Thursday, February 28, 2013

Meal Plan, Meal Plan, Meal Plan

This week has been the most chaotic, yet enjoyable weeks I have had since leaving treatment. The beginning of the week was spent out of town with good friends, a bacon cheeseburger and a Maroon 5 concert; while the second half of the week has been spent with my nose in a text book, cramming for midterms.

For the first time since leaving treatment, I have actually felt like a somewhat normal person this week. Instead of filling my time 100% focused on recovery, I have had the opportunity to have a little fun and experience life like a twenty-four (almost twenty-five) year old should be. 

As wonderful as this all sounds, it has come with a small price; my meal planning has been much more loose than normal. Right now in my recovery, I am at a point where I feel comfortable estimating the calories in one meal per day, while the rest are still carefully counted. I have been experimenting with this for a few weeks with my therapist and my weight has remained stable, so it seems to be going well. 

This week, however, I have estimated to the best of my ability almost everyday. With a busy schedule and life getting in the way, I have had to do my best to trust my hunger cues. Eventually, I hope to be able to eat like this all the time, but this week has taught me that I am not quite there yet and how important meal planning is during the early stages of recovery.

So, I thought for today I would make a list of my top ten reasons why meal planning has been such a positive aspect of my recovery so far:

1. Still not cannot trust my hunger cues
2. Keeps calories in check- making sure I get the right amount
3. Provides a sense of comfort- if I stick to my maintenance calories, I know I will not gain or lose weight
4. Setting meal and snack times helps prevent skipping meals
5. Has helped me 'relearn' to eat again
6. Allows me to eat whatever I want, within my calorie range
7. Allows me to focus on life, instead of obsessing about food
8. Keeps me satisfied, making the binge/purge cycle less likely to happen
9. Eating regularly keeps my metabolism fired up
10. Having the food aspect of recovery under control, allows me to focus on the mental part and underlying issues of the disorder

As I continue to become a normal person again, I know my meal planning will continue to become less strict and eventually disappear from my life completely; but for now it's kind of cool to stop and realize how far meal planning has gotten me. Upon leaving treatment, my therapist at the time always told me, "Meal plan! Meal plan! Meal plan!!!" and it's finally clear why she was so persistent about it.

 Overall, it has been a good week. The pace of progression is still on the slow side, but that seems to be the secret of my recovery so far. Someday my eating habits will normalize again, but for now I'm perfectly content to continue meal planning if it allows me to experience the simple joys of everyday life.



  1. I can totally relate to this. I stopped meal planning way too soon and regretted it soon after. Your 10 reasons make me want to get back on track. Thank you. xx

    1. It's never too late to take control back and do whatever works best for you. Meal planning isn't for everyone, but it can definitely help. Thank you for the comment. Sending you lots of love & the best of luck <3

  2. Hi Kelsi! I've never met you but I found your blog through the treatment center facebook group you belong to (I was there spring/summer of 2010 and consider myself pretty much recovered now) and I love it. Your blog is both honest but also very positive and pro-recovery, something I don't see a whole lot of out there. (I think stemming from the fact that people tend to write more when they are in pain and need to vent than when they are doing well...) You also cover a wide range of topics I think a lot of people can relate to!

    I calorie counted and meal planned for a very long time before before going off of meal planning and it worked very well for me. Now I eat according to my hunger and fullness cues (but am still usually somewhat conscious of about how much i'm eating because I don't want to get in a long term pattern of under/over eating) and that's great too. You learn to trust your body through that structure, and then when you feel comfortable slowly deviating from that, your body will show you it's not going to go crazy. But it can take a long time to get there and it really depends on the person - Meal planning is a great tool even if it is a pain in the ass at times.

    Best of luck to you continuing on in your journey and I will definitely keep reading :)

    1. Hi Lindsay!
      Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. Congrats on making it through treatment and now finding yourself on the other side- recovered! That is so inspiring to me. It's so nice to hear that it is possible.
      I do try to write about what I am going through, whether it's good or bad, but also try to put a positive spin on the bad. It helps keep me moving forward. :)
      Thanks for your encouragement about meal planning. It is definitely a pain sometimes, you are right, it is a useful tool. With time I hope to be where you are and eating normally. Thanks again for sharing and spreading the inspiration! <3 :)

  3. I'm current in recovery as well, but do you mind sharing a few examples of your meal plans? I don't know how to get started on meal planning and the ratio/amount of fatty foods vs healthy foods I should be intaking to gain 15 pounds in 3 months.. please help ><

    1. Hi! Sorry for such a late response..

      While I was gaining, I was counting calories and eating anywhere from 25-30% of my calories in fat grams. And honestly, I wasn't eating anything healthy during the weight restoration days.... The treatment center I went to was based on frozen meals and packaged foods lol. But it also taught me that I can eat whatever I want as long as it's within my calorie range. I was able to face fear foods and I feel my recovery has been better because of this.