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i am a recovering anorexic and want some advice on starting on a 1000 calorie meal plan

By April 6, 2010 - 12:02am
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I just found this site. My daughter has just admitted that she is anorexic and she wants help. We've met with an intake counselor at an eating disorder clinic and next week they'll give her their suggested plan (counseling & dietitian). I'm trying to help her add food to her diet so that she maintains her current weight. THank you for being there for those who are going through this difficult disorder. It is frightening and often the person has isolated herself from those who would like to help her.

November 30, 2011 - 11:14am


Since you are still waiting for referral to a therapist, and you are working on your recovery by yourself in the meantime, I thought you might be interested in a book about recovering from anorexia by a woman who suffered from it herself.

The book is called "Beating Eating Disorders Step by Step: A Self-help Guide for Recovery" and the author is Anna Paterson, who lives in London. She lived for 14 years with chronic anorexia. Have you heard of her?

She participated in a 2001 BBC documentary entitled 'Quietly Dying' and has featured in B Magazine, the Daily Express, the Independent, the Times Educational Supplement, Women's Own and You magazine. She is a frequent speaker on eating disorders and volunteers as an eating disorders helpline operator.

Here's a link to the book on amazon.co.uk:


There was another one that I thought looked good too:


I'm suggesting you look at these and maybe order one of them because you need some professional support right now, and one of these books could help give it to you while you are waiting to see a therapist.

I am proud of the fact that you really want to recover from this, and that you are working hard to eat more. You are still not eating your body's daily caloric needs, so trying to increase them slowly is good. But the increase in the mental chatter is very hard to take, I know.

Take a look at the books, and tell me what you think!

April 28, 2010 - 10:07am
EmpowHER Guest

i forget to mention my food choices each day:for breakfast (which i eat at 3am , as i wake up hungry each night-i suffer insomnia so am up from 1.30am-5 am.I eat a bowl of oatmeal .
I then eat again at around 2pm which will be another bowl of oatmeal , a protein bar or possibly a sandwhich.
I then have a snack at around 5.30 pm-usually a ceral bar , ricepudding , yoghurt ,sometimes some cake or ceral.
my last meal of the day i eat around 8.30pm-usually a vegtable stirfry , bean and vegtable soup , chicken stew(no potato)...i find it hard to mix proteins and carbs at the same meal , i never eat the two together .
I hope you can maybe point me in a better direction for my nutritional needs(all this adds up to around 1100 calories.

April 26, 2010 - 1:43pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thankyou so much for your message , ive been having a bad day and that has made me feel so much better , it means an awful lot , it is the first time i have felt supported by anyone in along time , my family(husband and mum i live with , are really good , but tend to take it out on me when they get frustratedwith my illness , which is only natural , but in tern makes me feel bad , and then not want to eat.....At the moment i am eating still the 1100 calories daily , i am so hungry though as now i think my body wants more , but i cant seem to eat anymore without feeling so guilty , i am frustrated that i cant move on , i get angry with the obbsessive nature of myself , i feel because i have upped my calories from 800 i have to justify that , i have gotten incrediably obbsesive about exercise , i never stop moving ,my bad thoughts have also gotten more powerful since i have been eating more.....i really want to get to be eating 1200 calories though ,as i dont want to be doing so much harm to my body anymore and it will probably rest my mind a little to know that i am atleast eating the minimum.I am going to read through the website link you have sent me now , thankyou again,i look forward to reading your advice always.it really helps.laura.x

April 26, 2010 - 1:21pm

Thank you again for your concerns in this matter , it is really nice to have someone (who is outside my family) to show such concern and help me in the interest of my health issue.I myself find i am just getting angry now with the system in the uk , all i need is some support and thearpy to help me beat my anorexia once and forall , but i am so tiered of waiting , i just feel that now one is really interested , it is appauling i am still having to wait after all this time.
In the meantime , i have followed your advice and contineing to try and eat a little more to stablise my weight , as i cant afford to lose anymore , i feel weak enough already . although the past few days i have found hard and have not been able to eat as much , as i am not used to feelinfg full and it sets my bad thoughts off , which in turn leads me back to starvation , it is coping strategies which i need to have at hand when this happens.I am currently consuming around 1100 calories daily , but finding it very difficult to eat anymore , even though i am hungry , as it just makes me feel fat and like i am literally just going to put on loads of weight over night , it,s these things that i am stuck with , i dont know how to get over them and deal with the emoutions , and how to feel good about eating instead of it being a negative thing.I will await your reply if you may have any ideas of how i can feel good about any of this , facts always help , reasurance that i am not going to put weight on to fast , on what i am eating as that really does scare me.thanks again for all you continous support.laura

April 17, 2010 - 11:41am
(reply to laurathompson)


You didn't become anorexic overnight, and you won't recover from it overnight, either. Anorexia is a disease that not only affects how you feel about food, it actually affects how you SEE your body. You begin to see your body as being fat when you have the tiniest curve to your stomach, for instance. And that's just not so.

You have big things going for you. You are tired of how the anorexia makes you feel, and you are tired of the thoughts it gets you to think. You want to do good things for your body. And you want to recover. All that is very powerful motivation.

But it will be harder some days than others. There's no getting around that.

There is no way that you will gain weight fast on 1,100 calories a day. Your body needs more than that to survive properly and to build cells for your organs, your blood, your skin and nails and hair. What is happening when you eat that amount is that your body is making decisions about what does and doesn't get to use the calories. It has to because it believes it is starving.

If you go up in calories slowly, you will see how slowly your weight gain will go. Just try going to 1150 for a week and see how that goes.

Here are some things to feel good about when you put food into your mouth:

This is helping your body strengthen my bones
This is helping my body clean my blood and manufacture new blood
This is helping my organs work
This is helping my heart to beat without struggling
This is helping my muscles to get the food they need to survive
This is helping to make my nails strong, my skin healthier and my hair shiny instead of dull and brittle

And keep telling yourself what you are tired of.

You are tired of the thoughts that come with anorexia.
You are tired of worrying about what you are doing to your body.
You are tired of counting counting counting and feeling bad.

You can only do this one day at a time. If one day at a time is too much for you sometimes, you have to just work on it for an hour at a time.

Did you read this? I think it might help you a little:


Can you write down what you are eating on a typical day?

April 26, 2010 - 10:13am

Hi Diane
Thankyou for your message , it has made me feel so much better , as i feel negative this morning that i am not getting any therapy /help from my gp.I have been on the waiting lists for over 3 years and there is just not enough help , i feel in away that it is holding me back , as i feel i can do this and up my calories slowly , i have gotten the umph from somewhere inside me , think after 10 years im so fed up , just cant live like this anymore.But i am scared that if the next time i go back to my gp and he see,s i may have gainnned a little weight that they wont see me as urgent any longer.
I dont know how to go about this and whether i should continue to up my calories / or stop and wait for help / or what ? im really confussed?.

April 13, 2010 - 12:14am
(reply to laurathompson)


Where do you live that you have been on a waiting list for 3 years? Are you in the UK, for instance?

I have news for you, Laura, if it's been three years on the waiting list, I have a hard time believing that your GP sees you as "urgent." Three years for an anorexic to wait for any therapy is an enormous amount of time. And if that GP thinks you are less urgent because you have put on a pound or two, then it's time to get a new GP.

I don't mean to be harsh. I just want you to get good care! And to know that you are important here!

What is your health care/ insurance situation?

You have to pat yourself on the back here. You have actually taken the MOST important step of all, and that is by putting yourself and your body first now. By slowly moving yourself up simply to the maintenance level of calories, you will be helping your body get more nutrition while you wait for therapy. Your goal here is to heal, to get better, to feel better about your body and yourself.

Do you have any idea at all how much longer you should have to wait for therapy?

April 13, 2010 - 10:44am


Honestly, I think you're doing great. And since you haven't been able to see your therapist yet, I think you're doing AWESOME. You are getting more nutrition in your body and you want to get better. Those two things make a big difference.

You are not going to gain weight too fast if you are very active and are just taking in 1000 or 1200 calories a day. I put your statistics (age 27, 5 foot 5, 86 pounds) into this calories per day calculator and found that if you eat 1,777 calories a day you will just maintain:


That means that in order to gain weight, you will have to work your way up to eating more than that per day. A pound is 3,500 calories. So if you wanted to gain a pound every two weeks, for instance, you would divide 3,500 by 14 days, which would equal 250 extra calories a day. Add that to the 1777 and what it pretty much tells you is that you will need to eat 2,000 calories a day if you want to gain a pound in two weeks. (To gain slower than that, just divide the 3,500 by more days and then add that to the 1,777.)

So while you are increasing your nutrition, know that you will probably gain a little but not much until you go over that 1,777. Your body's metabolism will probably have changed some since you were anorexic, and at first it may try to hold on to every calorie it gets. Don't let that freak you out, ok? You are trying to slowly work through an eating disorder that you have had for a long time. It's going to take a little while, with a few ups and downs. But you CAN do it.

Are you surprised at how many calories it would take to maintain your present weight?

April 9, 2010 - 10:00am
(reply to Diane Porter)

Thankyou so much for all your help , it really makes me feel positive that i am heading in the right direction , as i do and will find it hard to trust putting food in my body until it becomes natural again through routine.I do find it hard to believe that i need that many calories , as i dont think i have ever eaten that much and have gained weight in the past , so i find that difficult to deal with , it makes me believe people maybe lying to me just to make me eat , but again like you suggested i have never given my body time to get back to normal , i have always restricted so maybe my metabolism just wasnt given the chance to adjust , because as i am finding now , i am so hungry all the time and i have lost a little weight since i began to eat again , but it happened last time i attempted to recover and it soon settles down , i guess it,s just the effects of initial refeeding , not sure why it happens but it does.Thanks again for you advise and support , i will be regularly checking back to log my progress , so far i am managing to eat 1100 calories from the 800 i was eating so im upping gradually so as i can deal with the emoutions of re-introducing food again.laura.x

April 10, 2010 - 1:26am
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