Hi! In recovery I ate like more or less like this;
Breakfast 08:00; 600-700 calories
Most oftenly; oats w/topping (my favorite was chia seeds and berries), bread, cripsbreads, fruits (both fresh and dried, often 1 apple and some dried figs) and chococoffee with milk and chocolate covered nuts. Yes, often all of these in one meal.
Snack 11.30; 500-600 calories
Most oftenly; nutrition drink or 1/2 full fat milk, nuts (yoghurt nuts or almonds) and banana OR a smoothie of bananas, pb, chocolate powder, milk, chia seeds,
Lunch 14.30; 600 calories
Here I varied more, but it was often cereal w/raisins and milk (obviously), bread, crispbreads, nuts, fruits (often mango or grapes), some dark chocolate, a glass of full fat milk or smoothie etc.
Dinner around 17-00-17.30; 600 calories
In most cases 1/2 plate with rice/pasta/potatoes, 1/4 vegetables, 1/4 proteins (seafood, Quorn vegetarian ”meat”, beans, chickpeas etc) and some sauce or dressing on the side, often ketchup, quark, butter or soy sauce. After dinner I usually had a snack of hot chocolate w/milk and some dried figs/a microwaved banana with cinnamon.
Supper around 20.00-21.00; 600 calories
Lots of rice cakes with all kinds of spreads (avocado, butter, salmon, pb, macerel, jam etc), dates, 1-2 eggs, fruits.
= 3000 calories
I ate like this because it was simple and fit with my schedule. Sometimes I ate 700 calories for breakfast and 500 calories for snack, for example, but always 3000 in total. Oh, and obviously no exercise, I stayed mostly sedentary.
I planned all my meals the day before, but they were usually pretty much the same. I needed a very strict and detailed plan here because I was underweight and my main priority was to gain weight because so many of my symptoms, especially the extreme rigidity and obsessive behavior, were side effects of being underweight and undernourished. I was scared that I would make it a habit to be so obsessive around my meals, but I gradually got less rigid and obsessive the more I ate and gained.
In the beginning I weighed everything, even cucumber. Awkward but true. I gradually stopped weighing and counting down to every single digit. For example, one week my goal was to stop weighing vegetables. Then I stopped weighing oats, and measured it by tbsp or dl instead. Then I stopped weighing bread etc.
So when did I stop eating after a 3000 calorie meal plan, and how? My psychologist wanted me to keep on eating this way until I reached bmi 20, and then gradually start eating after hunger cues. She said that a bmi of 20 or above made the risk of a relapse lower. Just like so many in recovery I had this little period where I though I could maintain bmi 17-18 and be ”healthy”. Yeah right. At that bmi I was still obsessed with food and body, I was extremely rigid and disordered in every way. No period and no wish to do anything besides analyzing my body and counting macros. It was hard to let go of my ED, and I kind of wanted to choose a ”lifestyle” where I could stay obsessed with food and body. I was actually close falling into the *scary music* .. Fitness trap!!!! Luckily I was surronded by a psychologist and family members who convinced me to recover. This could have gone so wrong, as society sees orthorexia and fitness as healthy.
I gradually started eating after hunger cues at bmi 19. Risky indeed, but I was so close to mentally recovered as possible and my period was back. I did not made a goal of ”cutting down my intake”. I started to eat one meal on hunger cues, for example I followed my 3000 plan except for lunch, where I ate xxx calories. Then I did this with more and more meals, and suddenly I ate freely. It was amazing! Such a relief. What happened to my weight? I gained around 2 kg by eating after hunger cues, and then the gain stopped. I dont weight myself anymore, but I see that my weight is pretty much the same as half a year ago. If I had started eating after hunger cues early in recovery, I would probably not have recovered (I did not have much appetite) unless I got hit by extreme hunger.
A common mistake is that people think that when they are recovered they have to stop eating 3000 calories. Some days I eat way more than 3000 calories, and that is ok. That is normal. We are not machines who need exactly xxxx calories a day. If I sit on my ass all day I tend to eat less than if I move around a lot, not because I think ”gosh I dont need much food today, I dont move”, but because my body does not crave as much food as if I was active because I dont need it. And lets not forget my ovulation-extreme hunger! 2 weeks before my period (though my impression is that some get it right before- or during their period) I get extreme hunger that lasts for 1-3 days. It is scary, but I follow it because I know my body needs extra energy then. The EH passes. Everytime. My body does not magically change. My body is smart and I will listen to it.
Now I probably answered more than you asked for, but we get so many questions about when and how to eat after hunger cues etc, that I decided to write a longer post about it.