Harder than I thought: prescriptive eating

I hope everyone had an amazing long holiday weekend! Ours was good except both Carlos and I are fighting colds so we did a lot of hanging out on the couch. I just had a cold a couple weeks ago so am frustrated I have another one already.

I’ve been trying to take it easy with workouts too – I’ve gotten a couple in the past couple of weeks but am trying to give myself some serious down time.

Eating more has proven more difficult than I thought. Ridiculous. It’s the homework my dietitian gave me at the beginning of December. I was on top of it the first week but have become increasingly frustrated with keeping up with it, mostly because I’ve found myself “stuck” in a disordered eating mind frame. It’s harder than I thought to break through. The part that I’ve been struggling with is hitting my “goal” for grains and fats. It’s so against what I’ve done for years and my mind is so focused on the old way of thinking, it’s a fight to change.

Exchange journal


There have been a couple days when stress from life events took away my hunger, which is very unusual for me. Normally I eat when I’m stressed. My dietitian was very straight forward and direct with me when we talked through things.  Prescriptive eating, in my own words, is a way to regain a baseline for eating, hunger cues and a relationship with food. The idea is that my dietitian gives me my daily goals in each of the categories (protein, grains, veggies, fruit, fat, dairy, desserts) and I am suppose to hit my goal every day, whether I’m hungry or not. Even if it’s 8pm and I’m not hungry, I have to eat to my goals. The thought is, by allowing my body to become used to what my body needs, it’ll be able to better recognize when I’m not getting enough or when I’m getting too much.

Sounds good, right? So why am I having such a hard time doing it?

Part of it relates to the medicine I’m on. I ended up switching my anti-depression medicine and I love the one I’m on. One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed is that it helps me to focus on things other than my obsessive thoughts around eating & food. So now, I’m not focused on the food and just want to enjoy not obsessing about eating. I actually feel normal, going for a few hours without even thinking like…

When can I eat?
What should I eat?
How much of it should I eat?
Okay, I can eat now.
When can I eat again?

When I told my dietitian that I feel like my mind has calmed down with the obsessive thoughts and I just wanted to enjoy the quiet, she explained that prescriptive eating is like a prescription. I wouldn’t stop taking an antibiotic just because I feel better, I’d finish the entire prescription as the doctor prescribed. So it was my job to do the prescriptive eating, so that I could define a baseline for my body. She explained right now, my body isn’t able to easily identify hunger cues & fullness cues. Even if my mind isn’t obsessing over things, the cues still aren’t there so the prescriptive eating helps with that.

All that said, I don’t know why but I just can’t get myself to eat the way she has prescribed, which makes me feel even more disordered than I’ve ever felt. If I’m really candid, it’s made me revert back to restrictive eating which is something I’ll talk with my dietitian about in my next appointment.

It sounds so silly, that this is the hardest homework I’ve had in the year I’ve been doing therapy.

My weight has maintained, although I really don’t care about my weight right now. This is about being comfortable in my clothes, my body, and my life.

That’s what I’m fighting for.

Jen-white (1)


  1. Hey, Jen! I’m another Jen and another “prior fat girl.” :) This is actually my first (or maybe second?) comment on your blog, although I’ve been reading for a year or so – I read on Google Reader and I’m just not much of a commenter. But I when I read this post I had to say something.

    I’m guessing you’re going to get comments and advice from a bunch of people after reading this post, but I really just wanted to encourage you and say that you’re not alone in this fight. I identify with SO much of what you’ve written here: restrictive eating, food “shoulds/should nots” and of course the ever-present obsessive thoughts about food. Some days, weeks, months seem to be calmer and some are terrible.

    It’s your last lines, though, that really get me. What you’re fighting for – PEACE! – is my fight, too. And, overall, even on my “bad” days, I know we’re going to make it. Because we’re working on it, trying different things, and pursuing growth. I think, for me, time has helped, too.

    Keep going, Jen! (I love that that works for both of us.) :) We got this. We’re going to make it.

  2. Very interesting post..and very interesting comment from the other Jen.

  3. Maybe it is the way you are looking at it. I had the thought that maybe if you thought of it in terms of learning a new skill — like how you would treat yourself if you were learning a new sport or learning a language. If you are thinking about it like homework you may have the tendency to be perfectionistic and/ or have the all or nothing thoughts like if I do not get this in I failed. Give yourself the gift of grace and treat yourself kindly.

  4. You write about a lot of things that you want to reset in your life. 2013 is around the corner so now is the time to do it! Don’t be afraid to leave our old self for your new self. You are holding on to a lot of things from the past. Your old self does not need to follow you into the coming year. We know you can do it and we wish you the best!

  5. Thanks for being so honest! Keep up the good work.

  6. I don’t have anything of value to contribute to this topic but want to send my best wishes. I am so glad you are working on your mental game! You are wise to see where you need assistance and then go and find it and share the journey with your readers. Good luck to you Jen and may you have a fabulous year!

  7. I just read your post. And I wanted to share with you, that I’ve been in your shoes. I started my weight loss journey at 340 pounds, and now am currently 211 pounds, but the biggest thing that I figured out through this whole thing, is how to control my eating, and to calm those compulsive thoughts about food. My cravings and thoughts about food were directly related to consuming grains. I know we’ve been taught that whole grains are healthy for you, but for me they are not. They will pack the pounds on me faster than anything, and they cause me to crave, and constantly be thinking about food. It was something that I quickly learned after cutting them out, was how much easier it was to go through my day and not have to dwell on food.
    I hope things continue to go well for you. I’m about 30 pounds from my goal weight…and so excited to finally get there. :)

  8. Hey there!! I always love your blog and your honesty. I have been plagued my whole life with obsessive thoughts about food. And for me personally sugar is the main culprit. I know you said that your nutritionist recommended purposefully eating the foods that you binge on as away to keep you from binging on them. Or at least I think I read that in a previous post. I know that if I were to do that, it would lead me back to binging on those foods. That is a pretty popular strategy though used by many people who say it works so I can see why she would suggest it. For me, though, it would lead me back into obsession. All the foods I take issue with are banned. I don’t eat them and to be honest I don’t really miss them that much anymore. Occasionally I think about them the way you think of a boyfriend you really were into at one time but then you remember how he treated you so bad! And you keep on walking! For me staying away from those foods, carbs, sugar is what keeps me free from the obsessive food thoughts. I know you will find what works for you and I admire you for being willing to try new things!! You’re gorgeous by the way. Love the photos!

    • Jen, a priorfatgirl says:

      Such good points. I think the hardest thing is that different things work for different people, and it’s hard for people (me) to figure out what works for me. The thought behind my dietitian telling me to eat the foods I binge on is that if I do it for weeks, months even, eventually I won’t binge because they are apart of my life in hopefully a healthy way. In the beginning, I may binge even more on it but eventually, the thought is that I will even back out and it will become a constant, so I won’t feel the need to binge on it. I discussed my fears with both my therapist and my dietitian about how I refuse to gain the weight back while I try to figure this out so that is a constant worry of mine.

      All that said, I love your boyfriend example :)

      Happy New Year!

  9. I have been a yo-yo dieter since I was about 12 years old. Right now, I am the heaviest I have ever been. The last time I lost a significant amount of weight was about 3 years ago, I had lost about 40 lbs and was feeling fabulous, and then I got pregnant with my third child. Since that time, I haven’t really tried to lose the weight. I know I need to, and I am ready to. I want to have the energy to play with my boys and to run with my daughter.. it is time for a change.. Your blog is a motivation for me. Keep up the great work!

  10. Jen

    Thanks for being so honest. I just wanted to point something out to you. What you seem to be having are obsessive thoughts, closely related to OCD. The trick here is to switch your focus whenever you feel these thoughts coming on. It might be hard to make these eating changes, but that only exists in your mind. Also check out subliminal audio tracks ; you can find them all over YouTube. They really helped me with compulsive thoughts about food.


  11. Hi Jen – Happy New Year! I’ve been struggling with eating more fruits and veggies and have been motivated by someone named Kristina http://www.youtube.com/user/FullyRawKristina?feature=g-high-c

    She is a raw foodie – not something I would do but she eats a TON of food and is super healthy -so this past week I ate more fruits and veggies than I ever have and I’m down 4 pounds. And any time I was hungry I ate apples, grapes, bananas, oranges, as many as I wanted and it was awesome. She has a ton of videos on You Tube. Rawfully Kristina is her channel, I linked to her page.

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