” (her words, not mine) like fruits and veggies.  I was furious.  I wasn’t even near the BMI that most treatment centers want you to get to, not to mention that many people have a higher set point and many people overshoot.  Restricting people early in recovery is ridiculous.  These were all things I had just learned by reading a lot of scientific papers over the years and are things that I’m glad that MinniMaud addresses.  She seemed to expect me to maintain at exactly the line between underweight and healthy, which set me up for failure.  If I ate enough to satisfy my hunger, I would gain past that point, and if I didn’t I would have to restrict forever, and I was currently experiencing extreme hunger.  I left her office suicidal and never went back.  I felt that there was no hope for me.

I found a new nutritionist who used a very evidence based approach.  We increased my calories to what is now the “MinniMaud” level and she trusted my body to deal with that, and helped me trust my body to do the same.  She thought that there should never be a circumstance where I should restrict my calories to stay at a weight below my set point.  We had struggles.  Having weekly weigh-ins where I knew my weight wasn’t something that I was willing to give up yet, so that held me back.

Fast forward to the present; I use the calorie guidelines as a rough approximation for my day.  I don’t count calories and haven’t in a long time, so I use a really rough approximation based on the number of meals and snacks and about how many exchanges are in each.  Some days I don’t think about it all.  I have finally accomplished the third main tenant of MinniMaud; not knowing my weight.  That’s my current struggle, to be honest.  I’m eating and that’s mostly okay, but not knowing my weight feels like it’s killing me.

So basically, I’ve been doing “MinniMaud” since before it was really a thing due to my scientific knowledge and the knowledge of those supporting me.  Now I practice intuitive eating while being mindful that my intuition needs to be checked sometimes.

I feel like all of this is very polarizing because we have disorders that cause us to respond strongly to any sort of “shoulds” about eating.  I don’t really want to argue with anyone about what I eat.

Talk to me.

Aw, people are reblogging this again :)  Lil young me.

Aw, people are reblogging this again :)  Lil young me.

(Source: anatomy-of-recovery)

I’m back home for a week and it’s going pretty well so far.  Today I made my family a beautiful breakfast for dinner; a summer frittata and oven french toast with strawberries.  My mom was even willing to eat the entire dinner as long as I didn’t salt it or put anything with salt in it.  My sister was willing to eat it as long as I didn’t use cream in the french toast.  Such is family.  Sigh.  My mom would NEVER have had this a few years ago.  Never.  So there are things to be thankful for, certainly.

My mom also got me this super super adorable cat necklace at Target.  It’s amazing how exciting Target becomes when you never get to go to it.

"how long are you in recovery?" With love, Anonymous.

That’s a question with many answers.  I first got anorexia when I was 13 (2003) and first entered recovery at age 14 (2004/2005).  I was then in recovery from 2004-2011, when I relapsed at 21.  I re-entered recovery sometime in 2012 and since then I’ve considered myself in recovery, although I’ve had a few major lapses along the way.  I’m 23 now.