Anorexia Recovery and Wedding Bells

Dear Readers,

When you don’t give up Hope- True Recovery  from Eating Disorder becomes an Imminent Reality.

“Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open?” Rumi

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that makes people lose more weight than is considered healthy for their age and height. Persons with this disorder may have an intense fear of weight gain, even when they are underweight. They may diet or exercise too much or use other ways to lose weight.  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/

 

One of our courageous readers and a recovered anorexic is getting married soon. We wish her a happy married life.  Making a decision to tell someone about your Eating Disorder history can be difficult, but this brave person shared her struggles with me.  She survived her anorexia long enough to get the help she needed and her journey back to health and happiness is amazing. I hope this will provide some inspiration and hope of recovery for those who are suffering from Eating Disorders.

Eating Disorder Demon- Reflections from the Past by A Muslimah

Most people embrace the idea that Eating Disorder is a phase, a diet gone too far. If so, families wonder: “How long till he/she pulls out of this phase”? Eating Disorders are a real illness with real symptoms.  Eating Disorder is not a diet gone too far or a phase. If left untreated, it will get worst. The signs of disordered eating and disordered behaviors should not be ignored.

According to Ira M. Sacker, MD “One of the most distressing things about an eating disorder is the way it cuts the person off from family, friends, and enjoyable activities. The person tends to isolate and hibernate, focusing only on their eating behavior to the exclusion of almost everything else. Their true identity and any other interests have all been merged into the eating disorder.”The most important thing is that eating disorder needs to be treated no matter what stage it is at,  no matter how early, those thoughts and behaviors have to be tackled.

Our soon to be bride spent her former years battling anorexia .  Her illness took over her whole life to the point where she no longer knew who she was and what she had become. It took years of therapy and out-patient treatments and one real life changing moment for her to pull out from the throes of her Eating Disorder.

Eating Disorder Demon- Reflections from the Past by A Muslimah

At one point she did lose all  hope of recovery, but indeed God is all merciful and Raheem and had other plans for her. She defeated the odds to beat this illness. She had a vision and always knew there was more to life then being stuck in the vicious cycle of Eating Disorder. Spending nights and days with this illness and the behaviors only reinforces the eating disorder identity. Instead, she took a path to discover what interest her and found a  way to get back in touch with her passions and develop new interests. By rediscovering her passion for traveling, for learning, reciting poetry of Rumi and seeking the knowledge of Islam, she rediscover and regain her true self. Today she is a successful personality and through her work and manners she has touched so many lives. She is now ready to embark on a journey of love, trust and companionship.

Marriage is a vital part of a Muslim’s life and it is declared to be one half of one’s faith.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said,

‘Do not delay in three things; 1) The offering of the obligatory prayer. 2) The offering of the funeral prayer when the deceased’s body is present . 3) The marriage of a woman when her couple is found’

Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: “men and women are twin halves of each other” (Bukhari). By using the analogy of twin half the Prophet has underlined the reciprocal nature and the interdependent nature of men and women’s relationship.


Before Accepting a Wedding Proposal She Disclosed to Her Future Spouse About Her Eating Disorder Past- Why?

She told him that relapse is part recovery and God forbids if she relapses in future, then He will have to work with her to beat this illness.  If the warning signs arise, he will be aware and together they can work towards taking preventive measures. She knows that it can take a life time of practice before one is able to live a healthy life without  slipping into old ways of behaviors and thinking. These moments of ED thoughts are inevitable.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” Rumi

 

Love and Support is essential to recovery from Eating Disorder. I hope that you will find her journey as inspiring as I have. Eating Disorders can be beaten.

“When you go through a hard period,
When everything seems to oppose you,
… When you feel you cannot even bear one more minute,
NEVER GIVE UP!
Because it is the time and place that the course will divert!” Rumi

Read Yourself and Know Yourself; you will then know your mission in life.


 

 East, West, South or North makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey, a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond. Elif Shafak- Forty Rules of Love

 

Celebrate Every Accomplishment You Have Along Your Road to Recovery.

 

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Do I have to Tell my Future Husband About My Eating Disorder?

 

Dear Readers,

A reader asked me do I have to tell my future husband about my Eating Disorder? I cannot give extensive answer on such sensitive matter. Many of us have an arranged marriage and some of us chose our own partners. You will have to sit and speak about this matter to your future partner, it is good to have a neutral person to help such as a trustworthy and knowledgeable family member, councillor, practitioner or an Imam who has experience in such matters.

Allah has created men and women as company for one another, and so that they can procreate and live in peace and tranquility according to the commandments of Allah and the directions of His Messenger. The Quran says:

“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect.” [Noble Quran 30:21]

We all know the difficulty of living with the Eating Disorder and how it creates tensions within the family.

If Eating Disorder is your Past, then disclosing such information is your choice. Perhaps you can gently tell your future husband about your Eating Disorder past and how it affected your life.

If you have an Eating Disorder- If you are entering a marriage with an Eating Disorder, then you have to tell him.  Eating Disorders vary in severity from person to person. He needs to know what he is getting himself into. I am sorry, but there is no other way around this. Misleading someone is very wrong.

Please try to exercise honesty in this very delicate matter. Eating Disorders don’t disappear over-night and are extremely disruptive to relationships.

Islam orders you to be honest to yourself and everyone else. We have to tell the truth even if it is against our own interest. Eating Disorders are consuming and real life threatening illnesses. They consume the individual in obsessive, unconstructive thinking and behaviors and they consume the individual’s relationships. It’s sad and heartbreaking to reveal your illness, but it’s something that needs to be done. Marriage is sacred and profound. Nothing is loved more in the eye of Allah then a marriage.

People with Eating Disorders often have a more intense relationship with food than with people around them. Your future spouse is marrying you for kinship, love and support. Therefore, it is better to enter the marriage with an absolute honesty. Inshallah with honesty and understanding, dealing with this issue can bring you closer together, and even strengthen your future relationship.

A Muslim seeking to please God and follow the path of righteousness should be aware of the dangers of deceit and dishonesty.  However, equally he should know that God is all Merciful and all Loving, willing to forgive even the gravest sins for those who strive for His sake.  Honesty is very important in the life of a believer. Aisha Stacey

Eating Disorder can be a Third Wheel in your Marriage

Islam encourages us to marry. Eating Disorders render you from performing many of the marital duties. This is partially due to the effects of malnutrition. When people are not adequately nourished, they think about food constantly, sometimes even dreaming about it. They also struggle with addiction problems, stress, depression and anxiety.

Eating Disorders often acts as a substitute for relationships. Some sufferers substitute a relationship with food for the relationship with their Spouse. They lack the desire to engage in intimate relationship and some have a real fear of intimacy. This is primarily a side effect of malnourishment and low levels of endocrine in body. They also become depressed, isolated, and tired. They avoid engaging with their spouse because they are physically and mentally depleted, and feel the greater need to engage in eating disorder behaviors.

Eating Disorder relationship style- There is more to ED then Food….

Anorexia-“Those who struggle with anorexia often deprive themselves of closeness and connection with others as a way to feel emotionally safe, believing that if they don’t get too close, they won’t get hurt.”*

Bulimia- “Those who binge may be “hungry” for love but turn to food instead, unconsciously fearing they will never get enough or be interpersonally satisfied.”*

Binge Eating- “Those who binge and purge may show bulimic behaviors in the relationship, allowing a lot of closeness (equivalent to bingeing) and then creating distance (equivalent to purging), but never letting themselves have too much closeness, love, and trust”*

* Source: http://personaldevelopmentcafe.com

Low Weight, Bingeing/Purging

If your BMI is under 17.5 or your menstruation cycle is absent and you are bingeing/purging daily, then please think carefully before entering a marriage with such illness. There is a link between Eating Disorders and Infertility. Fertility problems are a common side effect of Eating Disorders. Anorexia, Bulimia and binge eating lead to unhealthy weight, malnourishment and low levels of body fat- all this has an impact on woman’s endocrine system and thus disrupts ovulation causing at times irregular menstrual cycle, reducing the quality of eggs and at times leading to ovarian failure. All of this can affect your chances of having a baby, and can increase the risk of miscarriage once you do become pregnant. Bottom line, all forms of Eating Disorders can have an impact on relationship and future pregnancies.

What comes after Eating Disorder is Happiness- There is hope…..As many as 75 to 80 percent of women will go on to conceive after being successfully treated for an eating disorder.

Invest in your Future, Your Health and Your Happiness by Getting Help!

Do you know understand why seeking treatment for your Eating Disorder is so pivotal? The longer you live with an Eating Disorder, the more it consumes your life and the more it paralyses you.

I pray to Allah, and I pray deeply that those visitors who visit this blog, will find a courage within themselves to fight this illness and to go on to live a life filled with love, respect and happiness.

 

 Prayer for Recovery- Dear Allah, I want to leave the demon of  Eating Disorder behind,  help me recognize those who really love me, and cling to your rope for dear life, for my life help me to know that I can have a different life, a happy life spent in your submission and not in the submission of the demon of Eating Disorder, an Eating Disorder free life s what I ask for .

 

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MinnieMaud Guidelines For Recovery From A Restrictive Eating Disorder v.s. Islamic Eating Guidelines

Dear Readers,

A reader asked me a question about Gwyneth Olwyn’s Minnie Maude Eating Guidelines and whether they were compatible with Islamic Eating Guidelines or not? I have never come across these guidelines before, so I thank this reader for sharing this Eating Disorder Recovery Resource with me. If you suffer from Binge Eating Disorder (BED), Bulimia Nervosa, Anorexia Nervosa, or even EDNOS then please take out few minutes to read this information. It may prove useful in your recovery.

In order to recover from your Eating Disorder, you have to seek treatment. What may work for one person, may not work for the other person. Eating Disorder Recovery is a unique personal journey of healing and self-discovery.

Islam is very strict when it comes to seeking treatment for your illness. As a Muslim you are forbidden to live with an Eating Disorder or any other illness that is detrimental to your well-being. There is no set-method of treatment. Seek treatment for your illness wherever it’s available and consult your practitioner . Please do not sit-around and wait for a miraculous cure from your ED. Get help. ED is a silent killer.

Read the story of Prophet Moses below:

Once, Prophet Musa/Moses (as) became ill. The Bani Israel (Children of Israel) came to him and realizing what his illness was, advised him: “If you consume such and such medicine you will recover from your sickness.” “I shall not seek any cure but will instead wait till Allah (SWT) cures me without the help of any medicine,” said Prophet Musa/Moses (as) to them. His illness became prolonged whereupon Allah (SWT) revealed to him: “By My Majesty and Glory! I shall never cure you till you have consumed the medicine which they had recommended to you.”
Prophet Musa/Moses (as) asked the Bani Israel to treat him with the medicine that they had previously suggested. They treated him and shortly after that, Prophet Musa/Moses (as) regained his health. However, this incident left Prophet Musa/Moses (as) with a feeling of complaint and dejection but Allah (SWT) revealed to him: “You desired to annul My Wisdom by means of your trust in Me! Is there one, other than Me, who has placed the medicinal and beneficial effects in plants and various things?”
Say: “Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our protector. In Allah let the Believers put their trust.” (Noble Qur’an, 9:51)

In MinnieMaud Recovery Program, You have to Eat minimum of 2500 calories every single day to break free from the confines of disordered eating, (No Exercise and no weighing and measuring yourself). Gwyneth Olwyn’s guidelines are unproven. I don’t see a backing up from NHS or any other Eating Disorder Org. It’s not supported by BEAT or NEDA. But her guidelines do make sense. Her calorie recommendation is right, this was my calorie intake during my recovery from low weight. But I started off with 1500 calories and this was then increased to 2000 and then to 3500 calories per day. My re-feeding took place in inpatient settings with controlled monitoring and regular blood tests.

After getting to a healthy BMI, you have to continue with eating these much calories and if extreme hunger kicks in, then you have to up your calorie intake.  It’s important to do that, if you want your body to get to its natural set-point and if you want to set yourself free from the binge-eating/restrictive eating cycle. Once your body reaches its set-point, you will be able to respond to the physical feelings of hunger and fullness.

Gwyneth Olwyn justifies overeating/binge eating as a ‘reactive eating.’

It is this extreme hunger that leads to binge eating/over eating etc. This craving for food is immediate and urgent. If you continue to ignore this hunger, you will forever be stuck in the cycle of disordered eating, why? Because this craving, extreme hunger is a signal that your body requires fuel, energy to get to its set-point.

Her message is very clear that resistance to emotional eating is futile.  She doesn’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t eat, in fact she even places emphasis on eating processed food.

We all know that getting to a normal weight does not mean that you are recovered from your ED. Once the weight is restored the real hard work begins where we have to work on our mind and unearth what lead to our ED. I believe that if we want to recover from our ED, we have to try each and every method, you never know what may work for you.

Islamic Eating Guidelines apply to who?

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised people not to be extreme in the act of eating and said No person can fill a dish that is worse than his stomach. Islamic guidelines on Eating apply to those who are not suffering from Eating Disorders and other illnesses. Eating Disorder is an illness and in order to restore your body to its natural balance, you need to consume set-number of calories (depending on your age, height and BMI). This is simply to replenish your body and to reverse the damage that ED has caused. Take an example of a Cancer patient, after a chemo therapy, their recommended calorie intake maybe higher in order to repair their immune system. In this case, the Islamic guidelines on eating in moderation do not apply to them, as food is needed for nourishment, healing to rebuild the tissues and muscles. People with cancer who are well nourished and able to maintain a healthy body weight often have a better prognosis. Each stage of the cancer healing process brings with it increased nutritional demands.  In recovery from an Eating Disorder,  a patient may need to be fed every two-three hours, depending on their condition. In this case, food is simply acting as a medicine for healing and not something of an indulgence. Eating well during ED recovery helps to improve your strength and energy, decrease the risk of infection and assist your body in healing.

In Eating Disorder recovery, often lower calorie diets contribute to underfeeding syndrome. Minnie Maud Eating Guidelines promote higher calorie diet and if you are suffering from ED, then it’s appropriate to increase your calorie intake to promote recovery.

More Calories = Better Results

Information below is taken from Your Eatopia.com.

 

What are MinnieMaud Guidelines?

“Science-based guidelines for recovery from restrictive eating disorders. Restrictive eating disorders include: anorexia, cycles of restriction and reactive eating, bulimia, orthorexia and anorexia athletica (also known as exercise bulimia). The “Minnie” refers to the Minnesota Starvation Experiment and the “Maud” refers to the only evidence-based treatment program for eating disorders out there at the moment: Family Based Treatment, also known as the Maudsley protocol.

The Troika-

1. Eat the minimum intake for your height, age and sex every single day. It’s a minimum intake and you are both encouraged and expected to eat more. Never restrict food intake.

2. No weighing yourself or measuring yourself. Get forgiving stretchy clothing. Relapse is common if you watch the needle on the scale.

3. No exercise.

In addition to these simple, yet hard to apply, necessities there is also a need to recognize that restrictive eating disorders are neurobiological conditions. You are not cured by restoring weight. The condition can be active or in remission, but it is never cured.

To get to a robust and permanent remission, you have to incorporate, along with weight restoration and physical repair efforts, the fact that the anxiety you feel welling up when you eat unrestrictedly has to be addressed as part of your treatment.

You have practiced maladaptive responses to that anxiety (dieting, exercising, cycling through restriction with reactive eating, etc.) and it helps to have a guide and teacher to help you learn the well-adapted techniques for responding to the anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, exposure/response prevention therapy—all are suitable options to investigate with a counsellor or therapist of your choosing. Over time, it not only gets easier to automatically apply well-adapted responses, but you will find the underlying anxieties ease as well.

The Food Intake Guidelines

Here are the guidelines for when 2500 calories applies as a minimum daily intake for recovery:

  1. You are a 25+ year old female between 5’0” and 5’8” (152.4 to 173 cm) and,
  2. The regular menstrual cycle has stopped and/or,
  3. You have other symptoms of starvation: feeling the cold, fatigued, foggy headed, hair loss, brittle nails, dull skin and/or,
  4. Even if you were only underweight/dieted for a very short space of time (a few months) these guidelines apply. And remember “underweight” is relative to your body’s optimal weight and is not a clinical measurement. 

Here are the guidelines for when 3000 calories applies as a minimum daily intake for recovery:

  1. You are an under 25 year old female between 5’0” and 5’8” (152.4 to 173 cm) or an over 25 year old male between 5’4” and 6’0” (162.5 and 183 cm) and,
  2. The regular menstrual cycle has stopped and/or,
  3. You have other symptoms of starvation: feeling the cold, fatigued, foggy headed, hair loss, brittle nails, dull skin and/or,
  4. Even if you were only underweight/dieted for a very short space of time (a few months) these guidelines apply. And remember “underweight” is relative to your body’s optimal weight and is not a clinical measurement.

Here are the guidelines for when 3500 calories applies as a minimum daily intake for recovery:

  1. You are an under 25 year old male between 5’4” and 6’0” (162.5 and 183 cm) or female with young children or an equivalent and unavoidable level of activity.
  2. The regular menstrual cycle has stopped and/or,
  3. You have other symptoms of starvation: feeling the cold, fatigued, foggy headed, hair loss, brittle nails, dull skin and/or,
  4. Even if you were only underweight/dieted for a very short space of time (a few months) these guidelines apply. And remember “underweight” is relative to your body’s optimal weight and is not a clinical measurement.

If you are taller than the guidelines listed above, then add 200 calories to the guidelines that match your age and sex. If you are shorter than the guidelines listed above, then you may eat 200 calories less than what is suggested for your age and sex, however these are all minimum guidelines and everyone is expected to eat well above them for a good portion of the recovery process in any case.

Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your healthcare provider.

Source: http://www.youreatopia.com/

 

If you want to follow the recovery guidelines above then please speak to your doctor and a dietitian. Your doctor can help you maintain nutrition through your treatment and any side effects. A dietitian is a key member of the healthcare team who can provide counselling about proper nutrition just for you during your recovery experience. Ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian if you have questions or concerns about nutrition.

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My Eating Disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) Nightmare PVNS and Recovery

My Eating Disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) Nightmare PVNS and Recovery

Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) is a serious mental illness. According to National Eating Disorders Collaboration website “40% – 60% of people who seek treatment for an eating disorder have EDNOS”. People with EDNOS commonly present with extremely disturbed eating habits, a distorted body image and an intense fear of gaining weight. EDNOS is the most common eating disorder diagnosed for adults as well as adolescents, and affects both males and females equally.

 

Dear Readers,

A Reader from Pakistan, currently in Barcelona is sharing her story of recovery with us. This is a story of a Young mother, of courage, determination, love and hope. She was a restrictive Eater and suffered from EDNOS for twelve years of her life. What made her Eating Disorder worst was her diagnosis of PVNS in 2010, (Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis), a rare bone disease that affected her joint and her hip. Her story gives out a very strong message of self-belief and hope.

 

Both Eating Disorder and PVNS are a silent disease and are horrible in their pure essence.

I’ve lived with an Eating Disorder Not otherwise Specified (EDNOS) for twelve years of my life.  I never went on diet and I certainly don’t have body image issues. I just stopped eating and started cutting out all food groups from my diet. I also suffer from PVNS (Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis).

PVNS is an extremely rare joint disease that causes inflammation and overgrowth of the tissue in the synovial lining of the joint. Sadly, this disease is not really curable. The surgery provides temporary relief, but 80% of PVNS cases are reoccurring–my case being one of them. Experiencing PVNS is not only frustrating, it’s also life changing. In addition to physical pain and suffering, PVNS combined with Eating Disorder also causes depression, withdrawal, anxiety, hallucinations and strain on relationships.

What comes after Recovery? Happiness!!!

What comes after Recovery? Happiness!!!

I was always a popular beautiful girl in school. I thought marriage was an escape from studying and a reprieve from going to University. I was 18 when I got married. After marriage, I wanted to become a perfect wife and an ideal Daughter in Law. I have a pleasing personality and I cannot bear the thought of upsetting anyone. I excelled in my role as a perfectionist and won the hearts and minds of everyone around me.

The only problem I had was that I could not adapt to my in-laws Eating Lifestyle. Prior to marriage, my diet was a typical diet, which consisted of lots of Pakistani food. After my marriage, I was exposed to exotic delicacies, array of sea foods and varied world cuisines. I just could not eat any of those foods.

As time passed and my responsibilities increased, I became more determined and more focused on becoming a perfectionist. I would spend 10-12 hours making sure that all the food was cooked to the highest standards and that our house was immaculate and that everyone was well cared for. In all this process, I often forgot to eat, and even when I did sit down to eat, I would eat very very minimal. With time I became even more restricted in my diet, even our foreign holidays to France, Dubai, Spain, Germany, nothing could change my eating habits.

At the age of 19, I became a mother to a beautiful son. It was during these times, that I started experiencing pain in my hip and in my leg. I had ongoing knee pain since I was about 18, I wasn’t diagnosed with PVNS till 2010 in Barcelona. My eating got worst after the birth of my son and the pain in my hip and leg worsened. It was during those times that I went to see a doctor for my hip pain. He could not come up with a proper diagnosis and gave me pain killers for the pain. The consequences of neglecting my health and not eating properly soon started having an impact on my physical and mental health. I had a low blood pressure, low appetite and anxiety. This all had an impact on my son, who was withdrawn, quiet, under weight and a picky eater. For 12 years my PVNS and my Eating Disorder dominated my life. Throughout the years, my PVNS kept on flaring back up. There were very low levels of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in my bones. The lack of calcium, protein, fats and Carbohydrates further exacerbated the problem. I could have spared myself so much of the suffering if only I had the courage to love myself my body and who I was. In 2007, the pain progressed to where I could not even walk. The family practitioner ran further tests and recommended bed rest. I simply could not sit still or lie still. I had to move around, cook, and maintain my rigid control over eating.

I was referred to various Doctors in Pakistan for further evaluations. PVNS is very easily misdiagnosed by Doctors. It was misdiagnosed four times in my case, by many different doctors.

In 2010, I was on a family holiday in Barcelona. My childhood friend came to visit me and pointed out that my Son had an exact eating habits of mine. My son refused all foods and he looked smaller for his age. My son was only six years old at that time. When my friend offered him snacks, he said, ‘tell my mama to eat as well’. This was a wake up-call. I started eating for the sake of my son and it was that time that I was diagnosed with PVNS.

When you Ignore your Body, what Happens?

For years I ignored the pain in my leg. My joints were stiff and my movement restricted with a burning pain around the joint area. I let it go untreated and it wasn’t till 2010, that I went to a specialist in Barcelona for a diagnosis. My knee had become so stiff I could no longer crouch or bend down. Sadly my PVNS was in its advanced stages, rendering the hip completely unusable, requiring a complete hip replacement. Last year I had a surgery, followed by 4 weeks of bedside recovery and 8 weeks of physical therapy. This is my first surgery in twelve years to treat my very rare joint disease. What made everything far more difficult was my Eating Disorder which made the surgery very invasive and the recovery time far more intense. After the major surgery, I refused to eat and I was threatened with a feeding tube by medical staff.

Cutting out Calcium and Protein and Fats was one reason why my bones became brittle. Poor nutrition impaired my daily health and wellbeing and reduced my ability to lead an enjoyable and active life. It contributed to stress, tiredness and other health problems

I pulled through and had to remind myself that my 9 year old son was waiting for me in Pakistan. Children copy their mother’s eating habits. My son is an exact copy of me. He is quiet, shy and struggles with eating. You have to be a positive role model for your children and this requires letting go your Eating Disorder and the behaviours.

There is a definitive relationship between osteoporosis and diet. The single most important thing you can do to prevent many bone related diseases is to take care of your diet and to incorporate some bone strengthening exercises in your life. Good nutrition leads to higher bone density.

Recovery = Happiness

I have done well. I pulled myself together, took care of my health, my body, my mind and my soul all in matters of week. While going through recovery, I secured a voluntary post with an International NGO as an Inter cultural organizer in Barcelona. I followed doctor’s instructions, completed my physio. I went back to Pakistan in January 2014 and I cannot tell you how my son’s face lit up at seeing me in good health.  I looked well and felt good. I am back in Barcelona now and will be going back to Pakistan soon. I did let myself slip, when I was in Pakistan but then relapse is part of recovery. Every time I slip and I feel Eating Disorder is back, I remind myself of my worst days in suffering and I think of my son and this gives me courage to defeat my Eating Disorder with all the power in the world. If you’re suffering from PVNS and Eating Disorder then taking care of your body and eating right can improve your quality of life, smoothing your transition into survivorship.

It’s only nutrition that can improve your sense of well-being and your quality of life.Please do not allow any illness to bring you down. Take care of your health, your body and mind.

 

 

Health is Wealth

Health is Wealth

 

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Super Star Foods that Help and Soothe in Eating Disorder Recovery

Super Star Foods that Help and  Soothe in Eating Disorder Recovery

Dear Readers,

All recovery from Eating Disorder starts with good nutrition.

P.s. Please take out a minute to read the information below. It can really make a difference in your recovery. Thank you.

Eating and drinking a balanced diet plays an important part in Eating Disorder treatment. In recovery we have to be very careful with what we eat and how much we eat. The aim is to bring balance back to your body and to replenish the levels in your brain.  Foods that are devoid of nutritional values will further worsen the condition of person going through the stages of refeeding and recovery. So tread carefully.   A good diet can help your body to

  • Cope with stress of Eating Disorder treatment
  • Recover and heal faster
  • Fight off infections
  • Feel stronger, healthier and have more energy

“The sort of food you eat can either help to instill a sense of calmness and balance, or make you feel even more anxious at sea.” Amanda Cochrane

What has helped me in my recovery is these foods. I remember the first time I incorporated Salmon, almonds and Mackerel in my diet, my stress levels were so high and I felt ill and sick. I used to find it very difficult to eat enough and to eat the right foods. I took one day at a time. Slowly slowly I started incorporating all these super foods into my diet. Within weeks, I saw the difference it made to my mental health and my physical health. What was amazing and really astounding was how it stabilized my weight and how my skin tone improved. Instead of sweets and drinks, I went for dates and figs as a mid-day snack. To restore the levels of calcium, potassium and B vitamins in my body, I have lots and lots of yogurt, oats milk, figs, and dates. Of course all in moderation. I don’t overeat, binge or purge now, I don’t even restrict anymore. I am very grateful to a holistic therapist in Weybridge for recommending this diet to me. If you are eating and drinking well, you will be able to cope better and recover faster from your Eating Disorder. All I can say is trust me the list of foods below is magical in your recovery and it will prevent your from over-eating, will keep you satiated and will prevent you from going for a binge.

Below is the list of foods taken from Amanda Cochrane’s book Perfect Skin that are high in nutritional values, light on stomach and have anti-stress properties.

Almonds- these nuts contain magnesium, a mineral sometimes known as nature’s tranquilizer. It helps to keep the nerves on an even keel. Nibbling these nuts between meals instead of sweet snacks stabilizes blood sugars and helps to keep energy levels steady.

Bananas- A rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid that we convert into serotonin. serotonin is a brain chemical associated with feeling calm and content. anxiety, depression and stress-induced insomnia are linked to low levels of this chemical. other foods containing pre-formed serotonin are dates, red and blue plums, aubergines, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple and tomatoes.

Figs- One of the best plant sources of calcium, a mineral which helps to relax the muscle. Low levels of calcium are linked to anxiety and nervousness. Other good sources are chickpeas, natural yogurt, green leafy vegetables and shell fish.

Flax Oil- The richest natural source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are needed to make healthy brain and nervous tissue. They also keep the skin soft and smooth. These fatty acids are also present in soya beans, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, as well as oily fish mackerel and salmon.

Whole Grains- These provide plenty of B vitamins which are needed to soothe and strengthen the nerves. B vitamins are rapidly depleted by nerves. As they cannot be stored in the body we need a good supply everyday. They help to keep the blood sugar levels stable and provide a steady source of energy. Good sources are brown rice, wheat, rye and oats.

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EatingDisorders/Mindful Eating and Breakfast

EatingDisorders/Mindful Eating and Breakfast

Dear Readers!
On Sunday, 16th March 2014, I attended One Day Short course on Mindful Approaches to Nutritional Change (Practitioner training) in Richmond Surrey. This fabulous course was delivered by very brilliant Katie Sheen. The one day course explored the importance of Mindful Eating to support nutritional change. Katie Sheen shared something very fascinating on how to beat binge eating AND eating disorders with one small exercise.  You have to commit to this exercise for two weeks to see the difference it makes to your well being.

Eating a Good Healthy Breakfast for Two Weeks

Katie Sheen’s Suggestion: We cannot sustain ourselves without eating. Start your day off right with a high protein breakfast to fill you up, and get your body fired up. Breakfast Rules!!

The act of eating is a sacred act and does us and our bodies great benefit to be treated as such. Islam places lots of emphasis on eating mindfully. The Prophet Muhammad  said:

“Nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes more, it should be: One-third for his food, one-third for his liquids, and one-third for his breath.” Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah.

This course further amplified my belief in eating mindfully for soul mind and body. In Eating Disorder we lose a joy of eating and our relationship with food becomes distorted. When we apply mindful-awareness to the eating, the experience of eating looks and feels very different from what we may be accustomed to. Mindfulness allows us to honour the food we eat, and thus honour ourselves; changing the way we relate to food and the relationship we have with food. Being Mindful matters and is a key to healthy living.

 

Are you Ready for Breakfast Challenge?

For two weeks have a healthy Breakfast, Eat it like a King and see the difference it makes to your overall day.

  • Write down the difference it makes to your overall Day, i.e. to your energy levels, mental levels etc.
  • If you go for binge by 10:00am, write down after what time hunger kicks in after you’ve had your breakfast.
  • Record the number of times you binge and purge in those two weeks.
  • After two weeks, what is your physical response to food, how do you feel about food?

Give this exercise two weeks, what have you got to lose?

Eating breakfast every day can be overwhelming, start by trying it three times week and take notice of the difference it makes in your day and how you feel.

Benefits of Two Week Challenge:

What Binging? If you snack throughout the day on sweets, drinks, foods that are devoid of nutritional values, then you’ll see that desire lessening.

More Energy- You will have more energy.

Clear Mind- You will have a sharp, active mind.

By end of two weeks, you will regain the confidence in one’s intuitive desires related to hunger and food choice. Remember You are nourishing yourself and connecting with your beautiful self.

 What Breakfast works for you?

Learn to be aware of your thought patterns around food choices.

My Example: I always hated breakfast. By 11:00am I just wanted to go back to bed and sleep. Throughout the day, I would snack on sweets and drinks. At the eating disorder unit, we had to start our day with a good breakfast. At home I experimented with several breakfasts and wrote down how I felt about all of them. Later on I was able to make informed choices about my breakfast. Now I know what breakfasts work best for me and I never compromise on my choices.

I experimented with following:

Breakfast 1- Bowl of Frosties with semi-skimmed milk and cappuccino.

Breakfast 2- Cup of coffee with Oatmeal


Breakfast 3- Spinach Egg omelet with goat cheese, two slices of wholewheat toasts and a cup of Mint tea.

Recipe: http://www.rd.com/food/recipes-cooking/healthy-spinach-and-goat-cheese-omelet-recipe/

Advantage of Breakfast 3- Starting your day with a good protein based breakfast helps keep your blood sugar levels in check. It also prevents you from going for a binge earlier in the day. You shouldn’t skip breakfast, ever.

Mindful Breakfast- If we begin to pay attention to how specific kinds of breakfast impact our body, we can start to make better choices about what breakfasts to eat.

Mindful Breakfast tips:

 

  1. Chew slowly. Not only is this better for your digestive system, you’ll also enjoy it more.
  2. Try not to talk during meals. Focus on the food.

 

Protein Breakfast challenge for Healthy Body and Mind

Try a protein based Breakfast. This is your first chance of the day to make it a good one-take advantage of it!

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition people who enjoy breakfasts high in protein are less likely to consume foods high in fat or sugar later in the evening. On day seven of the experiment, the participants were asked to fill out appetite and satiety questionnaires and also had blood samples drawn. The researchers also examined their brain activity with fMRI brain scans.The researchers found that the participants who had eaten breakfast felt fuller later on than those who had skipped breakfast. The consumption of breakfast also resulted in a reduction in brain activity responsible for the control of food cravings. Eating a high-protein breakfast also impacted snacking on high-fat or high-sugar foods in the evening, compared with skipping breakfast or eating cereal. “Eating a protein-rich breakfast impacts the drive to eat later in the day, when people are more likely to consume high-fat or high-sugar snacks,” study researcher Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri, said in a statement. “These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods.”
Source: https://guardian.co.tt/lifestyle/2013-03-29/high-protein-breakfasts-prevent-snacking
Do you feel like mindless eating has become a habitual pattern in your life? Would you like to learn how to become a mindful eater and reap the many benefits that mindful eating can provide? Try Soul Nutrition. http://www.soulnutrition.org


The benefits of committing to the mindful path are many, but as we know, the real work that we need to do to grow as human beings, is never easy. With focused effort, you too, can reap the many benefits of learning to eat more mindfully.

 

Start with Breakfast and Move on!

 

 

 

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Eating Disorders and healing through Prayer/Salaat

Eating Disorders and  Prayer/Salaat

Prayer clears the mist
and brings back peace to the soul.
Every morning, every evening
let the heart sing
La ilaha il Allah. There is no reality but God. Rumi

 

 

Trust in Allah, not in the demon of Eating Disorder

And whoever places his trust in Allah, Sufficient is He for him, for Allah will surely accomplish His Purpose: For verily, Allah has appointed for all things a due proportion. (Qur’an 65:3)

Dear Readers,

A reader asked me how does praying five times a day help you to recover from your Eating Disorder? Eating Disorders can be very debilitating for the person and their family. Before I went to Eating Disorder unit, I lived in a very delusional world, where I thought I was in complete control of my body and my mind. I prayed but I never prayed for the recovery. The only time, I realised , fully realised how severe my Eating Disorder was, when I was threatened with tube feeding. I remember coming home in anger and asking my father to take me shopping. I bought nuts, milk, butter, fruit, fish , whole grains and vegetables. I wanted to show my treatment team  that it was me who was in-charge and in full control of my eating and not my Eating Disorder. One week later, I was in emergency with a slow heart beat and emaciated body. I then accepted defeat and bowed down to God in complete humility. I needed help and I needed help urgently.

I accepted defeat and I turned to Allah…..


Dear Allah,
I admit that I am powerless over my eating.
I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.
Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness.
Remove from me all denial of my eating disorder. (First Step prayer)

My prayer-

Dear Allah

Eating Disorder has siezed my life, my soul

and I am in pain . . . broken inside

control of myself and my life is gone

but, I pretend  that I am still in control

fear, anger and grief live inside me,

pushing everyone away

isolating me in my prison of Eating Disorder world

a prison of regret, self-loathing shame and grief

I am stuck in the past  . . . and I don’t see the future

presence  is a struggle . . . and I can’t break away from this

prison of the demon of Eating Disorder

Next-Step for me was to ask Allah to release me from this slavery, to free me from this prison of dark world of Eating Disorder.

 

Dear Beloved Allah,

Release me from my prison of Eating Disorder

open my heart to love, blessings and life

open my eyes to see I can recover from my Eating Disorder

make me dare to be willing . . . to let go of my addictions

to let go of fear . . . self hatred  . . .and shame

help me let go of this dark world of Eating Disorder

O Allah, come to me, I am your subservient slave,

I humbly ask that you remove all twisted thought & addictive

behavior from me this day,

awaken me . . . from this nightmare hell

Help my heart to know  . . . that hope is possible.

After accepting that you have an Eating Disorder the next step is to put all your worries, fears at Allah’s hands. Prayer is the easiest way to reach Allah and to seek His help. Do bear in mind that not a single Eating Disorder thought that crosses your mind can be kept hidden from Allah, because He is closer to you then your jugular vein. Allah knows our illness and He knows how Eating Disorder is ruling our mind, so why not seek Help and guidance from the One who knows you very well?

If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond to Me and believe in Me so that hopefully they will be rightly guided. (Surat al-Baqara: 186)

Salaat/Prayer and Trust in Allah- To be a Muslim you have to follow the five pillars of Islam. The second pillar of Islam is Salaat/Prayer, praying five times a day to Allah. Prayer is a joy, a healing and brings us closer to God. Prayer creates a connection with God, it reinforces our dependency on him, and it leads  to a heart at peace and a soul that worships.

In Eating Disorder, we want to be in full-control of everything. We either live in the past or look into future, there is no here, no present, because here/now/present is all a blur. In Islam we are taught to let go of this rigid control, to have tawakul/trust in Allah and to attribute all outcomes to Allah. I found it very difficult to establish this tawakul/trust in Allah when the demon of Eating Disorder was whispering all negative things in my mind. I really struggled to let go off my rigid control over my weight and my eating. At the Eating Disorder Unit, what got me through the stages of refeeding and weight gain was prayer/Salaat, where I would ask Allah to help me, to guide me to protect me from the demon of Eating Disorder. With the  Salaat/Prayer the mist clears and you realize that there is a strong dietary and that it is He who is in full control and no-one else.

And whoever places his trust in Allah, Sufficient is He for him, for Allah will surely accomplish His Purpose: For verily, Allah has appointed for all things a due proportion. (Qur’an 65:3)

 

 

 

Beauty beyond words-

It’s very difficult to put into words the merits of performing Salaat/prayer. I love how Hammudah Abd Ali Atti from islammessage.com describes the beauty behind the prayer:

When we analyze the Islamic prayer and study its unique nature, it will reveal to us that it is not merely a sequence of physical movements or an empty recital of the Holy Book. It is a matchless and unprecedented method of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined. It is an exclusively Islamic experience where every muscle of the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship and glory of God. It is difficult for anyone to impart in words the full meaning of the Islamic prayer, yet it can be said that it is:

 

1. A lesson in discipline and willpower;

2. A practice in devotion to God and all worthy objectives;

3. A vigilant reminder of God and constant revelation of His Goodness;

4. A seed of spiritual cultivation and moral soundness;

5. A guide to the most upright way of life;

6. A safeguard against decency and evil, against deviation and going astray;

7. A demonstration of true equality, solid unity, and brotherhood;

8. An expression of thankfulness to God and appreciation of Him;

9. A course of inner peace and stability;

10. An abundant source of patience and courage, of hope and confidence.

I pray to Allah for those struggling with Eating Disorders to be set free from the demon. Amen!  Maha. 

 

 

 

 

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