Minnie Maud is an eating disorder recovery method developed by Gwyneth Olwyn. It has since been rebranded as the Homeodynamic Recovery Method. The website with all of the pertinent information can be found here. What follows is my own analysis of the method and a brief overview of my successes with it.
MinnieMaud Guidelines are the guidelines for recovery from restrictive eating disorders such as anorexia, binging/purging, bulimia, orthorexia and any EDNOS involving food restriction that I followed in recovery. The “Minnie” refers to the Minnesota Starvation Experiment and the “Maud” refers to the anorexia family based treatment program, the Maudsley protocol.
The guideline’s food amounts are what energy-balanced, non-eating-disordered people normally eat to maintain their health and weight. Meaning your minimum intake guidelines are what you can expect to eat during AND after recovery. However, you can expect to eat far more than minimum intake during the energy-restoration part recovery. (AKA extreme hunger).
The way to successfully follow the MinnieMaud program is to:
- Eat the minimum intake every single day. It is a minimum intake and you are both encouraged and expected to eat more. Never restrict food intake. Your minimum intake is between 2500-3500 depending on your age, height, and gender and can be found on her website.
- No weighing yourself or measuring yourself. This is the easiest way to relapse, so just avoid it completely. While I was gaining weight, I covered mirrors, threw away my scales, and bought loose flowing dresses that would fit me even when I was bloated or heavier. All of these things were crucial to me being okay with the weight gain and getting through the hardest part.
- No exercise. At all.
The MinnieMaud guidelines believe that restrictive eating disorders are neurobiological conditions. The condition can be either active or in remission, but it is never completely cured. Part of remission is addressing the anxiety and guilt you associate with food head on with a therapist to avoid repeating inappropriate response behaviors to eating such as over exercising or restricting food.
So, the three steps to recovery are:
- Weight restoration – to your SET POINT.
- Repairing and reversing physical and metabolic damage.
- Developing new non-restrictive neural patterns in response to usual anxiety triggers.
These steps can all be achieved through following the program.
I discovered Minnie Maud over a year before I finally committed to it. The one predicament about this method is that you have to want recovery for yourself in order to successfully go through with it. When I found the program, it was still available on the original Youreatopia site. I haunted the site and forums for months as I unsuccessfully attempted to recover through quasi recovery. When I finally found a therapist who supported Minnie Maud and I committed at the beginning of 2015. My whole world began to change and by the end of that year I was finally in remission.
Clearly MinnieMaud worked for me. I still consider myself in remission to this day. After I started eating the minimums within a few weeks extreme hunger hit me and for the next month and a half to two months I was eating between 5000-10000 calories a day, sometimes more. It was like I had a hunger deep inside me that could never be satisfied. Then that eventually calmed down and I kept eating to the minimums. I love the concept of a minimum intake because it completely flipped the script from what I had been implementing for years. Instead of being afraid of going over a certain number, I now had absolutely no limit! It is a freeing feeling. I felt the healing relationship to food. I felt the physical transformation. I felt the eating disorder disappear into the furthest, darkest corner of my brain.
If you are considering this method of recovery I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you are still not sold, do the research on it yourself. That’s what I did and it was more than enough to convince me. People can say what they want about Minnie Maud but they cannot argue with a success story like mine and the many others out there. The best way to fight food restriction is with food. Food is medicine, it keeps us alive, and none of us are born with issues about it. MinnieMaud finally allowed me to remember what it was like to have a normal relationship with food and my body, it taught me so much about being a kinder compassionate human both to myself and to others. It allowed me to find myself again after years of hiding being an eating disorder and for that I am eternally grateful.