There are some things in life that you can get away with half-assing.
It’s almost never a good idea, but some circumstances might be more conducive to it than others. I mean, for example, only putting in the bare minimum at your job at Wendy’s or writing a paper for an elective in high school. You probably won’t lose your job at Wendy’s as long as you’re serving customers and showing up, and you probably won’t fail Grade 9 as long as you’re getting good grades in Math and English.
When it comes to recovering from eating disorders, however, going all in is quite literally the method to recovery itself.
Going all in on recovery seems terrifying. Maybe you’ve already resisted it for years. But taking the plunge is like ripping a bandaid off; the hardest part of all is deciding to do it.
Here’s why the Minnie Maud Method is the only way I was truly able to recovery from anorexia nervosa.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor of any kind. I am merely sharing my own personal experience. Please consult a doctor when approaching anything relating to eating disorder recovery.
First things first: What is Minnie Maud?
The Minnie Maud Method, now more often referred to as the Homeodynamic Recovery Method, was developed, tested, researched, and evidence-backed by Gwenyth Olwen. I feared it for years. I can’t even tell you how many nights I spent reading every resource I could on it, KNOWING in my soul that it was what I needed to pursue in order to recover from anorexia and then orthorexia, but terrified, convinced it would make me “fat”.
I tried multiple times to commit to Minnie Maud. But every time, after a few days of eating the minimum number of calories and still feeling like a bottomless pit, I would give up and resort back to my restrictive, comfortable, oh-so familiar ways. The ways that kept my ribcage and hip bones poking out as my stomach caved in. The ways that halted my period for almost eight years. The ways that caused my hair to fall out in clumps, my mind to be in a constant fog, and my hunger cues to be completely out of whack.
Every time I went back to those old ways, I only delayed and made harder what I knew deep down to be the inevitable.
Many people are dumbfounded upon learning that the minimum caloric intake allotment for someone of my gender and height is 3200 calories. Yes – this was the bare minimum. But oh, goodness, was it necessary. Read the article I linked above to understand why.
But, today, I want to focus on how easily Minnie Maud can be half-assed, because I tried that for so long – and hopefully show you why you, if you are recovering from a restrictive eating disorder, could benefit so much from going all in on this method.
Note: I am not a doctor, but merely speaking from my experience. Always consult a doctor when trying any form of recovery.
- If the thought of 3000+ calories doesn’t actually seem like much to you and you’ve been restricting… then you probably need that much for a period of time.
Despite being terrified of the method, I remember thinking and just knowing that, yeah, it was right. I had tried for years just “listening to my body” in order to recover from anorexia, but after years of starvation, I had no idea how to listen to my body…and I don’t think my body knew how to communicate with me either.
Once I finally committed to Minnie Maud, the 3000+ calories went down sooo easily. However, it is VERY important that you don’t jump from your starvation-level calories to 3000 calories immediately, as refeeding syndrome is a dangerous possibility. When beginning recovery, daily increments of no more than 200 calories a day is typically the recommendation, but a doctor must be worked with to determine the best way for you to increase.
Once I started increasing though, the floodgates to my empty stomach opened, and it felt as though I would NEVER be full. I remember Christmas Eve of 2019 vividly. It was a few weeks before my wedding day, and I was about 2 weeks in to Minnie Maud. I ate a full breakfast, snacks, lunch, and then a half of a L jar of peanut butter before heading out to a full Christmas Eve feast, stomach still GROWLING. It was terrifying to be eating so much, and the ED was screaming NO, NO, NO…but it was also SO exciting.
- Every time you revert back to old habits, you set recovery back a bit. This isn’t to make you feel guilty or bad about struggling with setbacks. Recovering from thought patterns you’ve religious lived by due to mental illness is HARD. But, the reality of the work of Minnie Maud is that you are restoring your energy balance to a neutral position. Think of it like a bank. Let’s say you like to keep at least $10,000 in the bank at all times. Over time, you keep taking money out, putting barely any in, until you realize… it’s empty. You start going into debt.
To recover that loss, $100 won’t do much. It’s a start… but if you take $50 out, that’s a set back. You have to keep putting money into the bank, keep saving it, until it’s at that neutral place again.
See the analogy?
This is a lot like our bodies. They fight to maintain what’s called homeostasis. Something that drastically disrupts homeostasis is ANOREXIA. If your body is starved of nutrients, and you’re barely eating anything, you will feel and BE completely depleted. If, when you try to repair that damage (Which, over time, will be tens if not hundreds of thousands of missing calories) with only a BMR’s worth of calories a day, you will STAY in that depleted mode. Let’s say 2500 calories is what your body already requires to function every day. If you recover on 2500 calories, you are not recovering; you are eating for THAT DAY. To get your period, hormones, hair health, skin health, organ health, and so much more back to healthy state and repair the damage that’s been done you need to be depositing much more into your body to get there – and saving it. You must keep it in there, not burn it off.
- Once you truly go all in… your appetite WILL slow down. It won’t feel possible at first, but you will not WANT 3000+ calories every day forever. As someone who has gone through this process first-hand, I can assure you of I that. I no longer think about food 24/7, have insatiable cravings, or fear food. I live my life, and food/meals are just one part of it.
And I truly have Minnie Maud (and, most importantly, Jesus) to thank for that.