Sickness can be very disruptive for those with an eating disorder.
Even when a person has been in a solid place for awhile, sickness can rattle someone so seriously that it can be disorienting and even debilitating. Whether it’s the flu, Covid, RSV, or a stomach virus, even a few days of a suppressed appetite or altered eating pattern can be enough to begin the cycle of the eating disorder mindset.
Here are some things to consider:
1) Try your best to eat regularly every few hours (maybe even more frequently than usual). This means you might be eating 8 times a day, if you are unable to eat the usual size of your meals. That might be hard for the ED (but too bad ED, you need to take care of yourself!).
2) Hydrate. Water, and yes, juice, Gatorade. The ED might not like this, but that’s okay, the ED doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Enjoy soups! Check out my reel on making Tumeric Ginger Soup. Full recipe here. And make sure you add “enough” if consuming soups.
- Chicken Tortilla Soup Example here.
- Grilled cheese and Tomato Soup
- Lentil Soup
- Matzah ball soup (on side of meal)
3) Calorically dense options will be helpful. This will help maximize nutrition in every bite.
4) Consider less bulk during this time (fewer fruits and vegetables). Think of the Plate-by-Plate Approach guidelines ®(25% of the plate) as a good guide for fruits/vegetables. Yes, Vitamin C is still important when sick, but you can get more than enough through juices and smoothies, without so much effort while not feeling well. (Plate-by-Plate-Approach® guidelines here in out book, Adult version coming later this year!).
5) Keep a close eye on weight (if historically you have trouble keeping weight at an appropriate place for your body). Poor nutrition, hydration, and weight loss here can delay healing and prolong illness duration.
6) Listen to your body: If your body needs rest, let it rest. Now is not the time to ramp up your marathon training. Allow yourself to take time off from movement, training, and sports. Use the principle: what you would you tell a friend to do, then apply the same for yourself.
7) Recruit support. Can someone help with meal prep? Food shopping?
Good luck – and get well soon!
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