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Helping me with starvation mode ( so down )


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Hey guys i have been on here a few times but i am now at my wits end with everything, to cut a long story short i am now battleing a eating disorder not a underweight one or bulemia but i am obessed by counting calories and for the last 4 months i have been eating under 1000 calories a day ( sometimes 800) and exercising at the gym 5 times a week, walking 2 miles and burning about 500 cals off.. as you can see i am completley burned out. I am seeing my gp about it and she has told me my kidneys are starting to fail my hairs falling out and my legs now shake from muscle wastage. i know this is afwful and the only way i can fix this is to eat more.
My gp has said just to eat more calories so i kinda have no direction of what to eat how many more and how slow or fast do i increase?
this week i have been trying to eat 1200 but have been suffering with massive bloating and tiredness is this normal when upping your calories?
I am struggling with the whole upping calories as i have feared them now for so long and constantly burned everything i have eaten off.
I am still exercising bt  just walking 4 times a week for 30minutes i am proud that i have stopped the gym as i know the risk it was doing to my body...
Bascilly i am a huge mess and needing some support and help with everything i SO WANT TO CHANGE but how do increase the calories safley and healthy? what should i do calorie wise and exercise wise?
I dont want to gain alot of weight as i have lost alot sensbilly its just the last 4 month that i cut the calories and exercised like a maniac, so is there any chance i can do this with out blowing up like a balloon?
My gp also tested my metablisom and sed that its working fine at the minute is this good will this mean i will gain lots back..
My stats are Age 19
Height 5ft 4
Weight ( not sure at the minute as been told to thrw the scales away till my body adjusts but last time i got wieghed i was 7 stone 12 but it normally fluctuates between 7 stone 12 to 8 stone 6,,
what is my ideal weight i just want to be normal again.... Calorie counting and exercising took over my life so its time to beat this :)

 

Its so bad i know it is what i hve been doing but alot of personle problems have caused me to be so unhealthy and have this thing about food in my stomach i hate it i just want to burn everything out! i am trying to get over this feeling but i know it will take time :(

 

i am terrified of gaining so much weight though i really would like to stay the same at 8 n half stone, i cant gain one stone in weight can i by eating more i hope not but yes i shall avoid those scales...

today ive only ate 1009 calories and ive exercised 150 off so what shall i eat?

i have no idea what to eat any more unless i was allowed junk which would be a crap idea now as i am scared of gaining,

i am determined to change now i cant take the way i feel any more. its the gaining side im so worried about x.

30 Replies (last)

I don't have the answers, but just want to say I'm rooting for you! It sounds like something you'll need to chip away at. 

you should begin eating 2500 calories ASAP. If you need to eat 1500 for a day, then 1800 for 2 days, then 2200 for a day, then 2500 then go ahead but 2500 ASAP!! 

You should be about 116-117 pounds MINIMUM...so that's 8 stone 4 I believe. That corresponds to a BMI of 20 and is what's considered healthy for someone recovering from an eating disorders.

Scales should be avoided at this point because after starving yourself your body has much healing to do and that means restoring your muscle glycogen and with that comes water weight. Your organs also need to heal, more water weight. food has mass as well. So the initial gains ARE NOT FAT but should be expected. 

Great job on wanting to correct this unhealthy behavior.

Be consistent with your calories, eat healthy fats, avoid bulky veggies and drinking too many caffeinated beverages like diet soda or coffee. Try to eat more grains, starchy veggies, whole dairy products, and regular foods...not diet stuff. 

Adding to chrissy1988's prescription for how to up the calories, I'm going to provide a whole bunch more information for you as hopefully some of it will address all your concerns.

First of all, the bloating and severe gastrointestinal discomfort is happening because you have starved and largely killed off all the bacterial colonies in your gut that are actually responsible for digestion and turning food into energy.

You have to dependably eat 2500 calories a day to put enough energy into your system that the bacteria can rebuild the colonies and start digesting properly.

You can alleviate some of the bloating, gas, pain and distention, but eating constantly throughout the day in 200 calories increments (that means 12 and half snacks a day). After a few weeks of eating 2500 calories a day, you will be able to return to normal 3 meals a day plus snacks (still 2500 calorie totals however).

While you allow the eating disorder spectrum thoughts to generate all your behaviors, you cannot recover.

Recovery includes weight gain. But more importantly, it includes repair.

Your current weight is likely right at the marker BMI level for anorexia: 17.5. So you need to accept that the level of damage your doctor has outlined to you has occurred because you have anorexia: purposeful and dangerous starvation (less than 1000 calories a day).

Your kidneys may fail. Do you know what dialysis entails? You do not have any more room to continue to cater to your ED-skewed neurotransmitters in your brain. They have to be pulled in line because your health is shot.

You are not connecting enough with your immediate health risks and instead spend most of your post continuing to feed the compulsions and anxieties around weight gain. That's totally understandable at this point and not a criticism to make you feel worse -- just a truism that you must face. As you attempt to recover, you will feel an increase in the anxieties around weight and weight gain. I address how to overcome this with proper support at the end of this post.

You have done hundreds of thousands of calories' worth of damage to your body. A calorie is an energy unit. You don't need to burn off food because food is used as energy for all your body's vital functions. If you burn it all off in excessive exercise, then your body literally has no more energy to keep your heart beating.

Work on reprogramming your thoughts.

Be diligent about forcing yourself to think about food as energy for repair.

I'll apologize now for the length of this post, but I want to cover off four more major things:

1) Why do you have an eating disorder.

2) The math of why you need the calories to fix the damage.

3) What to expect in the phases of recovery.

4) What kind of help you need now to improve the chances of recovery.

1) Restriction Eating Disorder Spectrum

One of the unfortunate aspects of recovery from an ED is that some things have changed in your body in ways that do not occur for non-ED people. So I'll first explain a bit about the shifts that happen when ED-genetic mutations are activated with starvation.

When a non-ED and ED person both starve their leptin levels plummet in their systems. Leptin is a hormone that manages metabolism, appetite, bone formation and reproductive hormone function. When we are at a healthy weight and taking in adequate energy, then our leptin levels are at an optimal level. When they plummet, two things happen: the metabolism is suppressed and the appetite increases.

For the ED person, the starvation activates genes that shift the normal function of neurotransmitters in the brain. It is these neurotransmitters that generate the anxious and compulsive thoughts, feelings and behaviors surrounding food and weight gain.

A non-ED person will say she feels irritated, fatigued, hungry and moody when starving. The leptin levels dropping are creating unpleasant moods and extreme hunger to signal to the brain that it is time to go find more food/energy to eat.

An ED person will say she is not hungry. Although experts dispute whether she actually does feel hunger or not, it is clear she feels calmer, energized and dissociated from negative feelings (emotionally blunted) as a result of suppressing her hunger. The ED-skewed neurotransmitters are able to override what the leptin levels should be triggering: unpleasant moods and the desire to eat more.

One third of all people who diet end up on the restriction eating disorder spectrum. While not all of them develop clinical cases, they all experience lifelong anxieties and compulsions around food and weight gain (if left untreated). They can develop clinical cases at any point due to life stressors (anything from a cold to a break-up) and they can slide up and down the spectrum or express multiple facets of the same spectrum at once (anorexia, restrict/binge, bulimia, orthorexia (extreme focus on healthy foods) and anorexia athletica (over-exercise)).

If the non-ED person and ED person are both of the same age/weight/height (pre-starvation) and we ensure they both return to that pre-starvation weight, the non-ED person returns to optimal leptin levels, but the ED person does not. Her leptin levels remain sub-optimal despite being at that pre-starvation healthy BMI.

As leptin acts as a gating hormone for the normal functioning of reproductive hormones, a weight-recovered ED patient needs sufficient leptin in her system to normalize reproductive function, bone formation function and neurotransmitter function.

In weight-recovered female patients where their periods have not returned, we know that further weight gain will be needed to return to optimal leptin levels which is needed for normal resumption of reproductive hormones, bone formation and neurotransmitter function.

Usually optimal leptin levels are achieved in a recovered ED patient between BMI 21-25.

Much of our understanding of how to best help ED patients fully recover and avoid relapse has come through the research of W.H. Kaye et. al.

We also know that weight-recovered ED patients are less likely to relapse the higher up they go on the healthy BMI range -- it's linear and a patient at BMI 25 is the least likely to relapse. BMI 18.5-20 are most likely to relapse.

2) The math of why you need the calories

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.

There is not a cell in your body that is not in need of extra energy for repair at this point.

3) The Phases of Recovery

There are three distinct phases and one critical final phase for complete weight recovery and here's a bit of what to expect.

Phase I -- water hoarding.

The body seems to gain 7-16 lbs. in the first couple of months. An anorexic that has not been prepared for this will panic and restrict before she gets too far along. The "weight" almost exclusively water hoarding. The body needs the water for cellular repair. The water retention dissipates past the second month, but only if the anorexic is reliably eating 2500 calories every day throughout that time.

Digestive distress is common in this first phase: bloating, gas, pain and abdominal distention. You can alleviate this by eating smaller amounts more constantly throughout the day: 200 calorie increments 12 and a half times a day. This digestive distress occurs because starvation has drastically reduced all the critical bacteria in your gut that do most of the digestion for you. In order for them to recolonize to acceptable levels they need the energy in.

Don't be tempted to lower the calorie intake because of the discomfort -- just space the food out throughout the day. Yogurt with active cultures will be your best friend. 

If you could tolerate lactose before anorexia, then you will again once recovered. However, many anorexic patients in recovery can experience transient lactose intolerance. This is because the system is so stressed that it can no longer reliably produce lactase to break down the lactose. If you find having milk, cream and ice cream cause bloating and diarrhea, then replace them with soy and rice options. Do not have any low-fat or non-fat options for any foods in your home.

Also, while dehydrated in the early phases, resist the urge to drink lots of water. You will get adequate hydration if you eat 2500 calories a day. If you do have drinks, make sure they are full of nutrition. So instead of sodas, it's fruit juices and soy milk.

Coffee tends to increase gut motility (that means moving things faster through the colon) -- which is usually not an issue as most anorexics have very slow gut motility due to starvation. However, do limit coffee intake to one or two cups a day and make sure they are loaded with creams and sugars (ideally) to focus on getting food in the system.

Phase II -- vital organ insulation

If you get here, then the body is now desperate to protect your vital organs. It assumes you will starve it again soon enough and without insulation around your mid-section, your organs are in grave danger.

The body preferentially lays down fat around the mid-section to insulate. Again, an anorexic that is not prepared for this will freak. You can feel huge (a combination of fat around the middle and the residual bloating and gas of a digestive system struggling to get up to speed again). Unfortunately, many relapse here.

Sadly, the redistribution of all that fat around the mid-section to the rest of the body only occurs if the anorexic persists right the final phase.

Phase III - Bones, muscles, almost there

Assuming you have been purposefully eating your 2500 calories right up to this phase, then you start to get rewarded for all your hard work to help your body repair itself.

Osteopenia and osteoporosis begin to reverse (the completion of that may take up to 7 years, but it begins to reverse in this phase).

The fat deposited around the mid-section is now carefully redistributed throughout the body.

Hair, nails and skin begin to have increased pliability and suppleness.

You also start to feel more connected and self-imposed isolation diminishes. You feels less emotional blunting and start to want things for your life.

This occurs about 4-6 months along the recovery path (depending on the starting point) and will be around BMI 18.5-20.

A few anorexics will resume their menstrual cycles at this point, although they are the minority.

Unfortunately this is often when an almost-fully recovered anorexic makes a series of mistakes (often also due to misguided advice even from her own medical and professional team). She assumes she can now maintain her weight and that she is recovered.

Instead, she relapses again within the year. Why?

Final Critical Phase: Leptin or Relapse.

It is rare that an ED patient will attain pre-ED leptin levels at BMI 18.5-20. Usually, due to the physiological implications of having an ED, leptin levels are lower in recovered ED patients than in normal controls who are exactly the same weight/height/age as the ED patient. (as I mentioned earlier)

To get an optimal leptin level as a recovered ED patient, you need to shoot for the high range of a healthy BMI (21-25). We know that the higher a recovered ED patient ends up on the BMI scale, the less likely she is to relapse.

A marker for sufficient leptin in your body will be the resumption of a regular period. An anorexic needs to continue to gain until her periods resume  -- she also needs to avoid exercise until that happens.

From there, you can now maintain your weight -- but even then there is a catch. You must have a maintenance intake plus an additional 30% more calories every day for another 6 months beyond hitting your maintenance BMI.

You can resume modest activity through these final 6 months, however (taking care to add that into the maintenance amount so there is never an energy deficit -- always energy plus 30%)

You will not continue to gain weight during that time. The extra energy intake is used to completely normalize the neuroendocrine system. This final phase is critical for quieting the neurotransmitters in the brain that cause all the ED thoughts and behaviors.

4) What kind of help improves the chance of recovery

You need a recovery team around you that you see pretty-much weekly to ensure some accountability and support.

While your GP is there for the physical check-ups and confirmation that your refeeding is going as planned, she is not too much help (as you discovered) in providing with many ideas on how to up calories etc.

So, a dietician or nutritionist is a great addition to your team -- helping you with food ideas and perhaps meal plans if you find counting calories is creating too much initial anxiety and reactive restriction.

A psychologist or psychiatrist that you like and trust who will offer you cognitive behavioral therapy is the single most effective way of ensuring you have a complete and permanent recovery. If you see one and don't like him or her, move on to the next one. But the accountability of the process will help generate new neuronal pathways that will initially side-step the ED-skewed neurotransmitter pathways and eventually weaken them and override them.

Again, sorry for the huge post but I wanted to give you some background so you can frame your next steps for recovery in ways that will ensure you not only survive, but thrive.

Remember. All the damage, as monstrously serious and severe as it is, is completely reversible at this point. My absolute best wishes to you.

Thank you so much for all your advice it has really made me realise what a mess i actually am. for the last few nights i have been crying myself to sleep as i know that i have been so stuipid.

i have to change for the repair of my body and i am willing to take it all. i am just wondering of what i can actully eat as i am very much struggling with meal plans and snacks,

i have started to feel really hungry alot too is this a goo dsign?

i dont knw what my ideal weight is either lots of forums say different things most people agree 9 to 9 and half stone is when i was looking great and had curves and a smile on my face :) just the thouhght of that terrifies me cause i so scared of gaining more than needed.

i guess with the help of my gp she isnt going to let me get overweight is she on recovery..

so the calorie siutation shall i stop counting and just go on whats good or bad as i feel i am stuck in a rut and its obbsessive but then how would i know what im getting if i didint count?

also shall i increase slowley or quickly ( my stomach is in knots at the minute so cant handle much but i really do need to get back to me)

i have been craving chocolate and a chinese takeaway which i know are bad but would induldging in this be harmfull at this stage? my boyfriend is wanting to take me out for lunch and i want to show him i can live with out salad and everything!

i am a real mess and i am so weak its getting so hard for me to just get out of bed as my legs keep buckling.

i wish the gp would offer more advice and support as i feel she is not giving me whats needed e.g diet plans and meal plans..

i am deffo not going to use the scales and go on how i feel inside but the weight gain is just something im so scared of cause i know the damage ii have done..

past few nights ive been waking up starving is this a sign of anything changing? i make  my self some toast then im fine bt i guess eating at that hour isnt good for my body!

 

your advice is so helpfull and i feel that with the support of you all and advice maybe i can turn that corner its just how!

Original Post by livvi1391:

Thank you so much for all your advice it has really made me realise what a mess i actually am. for the last few nights i have been crying myself to sleep as i know that i have been so stuipid.

i have to change for the repair of my body and i am willing to take it all. i am just wondering of what i can actully eat as i am very much struggling with meal plans and snacks,

i have started to feel really hungry alot too is this a goo dsign?

i dont knw what my ideal weight is either lots of forums say different things most people agree 9 to 9 and half stone is when i was looking great and had curves and a smile on my face :) just the thouhght of that terrifies me cause i so scared of gaining more than needed.

i guess with the help of my gp she isnt going to let me get overweight is she on recovery..

so the calorie siutation shall i stop counting and just go on whats good or bad as i feel i am stuck in a rut and its obbsessive but then how would i know what im getting if i didint count?

also shall i increase slowley or quickly ( my stomach is in knots at the minute so cant handle much but i really do need to get back to me)

i have been craving chocolate and a chinese takeaway which i know are bad but would induldging in this be harmfull at this stage? my boyfriend is wanting to take me out for lunch and i want to show him i can live with out salad and everything!

i am a real mess and i am so weak its getting so hard for me to just get out of bed as my legs keep buckling.

i wish the gp would offer more advice and support as i feel she is not giving me whats needed e.g diet plans and meal plans..

i am deffo not going to use the scales and go on how i feel inside but the weight gain is just something im so scared of cause i know the damage ii have done..

past few nights ive been waking up starving is this a sign of anything changing? i make  my self some toast then im fine bt i guess eating at that hour isnt good for my body!

 

your advice is so helpfull and i feel that with the support of you all and advice maybe i can turn that corner its just how!

No, it isn't bad. That's exactly what your body needs and you're craving it for a reason. Indulge and enjoy yourself. Food is medicine for you right now.

Try not to focus on what the recovery weight is going to be.

All anorexics obsess about the idea that they will somehow "just keep going". Obesity is their nightmare. I can completely alleviate that worry.

The restriction eating disorder spectrum, which you are on, does not include binge eating disorder or night eating syndrome. Those sit on a completely different ED spectrum and have completely different genetic mutations involved.

On the restriction eating disorder spectrum, your system responds to leptin in your body correctly and it's not broken. For someone who develops over-eating leading to being overweight and obese, their leptin system is broken (genetics and environmental triggers put them on that path -- but it's not your path).

Once your leptin levels get back to optimal levels (which will happen when you hit your natural weight set-point) then you will stop gaining weight. Leptin runs your appetite and metabolism -- when it is optimal then everything is in balance. You maintain your weight naturally and eat when you are hungry when you get to that point.

So, every time the ED-skewed thoughts get you all panicked about gaining weight and not stopping, remind yourself that it is not biologically possible for that to happen to you. Your GP won't have to somehow reign you in -- once the leptin reaches its optimal point then maintenance just happens. So your focus has to be on eating enough food to gain and trust that your body and your leptin will work exactly as it is supposed to. It will.

That you are hungry is an excellent sign. Respond to the hunger as much as you possibly can. Chocolate, chinese takeaway are all good.

You can "binge" and it will not trigger any kind of binge-eating disorder. Remind yourself of this frequently. Bingeing is not bingeing for you -- it is just eating the amount of energy that your body desperately requires. 

Remember what I said: 2500 calories a day good, 3500 better, 4500 excellent. The critical thing is no restriction -- you must eat no less than 2500 calories no matter how much you consumed the previous day.

Restrict/binge is on the same ED spectrum as anorexia and many anorexics shift into restrict/binge and bulimia when trying to recover if they and their treatment teams are not really, really vigilant about allowing absolutely no restriction.

You increase your calories as quickly as chrissy1988 has suggested. You don't sit at 1200 calories for more than a couple of days before you move it up -- and you keep moving it up until it's dependably 2500 calories as a minimum. If you get it to 3500 then you are only speeding up the repair so go for it!

Carrotface is right on the money -- whatever craving you have indulge it, but ensure that you are getting some psychological support to short-circuit any fear or anxiety that may tempt you to restrict afterwards. Restriction is your enemy at all times so don't give it even a toehold in your life.

GPs are only marginally trained in nutritional sciences. You should look out a dietician or nutritionist to help with meal plan development.

You cannot depend on eating intuitively because the eating disorder will always veer towards under-eating. So if you are finding counting calories creates anxiety it's all the more reason to work with a dietician to create meal plans -- then you know that as long as you eat everything on the list that day, then you've reached your 2500 calorie target.

Nuts and seeds are your best friends -- 100 calories a handful they should be constantly nearby and you should snack on them as many times throughout the day as possible. They are also usually well tolerated for the healing digestive tract.

Eat any time of the day or night. It is always good for your body to eat. But again, don't restrict through the day in anticipation of eating at night -- no restriction. You must eat throughout the day and if you eat at 3 am then that's the bonus amount -- good for you!

While it's good to cry and connect with the reality of how dangerous things have become for you and your health, it's equally important to focus on how reversible all the damage really is. Every time you eat chocolate or have a lunch with your boyfriend that isn't just a salad, you are one real step further away from kidney failure and all the other catastrophic aspects of anorexia.

Praise yourself for every piece of food/energy you give to yourself. You can do this and you will succeed. You will get your life back.

Best wishes to you.

Wow, this post makes such perfect sense. I am in a all too similar situation to livvi and altho i desperatly WANT to recover, im finding it very hard not knowing where to start and without much help from doc/dietician.

Luckily, i persisted with my doctors and made them refer me to a therapist who will assess me and then hopefully set up a team to help me thru this. i cant wait! i just want someone to tell me where to start, i cant seem to do it on my own.

I just want to say, livvi... good luck and i wih you all the best for this fight. dont give up and be strong. im gonna be going through the same thing, so PM me if you want :-) 

and to hedgren... what can i say except you are truly an inspiration. the advice and support you provide to so many people struggling on this site is so brilliant and i think i speak for everyone when i say we're lucky to hve someone like you around!!! thankyou....

The light comes on!!!!

I totally want to thank everybody invovled here... I finally think I understand how it works exactly. The whole set point thing. It was always really vague and confusing to me... plus I didnt know where I would be "normal", when starvation mode would go away. I think I get it now?

My BMI is currently not quite 18, but approaching, more or less. I think I'm somewhere between stages 2 and 3. My set point before I started starving was about 105-110 at 5'2"- a bmi of about 19 or 20, I think. I read somewhere that recovering anorexics usually hit their original weght plus ten percent before it goes back down to normal...

I really, really hate this whole idea. Not a fan. ED wants me to start losing again, but I am telling him NO. My health and life are more important...and I signed up for this. One thing I've learned thus far is that there's only one way out of starvation mode, and it's to not restrict, a cycle I tend to get stuck in if I'm not careful.

I guess it's really weirding me out that it's okay to eat more... bioligcally, yes, I'm freaking hungry as sin. But psychologically, I feel like I don't want to eat more than enough to maintain. tis weird.

holy crap hedgren, are you like the smartest person on earth? want to come live with me and help me recover? haha :))) i believe i am at the point in your post where many anorexics relapse because my weight gain has gone completely to my abdomen. i also have those extreme fears of being obese. your post is something i should read everyday to push through those stupid thoughts. thank you very much for being so dang smart! :)))

I SECOND THE NOTION!!!

ok, i know this thread is pretty old, but i was reading it just then... I was diagnosed with anorexia in 2008 - went from a BMI of 28 to a BMI of 12 in the course of a year, and spent almost a year going in and out of hospital trying to regain it.

About a year ago now i reached my 'goal weight' (BMI 20, 21ish), but then after maintaining it a bit began to restrict and lose slowly (1300-1800 cal a day) until I reached a BMI of about 18. Then, at that weight, I started to binge. Recently I've been struggling a lot, having never binged during anorexia once. And in the last few months, I've gone back up to a BMI of about 22, through binging :(

So, with that in mind... (:P) my question is this - does the info on this thread about anorexia sufferers still apply to me? I.e. is my weight gain/binging still due to past damage? I keep feeling terribly guilty, thinking that its not ok for me to be overeating, as I have been 'maintaining' a healthy weight.. But am I wrong, is it still an effect of starvation? So confused..

Someone reassure me, or if you've had the same experience/know of research etc let me know!!!

Thankyou!!!!

I feel so much better after reading your post. I too was restricting to 700 calories a day, and working out 4/5 times a week in the gym working off up to 600 calories at a time. I became obsessed with counting calories to the point where it was actually driving me crazy & if I overate my daily allowance that I used to give myself then I would feel so guilty. I eventually became bulimic, if I overate I got rid if it straight away. I became depressed and totally disgusted with myself. I realised that something had to change. I upped my calories. I now take in 1300-1500 a day. I work out 3/4 times a week and burn off about 300 at a time. I am hoping to further increase my calorie intake but just taking it little by little. I have put on weight. I currently weigh 9 stone ( I was 8 stone 3 pounds at one stage) It is extremely hard coming to terms with the fact that I have put on weight but I needed to. People are commenting now on how more healthy I look. I feel more comfortable when I am 8 stone 8 pounds but for now I have to just be happy that my body is functioning properly consid ering what I put it though and in time it will be back to the way it was before ED. Just want to say best of luck because it is going to be a hard road ahead for you but worth it for the sake of your overall health & happiness.

 

brilliant post. i'm not anorexic. i'm on the other end of the spectrum. i need to lose 100 pounds. but yours is the most cogent, intelligent, explanation of this eating disorder I've ever read. it also helped me understand more about how the body works; and how food nourishes the entire system. thank you. and my thoughts and prayers are with the original poster, and all people dealing with this issue. don't give up.

Hi, it has been a considerable time since I posted on here. I spent a period of about 8 months not accessing this site as I thought I needed to move away from it to progress with my recovery but I have started to look at it again in the last two months and unfortunately I am yet again having to reach out for some help.

I have had an ED since 2006, my behaviours were around calorie restriction, only eating healthy foods (basically cut out meat, a lot of dairy, any sweets, flavoured drinks etc) and was exercising excessively (running 6-7 days a week, approx 8km's a day). I sought help in 2008 when my weight dropped to 106 pounds (I am 5ft 9in) and started seeing a dietician and a psychologist. I didn't buy into the psychologist - maybe I didn't have a good one - so stopped seeing her after a few months. My dietician helped me put on some weight to get to 122 pounds but I didn't find her to be a great help so once I got to this point I stopped seeing her. I have continued to exercise 2-4 times a week running and also went through a period of weight training to try to build muscle.

So I have been without professional help for probably the last two years, kidding myself repeatedly that I can do this by myself and that I am in an okay position and don't need to do anything significant as I'm not in the depths of my ED like I used to be. But.... although not as obsessive as I used to be (I don't count calories and I don't have to exercise every day) I still freak out about good/bad foods and feel guilty about what I eat and when I don't exercise. I get very anxious in these situations and end up being a difficult person to be around.

Which brings me to the behavioural side of things... so since I got my ED and right up to this day I am an isolated and withdrawn person who is constantly irritable and agitated. I cannot every feel happy or sad and spend my life in what I call a 'monotone' emotional state. I have recently seen a GP about this and she has suggested to put me on Zoloft but I have declined - I don't want to resort to drugs to help me. I don't feel a strong emotional connection to anyone, even my husband and our sex life is non-existant basically - whenever we do have sex I am just a robot going through the motions which makes both me and my husband feel horrible. I never ever initiate intimacy.

I am also a mega hypochondriac when it comes to health and am always looking for new vitamins, digestive aids etc to help me with my tiredness, irritability and bloating/cramping. I am convinced that I have wrecked my digestive system through my ED and am in the process of seeing a gastroenterologist to see if it is something serious. Allergy/intolerance testing has shown nothing. I wonder how much is in my head except that I do have the physical symptoms to support this.

I have said to myself over the last few years that I can do this, I don't need professional help. It has damaged my relationships with those I love and although they are supportive they are at the end of their tether with this - as am I! It shames me that although I am a few pounds heavier, that mentally I haven't really moved on and I know I am wasting my life away behaving like this but I just cannot seem to change.

I am scheduled to see a new psychologist in 2 weeks time and I am really hoping that will help but I get the feeling I will do what I always do and just try it for one or two sessions then give up.

I have cut down my exercise over the last two weeks to just going for a run on the weekends with my husband but I get mega anxious about not exercising during the week and am relying heavily on my mum to keep me in line and be my good conscious and reassurance around this.

From an eating perspective - I have two different eating habits - one when I am by myself (my husband is overseas for work for 2 months at the moment) and one when my husband is home. Examples below:

By myself eating example:

B: 1/2 cup all bran, 1/3 cup oats, lactose free milk, tub of full fat yoghurt

S: Soy cappucino

L: 3 sushi hand rolls

S: Handful of almonds & piece of fruit

D: Tofu/steamed veg/noodles/cashews or omelette with 2 pce toast or chicken/veg/noodle stir fry or pasta

S: Either a mini choc bar, ice cream in a cone (rare) or yoghurt with cereal

With husband eating:

Breakfast and snack are the same

L: Eggs on toast or soup and bread with margarine

D: Home made steak sandwich with oven fries, take away pizza, chicken coconut milk noodle curry, roast and veg - always bigger portion sizes though

So I am not really sure what the point of this post is, except that I am just at a loss. I have tried to get help externally and also within my family circle but their motivation/encouragement/support isn't helping me and I don't seem to be helping myself.

How do I let go of this control over food, exercise and general behaviours to go back to being the happy, carefree person I was????

i've been struggling with this too but i've learned to stop overthinking and just LET GO...

Someone on here told me to read hedgren's post and its ABOSULTY amazing, you have seriously explained everything that i was worried about.

I think i am at the point where everything is getting stored around my abs/stomach area because it looks HUGE constantly, even after i go to the toilet...Im thinking and craving foood 24/7 and i always say to myself that im going to become obese because of all this food! - all i want is a flat stomach again, i hate the way i look in all of my clothes and i dont even want to go out to town because i think everyone is staring at my huge pregnant stomach. I think ive gained like LOADS of weight in 2 weeks :( i still havnt got my periods back - i know that ive only been eating well for about 3 weeks now. But everyday i feel like relapsing, but for some really strange reason i cant restrict myself anymore - so instead ive re-joined the gym, im not sure if this was such a good idea, but i really cant handle having all this fat around my stomach. I really want to be able to exersice but sometimes after ive eaten i feel so full to exercise. It actually hurts so much. but thank you - i cant thank you enough. I just want to get out of this damn starvation mode so im not thinking about food and binging and hiding food all the time. its so horrible, i just want to be normal.

I feel exactly the same way you do. I've been eating my meal plan of 3500 calories for about 3 weeks and I feel so gross. My stomach has gotten huge and I can feel my love handles again. I want to be a normal weight so badly but I can't deal with getting flabby and out of shape. I feel like I'm just ballooning up and I can't even go running or lift weights anymore. Do you still feel like this? How are you dealing? I need any help I can get because this is all still really new and scary. Thanks.

i fod this thread helpful even tho it is soo old i hve bee tryng to recover for the past few weeks and christms has helped ovbiously i have endulged in al the foods i have restricted all the cakes chocolates crisps ect. but today i went to the doctors today and he weighed me and i have gained 9-10lbs in just over  weeks!!! this really scaers me i used to be overwaight i used to weigh 20stone i am 23 yrs old and 6ft 2inches my losed weight was 9 stone 2 give or take i now weigh 9st 13 and its really scaring me that i am going to continue to gainat this rate i know no one will read this thread as its soo old i just wanted to put a comment on here :(

Original Post by chrisj88:

i fod this thread helpful even tho it is soo old i hve bee tryng to recover for the past few weeks and christms has helped ovbiously i have endulged in al the foods i have restricted all the cakes chocolates crisps ect. but today i went to the doctors today and he weighed me and i have gained 9-10lbs in just over  weeks!!! this really scaers me i used to be overwaight i used to weigh 20stone i am 23 yrs old and 6ft 2inches my losed weight was 9 stone 2 give or take i now weigh 9st 13 and its really scaring me that i am going to continue to gainat this rate i know no one will read this thread as its soo old i just wanted to put a comment on here :(

Hi Chris. The fast gain in the beginning is totally normal. I've heard about people gaining more than this. It will slow down. I was overweight too when I was a kid, but I'm finally accepting that this won't happen again. 3,000 calories is not that much for a guy. Just keep it up with recovery and hang in there:)

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