A young reader from Bahrain is suffering from Anorexia Nervosa in isolation. She has a will to change and a burning desire to defeat her illness. She lost weight after she went on several fad diets and ended up cutting out all major food groups from her diet. This has led to myriad of health problems for her such as hair loss, irregular cycle, dry skin, depression, anxiety, mood swings, isolation and negative thoughts in mind. She suffers from negative body image and can’t eat without feeling horrible about her self and her body.
“since long time ago even before anorexia , I always felt disgusting about myself after eating a big meal and getting full .”
Another factor that contributes to her Eating Disorder is social/cultural factor that glorifies “thinness” and place value on obtaining the “perfect body”.
She says: “I stare a lot at the girls stomachs and bodies when it comes to models and some girls on Instagram and I want to be like them “
She asked me for few tips and for help. I’ve tried my best to respond to her plea of help. Please do bear in mind, what I share here does not replace any professional advice.
Eating disorders are complex conditions, if left untreated they can create a self-perpetuating cycle of physical and emotional destruction. Don’t Forget All eating disorders require professional help.
Starting treatment for Anorexia means doing exactly the opposite of what Anorexia wants you to do. IIona Burton
S lives in Bahrain, I would recommend you to see a professional practitioner and get a full blood test done. AMH in Bahrain deal with Eating Disorders. Their Website: AMH
An individualized treatment program can help you address the stress factors that drive your anorexic behaviors.
It’s Not About Food, Calories or Obtaining Perfect Body Image, It’s all about Mind.
Eating Disorders are an attempt to use food intake and weight control to manage emotional conflicts that actually have little or nothing to do with food or weight.
We are going to focus on Building a Stronger Mind so S can Live a Life where she is the owner of her thoughts. The human brain has an astonishing ability to adapt and change. This ability is known as neuroplasticity. With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, alter existing connections, and adapt and react in ever-changing ways.
S has a BMI of 18.4, which is low. But the focus here is to get some healthy nutrition into her body to reverse the damage that Eating Disorder has caused and to give her a coherent strong mind free from depressive thoughts. The nutritional deficiencies caused by semi self-starvation has lead to a depressed emotional state, which has contributed to social withdrawal, low self-esteem and feeling of inadequacy and lack of control in S’s life. I’ve taken a recovery menu plan from Anorexia Nervosa: The Wish to Change.
S will be following Plan A and after 4 weeks she’ll move on to Plan B.
S has a history of going on detox diets, so her body is dehydrated. Another common side effect of starvation is loss of minerals from the bones. In the first few weeks of following this plan, it’s highly recommended that S does not weigh herself at all. The first 4 weeks is a period where her metabolism will be re-staring and her body will be replenishing its depleted reservoirs and her cells will be getting rehydrated.
For the anorexic patient, not losing weight is a challenging journey that often includes a lot of setbacks. Nutritional counseling, individual psychotherapy, group therapy are key components of treatment program.
There are two Golden Rules when it comes to changing your Eating Disorder Behaviors.
Try to change a little at a time.
Source: Anorexia Nervosa: A Wish to Change
The Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism advises that the rule of thumb for calorie replacement in anorexia treatment should be “Start low, advance slow.”
These four weeks are the perfect time for the demon of Eating Disorder to tell her that she’s gaining fat on her body. S needs to keep in mind that this diet plan is low in calories and no one , no one gains weight on such calorie plan. She has to be clever here and not give into evil whispers of the demon of Eating Disorder. She needs to remember that what she’s eating and drinking is pure and from the nature, it will give her good hair, strong bones, very healthy active sharp mind, clear eyes, and a will to live and love herself. Remember that your metabolic rate will increase once the regular eating pattern is re-established.
Introducing whole grains is important in keeping the blood sugar level under control. There is adequate amounts of protein in the diet to ensure there are sufficient amounts of amino acids, which are the building units of the body. Fats in this plan will help to maintain healthy cell membranes.
Foods that will provide many of the nutrients in abundant amounts and should be part of the healing diet for S should include:
· Omega 3 containing fish
· Grass feed beef
· Fresh juice
· Leafy greens
· Nuts and seeds
· Whole grains-high in B vitamins
· Brown rice-high in B vitamins
· fruits and vegetables
· Flaxseed oil
· Coconut oil
S’s Dietary Plan is Plan B- which is Maintenance Plan, where she is simply maintaining her current weight. S is going to Start with Plan A and then gradually move towards Plan B.
Slowly increase the portions as outlined until you are eating the diet that maintains your weight. Make only one increase at a time.
Source: Anorexia Nervosa: A Wish to Change
Why Portions? Portion system is flexible alternative to calorie counting and allows you to remain in control of dietary choice. I’ve given an example below of what constitutes a portion.
Remember Change does not happen overnight
Plan A- contains between 1000-1100 calories
Plan B- contains between 1500-1600 calories
(1 serving of cereal with 200 ml Milk, 1 x slice of Bread and 1 x spread of fat)
Cereals any: 1 Portion = 25 grams of Cornflakes, Museli, Bran Flakes etc. Weetabix 2 no.
Bread 1 portion (1 slice from Large/Medium Loaf, Brown/White or Wholemeal)
Fat 1 portion = 1tsp of any: Butter/Margarine/Oils/Oily Salad Dressing/ Low Fat Spread- 2tsp
25 grams Cornflakes with 200 ml Milk and 1 whole wheat toast with 1tsp of butter
Bread 1 portion: 1 slice, medium loaf whole wheat or white
Protein 1 portion: (choose any one: Egg 1 medium size: Cheese 25 grams: Cottage cheese 100g: Baked beans 2 Tbsp: Tuna Fish: 50 grams)
Fat 1 portion: 1tsp of any: Butter/Margarine/Mayonnaise/oil
Fruit 1 portion: apple/pear/orange 1 medium, fruit juice 150ml, banana 1 small, soft fruit strawberiies/raspberries 150 grams
Whole wheat Bread Toasted with 1tsp of coconut oil spread and 50gram of Tuna with Garden Salad and one Banana.
Fruit 1 portion: apple/pear/orange 1 medium, fruit juice 150ml, banana 1 small, soft fruit strawberiies/raspberries 150 grams
Mid-Afternoon Snack Example
150ml Pomegranate Juice
Starch 1 ½ portion: i.e. Bread 1 ½ slice, rice boiled 3 rounded Tbsp weighed before cooking 40g, Pasta boiled 3 Rounded Tbsp Weighed before cooking 40g.
Protein 1 portion: any of the following: red meat cooked weighed 50g, chicken 50g cooked weight, fish 100grams, cooked weight, Beans, e.g. red kidney, haricot, 100grams after soaking or tinned
Fat 1 portion: 1tsp of any of the following: Butter/Margarine/Mayonnaise.
Fruit 1 portion
Sample Evening Meal
Chicken with Brown Rice and Steamed Vegetables mixed with 1tsp butter. Dessert: 150 grams Strawberries
Plan A Looks like This
Cornflakes (25g), Milk (200ml)
1 Whole Meal Bread with 1tsp butter
Mid-Morning Snack 10:30am
150 ml Pomegranate Juice
1 Slice Wholemeal Toast with 1 tsp of spread of your choice
50 gram Tuna tossed with Garden Salad and Sweetcorns
Mid Afternoon Snack 4:00pm
¼ cup trail mix (raisins, nuts, dried fruit, etc)
50 grams grilled chicken coated in mixed herbs and drizzled with lemon with 3TBSP Brown Rice and steamed vegetables mixed with 1tsp coconut oil.
150 grams Strawberries
Bed Time Snack 9:00pm
Moving towards Plan B
Breakfast: Same as Plan A with two increases in portion sizes: Starch 2 portions (2x bread), Fat 2 portions (2tsp). After 2 Weeks of following Plan A, S should incorporate another slice of bread with a spread to her breakfast,
Remains as same as Plan A
Same as Plan A but with two extra servings of portions: Bread 2 portions, , Fat 2 portions (2tsp). After three weeks of following Plan A, S should add another slice of bread or serving of starch to her lunch with 1tsp of fat.
Remains same as Plan A
Same as Plan A with an addition of dessert and increase in size of protein portion- Dessert replaces fruit here. Just add 2 servings of protein (i.e., chicken cooked 2 x 50 grams) and 1 portion of Dessert to your meal. After four weeks of following Plan A, S should add another portion of protein and a portion of dessert to her evening meal.
1 portion is: 1 individual pot or portion of dessert such as (fruit yogurt, rice pudding, trifle) NO DIET VARIETIES, It should contain between 135-150 cals. Or 2 scoops of Vanilla Ice cream.
After four weeks S is now well on her way of following a Diet plan that is adequate in calories and will help her to maintain her weight and her overall well-being.
Few Tips on Eating
How to Stop Counting Calories?
S has a tendency to obsessively count calories. Please watch this video by Beautiful Lauren Cowne on How to Stop Counting Calories. I hope this Helps.
Constipation, Digestive problems in Re-feeding
You will experience some discomfort, bloating and constipation. This is temporary. Taking digestive enzymes can be beneficial in recovery. Digestive enzymes will allow the body to take full advantage of the nutrients. I used Acidophilus.
I also used this magical soup to deal with constipation. In your meal plan, you can add a serving of soup on the side (this should not replace side salad/vegetables). This will help to ease the digestion and will prepare your stomach for the food. Benefits: This soup makes a perfect addition to your recovery. Choked full of Vitamin B12 and phytochemicals.
Some Vitamins to Add to Your Recovery Plan
B Vitamins- to relieve stress, anxiety and depression and to aid in your memory.
I used Vitamin B Complex
Using Prophetic Medicine to Heal Your Eating Disorder- Black Seed Oil
Prophet Muhammad (saaw) said: “Use this black seed, as it cures every disease, except death” Bukhari
Dr. Gary Null stated – “every time you take black cumin you are stimulating your immune system to fight on your behalf and increase natural killer cells.” Thus, referring to its ability to improve the immune system, and help treat even the most impossible invaders like cancer and HIV, successfully.
Black Cumin supports the entire body. Its immune-building properties and active compounds have been proven to help fight a never-ending list of diseases and autoimmune disorders – via the boosting of the body’s immune cell production, bone marrow, and natural interferon.
Take One teaspoon of Black Seed Oil mixed with one teaspoon of pure honey, twice daily. This will help you with hypertension, anxiety, stress and sleep disorder InshAllah.
Hair Loss- Stroke the scalp thoroughly with lemon and leave for about 15 minutes, shampoo, wash and dry hair thoroughly. Then massage Black Seed Oil in to the scalp.
Healthy Complexion – Mix a tablespoon of Black Seed Oil with a tablespoon of olive oil. Rub the face with this mixture and leave it for at least one hour. Wash with soap and water.
My Mum Got me this Black Seed oil From Saudi Arabia.
Some Exercises S Can Do to Keep the Demon Away
By learning how to eat for nutrition, exercise for maximum health, and prioritize a non-physical definition of beauty, you can build a strong foundation for a new life .
Go for a walk 20 minutes every day- Surround yourself with beauty and find the beauty that is already around you.
Stay in a Positive Company and not in the company of the demon of Eating Disorder. Try to see one friend at a time- work on your interpersonal relationships. (Please see below a list of online self help and support groups that you can join).
Look for Beauty and Inspiration around you and Not on Instagram- We don’t know these wafer thin models on Instagram, so how can we be inspired by them? They are a mere illusion, perfected by air brushing and photoshops. It’s important we connect with people who are around us. I remember looking around and I found so many people who inspired me. I love them for who they are and not once I look at their bodies or their appearances. They are local and every time I feel down and have negative thoughts about my body image and think ‘Oh I’ll be happier if I lose some weight’, I think of these wonderful ladies, they are human rights activists, givers, and they make world a better place to live in. Ailsa Moore, who spent all her life helping Refugees and was a Director of Ockendun Foundation and Ruth Breddal, Head of Amnesty International Group in Woking.
Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder
My Friend Sarah Naeim From Egypt Who defeated Anorexia all by herself and today is a positive role model for many: Recovery Journey Sarah
Engage in Spiritual Life- Using Meditation to Stop Suffering
Search around for what will best fit you and your situation and may Allah (SWT) heal you.
Meditation- Through Meditation you learn about your thoughts, the way you think and to challenge such thinking. Please read my post on how meditation helped me to change my mind. Anorexia Spiritual Engagement Sufism. I am affiliated with International School of Sufism. To inquire about a group near you please visit their website: School of Sufi Teaching.
I want to get the food out of my brain I’m done !!!!!!!!!!
Engage in Dhikr and let the Dhikr sing in your blood stream- Did you know you can activate the power inherent in your brain through prayer and Dhikr? Anorexia Nervosa is a mental illness, beat this mind illness through Dhikr and prayer.
According to Ahmed Hulusi: Dhikr is the most beneficial thing one can do in this world.
1. Dhikr increases brain capacity in the direction of the meaning of the word that is repeated.
2. Dhikr enables radial energy emanating from the brain to be uploaded to the spirit, a holographic radial body, thus strengthening the spirit body to be used after death.
3. On continual practice, dhikr develops the comprehension capacity of the brain in relation to the meaning of the words that are repeated.
4. Dhikr enables reaching a state of certainty (yakeen).
5. Dhikr allows the actualization of divine meanings.
The Rasul of Allah (saw) says, “Prayer is the weapon of the believer.” (Ibn Hibban) He also says, “Prayer is the essence of worship.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
According to Ahmed Hulusi: Prayer and dhikr are the world’s most powerful weapons with which you have been endowed. By learning to use these forces within your brain and heart, you can reach endless beauties of the life of this world and beyond.
Qur’an Meditation- Close your eyes and listen to any Surah of the Qur’an. After several days, you’ll realize that Qur’an is in your mind, in your blood in your every breath and that it’s replacing the whispers of the demon of Eating Disorder.
Recovery Program- Online
S lives in Bahrain, so in order to build her self up and gain the power, she can enroll into this program. This program is created by Esther Wilson ‘Anorexia Help me Recover’. She suffered from Anorexia Bulimia for 20 years. She wants to help people to break free from Anorexia Bulimia. She will help you to be free from the number on the scale, how to eat and not gain excess weight.
Seeing a Psychologist: Bahrain: Eating Disorder Psychologist Bahrain
Counseling- 7 Cups Of Tea, 7 Cups of Tea connects you with free active listeners, online counseling, and online therapy
Online Counselling 4 u, Aashayen…The Hope Online Counselling Service offers professional solutions to life’s problems through online counselling and self help articles.
Eating Disorder Support Group Online- Eating Disorder Chat
Nutritional Therapy- Diamond Nutrition Counseling-Online Counseling in Real Time, Anywhere, Anytime!
Complimentary Therapy- Acupressure, Acupuncture, these should not be seen as a primary treatment for anorexia but they can be an effective complementary therapy.
S please do remember this is your journey and choice is yours, what recovery path you want to adopt.
Muslim Youth Helpline– They are brilliant
Finally Pray to Allah for Healing for Cure
“O son of Adam, prayer is from you, response is from Me. Repentance is from you, forgiveness is from Me. To ask forgiveness is from you, to grant it is from Me. To thank is from you, to give abundantly is from Me. Patience is from you, to aid is from Me… What have you ever asked of Me that I did not give?”
“Pray to Me, so that I may respond to you!” Quran 40:60
Some Brilliant Apps for Well-Being
Apps for Smart Phones (free or pay items)
If unable to download from the website link, go to your phone’s marketplace/store and search for the title