Whitney: Did your hair ever fall out when you became malnourished? If it did fall out then has it regrown?

This is prolly the shittiest, down right upsetting and depressing part of malnutrition, starvation, anorexia etc. I use to have a flipping horse tail of thick ass hair. I had MASSIVE amounts of hair that took forever to blow dry. It was so flipping thick you could barely wrap your fingers around it and it was a workout to braid it. Then it started thinning, then it started breaking off. I lost a shitload of hair in college and even more when I moved here. One thing I do remember, when I initially started eating a shitload of food, it fell out even more, like handfuls. I got so scared because I was eating more than I ever had, and losing more hair at the same time! Anyways, it did stop. But I think you should realize its going to get worse before it gets better. Expect things to go wrong, go bad, and when you freak out about your body, calm down accept it and expect it. your hair is like some 6 months ahead of your health, and will reflect that.

In the beginning of your recovery did you wait to exercise?

I moved to Mississippi in the beginning of 2006, as a retired cheerleader who couldn’t take care of herself. At this point, my desire for a 6pack in my way-to-revealing uniform had become an obsession. Funny, my abs are 100% more defined now than they were in college when I was a crunch whore. I was hooked on the drive to run, to exercise, to absolutely run myself into the ground all day everyday, then wake up and do it again. It didn’t help I had a pool when I moved down here which just coupled the obsession. I was living off canned tuna and a bag of 100 cal popcorn. Threw in some bowls of lettuce and fruit here and there. Then, I hit rock bottom in the winter of 2006(winters and cold weather have never been a strong point for me, even now). Anyways, I was forced into help I couldn’t afford and was given an ultimatum: either I get thrown in a mental hospital treatment center for ED’s here (the program is well known, Tiger Woods went there lol) or I allow my parents to take control. I was NOT going to treatment so I let my parents have at me for about a year. First thing, I sit on my ass all day. My mom made dinner every night and I was to eat dinner every night with the family. I had a job as a hostess and was in school here at the time so I was only really home then. It worked, I went from prolly 85lbs to about 100lbs then got fed up. Anyways, after allowing my body to sit I never had a desire to pick up the cardio go go go exercise thing again. So I haven’t been on a ‘run’ or jog, or anything even relating to cardio since 2006. I doubt I ever will again mostly because I hurt my knees earlier this year. The beginning of this year, when I ended my touting on zero carb and started eating paleo, I was still doing no exercise. I was in straight casts on my knees because I am a dumbass and fell, spraining both MCL’s and tearing both meniscus’….painful fucking shit. I still am living down this pain, I didn’t get the ‘required’ surgery because I cannot afford it, and I am ‘tougher’ than that haha. Hardass, I know. So after being primal or whatever, basically just eating real food from February until about July I still did nothing. Come the end of July this year, I started with girl pushups, on my knees. That’s all I had strength for. Then I moved to pushups against the wall. Then I did fake dips where I lifted myself up because I wasn’t strong enough. Then I held myself over a chin up bar until I was strong enough to lift myself and do a real chin up. And now I am here. Beginner gains baby haha J

The short answer… I stopped exercise because I was forced unwillingly in 2006 and I never got back into it. I hate running. I hate cardio. I like pushups and chinups and pullups. But even that, has only been the past 4-5 months. About 3 weeks ago I added deadlift- ONCE A WEEK.

Jill: I never heard of these. Do these give sample meal plans to get a grasp on it all?

I still go overboard on all my food. And my body suffers. I’m constipated a lot. And very tired and sluggish. I’m starting to think I have something internal wrong with me. I overdo foods all the time, thinking I need to get the calories in…but suffer! I do like chocolate do (70 percent or greater currently). The HARDEST thing is being okay with eating like this (eating a lot, a lot…and eating chocolate) and never exercising. I sit 24-7. Maybe why I’m as stiff as a wooden doll.

You lost me on this question, I don’t understand what you are asking but I will try to answer. Sample meals? I have posted sample meals before so backtrack in my blog, I don’t eat much different now.  I just eat real food. I do eat a lot more carbohydrates than I use to. I found these cool purple potatoes at the farmers market that taste like white potatoes, its sweet! I think you’re sluggish because you destroyed your body starving it. Your tired because you over think your food. It is JUST food. You can’t obsess and expect to eat a meal then feel good, it doesn’t work that way. Matt at 180 degree health told me this recently I think it may help you :

I’d rather see you construct a diet based on what tastes the best to you, with the flexibility to eat anything and everything that appeals to you at the moment you are inclined to eat it – without attaching some kind of analysis to it.  I have been doing this lately personally, which has really helped me out.  There is no perfect way to construct a diet in your mind. It’s your body and its changing needs that must be catered to.  A little consistency sure, but not too rigorous.

What I do know is that a lot of minor issues resurface as you start to eat more and put on some body mass.  Perhaps it’s due to digestive weakness at the start.  Perhaps it’s due to blood sugar dysregulation of an impaired metabolism.  Perhaps it’s a combination of dozens of factors.

But I think what I’ve been most successful at helping people with is pressing through some of that stuff, increasing their food tolerances, their freedoms, and more as some of the minor stuff fades away over time.

Recovery will be met with lots of these little speed bumps (yeah, that’s what we’ll call those things!).  Whatever you can do to not get tripped up on them, do it.  Expect them.  See them as a sign that you are moving in the right direction. Try not to make too many assessments or Sherlock Holmes the crap out of everything that you experience.  Once your body weight is back to a level your body runs better at, you can tweak the minor details.

I’d also encourage you to give ONE strategy a shot for a prolonged period of time without tweaking the details or moving on to the next hot thing 2 weeks later.  A long-term vision is required to make permanent changes.  Think in 3-month blocks, not 3 day blocks, which is easier said than done!

The thing is, there is NO ONE answer to ‘what is wrong’ with your body at any given time, or just by a given feeling. The thing you NEED to focus on is finding out and discovering what YOU like, what makes YOU feel good, what works for YOU. Nobody else in this entire world is you and nobody else will react to recovery like you, or me, or some other blogger. Experiment on yourself, try different foods. Find food you LIKE, and eat them. Your body will thank you. Do not eat food X because I eat it, or because it is deemed ‘healthy.’ Eat a flipping pancakes and sausage breakfast because YOU LIKE IT. Not exercising is what it is. You both accept it and get on with life, or you freak about it which will cause a host of problems in itself. I just had to tell myself to chill the fuck out, sit the fuck back, rest and eat. Obviously, it paid off because I am stronger now than I ever have been and my bones/joints are finally not feeling like they belong to my dead grandma.

Molly: How many times a week do you “exercise” and apart from formal exercise, do you stay active/sedentary?

I ‘workout’ twice a week. It consists of EXACTLY this: pushups, chinups, assisted pullups(I use my feet to help because I cannot do them on my own yet), and upside down pushups(take the bar and swing under it and pull yourself up to it, like a pushup but upside down). So one day (usually Wednesdays) I do pushups, chinups, pullups and the reverse pushups.

The second workout is deadlift. I just started this about 3 weeks ago. Saturday morning, after coffee, I go to this shitty gym, pay $3 dollars and do 3 sets of deadlift. So, $1 a set haha. Last week I upped 185lbs. I did the first set at 8, the last 2 at 5. So one set of eight, 2 sets of 5. That’s it on this day. I ONLY deadlift, then leave the gym.

So total, I do about 45 minutes, rests included, of anything formal a week. Unless your desire is GAINING strength, I do not see lifting as anything necessary. I like it because it is mentally calming for me. I have an aggressive mind, I get really really mad sometimes about nothing and I cant control it. Lifting allows me to release this, and I handle life much better.

I think cardio is ridiculously stupid, pointless and counter productive to anyone who wishes to have a balanced normal body. Don’t do it. There’s a difference between taking a walk to the store or park, and waking up to jog.

Other than that, I have a desk job 8-10 hours a day as an accountant. When I get off I go home and eat dinner and lay around watching sports on TV or FOX news and text people lol. Every night pretty much. Weekends I watch football and drink alcohol, because I like it.

Bridget: Here’s a question: Would you every do a video/vlog post? Like one of you doing your workout or something?

I have no idea how to do that unless I have a video camera?? And no, I don’t. Maybe some guys at work do, ill ask around but I am not too adamant on showing you my pushups lol. Youtube is full of chicks doing that. I do think it would be cool to turn the thing on and talk though haha. I might be able to do that from my laptop.

Katy: What’s your favorite thing to eat?

You know, I get asked this a lot (no where near as much as the workout thing though…). I think every time I make a new food or try something different, I have a new favorite thing to eat. I like to make meatballs and season them different themes like Italian, curry, sage/thyme, spicy just try different things. It helps me figure out what I think ‘goes well’ together. Like Italian meatballs, I like with tomatoes roasted with garlic and butter, and mozzarella. Curry I like to use meat and a sauce with coconut butter. Spicy, I stuff pepper with ground sausage and add a kick of ginger or cinnamon to bring out the spiciness of them. I try new vegetables when I see ones I haven’t tried.

My go-to food I think I will always love: beef, sweet potatoes, full fat yogurt, fruit with cream or coconut milk, cheese all kinds of cheese, coconut products, eggs. And I love every single vegetable expect green onions…maybe a few others lol.

Katy: You just got 6-pack abs from eating primal?!?!

Yes, I promise. And never ever in my life have my abs been this defined. When I ran 23049650134 miles a week, ‘watched’ my food and ate healthy, and starved myself and did exercise A B and C for ‘abs’ I NEVER HAD ABS. When I was forced to sit still and eat, low and behold there they are! I think they needed nutrition and rest and massive amounts of food. I do know that anything focusing on your abs will NOT grow muscles there. Movements that force your lower back to be stable and your body centered are what grows abs. Planks are a good start.

Rebekah: First of all, I LOVE your writing. You are an inspiration. Please, please, please keep posting. I have been reading through all of your previous posts, and I am in awe of you! You exude strength, courage, wisdom, knowledge, humor, and compassion. I know I will never be able to understand your struggle, but I do know that I’m amazed by you!

I’d love to know more about malnutrition. What books did you read? Can you provide any of the titles?

Thank you. I hope that what other people get from my blog is to find what works for them and accept that only they can determine that. You gain strength and confidence and wisdom by doing this J.

I started with a textbook called disease and malnutrition of the human body (or something). You can prolly find it on Amazon. I bought it off a guy who used it for college here. Then I bought metabolism and endocrinology off Amazon, another textbook. Then I started reading PubMed and Paleolithic stuff. I am not as big a fan of Paleo, Sally Fallon, and all the hype as I once was. What makes one person feel good and happy is not what makes another person feel good and happy. It all boils down to stress and how your body reacts to your mind. Your attitude toward food and your body will determine how you look. Accept real food, and accept what works for you and what you like. Just because I don’t eat quinoa doesn’t mean you won’t love the stuff!

Rebekah: I’ve struggled for years with depression and binge eating. This year, I made the connection that sugar = sadness. So I cut it out of my diet. Then I figured out that wheat wasn’t doing much for me, either. It’s been a slow march from SAD eating to Sally Fallon-esque eating (heavy on meats, fats, and fermented food … not so much of anything else). But now I’m craving real knowledge on nutrition, to back up my body’s innate wisdom.

Obviously I hate on wheat and refined anything. It has no place in the human body. But not expanding your variety will cause you more mental turmoil and social hardship than I think is necessary. You live to eat when you do this instead of eat to live. Don’t focus so much on what you can or can’t eat and focus on real food. No one can bash you because you don’t eat ‘fake’ shit like chips and cake.

Have you read Emily’s Evolutionary Psychiatry website? I think you would learn a lot from her posts. Some are too technical for me but there is usually some sort of recap in them. she is a very smart lady! Also, check out the Perfect Health Diet website.

Rebekah: My family members keeping asking why I eat fat, and bones, and marrow. It would be helpful to explain to them scientifically why I eat in this manner (as opposed to giving them my usual response of “I just feel better.”) So any book recommendations you have would be greatly appreciated!

Um, if I only ate meat, bones and marrow I would have some ‘splainin to do as well. I was zero carb for a year before I was forced to change. I think you’re over thinking food here. You expect certain food to make you binge, you expect to be stressed about food X Y and Z and you expect that meat and fat are the only things that work….because you read it somewhere. Someone placed the belief in your head that this is true. You really truly believe this. This started because it WORKED FOR ONE PERSON but you are not that person. I did one time too believe this. But you need to DROP ALL the attitude, preobsession, post-thoughts you have about food and look at it for what it is. Just food. Just nourishment. You’ll find maybe you actually react a lot differently than you force yourself to react. I swore up and down I was insulin resistant for the longest time, years. But I am not. I handle carbs just fine. I do think saturated fats, and natural fats have a real place in the human diet and many people are lacking so much of the quality it provides but I doubt your years in from living off fried food and vegetable oil or packaged food and junk.  I do agree refined sugar=problems just as much as refined oil=problems.

Book recommendation. Actually I recommend you do not read ANY BOOKS AT ALL or surf the blog or internet 24/7 at all. Just stop it all. Accept you will go on a journey to find what works for you! Obviously, you know good food. Make a base off marrow bones and fatty meat, but work up from there. Add foods you like to this. You don’t need justification for what you eat or why you eat if you aren’t obsessing and aren’t stressed all the time. No one would question your food choices if you didn’t make it a big deal. I am not into ‘convincing’ my family I can eat _____ but not _______. I don’t care anymore. Really, I accept I eat what works for me and I am still figuring this out, so fuck the rest. It’s not their problem, it is mine. If I need help, I’ll ask. But always allow them to offer advice, and help because they only want you happy. They really truly do NOT understand you or how your mind works. You need to accept that. Or try to explain it to them. Tell them how your thought process works when you eat fatty meat. Then put a donut in front of you and tell them about your anxiety and fear of binging. Tell them EXACTLY what is going on in your head. They will get it then, and they will want to HELP you and even cook you big chuck roasts!

Rebekah: And finally … how did you learn how to do unassisted chin-ups?! I love push-ups, but chin-ups seem beyond me. Any advice would be great!

I sort of explained this up top somewhere but ill try again. Find a bar you can hold yourself over and do that, 3 times holding yourself there until you fall. Do it once a week until you’re strong enough to lower yourself to 90 degrees with your arms and again, hold yourself there as long as you can, 3 times. Then start doing jumping chinups. Jump from the ground only enough that you are struggling to get yourself over the bar. Do that 3 times. By the way, none of this will help to gain strength if you aren’t eating in a caloric surplus.  You can just magically get stronger if you don’t change how you eat.

Tori: I’ve heard about the carb hypothesis. I don’t know. What’s your take? I thought you’ve mentioned you stay away from bread, but am I mistaken?

People eat bread all the time in the Bible! Jesus can’t be wrong!  Haha!

I am a roman catholic, this is a confusing question. But I think you are taking it into a literal sense. Jesus even says he is the ‘bread of life’. Now, that is a symbolic meaning, and I think you know that. It is not saying Jesus is literally bread, but that he symbolizes a wealth of nourishment. Jesus does state ‘thy shall eat from the fat of the land’ I don’t think he means there is fat in the soil, but that it symbolizes they will find and eat meat. Also, I read this from Kevin Brown who wrote

The Liberation Diet: I have written an article called “The Spiritual Side of Healthy Eating” in which I try to incorporate God’s input on diet. Of course, as we believe God is the Creator, there is no Paleo diet, as we became meat eaters after our fall into sin in the garden of Eden. We were designed to eat plants initially, bread after the fall into sin, and animals after the flood of Noah’s day. We are not currently able to do well on a high-grains or high fruit diet. God gives us a perfect illustration of a healthy meal in Genesis 18 where He records the foods that He eats, and we know that God does all things perfectly. Any record of a meal that God eats personally includes fat and protein.

Laura: you’ve mentioned before that you eat between 2000-3000 calories a day eating off primal food. Ive always been taught that total calories count, and if you exceed what your body needs then you will gain weight. Ive been contemplating to switch over to full on primal eating but am afraid with all the calories to keep my satisfied, I’ll just gain weight. Are you eating this amount of food to gain for the time being?

Are you asking my to set you a calorie goal….oh shit, I feel a coonass rant coming on. First of all I am confused by the question? Are you on a restrictive diet now? If so, why the fuck are you restricting your food intake? Weight gain and weight loss have nothing to do with calories. Some days I eat well over 3000 ‘calories’ in the sense that the USDA calculates them. So what does that mean? Nothing. Should I be a fatty pants for eating a lot sometimes? Its food, not a number. You have been taught wrong, sorry. Eat for health and nutrition, not weight and numbers. I can’t advise you there. Why are you afraid of gaining weight? If you’re scared of gaining, you’re scared of eating and thus you’re scared of food….back to step one where you ACCEPT RECOVERY. RECOVERY HAS NO CALORIE ALLOTMENT OR NUMBERS. Recipe for weight gain and stress right there when you inquire about calories, regardless of what you eat. Keep satisfied?? This sounds like you’re trying to LOSE weight. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Your body will work out the rest. I don’t eat any portioned ‘amounts’ of food, I JUST EAT REAL FOOD…when I am hungry….and I stop when I am full. Whatever plan you pick, be it vegan, carnivore, Mediterranean, paleo WHATEVER….just pick something and stick to it. BE DONE WITH THE DECISION MAKING. EAT FOOD YOU LIKE. Do not go searching for the ‘next big thing’ (again, thanks to Matt for that one…I get it now).

I guaran-damn-tee you found my blog and now want to be ‘full on primal’ because you saw how MY BODY took to it. Your body isn’t my body. Your body might not need as much food as mine; it might need much more, who the hell knows?!? You won’t know until you learn to listen to yourself, your likes, and find what works for your body. What if you like beans? Beans aren’t paleo. What if you like hummus, hummus aint paleo. God forbid you like peanut butter…it’s a legume. If you force primal eating thinking you’ll get a six pack, you are SADLY mistaken. My point is what works for me isn’t guaranteed to work for someone else (not to all out bitch at you). I can tell you what works for me, but it won’t work for you because you are not me.

And the last question, my weight fluctuates between none of your damn business and no I am not disclosing you with it. Not being a bitch, but it is disordered of you to wonder about food, weight and fear it. FIX IT AND ACCEPT RECOVERY. I have come one hell of a long way in the past 9-10 months but it is a CRACK, a small minute almost nonexistent step in the rest of my life. Yes, I have come far physically, but I have one hell of a long way to still go. I can’t even begin to describe that just eating food again and putting on weight is not recovery. My recovery is no where near ‘over’ and I don’t want people to get the idea that once you get to a normal BMI life is peachy. Life is one shit-ton better, but it is still life. There are things going on in my body that are weird, wrong, unhealthy and are finally surfacing now that my body is up and running again. That sucks. Nothing like feeling like shit when you’ve worked so hard, but as is life, it will pass. It still sucks sometimes: like my car broke down this week and I had to fix it and now have no money for Christmas presents. I got pissed. Like really really really obnoxiously mad, kicked the shit out of my car etc. I REALLY REALLY wanted to lose weight when this happened, for absolutely no fucking reason at all. Just because, it was so ridiculous and I was so mad. But guess what, that’s life. I paid to tow and repair my car and I ate plenty of food…as much as I may have hated it all.

Here’s a few tips for anyone who is interested in what I would tell someone to eat:

What do you like? What makes you feel good? EAT THAT. I don’t care what the hell it is, if you like it, it makes you feel good, then why would you NOT eat it??? Why does it matter what I eat and like, you’re not me and we WILL NOT like that same things. This is why I don’t run a recovery based food blog. No one should eat like ANY retarded blogger you see sharing their every meal with you- ESPECIALLY ONE IN RECOVERY FROM AN EATING DISORDER. Just because blogger ‘A’ likes to start the day with a green chia/flax protein smoothie sure as hell does not mean I will. I don’t care what the fuck you ‘think’ is healthy about it, it could provide every single vitamin, mineral and amino acid and I wouldn’t touch it, holy ew. You could be the most admirable person with a body I think is fantastic, and just because you like oatmeal and beans and egg whites will not convince me to change and I will never want to or try to mock you. I think this sets me apart…everyone is looking for ‘what to eat’ and ‘the answer’….EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, LISTEN TO YOUR MIND AND BODY.

What is food to you? EAT THAT, even if it is a powder in a bottle. If you really truly believe that a tofurki-fuck-what-its-called tofu nugget will make you happy and healthy, THEN BY ALL MEANS EAT IT.

Some choices are better than others. Nobody should eat refined food or products at all, but is that possible when one wants to live life more than live vicariously through some sick food opinions or health obsessions? Almond butter is a ‘refined product’ because it is not raw almonds straight from the shell, it is grinded almonds. Does that mean I shouldn’t eat it if it is served at my friend’s house…? FUCK NO, I am eating. Just because poultry is not something I like to eat ever but I am out to dinner on a date, and they’re serving turkey or chicken, does that mean I can’t eat because of the mass PUFA in poultry?? FUCK NO, I am eating.

I am still eating cheese even if it isn’t raw because I am a dairy whore, but you’re damn set in your ways I WILL NOT touch a low-fat product, at all, in any form. I won’t touch wheat and grains. I draw a line, I eat real food, there are margins of area where I just won’t touch it but not because I think oh my God it will destroy my body. It is a simple passing thought of ‘that’s not food.’ There aren’t nonfood products that ‘tempt’ me like some people experience. You can put me in the office break room full of krispy kremes, cookies and cinnamon rolls…and it doesn’t phase me, at all. No stress, no I wish I could have that. It’s like a toy, not food and I think the way people act around that junk, especially during the holidays is just downright sick.