Q&A: Exercise, Extreme Hunger and Clean Eating

Do you feel free now that you’re not depended on exercise or do you miss it? How do you tune in to your hunger signals? How do you cope with the influence on social media to only eat ‘clean’ food? They were all questions which I answered in October’s monthly Q&A over on my Instagram stories.

You can watch and listen to me answering all of these questions over on my Instagram highlights as well.

Life

Q1. How is college going?

Good thank you! I’m really enjoying it so far.

Q2. Have you had any issues with hearing ‘diet talk’ at college? I really struggle with it.

Yes! And it’s a lot easier said than done but you really do have to try your best to ignore it. I’ve heard people talking about keto, intermittent fasting, veganism and vegetarianism.

Trying to gain weight in a world where you’re constantly bombarded by diet culture is hard, but you have to focus on your own journey. You’re on your own path and the conversations that they’re having aren’t appropriate for you.

Q3. What breed is your dog?

Maisie is a shih tzu.

Q4. How are you?

The best that I’ve been in a long time. I feel so much happier and generally more like myself again.

Q5. What phone do you own?

iPhone 7+

Q6. Do you still have a thigh gap?

No.

Q7. How do you cope with loneliness?

A few months back I did a whole story talking about loneliness on my Instagram and it’s not something that I struggle with nearly as much.

My loneliness was definitely exasperated by my low mood. As I’ve gained weight and my mood has improved, I actually don’t struggle with it anymore.

Things that helped me at the time were starting a recovery journal and speaking to people online.

Q8. Do you read? What are your favourite books?

I loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Q9. Favourite films?

I saw the new Joker film recently and loved it.

Q10. Skincare routine?

Morning – cleanse, tone, moisturise and apply eye cream.

Evening – triple cleanse, moisturise and apply eye cream.

I also exfoliate once a week and do face masks twice a week. I definitely have to give all credit for this to my fave, Plantbased Rhys.

Q11. Do you have any siblings?

No.

Q12. How tall are you?

169cm or 5’7″.

Q13. What’s the next step in your journey?

I’m hoping to complete my college course and move away for Uni next year. And I 100% want to be fully recovered when I get there.

Q14. Do you have anymore giveaways planned?

Not currently.

Recovery

Q15. Do you feel relieved and free since you don’t exercise anymore or aren’t dependent on it? Do you miss it?

I struggled with obsessive and compulsive exercise for years and I’m so happy to be free from it. I still do 10-20 minutes of Yoga a day and take the dog out on a walk, but that’s it.

I do miss working out from the perspective of being strong, as I know that my fitness levels are nowhere near what they were. I would like to get back in to fitness and go to the gym, but I know that it’s not the time right now. I need to concentrate on fully healing my relationship with food and my body first. Ideally I’d like to be fully weight restored and have my period back. I want to make sure that I’m exercising because I want to, not because I feel a compulsion to.

Q16. How do I know how much I need to be eating in recovery?

Personally I take guidance from my dietitian. I put together a ‘normal’ portion and then add to that. I’ve been dealing with extreme hunger which has fuelled a lot of my increases. You’ll probably find that you’re eating more than the suggested serving size or people around you but that’s fine – listen to your body.

Q17. How is your digestive system and bloating in recovery?

My digestive system has definitely taken a hit and bloating is a problem, but I know that as my body gets healthier and happier it will pass. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and it will pass.

Q18. What keeps you going with your increases?

I go back to my recovery journal and take a look at my list of reasons to recover. Moving out for University next year is one of my biggest motivations. I’ve really been trying to listen to my body and give it more food when necessary.

Q19. Do you still have days when you restrict?

No. There are definitely times when I have intrusive thoughts but I don’t listen to them, in fact I do the exact opposite.

Q20. Tips for tuning in to hunger signals?

I’ve been dealing with extreme huger for the past few months and I would say that it’s best to honour it and eat until you’re satisfied. And make sure that you’re listening to your cravings.

Q21. Are you in the process of regaining weight?

Yes. In the past 2-3 months I’ve gained 15kg.

Q23. Do you find that bits of your old personality that you lost are suddenly reappearing?

Yes – I feel so much more like myself again now. My sense of humour is back, I’m laughing more, I’m actually enjoying myself and overall feel so much happier.

Q24. How is your current relationship with food?

Better than it has been in years. I feel so much more free around food, I think about food less and it’s no longer the most important part of my day. There are still some niggling rules that I need to get over but I’m eating so much more and such a wider range than I ever thought that I would be able to.

Q25. Do you count calories?

No.

Q26. Have you increased again?

I’m increasing on a daily and weekly basis.

Q27. Dietitian update?

I’ve actually gone on a mini break from seeing my dietitian as I’ve been making such good progress. I can see her again as and when I need to, but for now I feel like I need some time away from focusing on specific aspects of food and to learn to listen to my body more.

Q28. Do you feel better in yourself for recovery?

100%. It’s not easy by any means, but every single aspect of my life has improved for the better.

Food

Q29. Do you think about food less now?

Definitely less than I used to, but because of the extreme hunger it’s still a problem.

Q30. Do you eat out in restaurants? If so do you worry or plan ahead?

As I progress further in recovery, it’s something that I’m doing more often. It doesn’t cause me anxiety anymore and I don’t plan ahead.

Q31. Do you have a good banana bread recipe?

I love my Easy Vegan Banana Bread.

Q32. How do you know how much food you eat in a day?

I take guidane from my dietitian and therapist but add in my own increases and eat more if I’m still hungry too.

Q33. How to deal with the influence on social media to only eat ‘clean’ foods?

I could write a whole blog post about this topic and it’s something that I touched on when I spoke about my experience of Orthorexia.

What I have realised is that Instagram isn’t reality and it’s so easy to be influenced by all of the trends. I’ve found that spending less time on social media has helped. You don’t need to eat ‘healthy’ food all of the time. Your body is the best indicator of what and how much you should eat, so listen to your cravings.

My diet is nowhere near as healthy as it was a few months ago but I’m fine with that. I have so much more food freedom and feel a lot more balanced. So whilst there might be a little less fruit and veg, you could actually argue that the balance and variety that I’ve added makes my diet even healthier. What’s most important to me is the food and life freedom that I’ve gained.

Q34. Favourite snacks to take on the go?

I love the MissFits Protein Wonderballs – use the code YASMIN5 for £5 OFF.

I also love making up my own trail mix with nuts and dried fruit.

Q35. Porridge ideas?

I have lots of oat recipes here and I recently posted a cinnamon apple pie oat recipe on Instagram that I’m obsessed with.

Q36. Do you like eating out more now?

Definitely!

Q37. What blender do you use?

The Ninja Kitchen Smart Screen Kitchen System.

Q38. All time fave nut butter?

Pip & Nut Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter.

Q39. How long have you been Vegan?

I transitioned to Veganism in March 2015. Whilst I am still plant based, I’m no longer 100% Vegan.

Keep up to date with my Instagram stories so that you know when I’m doing my next Q&A or leave any questions that you want answered in the comments below.

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Hi, I'm Yasmin! Plant based recipe developer and certified health and wellness influencer. I share simple, nourishing plant based recipes along with tips on healthy living, mental health and well being, in the hope that I can inspire others to be the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves.

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