Eating disorder recovery

Karin

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May 14, 2022
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18
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Trencin
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  1. Vegan
Hello vegans!

I am writing here to search for help. This is the problem of mine..

I was 16 years old when I became vegan. The idea of it was super appealing, and it still is, as I had never been much of a meat eater, and I felt it was healthier and easier to maintain weight. I want to believe back then it was more of an ethical stance as I was so shocked by factory farming and animal abuse going on. I am a passive person by nature, want no harm to others. I went into veganism with an eye on ethics as well as my health, meeting my nutritional needs.

My first year of being vegan I ate a very healthy clean whole foods plant based diet with minimal processed food. I avoided most soy and all fake cheese,meat and all the vegan processed treats. I made my own bread, I made a lot of chickpea flour omelets , my own nut based “mayo” and my own plant milks. I ate leafy greens daily, and beans, whole grains, a serving or two of whole nuts or seeds, tons of fruits and vegetables. I also wanted no part of exploiting animals in any way, so i rid our house of all leather, wool, pearls, wax candles and other animal products. I analyzed my life in every way, replacing toothpaste, shoes, socks,everything. I went natural,eco,bio and all raw.. even with cleaning using nuts liquid soap, lemon juice, vinegar, tea tree oil etc. I read labels meticulously on supplements and foods to ensure they were vegan. I rarely ate out and when I did I scrutinized the menu and asked the staff about the items..Being so strict with food and label reading led to a relapse in my obsessive compulsiveness, extreme perfectionism and therefore , anorexia. My eating disorder gradually took over and maintaining veganism became an obsession. I planned menus for school weeks in advance for every scrape of food that touched my mouth.

Breakfast,coffee,lunch,coffee,dinner,tea. I ate less and less and cut out more food until I was eating all raw fruits and leafy greens with occasional seeds. I tried keto vegan diet so my body would live off my fat stores, checking ketones in my urine 3 times per a day. Crazy! I didn’t feel at all good. My energy was lower and I began to have a lot of digestive issues. I couldn’t sleep, because it just hurt to toss in my bed. I felt like I was shrinking, because of my bones density. Only my anorexic mind was satisfied and motivated me to keep going. I began to restrict myself for 48 hours straight repeatedly. My weight plummeted to dangerously underweight (45kg) and I was very sick for a whole half of a year. Paradoxically, it was my most productive period of life as I tried to shift my focus on studies while starving. Later, I would replace normal food with coke, black coffee or water, and the day after my intermittent fast, I binged. Especially throughout the time I was home alone or on the road alone. I had a romanticised picture in my head,thinking I would not eat and only study. But it was quite the opposite - I couldnt focus anymore and my head was full of food only. My relationship with food was toxic to that point, that I fell in love with bulimia. Until I had gained weight, lost more and more hair, experienced multiple brain fogs, my teeth became yellowish, my throat burning, enlarged salivary glands,rusty voice, and gone through acidic reflux every day.

I realised I had to stop. My body at this point, was stronger - I finally had a healthy BMI, though I went through a severe hormonal imbalance (as I haven’t had period for a year) and depression. Only my mind couldn’t keep up with the fact I gained weight, it was still stuck in repetitive circle.. I had a sudden breakdown one day, I wasn’t capable of going to school and did not even attend my farewell, bc I was struggling with social anxiety (correlated with my anorexia, body image,confidence)..I lied about my struggles. I became antisocial. I became a different person- lost weight, but with it my true self. As if some sort of evil got over me. Evil named anorexia, bulimia, OCD, impostor syndrome, social media pressure,diet culture.

Now, my parents are desperate and want me to go back to “normal” diet. But I really want to stay vegan because that’s what I believe in, and that’s how I feel better. I told them I would eat dairy if i will have real craving, just to get rid of my anorexia voice. But my mum won’t listen and my dad is sceptical. She is diagnosed with schizoprenia and can get very aggresive over my diet. She really is pushy, so much that in that moment I want to get back to my sick habits. How should I persuade them, so that they won’t see only ED behind it?

Thank you
 

Lou

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  1. Vegan
How should I persuade them, so that they won’t see only ED behind it?
Not sure you can. I'm not even sure you should.

Let me see... you are 18... are you finishing with high school now? what's next? It might be that the next chapter in your life will be away from your parents. That ought to help.

I didn't know where Trencin was. At first, based on your writing I thought it was in an English speaking country. But it's in Slovakia?! Your little essay is very impressive on several levels but it is completely amazing if English is not your first language.

So the immediate, predominant. and most important concern is for your health - as it should be. You can't be a good vegan if you are dead.

As you know you can eat a completely nutritionally complete vegan diet. But as you also know that requires some (if not a lot) of forethought, planning and care. The problem you will be facing is how to plan your diet without triggering your anorexia. And creating issues and problems with your mom, too.

So my advice (and you did ask for it) is to take the path of least resistance for now. Eat what she wants you to.

Now that is my advice for the immediate future (and you probably don' t like it) but I have some ideas for moving on in the future.

I just googled it and Slovakia has Universal Healthcare. And I'm assuming that since you 18 you can see a doctor without your parent's permission. Now, of course I don't know how your system works but you might be able to find something equivalent to a Registered Dietitian. If you can find one and make an appointment - sometime you only have to meet with them once. and sometimes that can just be over the phone. They might be able to come up with a meal plan that is vegan or at least vegetarian. I think having a "prescribed" diet should do a lot to allay your parents' concerns.

One thing that I've seen here in America is healthcare professionals are sometimes leery of vegan diets for anorexics. Their concerns are well founded too. Its known that some anorexics use veganism as a disguise or camouflage for their eating disorder. (Oh. I can't eat that. Its not vegan.) It's also well known here that it's mostly teenage girls who do that. Not that YOU do that. but you must understand that they are going to think of that.

So you might not be able to get a healthcare professional to go along with a vegan diet. here in America, more and more healthcare workers are figuring out that a vegan or mostly plant based diet is a healthy alternative. You might need to bargain with the professional. I'm envisioning something like, Ok, Karin, you stick to this regular diet this month and if we get good results (weight gain, blood tests, and psych stuff) we can modify it to be more plant based next month. And so on.

Good luck. and welcome to the forum.
 
D

Deleted member 14798

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Have them watch vegan documentaries which feature doctors including Forks Over Knives and Eating You Alive. Show them a person can eat a larger amount of food if making healthier choices. They may try some plant based foods with you. Prepare meals together for a bonding experience. People are less likely to be negative if they're made a part of something rather than it separating you from them.