Recovering Anorexic Meal Plans

Young Woman Having a Drink of Orange Juice Sitting in a Chair on a Balcony
Someone in recovery may need help with their meal plan. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Anorexia is an eating disorder that is characterized by skipping meals, only eating a small selection of low-calorie foods, poor body image and perfectionism, according to Mental Health America. A person with anorexia may feel that her eating patterns are the only thing she can control, making it more common among young people, primarily girls. If you are trying to eat to recover from anorexia, you may relapse a time or two before you are able to engage in normal eating patterns. A meal plan for a recovering anorexic looks similar to a meal plan for anyone, but it will need to be modified to help you gain weight and get healthy.

Step 1

Find a therapist and nutritionist. By working with these professionals, you can address the reasons why you engage in anorexic behaviors as well as helping you get started on developing healthy meal plans as you work toward recovery.

Step 2

Include foods from all of the food groups. Your calorie needs are likely to be high at the beginning of your recovery, but incorporating a variety of healthy foods will help you meet this goal while also getting the nutrients your body needs to get back to optimal health. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats and other sources of protein and dairy foods as well as the occasional treat.

Step 3

Avoid restrictive and ritualistic behaviors. Anorexia causes food to become something to be feared, and you may have been going to great lengths to eat in such a way that others won't notice what you are doing. Working with a therapist, you should begin to eat adequate portion sizes without engaging in the behaviors that make others think you are eating. Stop cutting your food into tiny pieces and pushing it around on your plate. Change the way you think about forbidden foods, and begin adding small amounts of them into your diet. If you avoid eating around others, begin doing so in social settings to help you begin eating good foods in healthy amounts while others are around.

Step 4

Make an eating schedule. Eating at consistent times each day allows you to increase calorie intake and eat to recover without having to worry about when it will happen. This will help your body relearn how to eat meals and snacks every couple of hours and will help you recognize hunger and fullness cues that characterize normal eating patterns.

Step 5

Don't diet. As you get back to a normal weight range, eat plenty of nutritious food and consume treats in moderation. By doing this, you will realize what foods make you feel good and which ones put your recovery in jeopardy. It will also help you get more comfortable with normal eating habits.

Step 6

Keep a food journal. Write down what you eat, when you eat it and how that food made you feel. Not only does this make it easier to keep track of your calorie intake, but it helps you determine the foods and times of day that put you at risk of anorexic behaviors so that you can learn alternate ways to deal with these issues.

Things You'll Need

  • Healthy foods

  • Food journal

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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