Most often in treatment, the initial focus will be on nutritional rehabilitation, to assist in reversing the physical damage of malnutrition and to begin reversing the psychological effects of starvation.
Eating enough for your body will vary depending on your individual needs, and this is where working with an Accredited Practicing Dietitian who specialises in eating disorders will be helpful.
When you take the step toward nourishing your body back from malnutrition, there will be an ‘energy debt’ that needs to be repaid. Whilst what you are eating could be enough to maintain your body functions for the day, there needs to be additional energy to allow for the repair of damages from starvation. Including additional food/energy-containing fluid allows for repairs of your muscles, and organs [returning them to their natural capacity, as your body has broken these down to use the stores as fuel] and weight gain if needed. If you engage in movement, this will also need to be factored in when making food choices.
Eating enough food, from all the different food groups [including your fun foods] allows the macro [carbs, protein, fat] and micro [calcium, iron, vitamins for example] nutrients to do the work they need to. For example, carbohydrates can fuel the brain, and proteins and fats can repair and re-build muscle, hormones, and bones, and contribute to healthy hair, skin, and nails. When the body does not receive adequate amounts or types of food, those nutrients are not able to perform those roles and are instead relocated, leaving you with damage to certain organs or functions in your body.
A common theme that we observe with clients, is there being a difference between what you’re eating disorder mindset thinks is enough food versus the amount of food your body requires. This can be tricky because you will constantly be challenging your eating disorder thoughts to serve yourself enough food AND at the same time, the amount of food you need to repair and restore is more than usual.
At Myrtle Oak, we tailor our approaches to you. To book an initial assessment or to simply enquire about our services, follow the ‘let’s talk’ link on our website or call us on 02 4362 3443.