Eat more food? Okay!

A few weeks ago, I had a test done through my therapist office to test my resting metabolic rate. The lady who did it couldn’t give me my results right away but instead, passed them onto my new dietitian. A week later, I met with my dietitian for the first time.

We went through an extensive 45 minute introduction where she asked questions like:

  • Tell me your eating history.
  • Do you have food rules?
  • Do you have any foods that are considered “bad?”

Toward the end of our conversation, I asked my dietitian about the results of the test.

Me: Are you going to share with me my RMR?
Dietitian: It’s not our usual practice to share the exact number because we don’t want to become obsessive over the number. Instead, the goal will be for us to create a meal plan based on that, but instead, have you focus on exchanges or servings.
Me: That makes sense. I have to share though, I really do want to work on this so hearing my RMR will give me the proof if I really do need to be eating more. My husband tells me I’m not eating enough but I just can’t believe that. So if the number tells me I should be eating more, I will.
Dietitian:  Okay – so the RMR is the amount of caloric nutrition your body needs to function if you were to lay in bed all day. You actually have a very high metabolism which means you burn through calories very quickly. Your RMR is 1859.

Me: SHUT UP!!!!!

Dietitian: um. what?
Me: I mean. er. uh. It’s just…. no way!
Dietitian:  Does that number seem too low or too high?
Me: um. ah. well. er. I’m just in shock! I mean, that’s the high end of what I would eat in a day.
Dietitian: Tell me what hearing that number makes you think?
Me: Are you kidding? I get to eat more?!!!

{Note: Everyone is absolutely different. I am very careful in sharing my therapy journey because my journey is not yours. Please do not base your personal healthiness journey on my experience. Your doctor can help you decide what’s best for you.}

We didn’t get a chance to talk much more than that because our time was up but I left with my own personal goal to up my calories to a goal of 2,000. {This wasn’t instructed by my dietitian because we didn’t get that far in the conversation.} Over the next few days, I worked to eat more which wasn’t very hard. However, I became frustrated with myself because I felt like I was eating more of the wrong foods – Halloween candy was scattered around the office and I was grabbing.

Last night, I sat down with my dietitian first. We talked about my current journaling (I love my DietMinder journal and am on my 4th one!)

Journaling helps me feel comfortable with knowing what I’m consuming. When I don’t journal, I tend to eat more because I don’t realize (or consciously ignore) how quickly things add up. My strongest fear is that if I’m not journaling my food, I won’t know when to stop eating and I’ll gain all my weight back. I don’t trust myself because I don’t have a good grasp of being intuitive with myself and listening to body cues, despite trying multiple times over the year.

My dietitian proposed a new way of journaling; instead of tracking calories, tracking exchanges (or servings). For example, instead of tracking calories, I would track

  • grains
  • protein
  • calcium
  • fat
  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • dessert

1 egg would equal 1 protein. 1 slice of bread would equal 1 grain. 1 small banana would equal 1 fruit. This is not the first time this concept has been proposed to me in the past few years but prior to now, I’ve never been open to it. I mean, 1 slice of bread could range from 50 calories to 120 calories so what’s to stop me from always picking the highest calorie option, and then gaining weight. My dietitian said there is nothing stopping me however, the idea is that I would have a range for everything and I would still have to at some point, listen to my body and stop when I’m full. If I always ate the highest of calories, maybe I would end up on the high end of my range but I’d still have choices and be responsible for making my own decision within that exchange.

We ran out of time before we talked about what my ranges would be but my assignment for this week is to just start tracking the exchanges. I am not totally comfortable with the idea of not recording calories because I want to make sure I can trust myself on the new system so for now, I’m going to track both calories and exchanges.

I’ve made it to the gym Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so I’ve started every day focused and feeling strong. This whole disordered eating thing is tough because “good” and “bad” eating is such a hard thought process to break. Learning to trust myself won’t happen over night. After all, I was overweight for so long so the fear and the possibility of me regaining weight is very possible and real.

I am so thankful I have therapy and HIGHLY recommend everyone who struggles with their weight to find a local eating disorder clinic. You don’t have to be anorexic or bulimic to  work through all this craziness. I am so amazed at how much I’ve grown in the past year. Even though it’s not huge strides, my self-awareness is so much higher than it was a year ago.


  1. Sounds like you are getting great feedback! Good luck with everything.

  2. My dietician @ the emily program is making me do the same! She gives me homework at the end of each session and this was 2 weeks agos. Good luck with it, it is a change at first, but I am slowly getting used to it. Remember, we eat to live, not live to eat!

  3. I think meeting with someone at an eating disorder clinic is a great idea and something I never thought of before. It sounds like your making some great strides!

    • Jen, a priorfatgirl says:

      well, one day at a time, right? :) It’s been a great experience. I thought I’d be further along in a year but that’s part of my being inpatient!

  4. I did LA Weight Loss years ago – and that was the concept they used. You didn’t track calories, but instead I tracked types of food and I had limits to each type I could eat (and within types there were approved foods). I’ve always really liked that idea because I like the thought of eating balanced. If you eat 1200 calories but it’s all in pasta – is that really healthy…? Or if you’re trying to eat more calories, so those calories do come in the form of Halloween candy is that going to help?

    I’m super interested to hear how you like this type of tracking. And you’ve got me realizing I need a food journal – just to track what I’m eating to stop the mindless eating.

  5. Okay, how can I get this test run? This is something that I most definitely need done, as I’m betting I’m not even hitting the mark!

  6. Where did you get your RMR tested? I am very interested! I don’t think I eat enough based on how much I work out.

    • Jen, a priorfatgirl says:

      I got it done through the clinic I go to for therapy – it is a clinic that specializes in eating disorders so I’m not sure where you could go if you aren’t local… If you google places, I’m sure there are places local to you but I’m not sure the cost.

  7. It sounds like you are doing some great work and really taking care of yourself. You should be very proud of yourself for working so hard to be healthy and happy. Yea for more food!

  8. Have you thought about investigating the Whole30 program that Dawn is doing? I am trying it myself and currently on day 8. It is worth the time to look into this.

    • Jen, a priorfatgirl says:

      I love when we each find something that works! It’s too restrictive for me…. I don’t do well with foods when they are “off limits” because it leads me to eventually binge on them.

      But… like I said, I love seeing the progress of Dawn and Ann from Twelve-In-Twelve

  9. I love how open and honest you are in your journey specifically therapy. It has definitely peaked my interest, as I know I have issues I need to deal with. How exactly did you start your search?, any pointers for someone who has no idea how to begin?

    • Jen, a priorfatgirl says:

      I just did a really *quick* search in your area for eating disorder clinics. Here are two:

      I don’t know either so you’ll have to do the research to even see if either are along the lines of what you are looking. When you a find a place of interest, I’d just call and tell them you’d like to set up some time with someone to talk about some struggles you’ve been having. The hardest part is calling because a lot of us think “Oh no, not me.” But the truth is, it isn’t just for anorexic or bulimic people. It may or may not be right for you but you’ll never know until you try :)

  10. This is great, Jen! I think it’s good to look at things in a new way. What they are proposing you journal is just like the really old Weight Watchers program (like when I was 6th grade-old). I had to tick off the boxes for fruits, vegetables, “breads”, protein, fats and milks. It was much more balanced in terms of types of foods rather than calorie-counting… although the calorie counting is what I use now. I do remember that if you had the lite/low-calorie bread, two slices would count as one serving, for example.

    In any case, I think it’s good for everyone to be aware of what they are eating in terms of balance. Or to at least come back to it every once in a while. :)

  11. So if you don’t mind answering this question I’d love to hear a bit more. You have been getting a lot of exercise and at the same time eating less than you should eat even if you were spending your days doing nothing. So does that mean you were losing weight? I’m asking because I spent years running 5 miles a day and periodically counting calories (and eating a low fat fairly balanced diet) and even if I spent a month eating 1500 calories a day I was unable to lose a single pound. So I’m curious about the “starvation mode” concept and wondering if upping calories really can lead to weight loss. I finally went on a low carb diet and it works really well for me. But I remain curious about the calorie counting thing and why it didn’t seem to work for me. Theoretically increasing calories should lead to weight gain and decreasing should lead to weight loss, but it didn’t seem to be the case for me. I’m curious to hear your experience.

    • Jen, a priorfatgirl says:

      I’ve always followed the same concept as you, eat less & lose weight. I don’t eat so little that I think I am in complete starvation mode because of my weight but who knows. My dietitian & therapist are telling me I should be eating more so for the sake of figuring this out, I’m willing to give it a try! If anything, I really want to figure out this whole mental process behind eating, not just the number on the scale. I could care less if I get back down to 140lbs, that isn’t the point anymore. I just want to maintain and feel healthy; yes physically but most of all, mentally :) I want to be at peace with food.

      Give me a little bit of time to get comfortable to the system and then I’ll share my complete thoughts.

  12. Have any of you read Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels? It truly changed my life. I eat more calories now than I ever have in my life and I am smaller now than I have ever been. It’s so true that the right foods not only fuel your body, but they satisfy you AND keep your metabolism pumping!

  13. Thanks for posting this. I just found a local eating disorder clinic and made an appointment for next week. Your post helped give me the push to do that.

  14. Funny that I just wrote a post today about this then came and read your post :) Yep doing exchanges for awhile myself. It’s very eye opening the difference between calorie counting and exchanges. It really does make me aware of how unbalanced my food plan can be at times. I’m excited about doing the exchanges.

  15. Losing weight is not an overnight process. You did not put the weight and fat on overnight and you will not lose it overnight. It is a process and takes time, effort, and comittment!

  16. Congratulations, starving your body is actual an extremely ineffective way of loosing weight – I’m glad you’re nutritionist shared the number with you.

    Keep up the good work.

  17. I’ve had some major life upheavals, so neglected my reading list of favorite blogs. It’s good to see you doing so well and always a joy to read you thinking out loud. :-) Trying to get back into the fight after having some health issues this year. I’ve been sick, so not much appetite the past couple weeks. Need to get back into a routine of walking! Hugs to you, dear one!

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