Health & Support
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reassurance/advice


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Hi there,

I have used these forums as a real help to trying to get my recovery going, but somehow i keep tripping up. I know that at 5'7 and 91lbs  i AM underweight, but because i am still managing to hold down a normal job and go about my day-to-day life, i dont feel like i am THAT thin.

I look in the mirror and dislike what i see, i hate the fact that my belly is bloated even from just drinking water, i look at all the girls who can fill a pair of jeans and wear strappy tops without worrying about having stick arms and i am sooo jealous! I know the solution would be to eat more and gain weight, but i am finding it very hard to know HOW... i feel like there must be some secret way of maintaining or gaining a healthy weight and being proportioned and toned and healthy etc... that i dont know about. I feel like if i eat more or exercise less, i will somehow go "wrong" like i will gain the wrong way or something... i guess i need reassurance that there are people out there who DONT exercise and DO eat!!!

Im naturally slim, so my mum tells me i will be again... once i give my body a chance to heal. But i still cant stop doing these core strength workouts (for about 30mins a day) in case i lose "tone" and get all flabby. Then i walk alot too, 40 mins home after work and about another 30 or so minutes around town on my lunchbreak (3-4 miles a day? at a fast pace)

I know its not healthy to do all this, but i figure cos im not running for miles or going to the gym, its not so bad. I kindof feel like everyone must be doing this or more to stay slim... Im maintaining this low weight on about 1000cals per day, i DO eat but i guess its mainly fruit/veg and im quite orthorexic in my choices... i have various food intolerances so i am very fussy as to what i have... keeping it very clean and safe. (not alot of carbs, no dairy etc...)

I guess what im asking is, has anyone else struggled to overcome the idea of eating more and moving less? i DO want to gain, but i worry that it wont be the right kindof of weight... that i wont be in proportion or that if i stop all my stretching and walking, that i will somehow turn into a blimp! and that i shouldnt eat certain foods or my body will just get confused and gain bad weight... urgh its so confusing!

please can anyone share any stories about how the got over this and whether it really IS best to stop exercising and just eat whatever? its like i need someone to ok it for me!!! Thankyou guys, you are such a help :-)

Edited Feb 21 2012 18:48 by coach_k
Reason: This is a recovery thread and expressively does not belong in the WG forum. Please read the stickied threads before posting. Moved to Health and Support
6 Replies (last)

Hi:) Recovery is hard to accept, but you are not just thin, you are severely underweight. If you don't change your habits, you could die.

I also held a job and went to school full time when my ED was at its worst. But that doesn't mean you are okay. Because you're not okay.Are you under the care of any doctors/nutritionists/therapists? You really need to get tests done to see what damage you've done to your body.

The only thing that really helped me eat more and exercise less was to force myself to not think about it. Just follow the meal plan and tell yourself you have to do this to get better. Food is your medicine. You won't turn into a blimp. I thought that too, but it didn't happen and doesn't happen to anyone. Its an irrational fear thats part of the disease. But recovery also helps make your thoughts more logical and allows you to see things clearly.

In recovery, you have to gain some fat. Healthy people have fat. Its impossible to survive without fat on your body. But you will also repair your muscles, bones and organs. No weight gain for you would be "the wrong kind."

You need a variety of foods, protein, carbs, fat, along with fruits and vegetables. Take a look at the meal plan thread that's stickied at the top of the forum. http://caloriecount.about.com/forums/health-s upport/male-eating-disorders

There's also the "What did you eat today?" thread in the WG forum. http://caloriecount.about.com/forums/weight-g ain/weight-gainers-eat-today-feb

You really need 2500-3000+ calories to recover properly. And yes, you should definitely stop exercising right now. It will make recovery more difficult, and may not allow your metabolism to recover. More importantly, with the amount of exercise you do, you're also in danger of having a heart attack, breaking bones or severely damaging your body.

I would also recommend getting rid of the scale. It can be very triggering and its normal to gain faster in the beginning. By eating enough your metabolism will become normal again. But you have to eat and be consistent. You've put your body through a lot and now its time to fix it. You fix it by giving it a rest and feeding it.

I hope this has helped a little. Recovery is hard, but you can definitely do it. You have to commit to it completely and make up your mind to recover for good. There will be ups and downs, but in the end, it will be worth it. Good luck!Smile

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Sorry, i thought i had replied, but it appears to have wiped my message!!

thankyou for your help, i know that comitting to a full recovery is the best way to go, its just so hard to overcome the walls that i have built up around my ED to keep me enclosed... im so scared of just letting go and seeing what happens cos it is so unknown to me. im so used to restricting and worrying about what foods i can and cant eat, that i dont know what is normal anymore. 

i used to not worry about food or exercise and i was slim anyways, but its like i cant quite get that back into my head. that i CAN be okay again... ive been underweight for so long its become normal to me :-(

plus the tee calculator says my BMR is about 1200 ish, so the idea of 2500 seems so crazy high. is that REALLY what normal people eat on a day to day basis?? i dont weigh myself so the scales are not a problem for me. the biggest issue i have is feeling lazy if im not doing something... i cant just relax. from the minute i wake up i am fidgety if im not occupied.... i wish i cud just sit in front of the telly with my mates like i used to, but it seems like an impossibility nowadays :-(

 

Original Post by clemmystar:

Sorry, i thought i had replied, but it appears to have wiped my message!!

thankyou for your help, i know that comitting to a full recovery is the best way to go, its just so hard to overcome the walls that i have built up around my ED to keep me enclosed... im so scared of just letting go and seeing what happens cos it is so unknown to me. im so used to restricting and worrying about what foods i can and cant eat, that i dont know what is normal anymore. 

i used to not worry about food or exercise and i was slim anyways, but its like i cant quite get that back into my head. that i CAN be okay again... ive been underweight for so long its become normal to me :-(

plus the tee calculator says my BMR is about 1200 ish, so the idea of 2500 seems so crazy high. is that REALLY what normal people eat on a day to day basis?? i dont weigh myself so the scales are not a problem for me. the biggest issue i have is feeling lazy if im not doing something... i cant just relax. from the minute i wake up i am fidgety if im not occupied.... i wish i cud just sit in front of the telly with my mates like i used to, but it seems like an impossibility nowadays :-(

 

These thoughts sound very familiar to me. It is hard to let go, but once you do, it is so liberating. Its a constant battle, but the further you get into recovery, the easier it gets to remember what normal is. I was underweight for about 6 years and it was scary leaving that safety, but if you want to have a fulfilling life, its the only solution.

Yes, this is what normal people eat. Most women eat anywhere from 2000-3000 calories a day. And BMR is only what you would burn if you were like, in bed, sleeping all day. Everything you do from breathing to just sitting burns calories. So 2500 is not that much.

I used to feel lazy as well and was never able to sit still, but you have to force yourself to do it. Its not impossible, its just really, really hard. But if you really make up your mind that you are going to recover and you're not taking no for an answer, you can do this.

Clemmy, I can so relate to your situation.  It is a daily struggle for me to eat more, move less, and give my body what it needs.  My stats are almost identical to yours, and up until recently I had a pretty demanding job as a teacher.  I assumed that since I could function so well, I must be fine.  When I look in the mirror, I hate how small my arms and legs and back are.  Logically, I know that gaining weight will resolve this, but it is still very scary for me to accept.  I also have some pretty orthorexic tendencies with my food choices.  So all this to say, I really understand where you are coming from!

However, I know from past experiences (during seasons of recovery) that it does get easier.  Your body adjusts to more food and less movement.  The weight gain distributes.  You have more energy.  You sleep better.  You can be more social.  You can go out to dinner and be okay.  You become more accepting of yourself and your body.  Is it effortless?  Heck no!  But it is possible.

I have to say that I have found it really difficult to make the necessary changes without a lot of support.  This is probably because I've been anorexic and underweight for so long and my disordered habits seem normal to me.  Do you have any treatment options available around you?  Not that it isn't possible to turn this around on your own, but I have found it a lot easier with good help.

 

Soxgurl: thankyou for your reassurance... i think deep down i know that once i let go, things will be better. cos i kid myself that i can cut down and be more in control, but as long as the ED has any hold on me then i am still in its power. it will always turn one thing into more and even if i cut down, it could be something as simple as a bad day or a feeling full that would push me back into doing more exercise or eating less.

i think i am eating about 1000-1200 per day at the mo, but burning off about 300 through walking (i dont count the day to day burn from my job etc... i guess its probs more then?) so i figure im taking in about 800 on average. Yesterday i wasnt able to do my usual amount of walking, which freaked me out. even tho i ate less, i always feel like its the exercise bit that counts... but i know thats the ED talking and it doesnt make me unhealthy to not be walking so much. i guess i just worry that it will make me unfit or something, or that ill gain the wrong kindof weight, that it will all be fat and wont distribute. is it crazy to think that?! cos how does the body KNOW not to just turn all this food into fat???

thelettinggo: its good to know im not alone! altho im sorry that you suffer this same fear. its like we know we want to gain, i hate how i look now, but the idea of DOING it scares me in case i do it wrong or it goes pear shaped and i look worse than i do now (which i cant see is possible!!) im just so scared of mucking it up and eating the wrong things etc.... im not particularly fussed about all the macronutrients or how much of this that and the other i get. i just always stick to clean foods. fruit and veg (cos they are basically the one food that has never caused me troule with my intolerances... altho im sure they have a lot to blame for the bloating and gas!!! sorry, tmi!!) you say in your past experiences that it felt easier when you made the leap, the increased energy and social side and things... were you ip? or did you just do it with support from home? this is a major drive for me, cos i hate how reclusive and uninterested ive become. its like im just a constant shade of grey... i have little bursts of colour occasonally, and i remember what i used to be like. but then i feel tired or cant be bothered and its like BOOM, right back into EDs hands. staying home, eating my safe foods, not pushing myself to see if whats over the hill is actually alot better than whats here... i mean, i know that person is still in me, i just need to find her again under all the grey. i used to be a freaking RAINBOW dammit!!! :-p

I had a treatment team that i was working with for over a year... a therapist and a nutrionist. they helped at the start, but it only took me so far so i discharged myself recently (a mutual decision) cos we all felt like i wasnt making significant progress and they had helped me all they could. i dont think they were all that helpful... the nutritionist was great, but theres only so many MP options she can give me, i have to actually follow them! and i found the pressure of coming in and being weighed and feeling like i had to have done better, even if i hadnt, was getting me down. So i have taken the decision to go it alone, with the advice from them and from this site (which is soo helpful!) sometimes i feel like i need more support, my mum is trying but she gets very frustrated and cant exactly do it FOR me... but my boyfriend is being super helpful... as much as he can, bless him! i feel very lucky that i can talk to him about stuff. but that being said, i am stubborn and nobody can MAKE me do something i dont wanna do, and that is my biggest downfall in my ED. if someone says "eat this"... i wont do it unless i WANT to, unless the situation is perfect and i feel good about it. i wish i could just do as i was told, sometimes i wish i DID just go ip when i had the chance and get the nasty "eating scary stuff" part out of the way, so i wasnt scared of it anymore. its just making that leap into the unknown that is the biggest hurdle for me right now. instead of all these tiny baby steps and little barely noticeable gains, i need to let go of the disorder and go for it... but i just dont know how :-(

 

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