Recovering Anorexic/bulimic And Scared

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WOW when I first read this post I thought it was myself talking! I too was worried about weight gain after I had an eating disorder for over a year! I thought for sure the reason I had this disease was because of the anerexia. Unfortunatly since I have been on this gluten-free diet I have gained about 12 pounds :angry: I know that I should be eating healthier still but it seems impossible becasue when I eat full meals I gain weight like mad! I think its just my body getting use to the nutrition it is absorbing. I am going to see doctors next week and am avoiding the nutritionist because I know they will try to make me eat all these food that I will gain weight from but some days.... I think its worth it....other days I refuse to go back to that 170 pound girl I once was!

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I started bingeing in middle school, turned anorexic in high school (dropped to 100lbs at 5'4") and then went back to bingeing. Only coming to college and being on a meal plan with no car did it become absolutely impossible to continue with these eating disorders.

I also snapped out of the anorexia by being told it would sharply decrease my ability to have kids. I suddenly realized I had a future to think about. But then I went right back to bingeing - probably somehow steeped in the undiagnosed Celiac. Both disorders were really more about control though for me - I am a perfectionist (only to myself - not my surroundings - NOT a neat freak), and that was the only thing I could control as a teen as my parents continued to make decisions I didn't like that affected me.

I have completely recovered, but I have wondered too how much of it all had to do with Celiac. I also still have a great fear of gaining weight. I don't ever want to go under 120lbs again either though. Even if it WOULD make clothes fit so much better. Why oh why do they make clothes for sticks!

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preach it on the 'clothes for sticks' julie ! i'm dreading going shopping with my mom a bit this weekend...afraid i will be moving up a size. but maybe i can tell myself its all relative :)

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WOW, am i glad to see what you all have written. i am REALLY struggling with binging lately-- and even including gluten-filled foods in my binges. i don't know what to do to stop... just now tonight i had a huge binge on halloween candy, ice cream, popcorn, and a box of GLUTEN-filled crackers that an ex-boyfriend had left in my kitchen. (i don't keep much food around because of my near-daily binges.) i am 5'3" and only 105-110 lbs, but that is normal for me... i have a HUGE fear of weight gain from these binges... help?!

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Hi Bessie:

I recovered from anorexia and bulimia and recently learned I have gluten intolerance (celiac). Part of my ED recovery process was learning to obey my own body cues of hunger and satisfaction to ONLY eat when I was physiologically hungry and STOP when I was satisfied (before uncomfortably full). Before I got gluten free, I used to eat from pain (of being very hungry) to pain (being uncomfortably full). Healing my intestines by avoiding gluten made recognizing satisfaction different, but not impossible. However, in answer to your question, I don't think you have to gain weight as you heal from gluten intolerance if you use a body conscious, nondiet approach. Of course you must substitute gluten free foods for your former gluten containing favorites, but your BODY will tell you when you have eaten enough to sustain your ideal healthy weight. Like you, I initially feared weight gain with the gluten free diet, that healing my intestines would make me absorb sooo much more nutrition that I would balloon back up to the +40# weight that made made turn to anorexia then bulimia after I lost that weight to keep it off. However, my body STILL reliably tells me when it needs food with hunger cues and when I've eaten enough, IF I eat slowly and consciously. I found I need less of more condensed gluten free breads. gluten-free cookies last much longer, because they're so condensed, I'm satisfied after only a few bites. So listen to your body as you adjust to gluten-free eating and let your body not your eyes dictate how much to eat for satisfaction.

Like you, I also feared gluten avoidance restrictions would send me back into the good food/bad food obsession that made me binge and purge on my 'forbidden' foods. So I adamantly found great substitutes for all my favorite breads, cookies, cereals, etc. I also found gluten-free brands of all my favorite condiments. Now I actually prefer gluten-free breads, because I LOVE dense breads. I made the best gluten-free date nut banana bread last weekend--better than any other fruit breads I previously baked! So think substitution--not deprivation. You may find gluten-free foods you like MUCH better than any gluten containing former favorites. But make sure you can eat a gluten-free form of all the foods you depend on to prevent the deprivation/binge cycle.

I don't think you CAUSED your gluten intolerance/celiac disease with disordered eating habits. Quite the contrary, the celiac symptoms may have influence your disordered eating habits. In my case, the extreme pain in my abdomen after eating gluten made me want to binge on chocolate to induce diarrhea (I had the constipation celiac symptoms with pain & bloating) and then purge to avoid having to digest ANY food for awhile. So I existed on the instantly digested simple carbs and gave my digestive system a break everytime I used b/p. Although I eliminated all my other b/p triggers (good/bad foods & coping with emotions by numbing myself with b/p), the PAIN trigger was the last to go. Fortunately learning that I was gluten intolerant (I discovered lactose intolerance many years ago and used Lactaid supplements for that) eliminated that crazy making pain, so I no longer even experience ANY b/p urges (rather than having to resist or distract myself from urges). So healing from celiac damage and avoiding gluten MAY be the best thing you could do to recover from disordered eating habits.

Finally, I moderate a messageboard/webpage for people who have struggled with and are committed to recovery from disordered eating. I use that term to avoid the disease/addiction connotations associated with eating disorders, because we consider any eating outside of true physiological need 'disordered' and can lead to using food for coping with emotions, so common with EDs. I just posted recently on my board about celiac and warned other members to get a second opinion if their doctors diagnose their symptoms as IBS. If you're interested in joining our online support group on that message board email me at penguina@hotmail.com.

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Thanks to Bessie and all who've replied to her concerns. I too am an ED Celiac sufferer and

worry about weight gain. There's an awful lot of sugar based recipies and sugar and I are like drugs too an addict, once I start I can't stop. Any suggestions? I was considering the Specific Carbo Diet but it seems like a ton of work. Keep the Q&A's coming they are really helpful to me. Kerri

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Wow, I wonder if this thread is just evidence that alot of people struggle with eating problems or if the incidence is higher among celiacs, for one reason or another.

Thank you all for sharing your stories. Here's mine...

I started restricting food when I was 12-13, and graduated to starving myself by the end of high school, with bouts of purging when my parents made me eat. When I left for college, I was finally able to stop eating and my weight plummeted from 135 to 100 pounds in the first semester (I'm 5'7").

Then I snapped out of it. I remember feeling awful putting food back in my system, though. I had constant D and cramping.

Over the next year, I gained alot of weight, but then stabilized again around 140 pounds. I think my metabolism just needed to wake back up. A couple years ago I moved and got a dog and started exercising and eating healthy and slowly settled down to 130 pounds.

Then over the summer the constant D began. I think it's unrelated, but it felt just like when I started eating again after my period of starvation. I didn't lose any weight, though. I have since self-diagnosed as some sort of gluten intolerance/sensitivity, because a gluten-free diet has completely resolved my D. Since going gluten-free, I tend toward the lower edge of my weight range (127-130), but will likely settle out when I get a normal repertoire of foods again. In the meantime, I should be more careful about not filling my caloric needs with candy.

I am actually less afraid of gaining weight, and more troubled by the food obsession and label reading that feels so familiar in a bad way. I had become really proud of the healthy attitude I had toward food -- eating well, treating myself, and maintaining a healthy, slender weight without obsessing all the time. So I'm more afraid of embracing an unhealthy mental pattern than gaining weight.

So interesting how complicated food issues can get!

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I need to jump on here more often, it again has been about a year since I have made an appearance...

Unfortunately, I am struggling big time lately.

About 1 1/2 years ago my doctor sent me to a nutritionist to help me sort out my Gluten Intolerance (which has not been fully diagnosed as celiac disease yet.) After I had already been gluten free over a year the nutritionist read a book to me about ingredients i can and cant eat then told me i should lose 10 pounds because ill probably end up having bad knees.... She also told me it was impossible to gain weight as quickly as i did after going gluten free. (15 pounds in three months) Luckily at that point in my life I was mentally healthy and laughed at her and walked out.

Its been almost 3 years now gluten free and my intestines are going nuts. :( i feel hopeless and the only way that i seem to be coping is by restricting more and more from my diet. The fixation of my body image has now turned full force on keeping other certain ingredients that i know are gluten free out of my diet to see if it "helps". Well, what i tell people is that they make me sick when in reality i just want to avoid food and feel i have the perfect excuse. I dont know what to do. No doctor seems to take me seriously since i havent had a full blown diagnoses of celiac disease. I cant find a specialist where I live. Im afraid other problems have developed and at times just feel it would be better for my body to give up on itself. I never eat gluten on purpose and cant for the life of me figure out why i still feel sick. Im at a loss... Im sick of this too.

I do want you all to know that i feel encouraged knowing im not alone out there. I think accountability is key. (to whoever said that) Also, coming out in the open with it...which is what i just did. I just think that gluten isnt as much as an issue as finding help for my ED now. I dont know where to start. ...Sorry I guess this is more of an ED post than a gluten free one. As usual, I guess im trying to use celiac disease as soemthing to hide behind for ED.

I will be here more often since I dont live out of the country anymore (which i might add was VERY accomodating to a gluten free diet).

Thank you all so much. And if anyone knows ANY gluten free specialists in California could you please send me the info. thank you all so much for listening and I hope you others out there who are struggling are getting better.


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Wow, like others, I am surpirsed by the number of Celiacs with disordered eating. At the same time, I can see a connection. I think that it is great that everyone can get together and talk about it.

Eventhough I don't have any specific ED, I have had glimpses of it in the past (while going to university). I had poor eating habits (like binging when I was alone) and formed major body image problems. It was not "bad" enough to have negative effects on my health, but I knew that the way I thought about food and myself was not healthy.

How I got out? I dont' really know. I thought about the person I wanted to be and learned how to accept myself. I also exercised some willpower (I wrapped a roll of tape around a container of yogurt almonds and threw it up in the closet). Eventually my bad behavior died down and more of the work was put into my body image issues. Now, I am free from all of this, but I can really sympathize with all of you.

I really do wonder if ED are more common amongst Celiacs.....With all the label reading and paranoia of being glutened, we put a lot of thought and effort into our bodies, food and weight. I can only offer my opinion on this, which is described in a book I read called Awareness, by de Mello.

De Mello explains that renounciation is not the solution. (I used to renounce all the time.....ie. Starting Monday, I am not going to eat any more gluten-free cookies, etc.). However, when you renounce something, you are stuck to it forever. When you fight something, you're tied to it forever. As long as you are fighting it, you are giving it power. You give it as much power as you are using to fight it. The only way to get out of this, is to see through it. Understand its true value and you won't need to renounce it; it will just drop from your hands. But of course, if you don't see that, if you're hypnotized into thinking that you won't be happy without getting away from it, you're stuck. What you need to do is to understand, understand, understand.....

I think that we, as Celiacs, tend to renounce a lot when trying to find the solution to feeling good. Don't give your poor habits, or food that power.

I have done a lot of trial and error and have found that the Paleo diet makes me feel great and keeps my weight down. I eat Paleo 80% of the time and am completely ok with having 20% otherwise. Establish a way of eating and stick to it. Consistency is key, not perfection. A 75% diet most days is better than a 100% diet here and there.

I wish you all the best of luck. Don't give up. Put you energy and power into understanding and getting healthy.

Best wishes,

Heather : )

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Bessie, I'm glad you've come back.

I am one who still has problems even though gluten-free, and there are several of us. I am also 100% casein-free as dairy causes bad intestinal symptoms for me, too. Right now I am eating very plainly until my digestive system and adrenal glands recover more. I just eat meat, chicken, veggies, occassional fruit, rice and potatoes. I am sure to eat protein with each meal. I am doing better but still have a long way to go.

You might check out the OMG Maybe I can eat dairy again, thread. Just jump into the last few pages .... we discuss other food intolerances and what else might still be making us feel bad.

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