Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Day in My Life (Anorexia Recovery Meal Plan)

As many of you know, I've written a novel called JUST PERFECT -- a fictional memoir that deals with topics including anorexia, bullying, depression, self-harm, and a fight for recovery. Now that its sequel is well on its way (I'm over 30,000 words in), I want to say that recovery is possible. Five years ago I did not imagine I'd be where I am today, so I decided that today I'd cast you a quick glance into my life!

As mentioned in the video, the sampled diet did not help me gain weight, but merely stabilized it. Therefore, different action needed to be taken: I let myself be taken up into inpatient treatment in a Slovak hospital for 14 days. The first two days, I was given the ‘regular person’ diet, which is supposed to also help people gain weight if they are not used to eating regularly/sufficiently (they decided to give this to me because of my low weight, thinking it automatically meant I was 'underfeeding').

However, I was already used to large portions at home, and in the first two days I lost half a kilo.  They therefore upped my snacks quickly (see sample meal plans below).

Anyway, life in hospital wasn't always fun, especially as nobody spoke English. (Yes, the first week I had the luck of having two English-speaking roommates, but after they left I had to make myself understood in sign language... speaking Slovak was quite out of the question.)

Anyway, I decided to capture my different moods by taking a photo a day, capturing me at my worst and at my best. As you can see in the photos, halfway through I needed to change rooms (wall goes from green to pink) and change from the ED ward to the 'general' Psychiatry ward as more and more people left and more and more of the staff ditched to go on holidays.

A Photo A Day

My Hospital Meal Plans

Here are just two samples of what I'd eat in a day in the hospital (and two photos that I managed to take even though both photography and phones were forbidden). Of course, I have no idea about the exact portion sizes of the main hot meals (unlike at home), but I hope it does give a basic idea. (I can say, however, that generally main meals fell below the 400 g I eat at home, which is not too unusual seeing as what I eat at home is more than the average teenage girl would be able to finish.)

June 18, 2015:

Breakfast (8:00):
- 2 slices of bread with butter and 5 slices of ham and 1 spring onion
- 1 cup of white coffee with milk and sugar

Snack (10:00):
- 1 large banana
- 1 medium-large chocolate croissant
- 1 bread roll with Flora butter (20 g)

Lunch (12:30):
- Garlic bouillon soup
- 3 Slovak 'dumplings' (tastes and looks somewhat like white bread slices) with tomato sauce and mystery meat

Snack (14:00, 15:00):
- ½ Fortimel
- 1 slice of bread with butter and ham
- 1 bread roll with 1 packet of Flora butter (20 g)

(Part of) hospital versus home snack
Dinner (17:30):
- Omelette
- Bowl of canned peach
- Mashed potatoes

Dessert (18:00, 19:00):
- ½ Fortimel
- 1 large apple

June 27, 2015

Breakfast (8:00):
- 2 slices of bread with cream cheese spread
- 1 cup of white coffee with milk and sugar
- ½ Fortimel

Snack (9:00, 10:00):
- 1 apple
- 1 Delissa Orion chocolate cookie
- 1 hotdog bun with 1 pack Bambino cream cheese

Lunch (12:00):
- Broccoli soup
- Slovak rice with mystery meat and sauce
- 1 tomato

Snack (14:00, 15:00):
- 1 slice of bread with butter, 1 boiled egg and 2 slices of paprika (see image)
- 1 hotdog bun with hazelnut spread

Dinner (17:00):
- Disgusting hospital pizza (very thick mushy crust topped with oil and ham and too-little corn)

Dessert (19:00):
- 1 medium apple
- 1 banana (not part of the meal plan, but I was still hungry, so... ;-))
- ½ Fortimel

Hospital dinner versus home dinners

My New Home Meal Plan

After those crazy two weeks in the hospital, with a weight that more or less stabilized, went down dramatically, and then climbed back up a bit, I'm now back home. I wasn't getting anywhere anymore in hospital (and I actually had the biggest food package available), so I decided to go back home, return to my own meal plan, and add some of the things I'd learned in hospital to so establish *the best way.*

So... my meal plan is now slightly different from what it was in the video above, as well as how it was in hospital. For example, my plan for today was as follows:

July 1, 2015

Breakfast (7:00, 8:00):
- ½ Fortimel
- Greek yoghurt with fruit (2 plums and handful of blueberries)
- 3 piszoky cookies

Snack (9:00, 10:00):
- 1 Round sandwich with pear marmalade and cream cheese
- 1 Round sandwich with ham and butter

Lunch (11:30, 13:00):
- Vegetable soup (large bowl (three hospital servings) and thick, with pasta (unlike hospital watery-garlicky-nontasty soup))
- 400 g mashed potatoes with leek and bacon and creamy curry sauce

Snack (15:00):
- 3 chocolate truffles (prepared by my kitchen-princess sister)
- ½ Fortimel

Dinner (18:30):
- 400 g potatoes with minced meat, zucchini, mascarpone and tomato soup sauce

Dessert (21:00):
- Piece of almond-apple pie with toffee Fortimel ice cream

I'll need to try it out for several days to see if it works of course, but if not I'll just top it again with several more snacks, or maybe some more Fortimel (my favorite flavors: banana, chocolate and apricot).

I hope this casts you a bit of a glance into my recovery meal plans, and I'm interested in hearing your thoughts/tips/etc. in the comment boxes below! You are also more than welcome to contact me at Any of your insights are very welcome and encouraged!

** To read my actual story (not just my recovery meal plans), visit my website here or check out my story on the ADAA website. Also, make sure to grab yourself a copy of my fictional memoir, JUST PERFECT here ** 

[Update (Aug 13): I've gone for another hospitalization after my home meal plan stopped working and my weight again stabilized. This time I'm in Belgium, to see how it compares to the Slovak system. The meal plan is bigger (and much sweeter). More details here.]


  1. Thanks for sharing Hanne :) Good writing as usual :) It's interesting to see such a therapy from inside. I am sure Your home meal plan and love of your family will bring more success, cross my fingers, take care, Viki

    1. Thank you - these first two days back home do seem to indicate that it is bringing more success than in hospital, so let's hope this keeps up :)

  2. Your positivity is totally enlightening. Your fighting spirit is really active, and I'm hoping that your full recovery will come quickly. You just have to follow the instructions of your doctor, and keep on doing what you're already doing. Your progress seems to be doing great, and I hope that positive results will pour in soon. Thanks for sharing that! I wish you all the best!

    Margaretta Cloutier @ Aspire Wellness Center

    1. Thank you for your comment - I appreciate your kind message a lot. The meal plan above worked for several days and then my weight stabilized, so now I am in a hospital in Belgium where the promise is +700 g every week. Looking forward to trying this out too, especially as I'll then be able to start university in a healthier body that I'll be more confident in.

      The doctor's instructions (mentioned in your comment) were far from sufficient so I've in fact decided to go above and beyond them. After all, it is the individual that needs to choose to start fighting for his/her own recovery. It's funny how I've started "treatment" here only yesterday and already I am seen as a big inspiration to many for my portions and servings. That's what I do it for!

      Once again, I really appreciate your comment. Also, great blog you got there!

      You're always welcome to check out my book if interested -

  3. hello Hanne. this " diet " your doing, i mean, this meal plan, is for weight gaining or just for stabilizing your weight? didn't you gained weight eating this?
    btw, keep with the great work, lots of kisses

    1. Hey Catt,

      It was meant for weight gain, but it ended up causing weight loss (only a few hundred grams - nothing major) because I was used to eating more at home by this time, so I needed to change the meal plan. I then changed to the following one, which worked for a while and then - after a month or so - led to simple stabilization: I preferred this second meal plan to the first.

      Also, I guess you just need to try it and see if it works - I know people with a much more minimal plan that gained weight lightning fast while for me it has always moved in a crawl. Anyway, it should all be evaluated on an individual basis, and reevaluated from time to time to see if it is still effective (after a while, your body will start to require more than before).

      I hope this helps - and to you, too: keep it up :)

  4. Mag ik vragen hoeveel en wanneer je drinkt. Ik heb nogal veel last van water retention namelijk. Heel veel liefs Jessica

    1. Natuurlijk mag je dat vragen ;)

      Zodra ik uit bed kom drink ik meestal al gelijk een klein glaasje water (na een hele nacht niks te drinken heb ik altijd wel een droge keel). Met mijn ontbijt drink ik meestal een thermos thee... daar zit toch wel 500 mL in denk ik. Dan drink ik daarna meestal niet zo heel veel tot lunch (misschien 100-200 mL max) en na lunch tot 's avonds bij het avondeten drink ik nog wel 1.5 L denk ik... en 's avonds na het eten verspreid over de avond nog eens 500 mL?

      Ik let er eigenlijk niet zo heel veel op. Ik weet wel dat ik redelijk veel drink vergeleken met veel anderen, dus je hoeft me niet te volgen in mijn hoeveelheden. Het is een beetje verschillend voor iedereen. Als ik geen dorst heb zal ik eens wat minder drinken. Als ik eens veel dorst heb kan ik mijn hele thermos in een keer 'downen' haha.

      Het is natuurlijk wel lastig die water retention, maar het gaat wel vanzelf weer weg (zolang je goed blijft eten en regelmatig. Ik hoop dat dit antwoord een beetje helpend is :) xx

  5. Ahoj, ty si ži Slovenska? Prosimta kde si bola v nemocnici? 😔

  6. So many great ideas in this post! Thank you for inspiring me to be better organized.


Please share your thoughts and comments with me! I absolutely love to hear from you :-)