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Anorexia - Recovery - Rapid weight gain.


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Hey everyone. I am 15 years old and I became anorexic when I was 14. I was 5 feet and 125 lbs, a little chubby but healthy. I decided I wanted to lose weight and I got down to 87 lbs  at 5 ft 2 at my lowest. I was eating around 200-300 calories a day for about 5 months and then upped it to 800-1000 and did not gain weight. After months of maintaining a 1000 calorie diet I upped it again to 1200, then 1500, then 1800, then 2000. I maintained 90 lbs at 2000 calories for around 4-5 months. I have not had my period in over a year now. :( 

So, I decided to try and get better. I have upped my intake to 2500 and I have been eating this amount for three weeks, and I have already gained 10 pounds. I am now 100 pounds. Is this water retention or what? Some of my jeans feel tighter already, is this even possible? I am worried if I continue to eat this amount that I will get really fat and never stop gaining. I have also been exercising while eating this amount (3 hours of brisk walking a day, and a lot of moving around as much as I can) Please help! I am worried because I have been reading how most need around 3500-4000 calories a day just to gain a pound! But I am eating 2500 calories and gaining weight SO RAPIDLY. :( I feel like if the weight gain doesn't slow down I will relapse and cut my intake to around 1700-2000 again with lots of exercise... 

32 Replies (last)

You are impeding recovery with exercise and yes all you have is water retention for cellular repair and you are stuck in that phase of recovery.

I'm providing a link to a thread on which I provided some very long posts -- sorry about the length but it is a comprehensive explanation of what to expect in recovery and what successful recovery looks like.

http://caloriecount.about.com/helping-starvat ion-mode-down-ft170153#3

It is common to "gain" 16 lbs in the first few weeks and this is almost exclusively water retention. The body hoards the water it's finally getting to support cellular repair -- the first step in major biological system repair.

You've done hundreds of thousands of calories' worth of damage.

It is very common for anorexics to presume that obesity is the opposite end of their restriction eating-disorder spectrum. It is not.

Your leptin system is not skewed and will respond when you are at a natural weight set point that is best for you. Leptin manages metabolism and appetite. When it is at an optimal level, then it maintains your weight for you. When it is suppressed through starvation, then metabolism is suppressed and appetite is increased -- trying to get you back to an optimal weight.

You have to eat 2500 calories a day with no exercise. The calories have to be used for two things: repair and weight gain -- not just weight gain. If the calories have to be used to exertion (exercise) then you are not out of the starting gate at all when it comes to recovery.

I hope you will scan the thread above and feel free to message me if you have further questions based on the posts in that link.

Best of luck.

thank you, hedgren. can you explain why exercise impedes optimum recovery? i gained all my weight back plus some on less than 2500 calories, very fast, with a lot of exercise. at this point how do i repair properly without gaining more? i have a feeling my cortisol levels are out of control, causing a physiological domino effect of problems, including persistent fluid retention. i really just want to find a balance and heal my body and have a metabolism that functions properly, but i must admit, i am more than a little ambivalent about gaining even more weight. is 2000 enough to repair since weight gain is not necessary in my case?

Original Post by stellagogo:

thank you, hedgren. can you explain why exercise impedes optimum recovery? i gained all my weight back plus some on less than 2500 calories, very fast, with a lot of exercise. at this point how do i repair properly without gaining more? i have a feeling my cortisol levels are out of control, causing a physiological domino effect of problems, including persistent fluid retention. i really just want to find a balance and heal my body and have a metabolism that functions properly, but i must admit, i am more than a little ambivalent about gaining even more weight. is 2000 enough to repair since weight gain is not necessary in my case?

How have you determined that further weight gain is not required?

It is your body that determines your optimal weight set point, not your neurological sense of what looks good on you.

BMI 21-25 is needed and the higher up on that scale you go, the less likely a relapse will be.

Your method of recovery usually ends up in relapse. Often by sliding from expressing the restriction eating disorder spectrum with one facet to another -- namely going from blunt calorie restriction to anorexia athletica.

And here's the math to explain it all. If you eat 3000 calories every day and stay completely sedentary, then that's 21,000 calories that go into you for one week.

Sounds huge however we have to subtract the 7,000 needed for the actual fat and muscle rebuilding that has to happen each week (the fat stores are the only way you get your period back and reverse osteoporosis).

That leaves 14,000. But then there is the amount just to keep you breathing, heart beating -- that basal metabolic rate thing that just keeps you alive. Estimating, that swacks off another 6,800 or so calories.

To repair damaged heart, skin, nails, hair, kidneys, digestive system, brain areas, bone and blood formation systems...you are actually giving your body only 1,000 calories a day to go to that effort. That's if you dependably eat 3,000 calories each day.

The less you eat, the longer it takes to recover because the harder it is for your body to find any excess energy to repair the damage.

So 2500 a day is the minimum (only giving your body 500 calories a day for repair). 3500 is better, 4500 is excellent. Anorexics who embrace recovery can find themselves eating 9000 calories or more and as long as they eat a minimum of 2500 the very next day then they have just moved themselves faster to the finish line of full recovery.

If we put exercise in your equation, then where is the extra energy going? Not to repair or weight gain but primarily to exertion. You may also want to check out the link I put in above -- there's a lot there on how the weight goes on and how it is redistributed (or not) based on continuing to persevere with recovery and calorie intake.

In 9 months of active anorexia, the average woman does about 125,000 to 135,000 calories' worth of damage to her body. And that's nothing to do with the actual weight loss. That's another 125,000 to 135,000 calories.

You have to trust your body and stop letting the eating-disorder-skewed neurotransmitters in your brain keep calling the shots.

Eat to gain and repair. Get rid of the scales and give it time.

You will not keep gaining and gaining once you reach your body's natural weight set point. Your leptin system is intact and will work to maintain an optimum weight once you reach it. That's when your metabolism and appetite will actually work.

As long as you continue to put arbitrary limits on what your recovery weight should look like, you are stuck in Phase I of recovery and likely doomed to repeated relapses at this point.

Also, you may need to eat 2500 calories for the rest of your life to maintain your final weight set point. Anorexics are always terrified they will just keep gaining and gaining to obesity. "How is it I can gain weight on 2500 and then somehow eat that same amount and not keep gaining?"

The answer is metabolic rate. We know that many anorexics have lingering hyperactivity beyond complete recovery that necessitates they stay on the increased calorie amounts just to maintain their natural weight set point.

You gain on 2500 until you stop gaining when you reach what is optimal for your body but you may still need 2500 to keep that weight. Really.

If it is impossible to trust your body over your thoughts of what constitutes an acceptable weight for you, then I really encourage you to seek out a psychologist or psychiatrist to help unlock yourself from the tyranny of those thoughts and feelings -- they are the fast track to relapse.

Best of luck.

hedgren, you're a gem.

i guess i just assumed because i'm at a bmi of 25.2 that i could be done gaining. it's already way more than i'm comfortable with, especially because i dont feel like i've eaten my way here. but i guess i need to work with my body and give it what it wants/needs to really heal, and see where it ends up.  i think all the years of excessive exercise on top of starvation has really forced my body into a state of desperate survival. it's hard to accept my increasing appetite as i eat more, because i'm at this weight. but it's time to listen to my body because, though i have gained a ton of weight, i have not repaired. maybe my body will be happy to put the calories to good use, rather than storage, once it finally stops being denied.

thank you so much for taking the time to offer your expertise. i truly value your input.

The weird thing is, I have lost 5 lbs again now. I am 95 lbs now. So, I guess 5 lbs of it is water weight and the other five pounds is fat? My jeans feel quite tight, so I am guessing I have gained fat, or is this just an ED thought?

good job for sticking with it...5 lbs is probably a tiny gain of body mass, plus the weight of food in your system and cellular rehydration.  it sounds like youre doing great!

#7  
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AHHHH! im in the same position as you, i was suffering with an eating disorder for 3 months and began eating a controlled meal plan of 1200 cals only 10 days ago and i have jumped from 48.8 to 51.6 in these 10 days!

I am really constipated and only went to the toilet once during this time after taking heaps of laxatives, but i've been so depressed and i can't stop crying at the thought of all my hard work going down the drain:(

Everyone tries to comfort me with 'it's water weight' or ' your body will stabilise soon', but are they really just lies trying to conceal the inevitable truth that after starvation for x amount of time, your body just grabs on to anything it can take?!

HELP I AM SO MISERABLE.......

#8  
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Hi Hedgren!

 

Thanks for your info - it was really helpful! I'm currently in the recovery phase for me ED as well, which I've had for about 3 years - I'm 17 now. I dropped from a BMI of about 20 at my highest (160cm, 49-52.5kg) to 39.1kg this year. I was maintaining my ~ 42kg weight for most of 2011 until I dropped again at the start of this year, and again maintained on I think 1500++ cal per day, not sure. The thing is, I've never really restricted as much as most anorexics; I still have lots of sweet stuff and dessert - can't stay away from them, but I just have them in like bites, or crazy fractions. And I used to eat really few carbs, like 1/4 bowl of rice for dinner or something, on top of all the other proteins and fibre. I've been seeing an ED doc, dietitian and psychologist, but only in the past 3 weeks have I decided to really follow my meal plan which comes in at about 2500 or less cal/day. 

 

I think I definitely overshoot though, since I really let loose on cookies, chocolate, cake, and ice cream :( Anyway, in the last 3 weeks (where my lowest was 39.1kg), I gained to 40.1 in the first week, slightly freaked and cut back a little and maintained at 40.2 in the second week, but this morning I was 40.8kg. I ate better last week than the previous, but I suspect (though my ED is screaming that this is not the case) that the 0.6kg weight gain this morning was due to not having been able to have a significant bowel movement before I weighed myself this morning, which I did the 40.2kg week. 

 

I don't think my metabolism is as fast as true anorexics since I've been eating pretty normally throughout my ED, but will I continue to balloon at this rate?! SURELY the 0.6kg is a FAT gain and is way too much! :(:(:(

 

Thanks so much!!!

Hi there :) 

Just letting you guys know that Hedgren doesn't really come around these parts of CalorieCount anymore. This post is originally from 2010 and since then Hedgren has actually created her own website. If you go to her profile you can get the link to it and she answers LOTS of her recovery questions there now :) And you can personally send her a message if her posts don't answer yours. 

I'm no Hedgren, but first gl7985, I can say that you need to stay off the scales and stop taking laxatives. By abusing laxatives you can just make constipation worse. And it IS most likely water weight, but I'd stay off the scales for awhile. Hide them, do whatever you can but resist temptation. I know it's hard! And raise your intake from 1200 to 2500+ stat k? 1200 is okay for a day or two, but the quicker you raise the calories, the quicker your metabolism can speed up and repair damage done to your body :) Eating 1200 will simply keep your metabolism suppressed and you'll be miserable forever and you don't want that.

Second, kateawl the reason you are eating all of the sweet stuff is cuz your body is CRAVING food and carbs are the easiest way fro your body to get a good glucose supply. You have to just trust your body and let go. Try and eat other things besides the junk (I know you're craving it and that's okay there is nothing wrong with these things, but your body needs a good amount of essential nutrients especially right now that could be getting replaced by the sweets). Like I already said, skip the scale. Hide it, smash it, do whatever. It only fuels the ED. 40.2 to 40.8 is NOTHING. It's either water weight or a daily fluctuation of weight. ED just wants you to think you're gaining uncontrollably. This is the hardest part of recovery. Not the weight gain, but the tuning ED out. But you gotta do it girl. And you can :) And also, don't say "true anorexics." That shows that you don't believe you aren't and weren't sick. And that's not true. You were and are still at quite a low weight. Like, too low. I'm not good with kg but I'd say 40 kg sounds too light unless you're really short. Just keep following the 2500 diet plan your team gave you. They know what they're doing. You will NOT continue to balloon. During recovery, I gained over 35 pounds in like 2 months! But guess what? I didn't restrict calories after that and I didn't gain past that. And I wasn't overweight either. And when my reactive eating finally stopped, I went back to eating normally and I felt so much better. All in all, your body NEEDS to gain right? And it needs fat so don't worry even if you did gain less than a kg of weight and it's fat! This is ED talking and you need to boot him out!!! 

Sorry for the long message to both of you girls, but I just wanted to let you both know you are both awesome for going on with recovery and you should be proud of the little steps you make. Mental recovery is the hardest part, and you just need to learn to love yourself for who you are. Hedgren will answer any other questions you have and she's far better answering than I am as that's her job and this is just my opinion :) Her knowledge is based on facts, whereas I only know some things from experience. So go to her profile page and click on her personal website and read some of her posts. I have read and reread them during recovery and they still help me especially on hard days. Good luck to you both and God Bless!!!! <3

#10  
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aminalkisses123 thank you so much!!!

i am going through a really tough time again. Before my eating disorder, i was actually obese and i weighed around 72kg. After attending a psychiatrist appointment the other day, i was told that i am not MEANT to be thin and that i will probably gain to a weight that was more similar to my pre-Ed weight. AS you can imagine, i was completely turned off any prospect of recovery and began considering my old ways again to the dismay of those around me and even myself... But i told myself that i was still in early stages and i don't want to compromise my health, school work, friendships and metabolism!!!! So i went on eating but i am no where near mentally prepared to increase to more than 1200 cals. I feel i have no support from my family and medical professionals (some tell me i won't gain too much weight, others say i will).

I'm so confused, and more than anything i hope and pray that soon my body will stabilise at a weight close to what i am now (50-51kg) because i have been hovering around these numbers for the last couple of weeks following a rapid weight gain from 48kg. I want to enjoy life, i want to go out with my friends again, i want to be able to go to a restaurant and not make an excuse about why i can't eat. I am only 16 and i have such an incredible life ahead of me, and as much as i want being thin to be a part of it, many people want me to believe that it is unachievable .

It's such a blessing to be able to have other people in the world going through the same thing. I am constantly reminded that God knows whats best for us all and will not let us down, or make us fat, as he has a perfect plan for everyone. x

 

QUESTION: if i was to increase to 2500 cals, how much weight do people typically gain in how long and when would it stabilise? I'm sorry ive got so many questions, its just medical professionals are too scared to give me answers becasue htey are even more clueless than me!!!! hahhaa

OH you are truly welcome :) No you are most certainly not alone. First, how tall are you? I'm just curious cuz you said you were overweight at 72 kg (about 150 lbs right?) So now you're around 112 lbs right? Sorry, I'm used to lbs, I know I'm a weird American :P 

Anywho, as I have read, most girls are supposed to be at higher BMIs and only 2% of the population is naturally between a BMI of 18.5 and 20. When I first read that, it was hard to hear as I have been at a higher BMI for a looooong time. I was also considered extremely overweight if not obese at 170 lbs and around 5'4", maybe 5'5". I was super unhealthy, and then I finally lost about 20 lbs, eventually hovering between 150 and 155 lbs. I did it right at first, by just eating better, running to get in shape, but it was when I became obsessive, counting calories, having to exercise everyday, spending hours at swim practice or on the elliptical, coming home and running another mile with my dog, then doing stair sprints. Everyday. And then I started losing again, and I got down to 115 lbs at 5'5" before I was taken to the doctor. The incredible thing is I was still considered at a healthy weight. But after messaging Hedgren, I understood that I still restricted and did a lotta damage and even though I was in a healthy weight range, I had far past MY healthy set point, proof being I had lost my period, was always cold, was skin and bones, bruised easily, my hair was limp....and it goes on, I'm sure you experienced some of this too.... And yes, I was lucky enough to have friends and family and doctors around me that never once told me I needed to stop gaining weight cuz I looked like I was getting fat again. Everyone was encouraging and I am blessed and I am truly sorry that you have people telling you you'll just keep gaining cuz if you do it right, it just isn't true. Don't listen to those professionals who trigger your ED, just focus on the goal :)

Okay so first, it's great you realize you don't wanna compromise your health or social life! Those are far too precious to be compromised. I spent my entire summer after senior year, trying to recover instead of getting to spend time with my friends that were all leaving for college. The first half of my first year of college, I didn't make friends cuz I had gained all my weight back to pre-ED (150) and I felt no self esteem. As far as staying at 1200, you will keep your metabolism suppressed and that just SUCKS. Cuz yes you may stay at a weight that is more comfortable for you, but your body will still need repair done tremendously. You're thoughts will still be around food, you'll still have random binges, you'll still be cold, it's not likely your period will return if you lost it.... It took me almost 2 weeks to get to 1200, but once I got there I quickly increased to 1500, then 1800, then 3000+. It was scary......but I felt a lot better mentally afterwards. Besides the gaining, my physical recovery was making me feel better too! My face was no longer flushed, I had my hair come back to life, and I got Aunt Flo!!!! All I can say is it IS worth the calorie increase, and though scary at first, it'll get easier :) Now I know it'll be harder with not all of your family, friends, and doctors supporting you but you gotta do what's right for YOU. 

So NOW I'll answer your question (sorry for the yammering :)

I can tell you Hedgren has a whole article on the recovery gain and how you gain around 16 or so lbs your first few weeks which is just water weight, then the gain slows,  and depending on the person, you'll start losing again due to hypermetabolism, or you'll slowly gain, and then stop to where your body's set point is. And if you continue eating 2500, your body will sometimes after it's done repairing and such lose a couple of pounds. And this can take up to a year.

This is what Hedgren says. This is what I know from personal experience. I gained 35 lbs in 3 months, a little less actually. I don't know how much I was eating cuz I was never given a direct meal plan. My nutritionist simply told me to eat at least 6 oz protein each day, and I never measured. And I was supposed to limit my exercise, but I never completely stopped. Some like Hedgren believe that exercise during recovery keeps the metabolism suppressed. I think it's still good to do some exercise at moderate levels if it's not triggering (I did it even though it was triggering.....whoops). Anyway, I know I ate at least 3000 a day which is good for teens to do instead of 2500 cuz we're still growing, BUT (and this is also debatable) what I ate wasn't all the best. Most will argue that during recovery you should eat whatever the heck you want to help your physical being. But I ate TONS of ice cream and peanut butter to fill most of my calories as well as like 2 bowls or cereal each morning for breakfast. I don't believe this was the best choice as I don't think I got all my nutrients and stuff in. I personally think what you eat is just as important as how much you eat, and I think if I woulda eaten more lean protein, healthy fats, and good carbs, I may not have gained all fat and not so much muscle back. So my answer in short is the gain depends on the person. I never experienced hypermetabolism and gained all my weight super quickly though I did stop at my original pre-ED weight (if that makes you feel better on the whole not continuing to gain thing :) It's actually funny, too, cuz I still exercised heavily when I got back up to that weight, and when I finally did back off, I LOST some weight..... weird and I didn't have to work as hard! Also, like I said it can take up to a year to stabilize IF you keep eating 2500 consistently. Dancerqueen on here did that and gained to a BMI of 26 but within a year of being faithful and not changing anything with exercise or diet, she went right back into a healthy range of 24.

Hope this helps! Oh, and I know being meant for a higher weight may suck, but who says most of the weight can't be muscle! I've learned to not care what the scale says (or am trying to learn to), but free weight lifting is AMAZING. You build serious muscle, raise metabolism, and look amazing. I don't know if you're mentally okay to start this yet, but my recommendation is when you're ready start incorporating weight lifting into an exercise routine. And check out nerdfitness.com for Staci's Story. She's an inspiration and has kind of gone through the same body image issues as us :)

I know this is a long post, and I'm sorry, and I hope it helped, but I just wanted to conclude with you're right about God. He knows what is best, and he will help us through this. It's like the "footprints in the sand" saying, where on the times you only see one pair of footprints instead of two, he wasn't walking beside you, but those were the times he was carrying you :) He wants you healthy as much as you want it, and this is waht you need to think about when times get tough. And when they do, I'll be there too k? Message me anytime, I'm always here to listen (and talk your head off- again, this post wasn't meant to be so long!)

God bless! and good luck girl :) Prayin and rootin for ya.

-Megan

Hi I have been reading these posts looking for answers that i have not been able to get from Doctors/ nutirtionists etc etc..

So I am 24 and  i was hospitalised in October 2011 with a BMI of 13.5, i was 165cm and 38kg when i was admitted. Thats about 5'5 and 85lbs i think? I was sent home in December at 49kg, then had a small relapse back down to 46kg in March 2012. Since then i started binging as i was so scared of the weight loss and that i would be readmitted again. I got back to 48kg in a couple of weeks and now i have been exercising and eating well under 1000 cals a day, I average about 650-800 and I am still gaining. I was totally happy to maintain at 48/49kg but the ED part of me will not allow myself to be over 50kg ( I am about 51kg at the moment). I cannot understand why i am not losing weight when I am restricting and exercising again. I suffered hypermetabolism severely during recovery but now it seems like i have no appetite and no metabolism. It is extremely distressing for me and I want more than anything to just eat normally and not feel like a freak when it comes to meal times. And I did this and I kept gaining past my happy weight. My docs were happy for me to be between 48-52kg and it would just make me so much less stressed and worried if i could have stayed 48kg. Please anyone that can shed any light on this. I know i am not fully recovered mentally but I am trying to fight against ED thoughts every day. Its exhausting being in a constant battle with your own mind....

I'm sorry you're having so much trouble :( The only thing I can think of is you're not losing because your body remembers what happened last time you started to restrict, and now it's trying to hold onto every calorie because it doesn't want that to start again. Every time you relapse and re-recover, it will be different I hear. I haven't personally experienced it, but I've heard that most ppl that have relapses have more trouble getting to a lower weight or never get back down to their lowest weight from the last time because again their body remembers what it went through so it's starting to hold onto calories sooner. I know this is hard for you but you gotta raise your calorie intake and cut the exercise a little. I'm not saying don't exercise, as I fully believe it is good for the heart and soul but there can be such a thing as too much of a good thing. If it makes you wanna restrict and go back into old ways, I recommend just walking right now. And eating more. Like twice as much as you're eating now if not a little more like maybe 2000. Yes, you will gain. No it should not be permanent and mostly water weight. Just keep telling yourself the more times you restrict, the longer it'll take to recover and get to the other end where you are happy and content. I gotta go, but if you need more info, message me k? I'll be happy to keep the encouragement coming :) Good luck! 

 

Thanks heaps for your quick reply =D How long have you been in recovered / or fully recovered? I kind of thought that simply being allowed home from hospital would mean that I was better, but how wrong I was. Where I live there are not any medical practitioners that specialise in ED's nor are the psychologists I have tried. Even as an inpatient I was the only ED patient in a regular medical ward and later moved to psych ward so the part I am finding hardest is to find the answers that docs cant give me. Can you believe the only supposed specialist ED doctor I went to (after fainting and having convulsions at 38kg) told me to go home and try to eat more and refused to admit me to hospital. Well duh, even I knew I needed to eat more but as we all know its not that simple! When I was finally admitted I was told I was lucky to have a week left to live....Even simply knowing that there are other people out there in the same position as me (because I have never met another ED patient) is reassuring. So in recovery, after say six months did people return to their pre ED weight or still stay slim? This is the part that scares me the most, that I will get right back up to 65kg again which is what I started out at. I love my body at the moment, I feel fit and healthy and confident so I continue to restrict and exercise and fluctuate up and down to hold on to it. Thanks again.

 

I can't say I'm FULLY recovered cuz I'm still seeing a therapist and I'm still working on the mental part of getting better but I have been weight restored since August. And I gained up to a BMI of 25 :/ which is where I started, and I see pictures now and I could definitely tell I was bloated and full of water from my system recovering. It was awful and I cried and cried and cried, but I still kept making sure to eat when I was hungry and I try very hard to never eat below my BMR on days I feel at my worst. Seeing 150 lbs again was awful and I was super self conscious. And then one day, I decided I needed to let go, and not care or look in the mirror anymore and just be happy with me. And the weiht slowly redistributed, and I have lost around 20 lbs. But this time, I don't look sick and I don't feel so sick either. But it took a lotta sweat and tears to get here. Many days of anxiety attacks, days where I binged on massive amounts of peanut butter, days where I just didn't wanna live anymore. It's the hardest part, but you just gotta let yourself do it and trust that your body will know what's on the other side of all that. I am so happy with my body right now, and I am slowly becoming a lot better with food. Some days I eat more. Others not so much. It depends on how much my body needs. And I can eat treats that I restricted for so long again! I lost weight, and I was eating twice as much as I was before! Now I'm not saying you will get to a weight where you will have to lose, but you will go through a period of water weight gain, then fat around the midsection or just undistributed fat in general (mine was in the face and midsection and thighs), and then it'll slowly redistribute out. For me, it's taken a half a year about to have it start redistributing and feel better about it. The whole recovery has taken almost a year now that I think about it. It's such a nice feeling to look back at this time last year and see how far I've come, how much happy I am. I want you to feel that. Life is more that just about losing and gaining weight. Every time I start thinking about that, I just think, I wanna be HEALTHY, and that's what matters. Focus on being healthy, and eventually the concept will stick :) I don't know if this is an option for you right now, but I started lifting heavy free weights 3 days a week, and man am I starting to see a difference. Plus I feel stronger. I know because I do weights, I will soon see a stop in losing weight and may even gain some due to muscle, but I'm ready to face that I think. I gotta remember it's not about the number on the scale it's about how I feel and you gotta remember that too. 

You are right that it is more than just being home to say you're recovered. I was never admitted into a facility because I cooperated with the gaining process, but I remember how hard it was to keep eating, especially with ppl there. It is more that just eat. We don't think like that, eating has a different meaning to us, and unless you have an ED you don't get it. It sucks that your doctors don't get it either. I've never personally met someone else with an eating disorder either, but I've met ppl on here that have told me it can take up to a year with no relapses to have the weight gain settle out. Some have even shared their experiences and one girl said that after gaining to a BMI of 26, she went back down to a BMI of 24 naturally with the same exercise and eating patterns. Just keep thinking that may be what happens to you (maybe not that high, but same concept). Every person is different, though. I hear of other girls that never go past a BMI of 21. Odds are, and you may not like hearing this, but you'll probably gain back up to your pre-ED weight before you started restricting, BUT again, it's mostly water weight, undistributed fat, etc. If you are at a good weight right now and aren't restricting with food or exercise, then maybe that's where you're gonna stay, but you said you're eating less than 1000 calories a day, so you gotta let your body decide here. Or else you're gonna stay in No Man's Land forever, and that won't be fun. Always eating this little, and eating anymore causing weight gain. Just take the plunge and you'll find it'll be worth it :) You just gotta be patient though, cuz it'll take quite a bit of time.

#16  
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I have a question...

Some background info: I'm a 19 year old female, 5'4" and about 100-105 pounds I would guess. I'm currently underweight due to eating disorders in the past, and I have not yet regained the full amount of weight lost. I lost my period during the 2 years I have struggled with this.

I've read everywhere that recovering anorexics need a high amount of calories (no less than 2500 as you say) in order to gain the weight back and repair everything. My question is how come I am still eating less than 2000 (no exercise either) a day and have noticed some blood spotting? I shouldnt be "fixed" yet since I eat less than 2000 a day..yet I am gaining weight and feel like i'm about to get my period fully back...

I feel like this 2500 calorie thing is nonsense

 

The best response I can give you is that everyone is different. Some don't lose their period right at 17.5 yet they are still at an anorexic weight. Some lose it at a BMI of 14 but they aren't healthy, right? Some gain it back before they are at a healthy weight. Heck, some never even lose it. And then there are some that lose it before considered underweight but their body considers it underweight. I am in this category and lost mine right around a BMI of 22 I believe. And it didn't come back til I was around a BMI of 22 again. 

So basically, all I can think of to answer your question is that your body may allow your period to be coming back but that doesn't mean you are at a healthy weight. And I know that 2500 calories seems ridiculous and I honestly don't necessarily agree that you need that much even after physical recovery but I do think you need it when recovering. It speeds your metabolism up, gets your body enough food to repair and so on and so forth. So do not let your eating disorder tell you you shouldn't eat any more than 2000 because your period is returning and you are gaining weight. You've restricted for a long time so your body has a slowed metabolism which will take awhile to speed up. Your ED is just playing games with you. It's just a trick. I would still try and eat 2500 til the weight gain subsides and then follow your hunger signals after that so your body can re-adjust. Good luck :)

#18  
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I am so thankful for all of this because so many of the thoughts of the women on here have been my thoughts lately.  I am 37 years old and have been without a period for nearly 1.5 years.  At that time, I weighed about 150 pounds.  Currently, I weigh about 135 pounds, and have been as low as 125 pounds.  My fear like so many has been that I will lose control and gain back the weight I lost, as 5 years ago I weighed 265 pounds.  I do not know what "normal weight" is for me because I have never been there.  I have been told by my counselor that I need to eat 2500 calories daily, and I have just started in the last week to do this (after fighting with myself the week prior after she first told me to do this... and after months after my primary care physician told me to raise my calories to 2000-2200).

I'm still exercising regularly (at least 4 times weekly for at least 25 minutes, sometimes upwards of an hour if it's walking or playing racquetball).  I don't see myself as "too thin" as I see the extra skin, and the muscle, and equate it as being too big.  Any fat to me feels like is too much, and I recognize this as faulty thinking but still think it. 

If not for the lack of period, I would likely not even have considered myself anorexic, to have a problem.  I battle constantly, many times a day, with thinking that I'm really fine and everyone is wrong that I need to gain weight back.  I know this isn't true, though... but that's what my mind wants me to believe. 

I do not have many of the "characteristics" that many anorexics have as I have never dropped below the lowest acceptable bmi for my height, though with a pant size of 4, I have found a site that says that I "may be too thin" for my height even at at a so-called acceptable bmi.  I also do not have dark, thick hair.  I have not lost hair on my head.  However, I have lost hair on my legs... is this a common thing?

I'm constantly trying to find reasons to believe that what I'm doing to gain this hard-lost weight back is good for me.  This site, and seeing others who have the same misdirected thoughts as I have has been an eye-opener, realizing that I'm not alone and that this is really where I'm at.  I have been unable to really say that I'm anorexic, and even my counselor put me down as "non-specific eating disorder" more I believe because she knows that I've not wanted to consider myself like that.  However, I know that I need to be honest with myself, that this is the only way that I'm going to get through this.

In the past week, I have seen my weight go from 131 on Sunday to 136.5 today, and I panicked.  I went to a buffet & actually succeeded in eating yesterday likely over 3000 calories.  I felt happy, but miserable at the same time.  Then when I saw the scale today (I know... big mistake...  my husband & son only let me see it if I ask, and then just once a day... I know that I need to stop with it entirely), that I was at 136.5...  I felt out of control & absolutely miserable.  Seeing that this can likely be water gain, and realizing how much damage I've likely done to my body and how my body needs this to repair itself...  I am so thankful to for this information to keep me going!

#19  
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Feeling a little lost today with the rapid weight gain that I've been experiencing.  Having started at about 125pounds at 5'9" to try to gain back, I succeeded moderately to do so over vacation.  However, I was back to the old "1700 or less & lots of exercise" (daily for 30-60 minutes, often very high impact like Zumba, racquetball, etc.) routine.  Someone my height, weight & physical activity should MAINTAIN on 2000-2200 calories.  However, I've found that eating 2000-2500 (a day at 3000) calories this past week, I've zoomed up to 137 pounds.  I know... shouldn't be looking at the scale.  I feel fat.  I hate that my skinny jeans don't fit, though I know that they are really a size that is too small for what I should be (they are junior size 7... though I wear women's size 4, 6 is too big).  Now my size 6's are starting to fit, and after just a week of doing this!  I know that it's been said repeatedly that it's water retention likely, but it's really freaking me out that I could be gaining actual weight back this quickly.  It shouldn't be happening this fast!  There are so many parts of me right now that are saying things that I know I shouldn't listen to...  like I'm really not that thin compared to most people with an ED.  Maybe there's something else that is keeping me from having my period & I'm gaining back weight unnecessarily.  I've worked so hard to lose this... how can this be coming back so quickly?  How little exercise should I really do, and what should I avoid (I'm still playing racquetball, but quit Zumba... otherwise, I'm walking)?  What is this water gain from, and how can I tell that this is what it is?  How long does it take to go away?  What about the abdominal fat?  When does that come & how long to go away?  Will it take less time for me to filter through this since I'm not that under were I belong (15-20 pounds at what was a week ago 130 pounds...  I'm currently at 136-137)?  Or will this take time since I haven't had a period for 1.5 years?  I'm panicking!

www.gwynetholwyn.com

This website will give you a lot of advice - Hedgren (Gwyneth) is a saint and definitely knows what she's talking about in terms of recovery from EDs.

Don't freak out about the weight gain, because likely it is all water weight. It's hard to cope with because you still see it as part of your body, but it's just there to help with the cellular repair to your body. The only way to make it go away is to keep eating 3000+ and not exercise, because the body perceives restriction and exercise as stress, which causes it to hold on to the water even more.

You can keep fighting. It's a huge daily struggle but you will get there if you keep pushing through the discomfort. If you want to message me you can :) I'm in recovery too. xxx

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