Keep Gaining Weight After Recovery from Anorexia and Bulimia

By June 29, 2012

I am a 20 year old college student, and I have dealt with anorexia and bulimia for the past 5 1/2 years. Exactly one year ago I was placed in a hospital for eating disorders, but didn’t actually begin recovery until last fall. At that time I quit purging and adopted a 3 meals a day and a snack diet that is between 1200 and 1300 calories. About once every other week I go out to eat with my roommates and probably consume around 1800 calories on those days. Initially, I expected to gain weight, but now I am 171 lbs at my 5’9” frame which is considered overweight. I know that spending 5 years undereating and underweight slowed down my metabolism, but the fact that I have gained this weight so fast on what most people consider too few calories terrifies me and I have begun purging again 2-3 times a week. This is a vast difference from my previous 15-20 times a day, but I never want to return to that lifestyle again. I exercise at least once a day, and I know that I cannot increase that or decrease my calorie consumption, but I guess my main question is when will my metabolism allow me to lose weight again and at least be at a healthy weight? I have gained 45 lbs in the last 7 months. I’m not sure how much longer I can do this in a size 12 body. Thanks any advice you can offer – Kristin

Dear Kristin,

Thanks for submitting your question. First, congratulations on your recovery. What an accomplishment! And it is so admirable that you have persisted and continued to work hard. The hard part of improving is “sticking with it”! Please don’t give up now.

Yes, it can take our bodies lots of time to readjust and heal. I urge you to consult an experienced nutritionist for several reasons. It’s very possible that as an active and tall young woman, you are not getting ENOUGH calories. If our body is not getting enough nutrition, it can work hard to hold on to everything! Perhaps, that number of calories was suggested to you in the hospital as a transition level. Check it out with a qualified registered dietitian.

I know it is a shock to your system to have gained the weight you’ve gained. Remember, this is a gift to your body, allowing you to have energy, clarity of thinking (and even fertility). Please consider abstaining from purging. It is so easy to slip into that higher frequency. And purging does very little to change our weight, as you may know. Don’t give in to discouragement. And let us know about your progress.

With Confidence In You,