My eating problems got started when I came down with a really viscous, nasty 2 week bout of stomach flu. After the 3rd day sick I went to see my doctor, and he said there wasn't anything he could do to help me, the flu would just have to run it's course. He did say that going on a clear liquid diet would help to keep me from getting too dehydrated as well as making sure I got some nutrition. So I went on a clear liquid diet, and about a week later I was over the flu and feeling pretty much back to belonging to the human race again.
I thought I could probably eat regular food again. The first meal I made was brown rice and grilled vegetables, (one of my favorite meals). I just couldn't make myself eat it, something about it seemed really hideous to me, so I ate my liquid meal. Tried again with breakfast : yogurt, small bowl of fresh fruit and a bran muffin, same reaction. This went on for about a week. Then it got to where just looking at food, or touching it makes me very nauseous. It's been bit over 8 weeks since when I got over my stomach flu, and about nearly 10 weeks that I've been on my clear liquid diet.
Before this happened I was overweight by about almost 55 lbs (tho probably closer to 60 lbs). I was a bit of a foodie, I'd taken several cooking classes at the California Culinary Academy. I was a really good home cook and loved to cook dinner for my friends at least a couple times a week. I also loved finding good, out of the way, restaurants to share with my friends.
On my clear liquid diet I've lost around 30 lbs since I got the flu 10 weeks ago. I'm thrilled with how good my body is starting to look. So many friends, co workers and acquaintances have all told me how great I look since I lost the weight.
It feels SO amazingly good to go out cloths shopping and trying on clothes that only have one X in the size. I'm also loving the way guys are looking at me and flirting with me. I think the old saying must be true, the more weight a person gains the less visible they become.
I know how bad this for me. I lost a great college friend to an eating disorder, but I also have discovered that I'm pretty damn good at rationalizing and lying about this. I quit going out to lunch with my co workers telling them I have other plans for lunch, or that I'm using my lunch hour to run errands. When my friends invite me to dinner, if I can't think up an excuse right away, I accept the invitation, then call on the day of the dinner and claim to be coming down with a cold and don't want to make any of the other guests sick, or I have a fake last minute emergency that just came up. I even lie to myself. I tell myself it's ok because I'm taking mega vitamins. I tell myself that my body is working better since it's not all slogged down processing food. I've also been telling myself that once I get rid of the 30-35 lbs, and maybe a little bit more I'll stop. I said almost the same thing when I lost the first 20 lbs. I tell myself I'm doing better because I've quit the clear liquid diet, but all I've done is go to a full liquid diet, and even with that I sometimes get grossed out just thinking about the food in my stomach, and how many calories were in the 1 cup serving of soup I just ate.
This 'thing' has made me into a liar, it's turned me into a very bad friend. I hate it, but I don't know what it is or what to do to stop it. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not even 100% sure I that I really WANT to stop this, even tho I KNOW I need to. The rational side of my brain is screaming to get help now, don't even wait a week. And it's telling me that it was pretty stupid to even keep on a liquid diet when I got over the flu. The fucked up side keeps telling me that the longer I keep doing this the better I'll look.
This is some fucked up eating disorder, right?
Or is there any chance its something else?
Should I go back to my doctor? Or a shrink? Are there shrinks that only work with people with food issues? How do I even find the right kind of shrink for my food issues?
It sounds like you may be equating eating solid food with being overweight and it is understandable that you might be afraid to gain any weight back now that you've had such positive consequences from the weight loss.
Perhaps as a first step you should see a nutritionist. They could help you maintain the loss you have already acheived and continue on to your goal weight in a healthy way. They could also explain to you the damage you are doing to your body by placing such severe restrictions on your diet. You want to find a way to eat healthy for life.
If you find you still have issues eating solid food, then perhaps you should see a psychologist.
I'm also wondering if it could have anything to do with mental issues re: vomiting. Sometimes solid food turns me off for awhile after I have thrown it up.
Yes, OP, you're fucked up. At no point do you say you couldn't actually *eat* these solid meals you tried, but rather that they seemed "repulsive." (Btw I'm afraid I must question how you got so fat if you love brown rice & vegetables so much.) But yes: people who go on a long-term liquid diet, either self-imposed or based in anorexia, do have troubles switching back to solid food, including a reduced ability (at first) to keep the food down. The only "fix" is to KEEP TRYING until you CAN keep it down.
Have you tried starting eating again by trying with foods you *know* cannot make you fat. E.g. trying to eat *just* a few berries, or just a spinach and tomato salad. It would be physically impossible for you to gain weight with those foods, particularly in small amounts, but you would be training yourself to have food in your stomach again.
This. Never. Happened.
[quote]with a really viscous, nasty
eating viscous food is definitely an eating disorder
A diet of okra, bean pulp and clam snot WOULD tend to put a person off eating, dear.
Calm down OP.
OP, sometimes when people get sick they lose their appetite and it takes a while to come back. Sounds like you used that as a jumpstart to get on a diet and it helped you. Now you don't want to eat because you're happy to lose weight.
I know somebody else who did this last year. She had surgery, totally lost her appetite afterwards, and decided that was a good time to go on a diet. She's lost over 50 pounds. She's eating solid food though.
It could be too that you've had some digestive issues in the past, maybe eating something that you can't digest easily, and your body is appreciating the rest. Start by eating super bland foods. Re-introduce foods one at a time. Make a note if anything upsets your stomach and don't go back to that for a while. Write down which foods seem to settle all right with you. Start with foods with one ingredient, like vegetables or fruit. Maybe you are sensitive to some ingredient that is in a lot of foods, like gluten or corn syrup or sugar, and your body feels better now that you're not eating it.
Have you been tested for diabetes? If you are now avoiding all sugar and junk food, no wonder you are doing well and your body doesn't want to go back. Carbs like rice are best avoided by diabetics, they make your blood sugar go up and then way down, so if you got away from them, and got your blood sugar naturally under control, no wonder your body doesn't want to be sick again. Training your body to go without sugar, after a few weeks, will stop hunger pangs, because your blood sugar isn't going up and down all day.
As long as you are well hydrated and not living off corn syrup based drinks like Gatorade, you can probably carry on pretty well for a while, but be advised that if you're not getting enough calories, a few months down the road your hair is suddenly going to start falling out. All the vitamins in the world will not stop it because you're not getting enough grams of protein. If you eat nothing but protein your kidneys will fail. Here's a site that will give you some idea how many grams of various nutrients you need. Start watching these numbers in your diet. Try to get to these numbers while keeping the calories down. That means eating a lot of whole plain foods like fish, fruit and vegetables. Even if you can't cook at all, you can put an apple or an orange in your mouth. There's a difference between losing weight and starving to death.
Go to the link below and follow it to the next one, "Nutritional Needs Calculator" to find out how many grams of protein, fat and carbs you need.
Another good one is healthcalculators.org / index. html
There's another site that will help you figure out the nutritional inforamtion for the foods you're eating. It includes brand name foods, fast foods and whole foods.
If you're interesting in losing weight, you can go on there and find out what's in the stuff you're eating or drinking, and whether you're meeting your minimum nutritional requirements. If you are, you can lose weight and still be healthy.
I went thru something similar and I was totaly disgusted by the thought of food. On the advice of a friend, who's a shrink, I started smoking pot (not enough to get stoned, just 3 or 4 hits) about half an hour before I tried to eat. It worked and after about 2 months I was able to eat with out smoking pot. But that's just me, it probably wouldn't work for everyone.
I would go back to your doctor explain what's going on, get him to run some tests to make sure you're healthy and refer you to a doctor who specializes in eating disorders
I went through a particularly bad stomach ailment a while back and after a week of moaning in bed I got up and got some chicken pho at the Vietnamese restaurant down the street. They took out some ingredients they thought would not be good for me like onion. I was able to eat about half of the soup - it was deliclious. I looked up the ingredients and cilantro is good for your digestive system. Also the lime made it taste even better.
It was months before I could go back to eating regularly. Besides having a reduced appetite and stomach, I was fearful of eating anything that might upset my stomach again. I ate chicken pho for a long time and slowly added other foods.
I have a cold and am actually on my way to get some fresh air and some pho now. Being sick is annoying. If my writing is unclear it's because I'm sick and unfocused.
You can never be too thin, darling.
FYI, OP, bran muffins are incredibly fattening and high calorie in most cases, also, some people can't digest bran well and it irritates their digestive system. If you can't eat them it's probably just as well.
Rice is not really good for people that can't produce their own insulin well either, if you quit it for a while and then try to go back, your body just doesn't want to eat it.
Try eating whole fruits and vegetables only at first, without all the grains, they probably won't irritate your stomach as much. Leave out the fruit and vegetable juices, they are high calorie, high sugar and high salt.
Maybe you can't eat some of this stuff because it's bad for your particular body, OP. Or if you've been overweight, maybe your gall bladder isn't working well and some foods are upsetting your system. In that case, dairy and other high protein foods may not be easy to digest. Maybe your body is trying to tell you something.
Like, OP is killing me with all this junk! Ow!
You were 55 lbs overweight, but your favorite meal was always brown rice and vegetables?
My favorite meal is a bacon cheeseburger and French fries but I'm only 15 lbs overweight.
OP, I used to love bacon-free spinach salads, until I got really sick after eating one. Never knew if it was contaminated produce or the flu. Haven't eaten a spinach salad since. Try eating vegetable soup, or easy to digest chicken soup with actual chicken. There are many healthy and bland foods that you can slowly eat, a few bites at a time. Many eat too fast; that also causes problems.
OP, I go to OA on line on the starchat IRC network. It helps. I'll link to it, there's another one on The Recovery Group - google it. Good luck. Hopefully I'll see you in the OA chats. They are really helpful.
OP, I had a similar experience many decades ago. After having my wisdom teeth out I couldn't eat solid food for close to two weeks. I lost weight and decided I liked how I looked so I continued on working and going to school but barely eating.
I really crashed and burned. I'm female, 5'3" and was down to about 92 pounds.
I ended up back home with my parents (living in their basement) until I got my shit together.
In hindsight, I was just realizing I was gay and I think this was a big factor in starving myself.
I think you should talk to your doctor about this.
Good luck to you.
My uncle had exactly the same thing. It seemed to be a stomach flu, but after the main symptoms were over he kept saying that his appetite was gone and it was like his body was telling him not to eat. He was so sick, and it was a shame because he had his fifteenth anniversary party and couldn't keep anything down. Like you, OP, he kind of thought it was a good thing - he lost weight and somehow kept enough energy up to keep on his job and be active.
My aunt finally got him to go to his doctor, who immediately sent him to the hospital. Within two days he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and despite surgery (and a feeding tube) and radiation and chemo, he was dead in six weeks. The worst of it was all this nasty, horrible smelling stuff that kept coming up from his stomach. They couldn't stop it. My sister told everyone that because of the cancer he was "pooping out his mouth," which really upset my mother. But, honestly, that's what it smelled like.
Good luck, OP. I'm sorry you have waited so long but maybe it's not too late for you.
OP, I've gone through something similar that started about two months ago with a flu. I ended up getting irritable bowel syndrome, probably because I lost my appetite and developed a fear of solid foods. My colon and rectum are inflamed (and now I am a sad bottom). I've seen three specialists and do not have cancer or any lingering infection and am taking metamucil (fiber). You do NOT want IBS/IBD, so you should at least take a fiber supplement while you work out your possible eating disorder.
BTW, OP. I just re-read your post. Looks like we're both in SF? There was a NASTY flu going around the Bay Area this summer. A majority of my friends and family in the age 40-55 group got it.
Congratulations on your weight loss (I can relate!) but I hope you return to a healthy diet soon.
Oh, it's you! We really should meet before you move to Lux.
P.S. Yesterday I got a 30-minute lecture from a surgeon at Kaiser about the consequences of the absence of dietary fiber for people doing liquid or soft-food diets. Beware.
But, as you would say, "Whatever blows your skirt up".
OP, it was pretty brave to post about this on DL. I hope you get some help real soon. From the little I know, the longer you wait to get help the harder it is to get rid of eating disorders. I second the poster who said to go back to your doctor, tell him everything you’ve told us here, get some tests done to make sure you’re healthy and get a referral to a nutritionist and probably a counselor or psychologist who only deals with eating disorders. It would be awful for you to have to forever give up cooking for your friends and enjoying all of the wonderful food out there.
R15, the OP said he was a foodie, had taken many professional cooking classes and loves cooking quite often for his friends. I don’t think someone like that would serve his guests just brown rice and vegetables. If he was eating in restaurants often and cooking gourmet foods for his family and friends I can see how he would gain weight.
I'm the head chef at a restaurant; I also cook elaborate meals for my friends and family on my days off. When I am alone and cooking for myself the meals I cook are very simple and low calorie. I have to make sure that I fill up on healthy foods before I go into work or I’d be ‘tasting’ the food we’re cooking all night and I’d be in the same boat as the OP and at least 50 lbs overweight.
OP, your fear of calories and loathing of food in your stomach does sound like an eating disorder. Even if it started with the flu, I think it may have evolved into anorexia.
There's some interesting neuroscience about anorexia, and I'll try to find the articles I read. Apparently under some circumstances starvation can set a self-reinforcing loop in the brain, where starvation can trigger an endorphin release.
I'm actually not sure who to see about this, maybe a neuropsychologist, or a cognitive behavioral specialist.
And a big thanks to R19 for that disgusting story. Sorry about your uncle but I really didn't need to read that.
I can relate. I had Lap-Band surgery a few years ago and increasingly my interest in food has shifted from carbs and high-calorie "sticky" things like macaroni & cheese, pasta, frozen bean burritos, huge subs, fast foods etc.
I mostly only want to eat healthier cereals like Special K, drink almond milk, have protein shakes, eat fruits and nuts.
My weight is about 220 lbs., I'm 5' 8", a guy, 43 years old and pretty low impact with my exercise because I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. My partner is always angry because I'm not eating enough breads, frozen pancakes, bean burritos and other high carb foods. I also eat normal portion sizes.
The problem is that puts me out of step with the rest of the world. My optimal weight would be 185 lbs., but whenever I get close to going below 200 lbs. My partner really turns up the pressure. He monitors everything I eat, buys too much and gets mad because I don't eat-for example-more than one or two slices of pizza at a time.
Whenever I give into him, I just get sick. I wish we lived in a world where everyone's eating was a personal issue and others didn't feel they should weigh in on it and try to coerce others to eat more and more. It's not like our society with fast food outlets everywhere, candy bars sold everywhere and huge portion sizes didn't do that enough.
I dread the holidays because they're all about eating until you're about to explode. Anyone who eats less and actually talks to people during, say Thanksgiving dinner, is looked upon as an anorexic. Even me and I'm still clinically obese!
Food isn't just a form of celebration, it's a means of control. If you're in a same-sex relationship an you were "the fat one" it really causes resentment when you get thinner and more fit than your partner. I wish I had an answer, but all I can say is listen to your body, it's usually right.