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OCD, Eating Disorders, and Elimination Diets Don't Mix


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Hello. I have been wanting to try an elimination diet for the past two months of so and have been reading about it and stuff and I would like to try it but i am not sure if this is wise, for the following reasons: I was recently, in like october, diagnosed with severe ocd... it is much less now that i have been kicking its ass consistently since october, but it is still very much there... also, I am at a similarly much-safer-than-before, calmer, but still fragile place in my eating disorder (bulimia).

So, no matter how stable I feel and how rational I am being about things during this time of investigation, every so often it makes me really crash... ie: trying to cut out some foods to see if it helps (not even a full elimination diet) and i quite rapidly begin to worry about all kinds of foods and ingredients and then feel worried all the time when i eat (ocd showing through) or anger at myself for eating something i had decided to try cutting out, both of which bring on a binge or a near binge and sometimes the b/p cycle begins to take hold of me again and I start to get close to living how I was before when the e.d. was much worse...

The other side of all of this is that I have for most of my life experienced intermittent but frequent sluggishness of mind, brain fog, poor memory, digestive problems, back pain, inattention, etc etc most of which doctors couldn't ever figure out what they were or why they were happening, which sounds pretty characteristic of food allergies/intolerance.

These above described symptoms make it pretty hard to feel fully present in and enjoy my life... so i want to get rid of them but don't know if i can ever get through a damn elimination diet successfully and thus don't know if i can ever sort out these symptoms and get rid of them!

this is a complicated situation... just wondering if anyone has any wisdom about all this... should i wait to do the elimination diet until i am more stable? but what if that takes so so long to be more stable? and what if, as i suspect it might, it turned out that eliminating these symptoms would help my e.d. and mood and stuff big time?

any input or thoughts at all on this would be gratefully received

thanks for listening to my rambling ;)

-Amanda

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it sounds possible, to me, that at least some of the problems you're thinking might be food-related could as easily be ED-related, or mood-problem related. if you do have an intolerance or an allergy, it could make those things worse, but i think it makes sense to get to a very stable place with your ED before trying an elimination diet. poor nutrition or fucked-up electrolyte levels or dehydration or the stress put on your body and mind by purging could be a big part of what you're experiencing.

so i'd suggest that you keep on working to get yourself stable and in a good place, try to eat a balanced and healthy diet, and re-evaluate some time from now, when you're not in an active place with bulimia. it might be reasonable to try keeping a food journal, to see if eating certain foods tends to bring on certain symptoms, but if that stresses you out at all or makes you want to purge, don't do it yet.

if you're comfortable keeping a food journal, do it for awhile and notice patterns, it might make sense to try elimination. i think, for now, you should wait. if you do eventually try one, you have to stick to it very specifically. not doing a full elimination might just prove to be a pain in the ass and leave you with no further knowledge of what's going on.

do you have a doc you can ask about possible food allergies/intolerances/what have you? a doc who both knows you have an ED and knows at least a bit about nutrition would be the best person to ask.

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Thank you for your response Halation, I was in need of advice from someone with an outside perspective... I'm still not totally sure what i will do, i get obsessive about the journaling, so i want to keep that to a minimum, but i think in a week or so i will try doing it again (the journaling) for just a couple days. and maybe i'll change my diet to just a healthy one, as you suggested, that is not cutting out anything for a while so i can get more stable again. i have been trying to cut out all wheat and dairy products and sometimes sugar, but this proves to be pretty difficult and restrictive.

Thanks again for your thoughts,

Amanda

it sounds possible, to me, that at least some of the problems you're thinking might be food-related could as easily be ED-related, or mood-problem related. if you do have an intolerance or an allergy, it could make those things worse, but i think it makes sense to get to a very stable place with your ED before trying an elimination diet. poor nutrition or fucked-up electrolyte levels or dehydration or the stress put on your body and mind by purging could be a big part of what you're experiencing.

so i'd suggest that you keep on working to get yourself stable and in a good place, try to eat a balanced and healthy diet, and re-evaluate some time from now, when you're not in an active place with bulimia. it might be reasonable to try keeping a food journal, to see if eating certain foods tends to bring on certain symptoms, but if that stresses you out at all or makes you want to purge, don't do it yet.

if you're comfortable keeping a food journal, do it for awhile and notice patterns, it might make sense to try elimination. i think, for now, you should wait. if you do eventually try one, you have to stick to it very specifically. not doing a full elimination might just prove to be a pain in the ass and leave you with no further knowledge of what's going on.

do you have a doc you can ask about possible food allergies/intolerances/what have you? a doc who both knows you have an ED and knows at least a bit about nutrition would be the best person to ask.

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  • 3 years later...

I would never suggest anyone try an elimination diet with an ED. I am 3 years recovered and just trying one now(also OCD btw). Even someone considering themselves recovered, yet newly so, would have trouble with this, and you say you are still in a fragile place. I don't want you to put yourself in danger and you won't get the accurate results you want if you are actively ED'd. Take care and try later and under a dr and nutritionist's care.

Dawn

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