The Good: She seemed to have pretty holistic, well-rounded ideas about general nutrition. Whereas J used to basically just say EAT FOOD ANY FOOD OKAY BYE at every single appointment, New Nutritionist definitely took a more focused approach. (To be fair, I was underweight throughout the whole period that I saw J, and am not anymore.) After talking about my history and looking at a typical day of food for me, Nutritionist concluded that my diet is majorly lacking in fats. As in, I'm not even coming close to the recommended daily percentage. I don't have any particular aversion to fats themselves, although I still have this tendency to get the most volume of food for my calorie-buck, which leads to loading up on a lot of veggies and protein—not exactly conducive to incorporating high-fat (and therefore calorie-dense) foods. Once we established that pattern, Nutritionist pointed out a lot of opportunities for me to substitute higher fat options to help regulate my whacked-out system (your body needs fat to produce hormones!) and keep my hunger in check.
|girl was ALL about the nutz|
The Questionable: I got the impression that Nutritionist was very very very concerned about creating the Perfect Diet. For example, when we were discussing possible fat sources, she got super nit-picky about plant vs. animal sources. Um, I don't know about you, but I don't really give a shiz about whether my fat comes from yogurt or nuts. And for a recovering anorexic, that doesn't seem like a distinction we should be worrying about. She also had major qualms with processed foods; I don't eat a ton of them, but am definitely no Puritan about the issue. Luna or Clif bars are a pretty common snack for me, but Nutritionist was definitely Anti-Bar, and wanted me to start packing nuts, cheese and crackers, fruits with peanut butter, etc. for snacks instead. I'm sure the "whole, non-processed food" thing is indeed theoretically healthier, but not always feasible when I'm running around campus ten hours a day and need something easy to toss in my backpack. I also mentioned at one point that my grandmother had had Type II diabetes, and Nutritionist launched into a lecture about sugar intake and insulin production and yada yada yada. I had to put the lid on that one because while I have no degree in nutritional science, I assure you that my sugar intake is nowhere near excessive.
The Bad: Calories. I told her the number I eat every day, which even I know probably isn't sufficient. My biggest concern was that I'm eating this lowish amount, exercising, and still slowly gaining weight. J used to say that was because my metabolism was sluggish and that the only solution was to eat more—of course that was scary for me to trust, but it makes sense. Basically, Nutritionist said that my caloric intake was fine; that I should maybe increase eventually, but focus for the time being on swapping out stuff for higher fat options. I brought up the possibility of increasing calories a few times, and she sort of shrugged it off as unnecessary.
New Nutritionist definitely had some positives to offer, but I'm not going to take her word as gospel. And probably won't be seeing her again, although may check in periodically via e-mail. I am coming to the conclusion that my current weight gain (again, veeerrrrry slow but of course still freaking me out) is a combination of post-anorexia internal recovery happening with my bones, organs, cells, etc.; water-weight/muscle-building from resuming exercise; medications (I'm on a couple different ones, so who knows what effect/interactions could be happening); and funky hormonal action. Plus, who knows what the heck is going on with my body after the hell it's been through over the past few years?
My plan of action from here on out is going to be: increase fat and calories, keep up with the exercise in moderation, continue the hormone treatments from Dr. A to hopefully take care of this damn pain, and hopefully maintain my sanity in the process. I may need to accept the fact that the last time I was really at a healthy weight, eating regularly, and not being an anorexic FREAK was at 16 or 17 years old, and my body just may naturally want to be at a higher weight now that I'm 22. It's kind of hard to come to grips with the fact that I may need to be a higher weight for a while (and of course, by higher I just mean "higher than what I'm used to"—my BMI is still lowish-normal. Perspective...), but I so badly want to be healthy, to graduate from college, to go to graduate school next year, and finally leave all this crap in the dust.