Restrictive Eating and Bruising

By November 20, 2012

I am 27 and I have had issues with eating/not eating for at least 12 years. I have never seen anyone about this. I was super stressed out because of my job (I’m a teacher) and started to cut back on what I ate in May. I lost 20 pounds in May then I stopped in June because people were starting to notice. Now I am off for summer break so I am trying to lose more weight. I am however not underweight (5’6″ – 120 lbs.). I hate living like this but at the same time it’s just what I do. I know at some point like in the many years past I will stop but it’s just something I need to do. Anyway, (sorry for the long story) here’s my question: What vitamin if any can I take because I have tons of bruises – I look like someone beats me and I think there is almost as much hair on my bathroom floor as there is on my head. What can I do (other than the obvious) to make this stop? Like if I take extra vitamin C will that help? Thank you. – G.

Dear G.,

Thank you for writing. Restricting your food intake is a dangerous business and can have direct physiological effects on your body. Losing 20 lbs. in one month can lead to protein deficiencies which in turn can lead to blood clotting defects and therefore bruising. Bruising can also be an indication of low platelet levels and other potential blood disorders. Restricting one’s food intake also is not an effective weight control strategy because 95% of people who do so will regain their weight within 1 to 5 years and many times it leads to binge eating.

A multivitamin can be helpful but even more helpful is eating a well balanced diet complete with complex carbohydrates, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, proteins and fat. Overcoming disordered eating patterns takes a team and I highly recommend you seek a physician, a psychotherapist, and a nutritionist who have all had experience treating people with eating disorders. See “Finding Treatment” for more information.

Thanks and best wishes in your recovery.

Tom Scales, MD