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Nutritional Programs and Structured Meal Plans

Structured Meal Plans As An Alternative to Destructive Bulimia Eating

Bulimia Eating Plans - Structured and Nutritonal Meal PlansWhen you enter your eating disorder recovery program, one of the most helpful aspects of treatment is the way they break down your negative bulimia eating habits.

Structured meal plans are frequently the quickest road to normal or better nutrition if you’ve had an eating disorder for a while.

During recovery counseling you’re given a thorough nutritional assessment and then to help your bulimia a structured meal plan will give you the nutrition both your body and mind need in order to overcome your addiction.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up Because of Your Bulimia Eating Habits

If you’ve read my bulimia story, you know that, like so many women who are bulimic, I have been a high achiever and a perfectionist all my life. This may describe you, too. A lot of bulimics tend to be type-A’s and we want to push ourselves, often to please others or look good to the outside world.

My bulimia involved binging and purging that took place at certain times of the day and was usually triggered by stress or depression. Sometime if I was bored and snacking and felt I ate too much in one sitting I’d maliciously binge so I could purge. Yet, for the rest of the day – and to anyone who knew me – it seemed as if I was eating healthily. And I felt the same.

I’ve learned a ton about nutrition since I began my recovery and I was surprised how much there is to learn about food and the body’s chemistry.

What Are Structured Eating Plans?

Whatever eating disorder program you choose will most likely start with a plan to get your body’s nutrition back in balance.

Structured eating plans involve pre-planned meals at planned times throughout the day. Many plans recommend:

•    Eating three meals and three snacks a day, every day
•    Aiming to eat every 3 hours

You’re already thinking this is too much. I know. I did, too. The key is pre-planning your meals the night before or in the morning ahead of time. The less you have to think about food during the day, especially when emotions can run high, the better you’ll start to feel.

The purpose of any eating disorder food plan is to regain the body’s natural, balanced chemistry while supporting your mind’s desire to switch into addictive or emotional eating behaviors. By using structured eating, your body will get a steady stream of nutrition so it does not need to send chemical cravings that cause overeating.

Note: You should consult your doctor, a nutritionist or another medical professional before creating a meal plan.

A few general tips about changing your eating during your recovery:

Eat Regular Meals

The start to any successful recovery is based upon a good eating disorder nutritional plan. This means eating regularly to keep your energy, metabolism and attitude at their best.An eating disorder food plan helps you overcome overeating because you’re actually eating throughout the entire day! Sounds contradictory, but I learned how to re-balance my body by eating three square meals complimented by three snacks a day, which meant I was eating every three hours Structured eating works to keep you from under-eating, over-eating, or emotional eating. My body felt satisfied as it began to get the nutrition it needed. With a sound foundation of nutrition for the body it frees the mind to do the emotional or psychological healing your spirit needs.

KISS – Keep it Simple Silly!

It’s best if you start simple. If you devise your own food plan keep it simple. Obsessively counting calories or weighing and measuring food can cause compulsive food behaviors. This is why I strongly recommend seeing a nutritional counselor to develop a plan for you – one that’s best suited for just for you.

Be Patient With Yourself

The key word here is slowly, which means patience! Bulimia recovery doesn’t happen overnight and you can’t beat yourself up if you take some steps backwards during the process. This is normal. The important thing is to get on a good bulimia eating plan that emphasizes moderation and balance instead of compulsive overeating.

Become an Intuitive Eater

When you have bulimia, nutritional programs and structured meal plans help you cope with real life eating situations. Eat what feels good to you. Becoming more intuitive about eating so that hunger and satisfaction are handled in a balanced way helps you stop obsessing about food so you can simply enjoy a meal!

Plan Ahead

After you’ve had bulimia, eating like normal people do may feel awkward at first. Planning your meals in advance is strongly recommended. Shopping for nutrient rich foods, making your meals in advance, and avoiding buying or having trigger foods around will go a long way. All of this work is part of your road to recovery. You won’t have to plan all of your meals for the rest of your life, but in the first 6 – 12 months this will be really valuable to you.

Keep a Journal

Creating normal eating habits is the goal of a successful bulimia eating disorder program. Keeping a daily journal can help. While following a structured plan, a journal will help you see where your obstacles are as you monitor your progress.

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This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. I am anorexic/ bumliic the first thing is that as an anorexic i restrict to near nothing calories ( 1 salad every 24 hrs) and if i am lucky and i do eat and not purge i will compensate with restricting the next day to lose the calories that i have intake. As my bumliic side i can go on binges of food i will eat a crazy amount of food until i feel sick within an hr and than induce vomiting to get ride of the food and calories and this way my brain feels like i did not ingest anything you can actually see the difference in the stomach be4 and after a binge and purge. I am not promoting this in any way just answering the question honestly it is the worst thing in the world to go through and does so much damage i am currently seeking help for the 2nd time as i relapsed and for anyone who is considering this it is emotionally mentally and physical exhausting. if you need any info for your paper feel free to contact me as i have plenty of info living through it.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! The meal plan has been really helpful! Eating three main meals and three snacks has proved to be easier than I thought it would be. Tracking what I eat and planning ahead makes this easier as well. And surprisingly, my weight seems to have gone down as a result, which makes the regime easier to obey.

    Weekends are hard though, and I must admit that I have slipped then. But recovery is a long process, I shouldn’t beat myself about it, right? 🙂

    1. Hi Lilli,

      You’re absolutely right – you shouldn’t beat yourself up. Ever. Just get back on track and do your best. That’s the best we can ever do. I commend you for giving it your best and stay true to whatever feels good. At some point a structured plan may feel too “structured”, so switch to something that feels good. Sort of like taking the training wheels off your bike once you get how to ride and balance. You can so DO this!

      Best to you,


  3. I have been anorexic/bulimic for 10 years. I have such good intentions in the morning, usually because i’ve had such a bad ‘eating day’ the day before, however if I have food in the house I simply cannot stop myself from eating it. So planning my 3 meals a day and 3 snacks is impossible as I’ve normally eaten all of it by mid morning. which is an expensive and counter-productive excercise. It’s seems that the minute food touches my mouth my ‘bulimic brain’ sticks a gun to my head and forces me to demolish every bit of food in sight. So I’m not sure how to set myself an eating plan, it’s a brain plan I need before I can even hope to follow an eating plan.

    1. Hi Holly,

      I know that uphill battle it feels like you’re fighting each day. The merry-go-round that brings you round and round in circles – whether you’re binging and purging each day or just lost in the highs and lows of trying to learn normal eating again. I would suggest you download a copy of my ebook called How To Stop A Binge. You’ll learn what’s behind those urges and the binge purge cycle so you can be empowered to get off that merry go round. When I learned what was causing me to feel like a crazy person around food when I had all the best intentions, it really made sense and I was finally empowered to break the cycle. I hope it helps you, too.

      Contact me if you have further questions, ok?!

      All the best,


  4. After two years since anorexia I somewhat struggle w my bulimia. Before my ed I ate whatever I saw and did not think about health. I do think its important to listen to your body and know when you are truly hungry. I start my day w a walk and ballet warm ups. I have danced for over 14 years and I am still dancing. Then I will have a Greek yogurt w blueberries right after 1-2 hrs. as far as lunch I will restrict and snack on dark chocolate or chips but usually the size of my fist. I learned that if I ate a yummy lunch I’m less hungry for dinner but I’ll tend to overheat if I eat out ( just bc the food is all there) . So I stick to stayin hungry from 3-7 pm with ice coffee n snacks. For dinner I have been eating out with friends or my bf or myself but typically outside the house. It contains protein carbs n fat.. I’m typically dancin two hours or I go run two miles n stretch before dinner. I make sure that I listen to my body, that I do not over exercise how I used to. Instead of three hours of basketball or four to five dance classes I’ll window shop all day. I can’t imagine my life without exercising mostly bc it occupies me from thinking about food. I think it’s important to also eat the foods you enjoy and read and learn about nutrition. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult, I was told, the trick is to also eat everything in moderation. I’m in the phase of thinking their are really bad foods out there still ( donuts candy and anything fried)… I keep it to once a week fried food bc I used to eat fast food growing up. I’m here to support and no more food talk, this is a long journey peeps. But most importantly be happy, find happiness may that be from within, or your partner or passion, or your community ( not food it’s risky) … you can eat healthy and be rich but if you’re not happy that’s not living life!

    1. I still struggle since I text all my friends how much I exercise and how much or what I eat. It’s like I refuse to keep a journal and that through text can my friends hear my ed voice. I don’t know why I do this maybe it makes me feel better knowing that I need to vent and that that voice is so strong it’s apparent in all over my text. I even tried to text myself all of what I text to my friends but it doesn’t let go of the venting. Indeed therapy will do me good, but will the food exercise texting go away? I’m still surprise my friends text me back

      1. Hi Erika,

        Your food obsession and texting sounds like a habit you’ve formed that somehow/someway supported you. It seems from the tone of your message that it’s even starting to annoy you. If that’s the case, look at how to replace this annoying habit with something that supports you – and helps you form deeper connections with your self and your friends. There are many ways to do this. It begins with self awareness and intention, then decision and then practice. Practice makes permanent.

        If you have any questions, drop me an email.

        Wishing you the best,


    2. Hi Erika,

      Thank you for sharing your perspective and for offering support and love to everyone here. I agree that it is best to not be so focused on food because if that’s your focus, it will consume you. The shift is learning to regain a healthy perspective of food, nutrition and exercise. It’s unique for each of us and our journey to emotional, spiritual and physical well being is a process. We are born perfectly full of well being and then we pick stories, conversations or beliefs along the way that don’t always serve our highest selves. Sometimes it’s about un-learning what we picked up on the path and remembering we/our bodies inherently know how to maintain a healthy perspective and thrive.

      I wish you the best on your journey and thank you for sharing your perspective!

      In joy,


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