Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Eating Disorder Home Care

Home care for compulsive eating disorder includes:

Eating Disorder Calorie Counting

It is important to understand how the body maintains energy balance: regulating energy intake so that it equals energy output. Consider the following equation:

Energy In (food intake) = Energy Out

When energy intake exceeds energy output, weight gain occurs. When energy output exceeds energy intake, weight loss occurs. Any imbalance in this equation will have direct results on body weight. For instance, the individual who eats regularly, but receives little or no exercise will usually gain weight. The cancer patient with a decreased appetite and a rapidly growing cancer tends to lose weight. This individual is simply unable to keep up with the energy demands the cancer is placing on the body.

Food is essential because the body needs it to function properly. However, eating more food than the body needs leads to the storage of excess body fat. Exercise requires calories and helps consume body fat. These components must be balanced to achieve body weight goals.

The number of calories people need depends on their weight, age, and level of activity. The calculation of total caloric intake necessary to simply maintain a certain body weight is as follows:

Desired Weight (in pounds) multiplied by a level of activity value will equal the number of calories you need each day to maintain your weight.

Desired Weight x (level of activity value) = total calories needed per day

The level of activity value is determined as follows:

10Light physical activity
15Medium physical activity
20Heavy level of physical activity

The total calories needed per day should be adjusted based on your age group. Use the chart provided below:
25-34subtracts 0 calories from your total calories
35-44subtracts 100 calories from your total calories
45-54subtracts 200 calories from your total calories
55-64subtracts 300 calories from your total calories
65 +subtracts 400 calories from your total calories

The result obtained after this step should be a closer estimate of the total calories needed per day to maintain a desired weight, based on a commitment to a particular level of activity.

Once total calories are known, it is important to calculate the calories from each food group. Using the example above for a person who is going to consume 1,500 total calories per day:

1,500 total calories per day x 0.30 (30%) fat calories = 450 calories

This shows that 450 calories of the total 1,500 daily calories may be from fat sources. We also know that each gram of fat provides 9 calories, so that the person in our example can eat about 50 grams of fat per day (450 calories divided by 9 calories/gram of fat) and still be following these guidelines.

The same calculations can be performed for protein and carbohydrates. There are also many tables and simple computer calculators that will perform these tasks quickly and accurately.

Eating Disorder Diet Plan

Strategies for a healthy diet in someone with compulsive eating disorder include:

  • Limit your intake of fat to 30% of your total calories.
  • 10% to 15% of your total calories should be in the form of monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil.
  • Consume only unsaturated fats that are low in cholesterol.
  • Consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day.
  • Eat dietary fiber: whole grains are best.
  • Avoid fad diets.
  • Check with your doctor about B vitamin supplements. Some people may benefit from B vitamins.

Key Dietary Recommendations for Chronic Disease Prevention
Energy (calories)to maintain BMI < 25
Total fats< or = to 30% of total daily calories
Saturated fats< 7% of total daily calories
Polyunsaturated fats< 10% of total daily calories
Monounsaturated fats< 13% of total daily calories
Cholesterol< or = to 300 mg per day
Dietary fiber25-30 grams per day
Fiber type3:1 insoluble to soluble fiber
Sodium< or = to 1,500 mg per day
Calcium 9-24 yrs1,200-1,500 mg per day
Calcium 25-50 yrs1,000 mg per day
Calcium 51-65 yrs1,200 mg per day
Calcium >65 yrs1,500 mg per day
Vitamin D 9-50 yrs200 IU per day
Vitamin D 51-70 yrs400 IU per day
Vitamin D >70 yrs600 IU per day
Folic acid400 micrograms (ug) per day
Fruits & vegetables5-7 servings per day
Alcohol (men)< or = to 2 drinks per day
Alcohol (women)< or = to 1 drink per day

Eating Disorder Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have compulsive eating disorder and any of the following:

Continue to Eating Disorder Outlook

Last Updated: Dec 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Eating Disorder References
  1. Fontenelle LF, Mendlowicz MV, Versiani M. Impulse control disorders in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2005 Feb;59(1):30-7. [15679537]
  2. Larsson JO, Hellzen M. Patterns of personality disorders in women with chronic eating disorders. Eat Weight Disord. 2004 Sep;9(3):200-5. [15656014]
  3. Raja M, Azzoni A. Clinical management of obsessive-compulsive-bipolar comorbidity: a case series. Bipolar Disord. 2004 Jun;6(3):264-70. [15117406]
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