What Minnie Maud Is
For those who do not know what Minnie Maud is, all of the information can be found on the YourEatopia website. They can explain the guidelines better than I ever could. So, before you read this, head over there! Basically, it is a system of recovering in which the person eats at least 3,000 calories(some cases it is 2,500, and some it is 3,500, but for me, it was 3,000) and remain as sedentary as possible. This is all in an effort to restore one’s metabolism, while simultaneously expanding from the mental restriction of anorexia. There should be absolutely no food that is forbidden, and you are encouraged to branch out from your comfort zone. Labeling food as “good” or “bad” is not recommended, and cravings should satisfied. The 3,000 calories required to eat during Minnie Maud are a minimum; one should never fall below, however, if one’s hunger is not satisfied at 3,000, then by all means they are encouraged to eat until satisfied. In fact, many people who begin Minnie Maud experience what is called extreme hunger and can eat upwards of 10,000 calories in order to provide a sufficient amount of energy for their body. It is completely normal.
Minnie Maud is not specifically for those with anorexia, but works for those across the spectrum of eating disorders: orthorexia, bulimia, cycling of restrictive and reactive eating, etc. The main goal is to return as normal of a lifestyle that is not centered around calories, weight, exercising, and anything else that someone has acquired with their eating disorder. Minnie Maud is named after the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, which is an intriguing source of information if you have never read it before.
The creator of the website does not disclose her credentials, which causes some controversy. Some people have found that to be suspicious, however I stand by my decision in choosing to pursue recovery in the form of Minnie Maud. I take full responsibility of my decision, and I am grateful for Gwynth’s website as it gave me the kick in the butt I needed to truly choose recovery.
How I Chose To Begin
For approximately 2-3 months prior to beginning Minnie Maud, I spent every. waking. moment. researching ‘how to recover from an eating disorder.’ I found absolutely nothing that “spoke” to me. There were websites advocating eating 1,500 calories or 2,000 calories, or only doing strength training. I must have read thousands of articles from doctors saying to just eat an avocado and get some sleep. Boom. Bam. Done. The periods would come back. The mind would heal. Everyone would be happy. It was all so… fake. All of my free time was consumed with finding the magical formula, and I could not find it. No matter how hard I searched. I was so frustrated. This alongside a couple of parents who were begging me, pleading with me, screaming at me to eat more- I became increasingly more frustrated with each passing moment.
I remember one specific moment after an extremely difficult lunch with my mom where I fell down on the bathroom floor, clutching the bathmat, and cursing God to just hurry up and take my life. It was one of the darkest moments of my life.
When I finally came across YourEatopia, I felt like God had answered my prayers, and that this could be the start of my second chance. I did not immediately choose to start though. I had so many reservations and there were a lot of inner battles I would have to overcome in order to finally make the jump. At that point in time, I was exercising excessively (as outlined in this post), and even though I was not in control of my meals, my parents were only getting about 1,800 calories in per day.
Finally, my parents became so fed up with me. They threatened to take away college, and I could tell they were serious. That same day, I was in a severe car accident by myself a half an hour away from my house. The other driver was driving without a license because his had been suspended the previous week for a DUI! On top of that, he hardly spoke any English. You could not write a more horrible story. I knew that this was it. I needed to put some serious effort into recovery if I was ever going to get my life back.
It was not an easy thing to start. I have a serious amount of respect for anyone who commits to Minnie Maud and can stick it through. I have definitely had my ups and downs with it.
When I finally decided to reach 3,000 calories, it was an exhilarating feeling. Initially, I did not know how I would do it! It can seem like a hefty amount, but I found a method in which it worked for me. My mom required me to have two protein milks a day in order to get in a decent amount of fats (which are essential when recovering from anorexia). Each ‘protein milk’ consisted of 2-2.5 cups (unmeasured) of whole milk with a heaping scoop of protein powder. The protein milks ended up being about 550-600 calories each! With these, it was very easy to reach and exceed 3,000 calories. A lot of people find it hard to reach such a large intake, and therefore I always recommend liquid calories. It is also a nice challenge, as a lot of people recovering from eating disorder tend to fear liquid calories. Challenge those fears!
In regards to other food, Minnie Maud gave me the courage to branch out of my safe foods which included apples, oatmeal, and coffee. Yeah- not a very extensive list. Thankfully, with the support of my family, I began to see that there was a world outside of those irrational fears! I learned that I love caesar salad topped with lots of cheese. I learned that no one should ever deprive themselves of ice cream. Ever. I learned that I really do like meat after a year of convincing myself that I enjoyed being a vegetarian. I learned food is much more than calories, and it is something to be cherished with friends and family.
I began to not just inch out of my comfort zone, but I even began to make gigantic leaps! Pints of ice cream, gollups of peanut butter, creamy pasta, and pancakes! They are all now consumed by me on a regular basis. I even had regular soda! Grilled cheeses are probably one of my favorite meals, yet during my eating disorder, I would have never even glanced the way of something that had butter in it.
Minnie Maud helped me immensely decrease the amount of fear I had surrounding foods, and I can now say that food is something I look forward to in each meal! All of the food related anxiety that is within my mind has not completely disappeared, but I can honestly say that it has diminished greatly.
In theory, yes, one could reach 3,000 calories on safe food, but why would one want to? It takes A LOT of oatmeal and apples to reach 3,000 calories. It is much much much easier to reach the minimums by including calorie dense food like peanut butter and olive oil. Plus, peanut butter is just delicious.
I realized I have wayyy more to say than I thought I did on the topic of MM, so I think I should split this post up into a few parts. Again, I will try to answer any questions you may possibly have, but it may be a little delayed. For that, I apologize and hope you can understand. Please please please remember that everyone’s body and recovery is different. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you on how I am recovering.