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How to start CR with Bulimic history

Guest Cindy

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I read your articles and saw the video conference at the Milken Institute and I would love to start CR. I see that CR without Mulnutrition is really the traditional way of eating in my country of origin, Taiwan, where everybody eats moderately until 80% full.

I am 33, 166cm and 57kgs. I have no idea how much I should be eating, but according to Cronometer I need 1340 calories a day. Can this be trust-worthy?

I have difficulties to know exactly what to eat on a vegan diet with my calories, and I am not sure if I am calculating correctly... basically I have a really hard time eating only 1340...

I wonder if you have any tips for me to get my calorie intake lower. I used to be bulimic and had binge and purging episodes, I have the purging aspect pretty much in control now, I no longer eat to throw up...but I feel immense guilt if I think I ate something I shouldn't or too much, but every meal I feel I eat too much. If I try to eat less I get cravings between meals and end up eating more. So I feel I am going around a circle of failure, there is no way out.

I have been vegan for 1 year now and vegetarian for 8 years. I rarely use oil and dislike salt. In August 2013 I started experimenting with the 80/10/10 diet and the Raw Till 4 diet but they don't work for me and I gained 7 kgs. Now I eat Dr. McDougall's diet since 2 months but have not lost any weight. I know I feel my best at 49kgs, and I just want to lose these 7 kgs I gained on experimenting with 80/10/10 and Raw Till 4, because I love to run and my performance has decreased a lot.

I have a lot of difficulties eating smaller portions because my stomach has expanded so much from 80/10/10, and it's hard to satiated nowadays. Any tips on that?

I would love to be your test subject in the university, but I live in Switzerland. I would appreciate any tips you have to help me with your program, because I truly believe CR without malnutrition is the best way to get rid of my food fixations and achieve optimum heath and longevity. Thank you so much.

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Hi Cindy, I'm not Paul, but I will reply to some of your points. I follow a vegan CRON diet (5 years now), so I can give you an idea of how I got started and moved towards my current diet.


First of all, you're currently at a healthy weight and BMI of 21. At your height you would not want to be any less than about 110 lbs which would be the lower end of normal on the BMI of 18.5. Stop thinking of your food as guilt and instead think of it as fuel for your body. Just like you put gas in your car and replace it when it's gone, you do the same with calories/food energy for your body. I like to put a range on my weight and have a max weight where I will start to cut the less nutrient dense items out of my diet, and also have a minimum weight where I increase the amounts of calorie dense foods to keep in the healthy weight range.


Cronometer doesn't use any magic -- it relies on formulae derived from population averages. You're real energy needs are determined by your metabolism, exercise level, body weight, physical/sedentary work ...etc and will need to be determined by trial and error. Your starting point should be determined by recording your diet in cronometer without any changes for a week or two or until you feel that you have a good idea of what you're currently eating. Only after that start to modify your diet.


Start by getting a range of medical tests so that you know where you started and can compare with later tests. It's really motivating to see how cholestrol or blood pressure or other parameters change for the better, so don't skip the tests. A standard panel of blood tests, cholesterol and vitamin-D is usually sufficient.


Step 1: Keep your calorie level constant

Step 2: Improve the nutrient density of your diet by replacing less nutrient dense foods with better choices. eg. replace bread with sweet potatoes

Step 3: Work slowly replacing foods 1 or 2 at a time and giving your body a chance to adjust to the changes.

Step 4: Once you feel that you've squeezed all the bad foods from your diet, next focus on balancing the vitamins and minerals you get from cronometer.

Step 5: The vast majority of your nutrient needs should be coming from the food you eat, not supplements. Exception: Vegans must supplement B12

Step 6: At this point you have a diet with excellent nutrition that gives you all your vitamins and minerals you need. Next balance the fats.

Step 7: Further modify your diet by reducing saturated fats to less than 10 g per day, Omega-3 fatty acids 3g per day, Omega-6 fatty acids 12-14 g per day. Monounsaturated fats can make up any other fat calories in your diet. Flaxseed, olive oil, small amounts of nuts and seeds.

Step 8: Next step is to balance the protein that you consume with your requirements. 0.8 g per day of protein for each kg of body weight is the minimum. I usually aim for 10-15% of calories in protein and I choose proteins with low methionine content like lentils and beans.

Step 9: Now you have a diet with good balance, just a bit too high in calories. Start to cut calories by 50 - 100 calories per month until your weight starts to drop. Don't compensate for exercise by consuming more calories. If you have a bad day and overconsume, just get back to the plan the next day. Follow your max/min weights as I noted above.

Step 10: Enjoy the benefits of CR. Fantastic cardio health, less worry about strokes and cancer, disappearing pre-diabetes symptoms, more stable energy, fewer aches and pains, better recovery from exercise and more.


Monitor your progress with medical tests every 6 months or yearly. Compare with your prior tests.


I'm sure Paul will weigh in with more about CR & happiness at some point.

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