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College, Food, weight gain, and exercise

8/17 9:12:07

Question
Hi there,
I am a freshmen in college and when I was in high school I was diagnosed with anorexia and hospitalized several times. Even though I am doing a lot better I still struggle with food and healthy choices, how much, how often, etc. I also go to the gym everyday. I have been weight lifting (well toning) and doing cardio (cycling classes, running- usu. between 4-6 miles). Although I have been doing this for a while my body hasn't changed I'm convinced it's my diet. But I don't know what to do. I eat in the morning before class then again at like 1pm, it seems like i eat a lot more in the afternoon and night time, then in the morning. I feel so hopeless... I don't know how to tone my body and replace fat with muscle. Also I like to think that my eating disorder caused my body to malfunction this way- being unable to not store fat. Does my eating disorder cause lasting problems like this? I guess I just need some advice- what should I do.  
fyi, I'm 5'4" 121 lbs. and 23%  body fat.
thanks, rachel

Answer
It sounds like you're doing very good overall.  Your BMI (Body Mass Index) is right in the middle of the normal range. Your BMI tells the ratio of your bodyfat to your weight and height.  You're really doing great!

In order to gain some muscle mass, you'll need to eat more protein in the form of lean meats, beans, and nuts.  The exercise is breaking down your muscle tissue for an energy source because it's not getting nutrients on a regular basis.  It would be better to eat smaller portions more frequently than to eat three meals.  Eating 4-6 times a day keeps your metabolism at a steady pace while adding the protein builds the muscles that are damaged during training.  

Thank you for your question, Rachel.  I hope that my answer helps you.  The information is part of an 8-week online class that I teach called 'The Answer Is Right Under Your Nose.'  You can check it out on my website at www.JerryRyanPhD.com.
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